The will you see below was executed by my g-g-g-grandfather, Moses Perry, in April 1848, during the last month of his life. I transcribed it from a photostatic copy provided by the late Kelly Marshall, who was descended from a brother of one of Moses' sons-in-law. Kelly obtained it from one of Moses' direct descendants, Sue (McGough) Veal, who copied it from the original document, which may be found at the Venango county courthouse in Franklin, PA, in Will Book 2, page 741. The will is almostly totally lacking in punctuation and capitalization, which I've tried to remedy in this transcription.
Following Moses Perry's death, the will was filed, with a brief acknowledgment in a different handwriting appended to it. These documents are helpful for identifying the month of his death, as well as the names of his children and some of their spouses and children. It also provides some information as to the location of his property. Its mention of Moses' wife implies that she was still alive at the time he dictated the will, although I've been unable to locate her in the 1850 census.
In the Name of God, Amen.
I, Moses Perry, of the County of Venango, Township of Scrubgrass, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind, memory and understanding, praised be God for it, considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof, and to the end I may be the better prepared to leave this world whenever it shall please God to call me hence, do therefore make and declare this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say:
First and principally I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my creator and my body to the earth in hopes of a joyfull resurrection and as to such worldly estates wherewith it hath pleased God to entrust me I dispose of the same as followeth, that is to say:
- I order that all my just debts and funeral expences be in the first place fully paid and satisfied, and after payment thereof,
- I give and bequeath to David Perry1 my farm on which the said David Perry now resides except a lot of land supposed to contain ten acres in the south east corner of said place, which lot is reserved from David except the use of some rail timber by him, the said David subjecting himself to pay fifty dollars annually for the support of myself and his mother and if the aforesaid fifty dollars should be insufficient the said David is to give us a comfortable maintenance during our natural lives.
- Also I give and bequeath all my interest in the aforesaid lot and parcel of land together with the buildings and appurtenances thereunto belonging to Phebe Marshall2 and Simeon Marshall3 each in equal share by them paying two hundred dollars in the following manner to wit one hundred and twenty-five dollars to be paid to my son John Perry4 the one-half to be paid one month after my decease the other half one year after my decease.
- Also I order and direct that the aforesaid Phebe and Simeon pay Moses Perry son of James Perry5 fifty dollars at the age of twenty-one.
- Also that they pay Betsey Perry6 daughter of David twenty-five dollars at the age of eighteen years.
- Also I order that Mary Williams7 my daughter get all my sheep or the price of them at the death of her mother.
- Also I order of my personal property fifty dollars to be paid to John Perry my son in addition to the aforesaid paid by Phebe and Simeon Marshall.
- Also I order that my funeral expenses and Doctor bills be paid out of my personal property and the remainder of said personal property to be equally divided amongst my children & I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint William Perry and Simeon H. [?] Marshall executors of this my last will in whereof I the said testator Moses Perry have to this my last will and testament set my hand and seal this first day of April Eighteen Hundred and forty-eight.
Signed Sealed published and declared by the said testator Moses Perry as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereunto:
The following acknowledgment, in a different handwriting, was added when Moses' will was filed:
This 27th day of April AD 1848 before me, Geo. W. Connely, Registrar for the probate of wills and granting letters of administration in and for said County, personally came William Scott and Robert Gallagher, two of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing written will, and being duly sworn according to law did depose and say that they were present and saw and heard Moses Perry the testator sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the foregoing instrument [...] as and for his testament and last will, and at the time of so doing he was of sound mind, memory and understanding to the best of our knowledge & belief.
Signed by Robert Gallagher 29 Apr 1848
Sworn & subscribed before me the 29 April 1848
Geo. W. Connely Reg.