Monday, June 6, 2011

Will of Thomas Smith - His Children

Thomas Smith is the possible father of my great-great-grandmother, Rebecca Smith Bartley, wife of Dixon Bartley of Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. Below are Thomas Smith's children as named in the Last Will of Thomas Smith, dated July 31, 1862.

"my son William Smith"
William received all the property on which his father Thomas lived, about 100 acres, including outbuildings and all income that would result from owning the property. This inheritance was an unlimited and unqualified inheritance for his use and the use of his heirs "forever." He was also willed one horse which was to be selected by the executors of the estate.

"my son Joseph Smith"
Joseph was given a piece of property 80 yards long and 40 yards wide (20 acres) plus all the income that would result from using the property. This property bordered that of his brothers, William Smith and Nelson Smith, and 10 acres came from each property. This land was for Joseph's use during his lifetime only and after his death the title for the property was to revert to William and Nelson.

"my son... Thomas B. Smith"
Thomas was given one dollar, having previously received 100 acres of land.

"my son... Nelson Smith"
Nelson received one dollar, having previously received 100 acres of land.

"my daughters who have not married at the time of my death"
Each daughter received 1 cow and 4 sheep, the same as the married daughters had received. The unmarried daughters are not named.

"Rebecca intermarried with Dobson"
"Alvira intermarried with David/Davis"
"Rosanna Smith Sarah intermarried with David Jackson"
These married daughters inherited the rest of Thomas' estate, personal and mixed, to be divided equally among them. From the way the will is written, it is difficult to tell if Rosanna and Sarah are two different daughters but based on other information, I suspect that they are.
Thoughts and Observations

William was probably the oldest son and possibly the most responsible (my guesses) because I don't find him in either the 1850 or 1860 census with his father and because he inherited both the home and 100 acres.

What about Joseph? Why only the loan of 20 acres? I don't find Joseph on either the 1850 or 1860 census with his father. There are 8 Joseph Smiths in Butler County on the 1860 U.S. census. I don't see any way to connect any one of those 8 with Thomas Smith.

Thomas B. and Nelson both received their inheritance of 100 acres before the death of their father. Both appear on the 1850 U.S. census with their father. In 1860, only Nelson appears with his father. Thomas B. is enumerated on the next page of the census, several houses away, with a family of his own.

The unmarried daughters still living at home in 1860, according to the 1860 U.S. census, were Rosan[na], 21, and Sarah, 18. (Granted, the 1860 census lists Thomas Smith as Henry Smith, but the children's names and ages match.) And yet, it seems that Rosanna and Sarah are both named with the married daughters. Who would the other unmarried daughters have been? In the 1850 census, a 4-year-old daughter, Martha, appears but she is not with her father on the 1860 census.

I so wanted this will to say, "my daughter Rebecca wife of Dixon Bartley." Because it names Dobson instead of Dixon and no last name, my search will have to continue. I understand that this will in the county record book is a copy of the original and it seems possible that there was a transcription error when copying it from the original.

Alvira (as spelled in this will), was Elvira, age 24, in 1850. I think it's significant that Rebecca's daughter, my great-grandmother, was named Elvira. Alvira/Elvira had a niece named Elvira.

"Rosannah Smith Sarah intermarried with David Jackson" is a little confusing. The 1850 census lists Rosannah, age 10; the 1860 census lists Rosan, age 21. Sarah is listed in the 1860 census, age 18. It seems probable that both were married by the time of Thomas' death in 1862.

Other posts detailing my search for Thomas Smith:
Searching for Thomas Smith, Sr.
The Search for Thomas Smith Continues - 1850 and 1860 Census Records
Neighbors of Thomas Smith, 1850. Neighbors of Henry Smith, 1860
Thomas Smith and 1858 Property Map of Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
T. Smith - Mount Varnum Cemetery, Washington Township, Butler County, Penna
Thos. Smith in Index to Butler County Wills, 1800-1971
Last Will of Thomas Smith

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