Sunday, December 6, 2015
I, Martin Snyder, of the County of Augusta and State of Virginia Make my Last Will and Testament
Quite a while ago I said I would publish 4th Great Grandfather Martin Snyder’s will. Today I’m keeping my promise and ready to discuss his last will and testament. I found his will intriguing. Martin Snyder devoted much thought and planning for his family’s future. As I was reading the Augusta County, VA clerk’s copy of the will, I realized Great Grandfather was very detail oriented. You’ll find a transcription and images of his will at the end of this post.
Martin Snyder belongs with my paternal Grandmother Lucy Leora Clemmer’s branch of the family tree. 4th Great Grandfather Martin was born February 24, 1765 in Maryland and died at Augusta Co., Virginia October 16, 1822. He married Catherine Thomas in Augusta County 1791. She was also a Maryland native born to John and Catherine Thomas.
Martin’s will was written August 30, 1822—a few months before he died. At this date, Grandfather was 57 years old and Catherine 50 years of age. His older sons, John, Michael, David, Jacob, Martin, and Joseph, ranged in age from 28 to 22 years old. My 3rd Great Grandfather Adam Snyder was just 14 with his three sisters under the age of 21 years.
No doubt Great Grandfather did well for himself being the owner a 740 acre plantation near Stribling Springs. The former property owner was William Willson. Martin ordered his executors to sell the property 4 years after his death. As far as I know, this did not happen. I have copies of the Augusta Co., Virginia Grantee and Grantor Index of Deeds and noticed a flurry of land transactions among the Snyder’s in 1833. The grantee index includes an entry showing Martin purchased land from William and Eliz Wilson May 23, 1814 per Deed Book 39, page 119. I hope to get copies of the Snyder deeds to see what transpired.
Foresight led Great Grandfather to estimate a $7,000 selling price for the property. He bequeathed $1,000 each to 7 sons staggering when they would receive their legacy. John and Michael would get their share once the plantation sold. Two years after the sale, David was to get his money. Jacob would get his legacy four years after the plantation was bought; Martin six years afterward with Joseph getting his inheritance in eight years. Adam was the youngest son due to acquire his $1,000 in ten years’ time. I’m guessing Grandfather wanted the boys to be “older and wiser” and not squander their inheritance.
If the Martin Snyder plantation sold for more than $7,000, the extra was to be divided equally among all his children—seven sons and three daughters.
Great Grandmother Catherine was given the mansion house, money and Martin’s personal estate. She would be well cared for. Great Grandfather protected his children living at home. He stipulated that his wife Catherine, children David, Joseph, Adam, Betsey, Sally and Catherine could remain on the home place as long as they liked.
Livestock was a valued commodity to a farming family, and Grandfather’s will reflects this. The Snyder girls were promised a horse and 3 cows each when they married. The widow, David and Joseph were each gifted with a colt. Adam would get $100 plus a horse when 21 years of age.
Great Grandfather expressed the wish that David remain in the Snyder family home and care for his mother. And yes, this is just what David did.
After Great Grandmother Catherine died, Martin wanted the mansion house to be sold. Then the daughters, Betsey, Sally and Catherine, would get $1,000 each. Great Grandmother passed in 1845. A search in the Snyder deeds might tell more of the story.
I’m curious why Martin would order payment to his son John for a “book account” the son held against his father. Why didn’t he pay it while he was alive? Was Martin “land rich” and “cash poor”?
Two sons, Jacob and Martin, owed their father money. Jacob needed to pay $10 because his home was worth more than what his brothers received. It sounds like Great Grandfather set the older boys up with their own places.
Sons Jacob and Martin were held financially accountable because they “went to the trade” before they were of age. What does this mean? Can anybody help?
If any monies remained after Great Grandmother Catherine died and the legacies paid, it was to be shared among his ten children.
I have more probate papers for Great Grandfather but will save them for another day.
