Presentation of a wills section on the site has been a long-time plan. The value of wills in straightening out family relationships, in the absence of official birth, marriage, and death records, can't be underestimated. Individual wills and Letters of Administration will be placed directly on this page. Other wills that belong in groups will have their own subsections. To contribute your own ancestor's will or Letter of Administration to this valuable online resource, contact the coordinator.



The Wills of William Cory of Russia and Lavinia Cory of Salisbury
contributed by Marcia Douglas.

The Will of Henry Ritter, Revolutionary War veteran
contributed by Sue Thompson. Sue also sent in Henry's 1832 pension application.


In the name of God Amen. I Henry Ritter of the town of Manheim in the county of Herkimer being of sound mind and memory blessed be almighty God for the Same. do make and publish this my last Will & Testament this 19th day of May 1836.

FIRST- I hereby give devise and bequeath to my beloved wife a full entire and ample support & maintainance out of my estate during her life to be furnished & provided in all times fit useful & proper for her in sickness & in health and at her decease a decent Christian burial by my Son Joseph Ritter for the devise herein to him made.

SECOND- I give & bequeath unto my said beloved wife Mary two Cows & four sheep to be kept for her in and order for her use and benefit by my said son Joseph and he to replenish & at all times if any of them die replace others in there stead so that my said wife at all times during her life has two good milch cows & four sheep for her exclusive benefit all to be done & furnished by my Said Son Joseph for the bequest & estate herein to him given & made.

THIRD- I give bequeath & devise to my daughter Annasse a full and ample support & maintainance out of my estate in sickness & in health until she shall marry & in case she is married then I give devise & bequeath to her the sum of on hundred dollars to be raised out of my Estate & the above to be furnished & paid by my Said Son Joseph from the property herein bequeathed to him.

FOURTH- I give devise and bequeath into my daughters Catherine wife of Baltus Strough, Margaret wife of John Boyer, Delia wife of Stephen Newman, Mary wife of Adam Petrie, Elizabeth wife of Jacob H. Petrie the Sum of thirty dollars each and every of them out of my estate to be paid also by my Said Son Joseph Ritter for the bequest herein to him made.

FIFTH- I give devise & bequeath unto my daughter in law Susan Ritter widow of my Son John Ritter deceased the Sum of five dollars & to each of her children by my Said Son John & the children of Such as are dead the Sum of ten dollars out of my Estate to be paid by Said Son Joseph for the bequest herein to him made.

SIXTH- I give devise & bequeath unto my Son Joseph Ritter & to his heirs & assigns forever all & Singular my lands tenements & real Estate all my personal property & good chattles & chasis in action of Every kind and nature whatsoever to have & to hold to him his heirs and assigns forever he & they fulfilling & keeping and paying all and each of the above devises bequests so that he pays to each of said devises ten dollars at the end of one year after my decease & so the like Sum annually until the whole is fully paid.

      Henry Ritter

Signed sealed and declared by the said Henry Ritter to be his last Will and Testament who has signed the same in our presence & we have witnessed the same in his & in each other presence. May 19, 1836
Jacob Markill, of the town of Manheim Herkimer County.
Robert Hinchman, town of Little Falls Herkimer County.
George H. Feeter, town of Little Falls Herk. County


Herkimer County}
Surrogates Office} To all whom the presents Shall Come or may concern. Greetings. Know Ye, that I Ezra Gravis Surrogate of the county of Herkimer pursuant to the power in me vested by the laws of this State have this day appointed and do hereby appoint Henry S. Clark of the town of Herkimer Special Guardian to Ezra Stough and Franklin Stough, Loyd Smith and Samuel Smith minor heirs of Henry Ritter deceased under the age of twenty one years for the special purpose of taking care of their interests in the matter of the proving the last Will and Testament of Henry Ritter the said Henry S. Clark having first consented and agreed in writing to be appointed and to act as such Special Guardian.
In witness whereof I have hereinto Set my hand and affixed my seal of office this 15th day of June in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and forty seven.
    Ezra Gravis    Surrogate

State of New York
Herkimer County
Surrogates Court} Be it remembered that on the ninth day of August A. D. 1847 the annexed last Will and Testament of Henry Ritter was admitted to probate as a will of personal property and probate there of was there upon granted and the same time said will was duly proved as a will of Real property upon and by the testimony of George H. Feeter and Jacob Maskill two of the subscribing witnesses to the will was executed and attested in the manner prescribed by law and that the Testator at the time of executing the will was in all respects competent to make a will devising Real and personal Estate and was under no restraint. The said will and said proofs and examinations have been duly recorded in the proper book provided and kept in the office of the Surrogate of Herkimer County.
   In testimony whereof I have herein set my hand affixed my Seal of office this Ninth day of August A. D. 1847.   Ezra Gravis Surrogate
   I certify the foregoing to be a true record of the original will of Henry Ritter and the proofs and examinations thereof.   Dated August 9th 1847.   Ezra Gravis Surrogate

The Will of Amos Golding
contributed by Beverly Crim.

