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

Friday, July 18, 2008


Probate file of Richard Chapel

To the Hon. William P. Walker Esq. Judge of Probate for the County of Berkshire

Humbly shows Travis A. Phillips of Colebrook in the County of Litchfield, Connecticut. That Richard Chapel last an inhabitant of Sandisfield in said County of Berkshire has lately viz on the twenty first day of Feby 1825 died testate leaving Goods and an Estate of which administration is necessary that Benjamin Sheldon Esq. was appointed by said deceased Executor of his Last Will and Testament and has a legal right to take such administration but has declined that trust, that Sarah Chapel the Widow of said deceased has also declined. That Daniel Chapel Seth Chapel and Richard heirs at Law of sd deceased reside in the State of New York, that John Chapel one of the heirs has died since the decease of sd testator & has a family in sd State of New York. That Matthew Smith Chapel is supposed to be in the State of New York and has a family living in sd Sandisfield – that Sarah Roberts & Grace Phillips two of said heirs reside in the State of Connecticut, that Ruth Sage resides in sd State of New York, that Hannah Chapel & Betsy Sage reside in sd Sandisfield, that sd Daniel Chapel declines taking administration of sd Estate, that your petitioner is the husband of the said Grace Phillips who was the daughter of sd deceased ~ Wherefore he prays that your Honour would [p. 247] appoint him Administrator with the Will annexed & allow him to prove said Will as aforesaid agreeably to Law in such cases made and provided ~ Dated at Great Barrington this twelfth day of May A.D. 1825.

Travis A. Phillips

Berkshire ss. At a Court of Probate holden at Great Barrington

in and for said County on the second Tuesday of May A.D. 1825

The foregoing petition being duly ? acclaimed, It is thereupon decreed by the Court ? that the sd petitioner give notice to all persons interested in the subject matter thereof to appear at a Court of Probate to be holden at Lenox within & for said County on the first Tuesday of Term next at ten o’clock in the forenoon ~ those living in this County to have personal notice fourteen days before said Court. All others by publishing the petition & this order thereon in the Berkshire Star printed at Stockbridge three weeks successively the first publication to be at least fourteen days before said Court at which time & place they may be heard concerning the same.

William P. Walker Judge of Probate

In the name of God Amen. I Richard Chapel of Southfield in the County of Berkshire and Commonwealth of Massachusetts being in good health of body and of sound and disposing mind to settle my worldly affairs whilest I have strength and capacity so to do, do make and publish this my last Will and testament hereby revoking and making void all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made. And first and principally I commit my soul into the hands of my Creator who gave it and my body to the earth to be interred in the burying ground of Southfield aforesaid near James Road, at the discretion of my Executor hereinafter named, and as to such Worldly Estate wheresowith it has pleased God to entrust me I dispose of the same as followeth ~

Imprimus ~ I give and devise to my dear and beloved Wife Sarah Chapel during the time she shall remain my Widow the use and improvement of those two pieces of land lying and being in Southfield aforesaid lying west of my dwelling house called and known by the name of the Mivnik* lots one lying on the South Side of the highway containing thirty acres, and the other on the north side of the highway containing twenty five acres with privilege to cut sufficient timber for the repairing and supporting of sufficient fences and sufficient fire wood for her own use – also the north west room in my dwelling house and the B? in the stoop, the use of so much of the west Barn as will accommodate her for the putting up of sufficient fodder and for stabling one horse and Cow, also one good horse, the side saddle I now own one good Bridle one good Cow and two Beds & Bedding to th? One third part of all my household furniture & household utensils and [p. 248] such articles as shall be selected by her, and six dollars in money to be paid her annually by my sons Daniel Chapel, John Chapel Seth Chapel, Richard Chapel & Matthew Smith Chapel, meaning to give and bequeath my sd Wife the use and improvement of the above property during her said Widowhood and no longer, and from and after her said Widowhood I give and bequeath the same to my said sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard & Matthew Smith ~

Item. I give and devise to my said sons Daniel Chapel John Chapel Seth Chapel Richard Chapel and Matthew Smith Chapel after my just debts and funeral charges are paid all my Real Estate of what name or nature soever and wherever it may lye excepting the use and improvement of that devised to my said Wife, and also all of my personal Estate of what name or nature soever excepting also the use of that devised to my said Wife during her said Widowhood –

The above property devised and given to my said sons to be divided between them equally so that they shall share & share alike taking into consideration the several sums I shall have advanced

them respectively and charged them on my Book of Accounts against them kept solely for that purpose. Including in their several shares the sums I have or shall advance them respectively --

