Will of Phebe Seaman of Fishkill, Dutchess County, NY
1 June 1822


Transcribed by Patrick R. Webb of San Jose, CA.

Will and Probate: Phebe Seamans; Fishkill, Dutchess Co., New York
Surnames: Seamans, Wright, Vermilyea, Patrick

Source: FHL microfilm of Dutchess County, New York Wills H:428-435


June the first on thousan Eait hundred 2tow [highly questionable if is a '2' or not--PRW] my will and desir is that my property be after my desis to go to on hundred dollars to Job Seaman on to Lukes Seamans one hundred and all my goods to go to Margie[?] Wright Nathel Wrights wife and her son Henry and Phebe fifty dollars a peas and if there is any left besides paing charges it goes to the church I belong to to maintain the gospel and laid out in the best manner the Dekins of the meeting Doctor Rowe Crow.

[Signed] Phebe Seamans
Witness John Patrick
Nathel Wright in Somers town

State of New York Dutchess Surrogate Court
In of the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans, dec’d. Dutchess County SS: John Patrick of the Town of Fishkill in the county of Dutchess being duly sworn & examined doth depose & say that this deponent was well acquainted with Phebe Seamans late of the Town of Fishkill in the county of Dutchess dec. that this deponent did not see the said Phebe Seamans subscribe the instrument now produced & shown to this deponent but she come to deponent in the fore part of the day & requested this deponent to witness her Will. deponent asked her if he should see it. she said no because she did not want [wish?] deponent to know who part of her property was willed to or left to. she said she would read part of it to deponent & she went on read. she said it was her mind that Job Seamans should have One hundred dollars she said something about Lewis Seamans deponent did not understand what amount she intended to give him but when deponent read the will or heard it read afterwards he understood the amount to be one hundred dollars. deponent does not recollect that he asked her any other questions than to let him see the will. deponent submits[?] the Will as a witness at the request of the testatrix & in her presence the paper now produced is the will as witnessed by deponent she did not let deponent read it. she held her hand over it when deponent witnessed it to prevent his reading it. deponent saw the form of it in the shape it now is. She covered over the lower part of it which was the part she did not wish deponent to know. cannot tell whether she covered the upper part of it or not, at that time deponent was not as much acquainted with her hand writing as since. deponent does not recollect that he has ever seen her write before that time. does not know that he has since. deponent is some at a loss to know how long ago it was that this will was made. but from recollection & circumstances he thinks it was in the year 1822. he thinks it was the fore part of the summer & believes it was in June. can't say certain whether it was that year or the next year. the reasons for deponents thinking it was the year 1822 are that she bought a house & lot the 20th day of May 1822. & it was after that but deponent cannot say whether the June next after or the June a year after that the will was made but deponent believes it was the June immediately after in the same year. deponent thinks she was over Sixty years of age when she made the will. was an old maid. she was in the judgment of deponent of sound mind & memory. She was not under any restraint to deponents knowledge. after deponent witnessed the will he next saw it at her own home after her death. there was a time fixed for the relatives of the testatrix to meet & examine her papers. They met at his [her?] home & on examining her papers this was found among her obligations in her pocket book as deponent thinks. can't say where the pocket book was found but thinks it was in one of her trunks of which she had three of them. There were two of the neighbors John A. Brackerhoff and Adam Pullock [Pollock?] chosen by the relatives of dec to go forward & open the chests. I took all the papers. they unlocked the chests. the keys had been put into Mr. Pullock's hand previously to keep until this day appointed to examine the papers. He then come with the keys & opened the chests. deponent was present at that time they were opened but don't know who opened them. deponent can't tell that he saw the pocketbook. saw the papers after it had been found and heard them read it. deponent was present when the relatives gave Mr. Pullock the keys of deceased to keep until the day appointed for examining the papers. deponent was in the home at the time the testatrix died. deponents wife & Mrs. Dotty [Polly?] Miles & Caty Pullock were there & deponent believes helped lay out the deceased. On cross examination by Robert Wilkinson, Esq of counsel on the part of the opposing heirs deponent further says that on the day testatrix asked deponent to