Malachi's Promise "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers...." Malachi 4:6

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Will of Dixon Bartley - a transcription

Dixon Bartley is my paternal great-great-grandfather. He was born in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s and died in Parker Township, Butler County, Pennyslvania on April 22, 1900. Below is a transcription of his will (in a format that varies slightly from the copies in the ledger book). The photocopies (at 11" x 17") were too large for my scanner; these are photographs which will enlarge and be readable if you click on them.
___________________________________________________________________________________

Will of Dickson Bartley
Feb. 10th 1900

I, Dickson Bartley of Township of Parker, in the County of Butler & State of Penn'a being of good understanding & of sound mind & memory do make & publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

1st. I will and bequeath my soul to God and my body to the grave.

2nd. A certain amount necessary for my burying expenses & also tombstone to my own & my deceased wife graves.

3rd. Eliza Ann Shakely got one thousand dollars in money which is paid.

4th. Thomas Bartley got 53 acres of land known as the James Dickson farm.

5th. Alvira Gerner got forty acres which she now resides on of the old household.

5. Edward Boyed 43 acres which is known as his mother['s] share off the East end of the old homestead (Jane Bartley) subject to the reserves in Fred Gerner & Ace Steel deeds, for roads & limestone. Lavina Steel got 40 acres off the old homestead. I also will & bequeath to Sula Bartley six hundred dollars, eighty seven dollars has been paid by vendue note. I will and bequeath to Gilmore Bartley heirs, Ross Bartley, Clara Bartley & Edward Bartley 100 acres joing [sic] Henry Daubenspeck, Thomas B. Smith on the South, the widow Walley on the West Elexander Thompson on the north Henry Daubenspeck & other on the East, if oil is found on it in paying quantities I reserve 2 hundred dollars of it to be paid to Rebecca Steel within three years which is to be put on interest secured by a mortgage allowing her mother to draw the interest of the same until she is 10 years old after that the interest is to be added to the principle I will and bequeath to my daughter Bell Steel & heirs 50 acres in Fairview & Park Township known as part of Thom Graig farm. I also authorize my executor to sell 41 acres lying West of Edward Boyed share, the money to be aplyed [sic] to paying Sula Bartley & funeral expenses, the balance if any left & residue of the old homestead is to go to Dixson Steel, no division is to be made of the above property during my lifetime. The above legacys are not to be paid till the land mentioned is sold, my executor is to have one year if necessary to sell the land.

I also appoint Ross Bartley my executor who is to collect all debts & pay all debts, make deeds & transact any business as though I was living.

Signed, sealed & delivered by the above named testator for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names at his request as witnesses in the presence of testator & in the presence of each other.
Dickson Bartly

Witness
M. Bartley
J. M. Bartley
__________

State of Pennsylvania}
County of Butler} ss
Personally came before me, the Register of Wills &c in and for said county C. R. Bartley a resident of Butler Boro in said county who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith that to the best of his knowledge and belief Dickson Bartley late of the Township of Parker in said County departed this life on the 22 day of April A.D. 1900 about 2 oclock A. M. of said day.

Sworn and subscribed before me this 27 day of April A. D. 1900 W. J. Adams Register

C. R. Bartley
__________

State of Pennsylvania}
County of Butler } ss
Registers Office, April 27 A.D. 1900
Then personally appeared before me the Subscriber, Register for the probate of wills and granting letters of Administration in and for said County of Butler M. Bartly and J. M. Bartly the subscribing witnesses to the above and foregoing last will and testament of Dickson Bartley deceased who being duly sworn according to law did say that they were present and did see and hear Dickson Bartley deceased the testator therein named sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the above and foregoing instrument of writing as and for his last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound disposing mind memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge and belief and they at his request and in his presence and the presence of each other did sign their names thereto as witnesses.

Sworn and subscribed before me in the day and year aforesaid }
W. J. Adams, Registrar}
J. M. Bartley
M. Bartley
__________

Now April 27 A. D. 1900, the testimony of the above named witnesses being sufficient I do hereby admit the foregoing will to probate and order the same to be recorded as such.

Given under my hand and seal the above date.
W. J. Adams, Register
__________

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of Butler, ss.
Registers Office, Butler, April 27" A. D. 1900
You C. R. Bartley do swear that as Executor of Dickson Bartley deceased you will well and truly administer the goods and chattels rights and credits of the decedent according to law and diligently and faithfully regard and well and truly comply with the provisions of the law relating to collateral inheritance.
C. R. Bartley

Sworn and subscribed before me the day and year aforesaid and letters testamentary granted unto C. R. Bartley.
W. J. Adams, Register

Recorded April 27th 1900
___________________________________________________________________________________

It's interesting that there are two spelling variations of the surname in the same document: Bartley and Bartly. "Dickson" remains the same throughout this will, but in other places it's spelled "Dixon."

Another interesting observation is that my great-grandmother's name is spelled "Alvira" in this will but spelled "Elvira" in every other document I've seen. The fact that they spell it with an "A" gives me a clue to how they usually pronounced it.

Eliza Ann Shakely, Thomas Bartley, Alvira (usually Elvira) Gerner, Jane Bartley, Gilmore (or Edward Gilmore) Bartley, and Lavina Steel are all Dixon's children. Sula (short for Ursula) is a daughter-in-law, widow of George Washington Bartley. Fred Gerner and Ace Steel are sons-in-law.

Gilmore Bartley's heirs, Ross, Clara, and Edward, are probably Gilmore's children though I need to do further research. I also need to research to determine who Dixson Steel, Ross Bartley, M. Bartley, J. M. Bartley, and C. R. Bartley are.

6 comments:

  1. What was his age when he wrote the will? He seemed to have quite a lot of cash and property, what would the estate be worth in todays dollars?

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  2. How wonderful that you have this historic document! Thanks for sharing it!

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  3. Claudia, we don't have an exact date of birth for Dixon but he was born about 1810, which means he would have been close to 90 when he wrote his will. He missed the 1900 census by a few hairs. The 1850 census says his property was valued at $1000; in 1860, at $4000; and in 1870, at $10,000. You can see a picture of his home here: http://nancysfamilyhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/golden-anniversary-transcription.html. I don't know the exchange rate of the 1900 dollar for the 2010 dollar but I think that to have $10,000 in property in 1870 made him fairly wealthy. I have more research to do....

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  4. Dorene, I wish I had the original document! Thanks for coming to visit.

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  5. This is a pretty good chart for converting yesterday's dollar into today's equivalent:
    http://www.wvec.k12.in.us/EastTipp/8/invent/handouts/cv2000.pdf

    By my calculator, Dickson's 1870 estate would have been worth $131,578.94.

    Not chump change.

    What a great historic record...

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  6. dee-burris, thanks so much for the link. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to know the conversion value from some previous year to recent years. This is really a great chart. Thanks!

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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