And I consider my farm in Southfield worth twenty five dollars per acre including the buildings

and my land in the State of Ohio worth four dollars per acre now it is my will and pleasure that my son Matthew 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 when he shall choose or select at its just and proportional value, According to its quality to twenty five dollars per acre including the whole farm, and the remainder of the home farm at its proportional value, and the land in Ohio at four dollars per acre to contain the shares of my sons Daniel, John, Seth and Richard as above expressed –

Provided however and on this condition that these my sons Daniel, John, Seth, Richard and Matthew Smith pay or cause to be paid the several sums hereinafter mentioned ~

To my Wife Sarah Chapel six dollars annually so

long as she remains my Widow ~

To Sarah Roberts in addition to what I have already

Given her the sum of sixty dollars

To Susannah Chapel including what I have already advan

ced her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

To my daughter Betsy Sage including what I have already

advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

To my daughter Grace Phillips including what I have already

given to her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

[p 249] To my daughter Ruth Sage including what I have already

advanced to her the sum of four hundred dollars ~

The sums above bequeathed to my said daughters to be paid from my household furniture at my decease so far as two thirds of the same will pay and the reminder of my household furniture to be received in payment by my said Daughters after my said Wife shall cease to be my Widow and the deficiency if any shall then be paid in money by my said sons ~

And likewise and provided also that said Daniel, John, Seth, Richard and Matthew Smith shall provide for the comfortable support and maintenance of my said Daughter Hannah Chapel if she lives to expend the property I have above given and bequeathed to her ~ And I nominate and appoint Benjamin Sheldon of Sandisfield Executor of this my Last Will and Testament

In Witness Whereof I Richard Chapel have to this my last Will & Testament set my hand and seal this ninth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and fifteen ~

Richard Chapel & seal

Signed Sealed & published by the above named Richard Chapel for his last Will and testament in presence of us who at his request and in his presence have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses ~ Jabez Bosworth Jr., Ezra Sacket, Aaron Picket

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Berkshire ss. By the Hon. William P. Walker, Eaq., Judge of the Probate

of Wills ? within and for the said County of Berkshire to all

SEAL unto whom these presents shall come Greeting

Know ye that at a court of Probate holden at Lenox within and for the County of Berkshire on the seventh day of June in the year of our Lord Eighteen and twenty five before me the sd Judge The Instrument hereunto annexed is presented as the last Will and Testament of Richard Chapel late of Sandisfield in the County of Berkshire deceased by Travis A. Phillips for Probate, Benjamin Sheldon the Executor therein named having declined the trust reposed in him ~ And Ezra Sacket one of the subscribing Witnesses to the same appearing made oath that he saw Richard Chapel the testator sign and seal and heard him publish and declare the same to be his last Will and Testament, that he appeared to be of lawful age, sound mind and disposing memory when he did it, and that he together with Jabez Bosworth, Jr and Aaron Picket who are absent all subscribed as Witnesses to the same at the same time in the presence of the said testator, and an order of motion having issued from this court which is now returned duly complied with. And it also appearing to the Court by satisfactory evidence that there is no objection to the Probate of the same ~ I do therefore by virtue of the power and authority to me given me in and by [p.250] the laws of the Commonwealth aforesaid, deem that the said Will is proved, and do approve and allow of the said instrument as the last Will and testament of the said Richard Chapel deceased. And I do commit the Executor thereof in all matters concerning the same and of the Estate of the said Richard Chapel whereof he died seized and possessed in said County unto Travis A. Phillips who is hereby appointed administrator with the will annexed on the Estate of said deceased well and faithfully to execute the same and to administer the Estate of the said deceased according thereto who accepts of the said trust and gives Bond as the law directs to render a full and perfect inventory of said Estate into the Probate office of said County upon oath within three months and also to render a just and true account of his proceedings thereon upon oath within one year from the date hereof. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal of said Court ~ William P. Walker

At this same Court Power of administration of Richard Chapel late of Sandisfield in the County of Berkshire deceased is granted unto Travis A. Phillips of Colebrook in the State of Connecticut who gives Bond as the law denotes for the faithful discharge of his said trust as on file Sureties to Bond Silas Sage and Philemon Sage both of Sandisfield and Erastus Beach, Daniel Sears and William Wolcott are appointed to appraise and make an inventory of said Estate

NOTE: The above is the first probate file for Richard Chapel, including his will. I will post the remainder when I have transcribed it. Interesting things to note: This will was written in 1815, before Matthew Smith Chapel's children with Susannah were born. Richard treats Susannah as one of his daughters in the will. The other daughters-in-law are not so treated. Richard also states in the will that he assumes Matthew Smith Chapel will be living with him. Although the 1860 census lists Mathew Smith Chapel as a "pauper" in the county farm, as opposed to others who are classified as "insane," I am beginning to wonder if rather than being a cad he actually had mental problems. Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?


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