The last will and testament of Amos Golding of the town of Little Falls, County of Herkimer and State of New York. I Amos Golding considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory do make & publish this my last will and testament, in manner and form following, that is to say:

First, I declare and make known that I have advanced and given to my sons, John, Justus and Sylvester Golden all their share and portion of my real and personal estate that I intend to give them respectively, this same being in amount equal to what I have for my other children.

Item, I give, devise and bequeath unto my daughters Doreas Golding, Darrinda Golding, Betsey Golding, Mary Golding, Alvira Golding, Emily Golding, Sarah Golding, and to their heirs & _______ forever all my real estate being the farm on which I now live and reside and a wood lot of about twenty acres of land _____ the same containing in all 150 acres of land, my said daughters to hold the said real estate and trusts in common.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughters Doreas, Darrinda, Betsey, Mary, Alvira, Emily & Sarah, all the personal estate and property of a ___________ ________ of whatever kind the same way as of which I _______ die _________ subject to the payment of my just debts and funeral charges to be divided equally among them respectively share and share alike. It is expected by me that my beloved wife should she survive me will be entitled to her dower out of my estate.

And lastly I do hereby appoint my brothers Abraham and Isaac Golding Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made i in writing whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Sixteenth day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the above named Amos Golding to be his last will & testament in the person of us who have hereunto subscribed our names or writings in the person of the testator and at his request and in the presence of each other.

signed: T. S. Burton Little Falls, Herkimer County (NY)
Thomas Pehie Little Falls, Herkimer County (NY)

The will of Ann Van Buren
contributed anonymously

According to Hardin's History of Herkimer County, pp. 113-114, one Jacob Van Buren of Dolgeville was born in Oppenheim Center, 25 Jan 1827. His father and grandfather, "brother to Martin's father", were both born in Coxsackie. Jacob moved to Brockett's Bridge in 1834 with his father, who was then engaged in an interesting variety of pursuits: "the manufacture of lead pipe, furniture, undertaking and millwright business, etc." Between 1851 and 1877, when Jacob returned to Herkimer County, he held machinist jobs in Plynouth Hollow, CN (1851), Utica (1852), the "West" (1854), Ottawa, IL (1864), Chicago, IL (1874), and Joliet, IL (1875), and was credited with several inventions.

No Coxsackie birth records have been found for this Jacob's father or grandfather. There were many Martin Van Burens who could have been his grandfather's brother. The 1830 Oppenheim census shows two Van Burens in town - William & Henry. Are they the father and grandfather (or uncle) of Jacob? Jacob's mother did leave a will from which her first name can be gleaned:


In the name of God, Amen. I Ann Van Buren of Brockets Bridge Herkimer County New York being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainity of this life Do therefore Make Ordain Publish and Declare this to be my Last Will and Testament that is to say. First-

After all my lawful debts and funeral expenses including a decent and plain Grave Stone suitably lettered , placed at the head of my Grave, I hereby give devise and bequeath unto my son Jacob Van Buren and his heirs all my estate both Real and Personal to have & to hold the same: that so much of said Property as my said son shall deem necessary in all things, besides over and above the annual Income and use and Profits of my said Property during his natural life my said son shall further use and appropriate from said Property so much as he shall deem necessary for his own personal use and Comfort during his natural life. And at his Death all the rest residue and remainder of my said Property both real and Personal , which shall remain at the death of my said son, I hereby give devise and bequeath to the Children of and heirs of my said son him surviving, to be equally divided between them share and share alike.

Second- And I hereby also authorize and empower my Executor hereinafter named and appointed to sell the whole or any part of my real Estate and Personal property and to make execute and deliver to the purchaser or purchasers Good and sufficient Deeds of Conveyances transferring the title thereof.

Third- I hereby nominate & appoint my said son Jacob Van Buren who is a Resident of Brocketts Bridge aforesaid the Executor of this my Last Will & Testament and I hereby order & direct that no security shall be required of him for the execution of said Trust: And I do hereby revoke all former Wills by me made. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Eleventh day of June in the year or our lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy nine.

Ann Van Buren
Wit: Wm D Loucks, Manheim, NY
Geo E Keller, Little Falls, NY

PROBATE: 9 Jan 1889

An Olmstead Genealogy states that this Jacob Van Buren married Sarah Olmstead, born 1827, and their children were Charles Henry, Mary, Frederick, Catherine, b. Apr 1854, Joliet, IL, & Herbert Van Buren.

Mannheim vital records reveal that the son Charles was born 27 Feb 1848 and the dau Mary was born 24 Feb 1850. Nothing else is known of the family. Who is this Jaob Van Buren?

On to Part 2 of the Wills Bulletin Board

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