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Tuesday’s Tip: Analyzing the Will and Probate of John S. Roberts of Indiana

Excerpt from John S. ROBERTS- Will, page 1. From Indiana Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999, Ancestry.com and previously from Ripley County, Indiana.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Having a the will of an ancestor is indeed a treasure, especially for those of us who had mostly poor ancestors who did not own anything or couldn’t afford a lawyer, or ancestors who lived in counties that were burned, flooded, or for whatever reason, the will has been lost. The words of a will can tell us so much, and then some if we read between the lines.

The excerpt above is a good example. A husband usually provided for his wife to live on the farm or otherwise have a home and a little money. In this will John S. Roberts not only provided for his wife, Jane (Salyers) Roberts, but also for the natural life of their son David Roberts. He even appointed his Executor, his son Edward Roberts, to be Guardian for David. This suggests that there was something concerning about David, as he had younger siblings that were not mentioned in the will in the same way.

A look at the censuses gives us some clues as to why David would need care for the rest of his life. In 1860, his younger siblings were attending school, but David was not. He was 14 years old, but not listed with an occupation like his older brothers who were still living at home. By 1870, at age 24, it looks like the census taker wrote “works farm” under the occupation heading. In 1880, the census was taken on 7 June 1880, and David was listed in the home of his sister Quintilla Roberts and her husband, David Mitchell. Under the heading “Sick” he is listed as an “idiot” and there is a tick mark in the column for “idiotic.” David was with his sister’s family instead of on the family farm because their mother, Jane (Salyers) Roberts, had died just three months before, on 7 March 1880. David later died on 27 Sep 1892 at the age of 45.

The will specifies that John had property in both Jefferson and Ripley Counties of Indiana, which explains why he lists “rents” as part of the income of his estate. It also explains why there are some records in his name in Jefferson County, as well as Ripley County.

It is interesting that John S. Roberts listed a Jeremiah Roberts as his friend, along with Thomas S. Mitchell. Is this his son Jeremiah (1837-1918, and a doctor)? Or a cousin Jeremiah Roberts? Or an unrelated Jeremiah Roberts? (Roberts is a common name.) More research to do… But we do know that Thomas S. Mitchell was the father-in-law of Quintilla Roberts, John’s youngest, who married Daniel K. Mitchell.

Stovall Wilkins was a witness to the will. We do not know any relationship with Stovall- was he just a friend or actually related by blood?

John S. Roberts very specifically provided a mechanism or two to keep his children from fighting over his legacy once he was gone. First, he left one cow and one featherbed to each child who had not yet received one from him. Edward Roberts, Jeremiah Roberts, Henry Roberts, and Quintilla Roberts each received these inheritances “in order to make them equal with my other children that has had these things given them.”

Once Jane and David had passed away, John’s property was to be evenly divided among his remaining children- all ten of them, with one being the Executor.

John may have foreseen some trouble, so his second method was basically a ‘binding arbitration’:

“And lastly my express will and meaning is And I do hereby order and appoint, that if any difference dispute, questions or controversy shall be moved, arise or happen, concerning any Gift, bequest, matter or thing in this my will given and bequeathed, expressed or contained, that no suit or suits in law or equity or otherwise shall be brought or commenced, or prosecuted for and concerning the same but the same shall be referred wholly to the award, order and determination of my friends Thomas S Mitchell and Jeremiah Roberts both the State of Indiana one of Jefferson & one of Ripley County and what they shall order or direct or determine therein, shall be binding and conclusive to all and every person and persons therein concerned.”

So he had a friend in each county that he owned property, to try to make his bequests fair.

We do know, however, that Edward Roberts resigned as Executor. No reason is given in the surviving paperwork- was it a personal issue, too much work (settling a large estate can be complicated and time consuming, and this one went on for years), too hard to be fair, or was there a lot of squabbling over the will between siblings? We probably will not find the reason, but there is more to come in upcoming posts about the inventory and probate of John S. Roberts.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Special thanks to our cousin Jon Roberts for his transcription and work on these documents.
  2. Wills; Author: Indiana. Probate Court (Jefferson County); Probate Place: Jefferson, Indiana. Will Records, Vol B, 1872-1884Source Information: Ancestry.com. Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data: Indiana County, District and Probate Courts. A copy of the will was received from this office around 1989.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Amanuensis Monday: Will and Probate of John S. Roberts of Indiana

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Will and Probate of John S. Roberts (1805-1875) of Indiana
John S. ROBERTS- Will, page 1. From Indiana Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999, Ancestry.com and previously from Ripley County, Indiana. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Transcription by cousin Jon Roberts (thank you!). We have divided up the will transcription into paragraphs for easier reading.