witness her Will she come to the home of deponent & asked deponent to go out with her a little piece. She lived about a mile from there. deponent went out with her about five rods from the House in plain sight of the house. She there opened the paper & said she had made her will & wanted deponent to witness it. did not see her sign the paper. do not recollect that he saw any signature to the paper when it deponent witnessed it. after deponent asked her to let him see the will she said she would read a part of it to him - she wanted him to witness it. She read part of it to deponent. she had on spectacles she could not read without. when she read the paper the back of it was toward deponent. as near as he can recollect she went on & read part of it & read as near as deponent can recollect that it was her mind or will that Job Seamans was to have One hundred dollars. when deponent witnessed the paper he thinks he put the paper on his knee & witnessed it. this was by the base[bars?] in the lane[?] about five rods from the house. she did not give the paper into deponents hands so but what she had hold of it & could cover it up by her hand. don't recollect that he took the paper from her hand at all. she had a pen & ink with her. can't tell where it came from. thinks it was her own that she brought with her. thinks it was a common pocket ink stain there were pens & ink in deponents house but he thinks it was not one of those that he witnessed the will with. thinks it was one she brought with her deponent did not read a word of the will did not write anything to it but his own name deponent does not recollect telling any person that he witnessed the will in the Sherman House. that is in an outhouse where the women of the family do work in the summer such as was [????] deponent has intimated to Peter Benjamin that boys were to have fifty dollars apiece [I can’t read the words “apiece by” in my copy - PRW] by the will. He[?] Benjamin asked deponent if they were not to have fifty dollars apiece. Kept at deponent ‘till the deponent told him that he thought likely they were. he asked deponent whether her name was to the will & deponent told him that he did not recall[?]. He asked deponent whether there were not two other witnesses to the will. deponent also said [in my copy, I can’t read the “also said” - PRW] that he did not know but what there were & deponent also said he did not know [illegible] was Theodore Adriance. did not say that there were other witnesses. He was at deponents twice about it. thinks once before & once after her death. it was about that time. deponent can't recollect in whose hands he first saw the will after the death of testatrix. He first saw it at the home of deceased after her death. It was read[?] by Peter[?] Benjamin[?] he thinks & some others. On resuming the direct examination says that one of the conversations with Peter Benjamin about the witnesses to the will was before [illegible] can’t tell whether the other conversation was before or after her death. deponent is really[?] positive he wrote nothing on the will but his name. on looking at the Will deponent says that the word “witness” above his name appears to be in his own hand writing but he does not recollect writing it but can’t say but what he did unto it. deponent did not examine the paper to see whether the signature of the testatrix was to the paper or not when he witnessed it. deponent & testatrix were on friendly terms. she frequented deponents home. The conversation with Peter Benjamin about the witnesses to the will was before the will was opened. He inquired how many witnesses there were to the will & who they were & deponent answered he did not know & did not know but that Theodore Adriance was one. since making the will & since deponent witnessed it the testatrix had Two hundred and fifty dollars paid unto her at deponents home she wished deponent to take it & deponent took it & gave her his note for it afterwards deponent wished to take of the note & she said she wished he would keep it for the boys for the money or the biggest part was coming or going to them. the boys spoken of deponent understood was Job & Lewis Seamans. She often spoke of them calling them the boys. The boys Job and Lewis lived in the same home with deponent them were the sons of deponents wife by a former husband who was the brother of testatrix. On resuming the cross examination deponent says that the word witness above his name appears to be in his hand writing & he thinks he must have wrote it but is not as positive of it as he is that he signed his name as a witness to it. deponent is Sixty years of age uses spectacles in reading & writing. has used them ten or twelve years does not recollect whether he’d had them on or not when he witnessed the will. could always write in a clear light without them.
Sworn this 12th day of April 1831 before me James Hooker Surrogate Dutchess Sur. Court [Signed] John Patrick