Transcription: Martin Snyder’s Will, Augusta Co., VA Will Book 14, pages 189-191
In the name of God Amen I Martin Snyder of the County of Augusta and State of Virginia being of sound and disposing memory but well knowing the uncertainty of life do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following to wit;
ITEM first, I will and order that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid. ITEM I will and order that my plantation near Stribling Springs, bought of William Willson and containing by estimation Seven hundred and forty acres, shall be sold within four years after my decease, and the price of it disposed of as follows. My Sons John Snyder and Michael Snyder shall each of them receive One Thousand dollars to paid to them when said plantation shall be sold ~ my son David Snyder shall receive One Thousand Dollars, out of the price of s’d land to be paid to him two years after the sale of said land ~ my son Jacob Snyder shall receive One Thousand Dollars to be paid to him four years after the sale of said land ~ my son Martin Snyder shall receive One Thousand Dollars to be paid to him six years after the sale of the land ~ my son Joseph Snyder shall receive One Thousand Dollars to be paid to him eight years after the sale of said land ~ my son Adam Snyder shall receive One Thousand dollars to be paid to him Ten years after the sale of the said land, and if said land shouldnt sell for seven Thousand dollars the amount of the above legacies to my seven sons, then each of them shall have an equal part of such defiency and if it shall sell for more than Seven Thousand dollars, the excess above the Seven Thousand dollars shall be equally divided among my Ten Children, Seven sons & three daughters ITEM I give and bequeath to my wife Catherine Snyder all my household furniture including the brass clock, together with one Thousand dollars in money to her and her heirs forever ~ further I order and will that she shall retain and have possession of the mansion house together with the garden, the spring house, the lot in which the house stands with the orchard in said lot during her life time, and the above named One Thousand dollars is given to my wife Catherine Snyder to be hers as long as she shall continue to be called by name ~ ITEM I give and bequeath to my wife Catherine Snyder all my personal estate, not specifically devised, including my stock of various kinds & stills &c for the purpose hereafter mentioned, it shall be kept on the plantation I now live on for her use and that of the family ~ and if there shall be any part of the land brought from William Wilson not paid for at my decease the same shall be paid out of the produce of the place I live on ~ and the personal estate as above mentioned left to my wife above legacies left to my wife Catherine Snyder is to be in lieu of all dower and division of my estate real and personal to which she would be entitled: ITEM I will and bequeath that my wife Catherine Snyder, my sons David Snyder, Joseph Snyder, Adam Snyder, my daughters Betsey Snyder, Sally Snyder and Catherine Snyder all have their living and an equal right to the place, I now live on during the live of my wife Catherine Snyder or so long as they think proper to stay during her life and also that my son Michael Snyder have his living and equal right with them until his legacy of One Thousand Dollars is due and paid and that all there that have their living from this place aforesaid assist in making necessary provision for paying all debts I may ___?___ my decease . ITEM I will and order that of the horses and cows raised on the place each of my daughters Betsey, Sally and Catherine receive a horse a piece and three cows each when they get married or are otherwise settled and that each of them receive a saddle Bridle ITEM I give to my wife Catherine Snyder one bay mare colt now one old past. ITEM I give to my son David Snyder one Sorel horse Colt now sucking ITEM I give to my son Joseph Snyder one roan mare colt now sucking and if either of colts given to David or Joseph should die before they got to be three years old the loss is to made up to them out of my estate ITEM I give to my son Adam Snyder a horse with One hundred Dollars when he comes of age out of my estate. ITEM It is my wish and desire that my Son David should continue on the place now live on during the live of my wife to take care of her if he should build a house on said place he shall be paid out of the price of the place when sold ITEM I wish and order that after the death of my wife the place I now live on should be sold and that out of the price of it my three Daughters Betsey, Sally and Catherine receive each One Thousand Dollars and that the balance be equally divided among my Ten children ITEM I order and allow that my son, John be paid his book account he has against me but without interest and also that he be paid for a barn he has built where he now lives. ITEM I order and determine that my son Jacob Snyder be charged with and pay to my estate Ten dollars because his home was worth that much more than the other sons have got, also Ten Dollars for a store he has got, and One hundred and twenty dollars for two years he went to the trade before he was of age, in all One hundred and forty Dollars to be paid when he gets his first legacy ITEM I order and determine that my son Martin Snyder be charged and pay to my estate, One hundred and twenty dollars, for two years he went to the trade before he was of age ~ ITEM I will and allow after the death of my wife all of the personal estate remaining shall be sold by my Executors and after all of the above legacies are paid there is a balance remaining in the hands of the Executors it shall be equally divided among my Ten children John, Jacob, Michael, Martin, David, Joseph, Adam, Betsey, Sally and Catherine ~ ITEM I will and determine that the sum of One Thousand Dollars left to my wife be under the case of Joseph Brown for her use. ITEM I hereby constitute and appoint my Sons John Snyder, Michael Snyder and my friend Joseph Brown Executors of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking all other wills by me made. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 30th day of August in the year of our Lord, One Thousand eight hundred and twenty two.
Signed sealed and delivered
in the presence of
Signed by Martin Snyder
Augusta County Court February Term 1823. This last will and Testament of Martin Snyder deceased was presented in Court and being proved by the oaths of William Trimble John Helmick the witnesses is thereto is ordered to be recorded.
Martin Snyder Will, Augusta Co., VA Will Book 14, page 189
Martin Snyder Will, Augusta Co., VA Will Book 14, page 190
Martin Snyder Will, Augusta Co., VA Will Book 14, page 191
The images above were obtained from microfilm #30320 at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City.
4th Great Grandfather Martin Snyder and wife Catherine Thomas
3rd Great Grandfather Adam Snyder and wife Hannah Hull
2nd Great Grandmother Sarah Jane Snyder and husband Joseph H. Clemmer
Great Grandfather James Clyde Clemmer and Ella Virginia White
Grandmother Lucy Leora Clemmer and James McFall Joseph