——————————————————————–

Will of John S. Roberts

The last will and Testament of John S Roberts of Jefferson County Indiana

I John S Roberts considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound and memory thanking God for his mercies. Do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form as follows (that is to say) first I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Jane Roberts the use of all my Real Estate both in Jefferson and Ripley Counties and also my personal Estate with the exceptions which may follow.

I also give and bequeath to my son David Roberts his support and living off of the Real and personal property that I may own at my dicease and to be well cared for out of the proceeds of the same During his life.

And I give and bequeath unto my son Edward Roberts Jeremiah Roberts Henry Roberts and Quintilla Roberts One Cow and one feather bed each in order to make them Equal with my other children that has had these things given them.

And further it is my will, that after my decease my Executor sell and dispose of my estate sufficient pay all of my just debts and Funeral expenses together with the debts of my last sickness. And my further will is that my Executor take charge of all of my Real and personal Estate after my decease, for the use and support of my beloved wife Jane Roberts and David Roberts their natural lives off the rents and profits of the farm but in case the rents and profits should not be sufficient for their support, then my Executor to sell in parts or parcels of Estate as he may deem most advantageous for the purposes hereby intended. And my wife Jane Roberts and my son David Roberts is to have their home on the farm on which we now reside and also Quintilla Roberts my daughter to have her home and support on the farm while she remains single.

And I hereby appoint my son Edward Roberts to be Guardian for my son David Roberts and to see that he is well cared for during his natural life and to provide for him out of my Estate. And I hereby appoint my son Edward Roberts my Executor after my decease and desire him to take charge of all my Estate both Real and personal at my decease, and collect and pay debts and make all necessary repairs That may be necessary for the saving of crops or property from loss, for which he is to be allowed reasonable compensation.

And after my decease and the decease of my beloved wife Jane Roberts and my son David Roberts my son Edward Roberts my Executor to dispose of the remainder of my estate and after paying expenses to make equal division of the proceeds between my several children to wit William Roberts, Charles Roberts, Sallie Ann Rayburn, John Roberts, Maranda Demaree, Jeremiah Roberts, Edward Roberts, Henry Roberts, David Roberts, Jane Kennedy, Quintilla Roberts.

And lastly I do nominate and appoint my son Edward Roberts to be Executor of this my last will and testament. And hereby revoking all former wills by me at any made.

And lastly my express will and meaning is And I do hereby order and appoint, that if any difference dispute, questions or controversy shall be moved, arise or happen, concerning any Gift, bequest, matter or thing in this my will given and bequeathed, expressed or contained, that no suit or suits in law or equity or otherwise shall be brought or commenced, or prosecuted for and concerning the same but the same shall be referred wholly to the award, order and determination of my [continued below]

John S. ROBERTS- Will, page 2. From Indiana Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999, Ancestry.com and previously from Ripley County, Indiana. (Click to enlarge.)

friends Thomas S Mitchell and Jeremiah Roberts both the State of Indiana one of Jefferson & one of Ripley County and what they shall order or direct or determine therein, shall be binding and conclusive to all and every person and persons therein concerned. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the 7th day of December 1875.

                                                                                                                                                                             his

        John     x    S Roberts                                                                                                                                                                            mark

The above instrument, consisting of one sheet was now here subscribed by John S Roberts the testator, in the presence of each of us; and was at the same time declared by him to be his last will and testament and we at his request sign our names hereunto as attesting witnesses.

Stovall Wilkins   Res Ripley County                                                                                                                                                                    Thos S Mitchell  Res Jefferson County

——————————————————————————————————————-

State of Indiana

Jefferson County

On this day appeared in my office Stovall Wilkins one of the Subscribing Witnesses to the Will and Testament of John S Roberts late of said County deceased, who being duly sworn on his oath, saith he saw the said John S Roberts sign and seal the foregoing paper as his Will, and that he with Thomas S Mitchell subscribed the same as Witnesses, in the presence of each other, and in the presence and at the request of said John S Roberts this deponent further saith said John S Roberts was at the time of making and executing said paper as his Will, of full age to devise his property, and of sound mind and memory, and not under coercion and restraint, and that he did publish and declare the same to be his Will and further saith not.