In the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans deceased Dutchess County SS. John A. Brickerhoff of Fishkill in a Dutchess County being duly sworn & examined doth depose & say that he was well acquainted with Phebe Seamans deceased, lived about a mile from her. she died in January last. had been acquainted with her many years. after her death deponent was requested by the relatives of the deceased to go & look at the papers of the dec. Robert Seamans a brother of the deceased was the first that asked him. on the morning of the Examination he sent his son. Mr. Patrick also sent word to deponent that Mr. Wright from Westchester County was up & was notified by both that they wished deponent to come. this was not much difference of ten days after her death. deponent accordingly attended at her late residence on that occasion. previous to proceeding to examine the papers there were present Robert Seaman, John Patrick, Adam Pullock, Peter Benjamin, Mrs. Patrick, Nath’l Wright & his wife and perhaps others thinks John Carman & one of Robert Seamans sons. they proceeded to examine the papers of Phebe Seamans. The papers now produced for probate was found among her papers in a pocket book. The pocket book was in a trunk. there were other papers in the same pocket book. some obligations. the paper was read by Peter Benjamin in the presence of John[?] Patrick & the other persons assembled. deponent was the first person who took it out of the pocket book. deponent handed it to Peter Benjamin & he read it. after it was read it was put back into the same pocket book & deposited in a the same trunk the same day before deponents leaving the house. deponent has seen considerable of Phebe Seamans hand writing. has seen her write. has seen her write notes. has given her a note which she wrote & which deponent took up. has seen her write other notes. from what deponent has seen her write he judges the will now produced to be in her own hand writing. On cross examination by Robert Wilkinson Esquire deponent further says that he thinks he has seen the testatrix write two or three notes. this was written Eight years ago. does not know he that has ever seen her sign her name. the pocket book was found in the trunk. Mrs. Patrick took the key of the trunk from Mr. Pullock after they come in the house & unlocked the trunk where the pocket book was found. saw her take the keys from Mr. Pullock & saw her unlock the trunk. John Patrick was present and [???] when the will was found and read. Mr. Peter Benjamin at that time drew a copy from it at the time the will was taken from there to be brought to the Surrogate for probate. deponent got the key from Mr. Pullock opened the trunk & took the will from the pocket book & handed it to Mr. Nathaniel Wright who took it & brought it to the Surrogate & deponent came with him. The relatives of the testatrix are Robert Seamans & Henry Seamans who are living. Mrs. Wright the wife of Nat’l Wright is a daughter of Henry Seamans. Job & Lewis Seamans are sons of Job Seamans a dec brother of Testatrix. she also had a sister Cynthia Vermillyra who is dead leaving children.
Sworn this 12th day of April 1831 before me James Hooker Surrogate Dutchess County Sur. Court. [Signed] John A. Brinckerhoff

In the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans dec Dutchess County SS: Nathaniel Wright of Somers in Westchester County being duly sworn & examined doth depose & say that he received the paper now produced & presented for probate from John A. Brinckerhoff on the morning of the day he presented it to this court for probate. deponent brought it here to this court & delivered it to the surrogate. it is the same paper that was taken out of a pocket book found in a trunk at the late residence of testatrix soon after her death & read by Peter Benjamin. On the morning of the day the will was presented to this court for probate Mr. John A. Brinckerhoff took it from the pocket book which was in the trunk & handed it to deponent & deponent kept it until he delivered it to the Surrogate for probate.
Sworn this 12th day of April 1831 before me James Hooker, Surrogate Dutchess County Sur. Court. [Signed] Nathaniel Wright

