Peterson Gray’s Will – September 4, 1869

I got too caught up on the “cool” factor of trying to prove the family connection to Skibo that I lost track of the more important step of proving my husband’s direct line to “Auld” Thomas. I made myself go back to the starting point and have been working my way up the tree for longer than I care to admit. In this research, I came across the Will of Peterson Gray (1813-1869) and I always find these old wills to be interesting – like making sure your kids get to keep their cows.

I’ve transcribed it here for any others it may help or amuse and have done my best to interpret the handwriting correctly. I have added paragraph breaks to make it easier to read.

Source: Will Books, 1805-1918; Index to Wills, 1797-1961; Author: Armstrong County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Armstrong, Pennsylvania

Will of Peterson Gray late of Madison Township

Sworn and subscribed before me this 3rd September A.D. 1869. P. R. Bowman, Register

Witnesses: Wm Devinny, James C. Patton

Registered 3rd September 1869.

I Peterson Gray of the Township of Madison in the County of Armstrong and state of Pennsylvania do publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made. And first I direct that my funeral be conducted in manner corresponding with my estate and situation in life. And as to such worldly estate as it hath Pleased God to intrust me with I dispose of the same as follows.

First I direct that all my debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible out of the first money that shall come into the hands of my executors from the sale of my personal estate. Also I direct that the grain and hay now gathered in on my farm and also that now growing thereon shall be retained by my wife Sarah Gray as part of a support for herself and minor son for the present year. Also I direct that the work cattle known as Milton’s Cattle shall remain the property of my son Milton Gray. Also I direct that the cow which is known as Mary Ann’s cow shall remain the property of my daughter Mary Ann Gray.

Also I direct that a fair valuation or appraisement be made by three judicious neighbors of all the residue of my personal estate including my household furniture and after being signed by said appraisers that a copy of the same shall be given by them to each of my executors Also I direct that my executors shall proceed to sell so much of said personal estate as shall be necessary to cover the debts and contingent expenses and also the balance of said personal property if any shall remain not taken by wife Sarah Gray or any of my children at the appraisement. Each having the right to take at the appraisements to the amount of their share of said personal property.

Also I direct that the distribution of said personal property or the proceeds thereof after paying all my debts and funeral expenses shall be as follows:
To my dear wife Sarah Gray for the maintenance of herself and Milton Gray my son during his minority (3/7) three-sevenths: To my daughter Mary Ann Gray (2/7) two-sevenths; To my daughter Margaret Williams (1/7) one-seventh.

Also I direct that my real estate consisting of the farm on which I now reside shall remain in the possession and under the control of my dear wife Sarah Gray until my son Milton Gray shall arrive at the age of twenty-one years. The proceeds of the same to be applied to the support of said wife and to the support and education of Milton Gray my minor son during his minority. Also, I direct on the arrival of my said son Milton at the age of twenty-one years that if said farm can be divided among my then surviving children or their heirs without influencing the value thereof, they may have a division of the same in the manner hereinafter directed. But if such division cannot be made without materially influencing the value of said farm then the same shall be put to sale and the proceeds thereof divided in the same proportion: viz. my son Milton Gray shall receive 3/7 three-sevenths, my daughter Mary Ann Gray shall receive 2/7 two-sevenths, my daughter Margaret Williams shall receive 1/7 one-seventh, my daughter Sarah C. Crissman shall receive 1/7 one-seventh. The said farm if divided or the proceeds thereof sold to be and remain bound for the maintenance of my said wife Sarah Gray during her lifetime or so long as she shall remain my widow.

And I do hereby nominate and appoint John Hellam of Madison Township Armstrong County and my wife Sarah Gray executor and executrix of this my last will and testament. And I do also will and appoint that John Hellam my friend above named shall have the guardianship of my son Milton Gray during his minority. In witness — of Peterson Gray, the estate have to this my will written on one sheet of paper, set by my hand and seal this 10th day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine.

Peterson Gray (seal)

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said —, Peterson Gray 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 hereto.

John Craig
Aaron Gray

Armstrong County, ss:

Registers office September 4th 1869. There personally appeared John Craig and Aaron Gray the subscribing witnesses to the within and foregoing last will and testament of Peterson Gray deceased and on their solemn oaths did say that they were present and did see and hear Peterson Gray late of Madison Township Armstrong County PA, deceased, sign, seal, publish and declare the same as and for his last will and testament and that at the doing thereof was of sound disposing mind, memory, and understanding to the rest of their knowledge and belief.

Sworn and subscribed before me this 4th day of Sept. 1869. K. Bowman, Register

Witnessed: John Craig, Aaron Gray

Registered 4th September 1869