Stovall Wilkins

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 3 day of January 1876.

James J Sering, Clerk

By J. C. Roberts D. C.

——————————————————————————————————————-

State of Indiana

Jefferson County

I James J Sering Clerk of the Circuit Court in and for said County do hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true full and complete copy of the last Will and Testament of John S Roberts late of said County deceased, As also of the certificate of probate thereto attached as the same appears from the available file in my office.

Witness my hand and seal this 3rd day of January 1876.

James J Sering, Clerk

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Wills; Author: Indiana. Probate Court (Jefferson County); Probate Place: Jefferson, IndianaDescriptionNotes : Will Records, Vol B, 1872-1884Source Information: Ancestry.com. Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Indiana County, District and Probate Courts.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Those Places Thursday: Westfork Baptist Cemetery and The Roberts Family of Indiana

Christie family member at West Fork Baptist Cemetery, Ripley County, Indiana, April 2015. Posted with kind permission of Doug Christie. (Sarah Christie married William Roberts, son of John S. Roberts and Jane Salyers Roberts, in 1848.)
Christie family member near Preston Christie headstone, at West Fork Baptist Church Cemetery, Ripley County, Indiana, April, 2015. Posted with kind permission of Doug Christie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Westfork Cemetery is in Shelby Township, Ripley County, Indiana. Quite a few of our Roberts ancestors and cousins are “quietly resting” in this hallowed ground.

The RootsWeb description of this cemetery states it is 1 mile east of SR 421 and about 2 mi. south from Rexville, or 2.5 mi. SE of Haneys Corner, Indiana. It is in Sec. 31 of Shelby Twp., and 958 ft above sea level. Current address information is 10468 S County Road 450 W, Madison, Indiana. The phone number is 812-689-3124.

Sign at West Fork Cemetery, Ripley County, Indiana. Posted with kind permission of Doug Christie.

There is an “Old Westfork Cemetery” listed on Find A Grave (both old & new FAG) but it does not have any memorials.

Learning who else is in a cemetery may also give us clues as to relationships and residences of family. Knowing that our Roberts ancestors lived in Shelby Twp. helps to verify that these folks are the correct family, despite the common name.

Six person named Roberts are listed as buried at Westfork:

John S. Roberts (1805-1875), son of Edward Roberts and Rosy Stewart.

Jane (Salyers) Roberts (1806-1880), wife of John S. Roberts.

John B. Roberts ((1858-1880), son of Charles Roberts and Ammarilla (Reynolds) Roberts.

Amarilla ( Reynolds ) Roberts (1828-1880), wife of Charles Roberts (1828-1906) who was the son of John S. and Jane (Saylor) Roberts.

David Roberts (1845-1892), son of John S. and Jane (Saylor) Roberts. Listed as an “idiot” and lived with his sister Quintilla (Roberts) Mitchell and her husband Daniel Mitchell.

Susan M Roberts (1855-1879), daughter of Charles and Ammarilla (Reynolds) Roberts.

Quintilla (Roberts) Mitchell (1852-1887), daughter of John S. and Jane (Saylor) Roberts.

Alta Mitchell, daughter of Quintilla and Daniel Mitchell.

 

**NOTE: Please don’t forget that it takes money, work, and time to maintain the graves of our ancestors! Even if we do not live nearby, a donation, no matter how small, to the cemetery association is a great way to honor our ancestors.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Westfork Baptist Cemetery– http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~inripchs/westfork.html
  2. Facebook page for Westfork Baptist Church Cemetery, with photos that include Christie headstones– https://www.facebook.com/pages/Westfork-Baptist-Church/117095501641756
  3. Shelby Twp., Ripley County, Indiana cemeteries- map–http://www.ingenweb.org/inripley/cemeteries/cem_shelby.shtml
  4. Old Westfork Cemetery- need to find out more about this cemetery, as older members of family may be buried here–https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/86280/old-westfork-cemetery/photo
  5. A special thank you to Doug Christie, who posted photos back in 2015 on Facebook (see note 2). He kindly gave permission for us to use his photos in this post. There is a good photo of West Fork Cemetery on Find A Grave as well, but there has been no reply from the photographer concerning my request to use the photo. (I particularly love the grain bins in the background.) See https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1965427/West-Fork-Cemetery?

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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