In the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans deceased Dutchess County SS: Isaac Seamans of Hyde Park in Dutchess County a son of Robert Seamans called on the part of the heirs opposing the probate of said will been duly sworn says that the lived with his father within about three quarters of a mile from the testatrix at the time of her death on the morning of the day of her death as she died at night [????] had been there during the night as a watcher returned to his father's house [??] that morning for Westchester County at the request of the testatrix. deponent the morning before her death carried a message to Eli Griffin's. testatrix said I wish Eli Griffin was here. deponent asked her if he should tell him as deponent went home that she wished to see him. she said yes. deponent accordingly carried the message to him. He had previously five or six weeks before her death carried a similar message to Mr. Griffin. for her did not say in[???] these[?] conversations what she wished to see him for. On cross-examination by William [????] and John Brush Esq’r of Carmel for petitioner deponent further saith that the testatrix when she sent these messages was sick & confined to her bed by sickness. had been confined to her room for months by sickness. deponent is a clerk in Mr. Mains store in Hyde Park & writes with facility. has written wills years previous to the death of testatrix for another person.
Sworn this 12 day of April 1831 before me James Hooker, Surrogate Dutchess County Sur. Court [Signed] Isaac Seamans

In the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans dec. Dutchess County SS: Eli W. Griffin of the Town of Fishkill and said county called on the part of the heirs opposing the probate of said will. says that he is a son-in-law of Robert Seamans. resided about a mile from the testatrix at the time of her death. deponent was at the home of testatrix about six or eight weeks before her death & she requested him[?] to write her will. deponent told her he thought she had a will. she said she had one part wrote but not finished. She went on to say that what she had wrote did not suit her. deponent then asked her the reason why it did not suit her. she said she wanted her property and more equally divided among her friends and relations. She said she had given her property principally to one but did not suit her that she wanted it more equally divided. deponent then made answer & said he would write her a will as she had asked him to do it. this was on Sunday morning & she said come over on Monday morning & write it for me. deponent went home & on Monday morning came back as she had requested. after deponent came there on Monday morning she said I suppose you have come over to do my writing a business[?] for me. deponent told her he had. she seemed to be rather unWilling after deponent told her she had to have it done. deponent asked her why she did not wish it done as he had come on purpose to do it. she said she was so much better than she had been on Saturday [sic] morning that she hoped to be able to come over to deponents home to have it done. deponent told her he did not think it would make any difference whether she had it done at deponents home or at her home. She said her neighbors were pretty plenty about her & they would be coming in & out & would want to know what was going on. & for that reason would rather put it off a few days & come to deponents home & have it done then. when deponent was going out she spoke to him & said if that I should not get able in a few days I will send & let you know. She did not send for deponent again until the morning before her death. deponent on that morning received a message from her by Isaac Seamans requesting him to come there. when deponent she was very ill could talk with difficulty. after a while she said I suppose you have come to do my business for me. deponent told her that he had. She said she was so poorly & it was so difficult for her to talk that she would it have put off a few days till she got better. deponent left her & that night she died. On cross-examination by the counsel for the petitioner deponent further says that on the morning of the day of the death of the testatrix deponent came there after Breakfast about 8 or 9oclock in the morning. There were present Sally Niffin, George Niffin, & Jacob Bics[?] no other persons in the room to deponents recollection while he was there. deponent was there about an hour. He asked her if she knew him she nodded her head. he sat down by her bed side & asked her how she was. she said she felt distressedly. that is about all that was said except what deponent before stated. the second time deponent was there & had conversation about drawing the will was on Monday. there was no person in her room except Ann Carman a hired girl who left there before there was any conversation about the will. deponent was there about an hour & a half except the times above spoken of. deponent never had any conversation with testatrix about making a will. never urged or press’d her to make a will. Knows John Carman was at testatrix with him on the Saturday morning spoken of above. no conversation in his presence about making a will. deponent was never at the house of testatrix from the time spoken of 6 or 8 weeks previous to her death until the morning of the day of her death. deponent thinks[?] he should know Matilda Patrick never saw him at testatrix - never on one occasion urged testatrix to make a will. never [????] she had disposed of her property & never except on the thre[?] occasions above spoken of had any conversation with testatrix about her making a will. [Signed] Eli W. Griffin
Sworn this 12th day of April 1831 before me James Hooker Surrogate Dutchess County Sur Court

