history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Saturday, January 26, 2008

MATHEW SMITH CHAPEL information and questions from his father's will

The most interesting finds in my Boston research trip involved the scoundrel Mathew Smith Chapel. The 1842 petition for probate of the will of his father-in-law, George Wilcox, lists him as dead when it lists his heirs, including "Susan widow of Hartford Ct. " We know from census records that Mathew was alive at least until 1860.
Mathew's father, Richard Chapel, died in 1825. The named executor did not wish to serve, so a proceeding ensued to appoint an "administrator with the will annexed." In that proceeding, it is recited "that Mathew Smith Chapel is supposed to be in the State of New York & has a family living in S. Sandisfield ." Apparently Mathew was not in contact with his family after his removal to Kinderhook.
In his will, written 9 January 1815 , Richard Chapel leaves his real property equally to his five sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard, and Mathew Smith. He then states that "it is my will and pleasure that my son Mathew Smith Chapel who I expect will live with me, shall have his equal share as above defined of my Real Estate out of my homestead to be taken where he shall choose to select at its just and proportionate value." He then leaves "to Susannah Chapel including whatever I have already advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars." This is the same amount he left to his daughters Betsy Sage, Grace Phillips, and Ruth Sage. His daughter Sarah Roberts was only bequeathed Sixty Dollars. The suns were directed to care for his daughter Hannah Chapel.
It would appear from the provisions of Richard's will that in 1815 Mathew Smith and Susannah were no longer living together, as he anticipates Mathew Smith will be residing with him, and he treats his wife Susannah as a daughter. However the children of Mathew Smith and Susannah Chapel were born after the date of the will. It seems that all new information comes with a new question!
Other information gleaned from the will is the fact that Richard owned land in Ohio, and that his daughter Sarah married a man surnamed Roberts. The marriages of his daughters Ruth and Betsy to Sages is confirmed, and the amounts advanced to each of his children during his lifetime is set forth.
A further document in the records reveals that part of the real estate had to be sold to pay the legacies he had left to his daughters. The shortage was a mere $166.40, which amount was bid by Jason Sage. This document provides the additional information that Travis A. Phillips, the administrator, is the husband of daughter Grace, that Ruth was married to Abel Sage, and that Betsy was married to Philemon Sage. The amounts advanced to each of his children during his lifetime is set forth. Sons John and Seth survived the testator but were deceased by the time of the sale of the real estate, i.e., March 7, 1826 .
Susannah is given a legacy under the will of her father-in-law, as above quoted, and is described as residing in S. Sandisfield at the time of the probate petition. She is not mentioned in the final distribution order. I am left to wonder why. Did she receive her share on one of the earlier accountings not found in the court records? I found on a trip a few years ago to the Deed Registry office for South Berkshire that Mathew Smith Chapel sold some of his father's property. Knowing nothing about Mathew Smith at the time, the document made no sense to me. I now seem to have misplaced it, although I have all the other deeds copied that day. Perhaps Mathew was forced to pay Susannah from his share? The questions are endless; the answers come slowly.


Blogger carolyn said...

Loved your concluding sentence:
The questions are endless; the answers come slowly.

And isn't that true of all genealogy!?

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12:45 PM  

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