In the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans deceased Dutchess County SS: Sally Niffen of Fishkill in said county called by the opposing heirs being duly sworn says that she lived with testatrix about four weeks preceding & at the time of her death as a nurse & was with her at the time of her death. is not a relative of the deceased. about a fortnight before her death she said she wanted Eli W. Griffin to come down & write her will. She said she wanted her property equally divided. She did not just want one to have all & the rest none did not hear her mention a will at any other time. was there the morning she died. deponent was there when Eli Griffin came there that morning. when he came in the room he asked her how she did. she at first did not answer him. he then asked her if she knew him & she nodded her head. deponent then handed him a chair & he set down by her bed. he asked her how she was she said she would [?] talk with him about the business in a few days. She might be better & would send for him again. On cross-examination by the Counsel for the petitioner deponent further says that she does not remember Eli W. Griffin being there at any other time except the morning before her death. at the conversation about a fortnight before the death of testatrix above spoken of there was no person present except deponent & the testatrix. deponent now lives at her sisters house in fishkill.
Sworn before me this 12th day of April 1831 [Mark of] Sally Niffen James Hooker Surrogate, Dutchess County Sur. Court

In the matter of proving the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans deceased Dutchess County SS: Ann Carman of Fishkill and said county a witness called on the part of the opposing heirs being duly sworn says that she lived for four years previous to the death of testatrix at Daniel Seamans within a few rods of the testatrix about four or five weeks before her death deponent was there. The testatrix was talking about her things. she said that thing that she had wrote she wanted altered for it was not wrote to suit her. did not say by whom she wished it written or altered did not say she wanted it written by Griffin. she said she wanted her property more distributed around. She said it was pretty much all given to one & she wanted it distributed around. On cross-examination by the counsel for the petitioner deponent further says that she was working for the testatrix at the time[?]. She is now living with Daniel Seamans & lived with him before. his wife is a sister of deponent. never heard testatrix speak of disposing of her property except at this time above spoken of. did not hear the testatrix say anything about making a will. She said she wanted the thing she had wrote altered. deponent then lived with testatrix one week. had no wages. then she lived with Dan’l Seamans before & after that & was in the conscient[?] habit of being there to do things for the testatrix. [Mark of] Ann Carman
Sworn this 12th day of April 1831 before me James Hooker Surrogate

Dutchess County SS: Recorded the preceeding last will & testament of Phebe Seamans dec’d with the proofs & examinations taken thereon as the last will & testament of the personal estate of said dec’d which record is hereby agreed & certified by me in pursuance of the Statute in such care provided this twelfth day of April One thousand Eight hundred & thirty one. [Signed] James Hooker Surrogate

Dutchess County Surrogates office SS: I James Hooker Surrogate of said county do certify a that on this twelfth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred & thirty one the within last will and testament Phebe Seamans late of the Town of Fishkill in the said county deceased has been admitted to probate by me & duly approved according to the provisions of the Statutes in such care made provided as the last will & testament of the personal estate of the said dec’d which said last will & testament & the proofs & examinations taken thereon are recorded in this Office.
In testimony whereof I the said Surrogate have hereunto set my hand & affixed my official seal this twelfth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred & thirty one. [Signed] James Hooker Surrogate

Dutchess County Surrogates office SS: I James Hooker Surrogate of said county do certify that on the 31 day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred & thirty one before me the said Surrogate personally appeared Nathaniel Wright & Job Seamans legatees in the the last will & testament of Phebe Seamans deceased named & took & subscribed an oath as affirmation faithfully and honestly to discharge the duties of administrators with the said will annexed according to Law. & letters of administration with the will annexed were then & there granted to said Nathaniel Wright & Job Seamans.

In Testimony whereof I the said Surrogate have hereunto set my hand & affixed my official seal this 31 day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred & thirty one. [Signed] James Hooker Surrogate


Dutchess County ss Delivered the original Will & the Probate thereof of said Phebe Seamans dec’ to the Administrators with the Will annexed 31th day of May 1831 [Signed] James Hooker Surrogate

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