New York City Wills, 1665-1707
New Amsterdam became New York City and a part of the British Empire at the Peace of Breda in 1667. This database is a collection of will abstracts, originally published in the late 19th Century. Spanning the years 1665 to 1707, it includes records of early Dutch, Swedish, and Danish residents, as well as English settlers who came after the peace. Each record reveals valuable information about the individual, often about family members still living and witnesses to the will. With nearly 5000 records, this collection can be a valuable database for researchers of early New York residents.
Tami, Chris. New York City Wills, Vol. 1. Orem, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1998.
Wills from Kings, Queens, and Suffolk are included when they also mention Nassau.
Page 332.--JASPER SMITH, Flushing,
"on Long Island, alias Nassau. My wife is to have a
comfortable living out of my estate for life, but if she remarry
then she shall have only 20." After the death of his
wife he directs his Plantation be sold, and the entire estate to
be divided among his three children John, Judith and Hannah.
"My will is that my son John be careful and diligent and
seeke to please his mother and goe forth in her business and not
grieve her." If he does so he is to have 10 more than
the rest, but if not, "and he bee careless and
disobedient," then he is to have 10 less than the
rest. Makes his wife Margaret, and his friends Hugh Cowperthwaite
and Samuel Bowne, executors, and John Wey and George Langly
"The Testator's great house and lot of ground, to the north of Duke street, next to ye house and lot of Jan Harperdingh, bequeathed to her daughter's child, Sarah Molenaer, provided ye rents be received by her mother, Maria Praa, for her use till she be of age. The Testator's little house and lot, next to ye great house, bequeathed to her daughter, Maria Praa." "The Testator's farm on Nassau Island, in Maspeth Kills, now in possession of Peter Praa" (not valued). Silver Beaker, 12 ounces, at 7s., 4, 4s.; one gold rose diamond ring, 5; one silver pepper box, 2 1/2 oz., at 7s., 17s. 6d.; one silver beaker, marked with the full name of Christina Rasselaers, 16 oz, at 7s., 5, 12; one silver salt cellar, marked with the name of Christina Rasselaers, 14 oz., 4, 10s.; one Church book with silver clasps and chain, 1, 16; one gold ear pendant, with ye ear jewels, weight 2 oz. good, at 5 per ounce, 10. This inventory shows a very long list of household goods. Total not given. The above inventory is sworn to as being correct, by the executors, January 5, 1693/4, before Abraham De Peyster, Mayor.
Page 18.--Inventory of estate of JACQUES CORTILIOW, Registered for Jacques Cortiliow, of New Town, Kings County, on the Island of Nassau, January 20, 1693/4, by Jan Van Cleef and John Van Dyck, inhabitants of New Utrecht. Sworn by Roeloffs Martinse Schenck, one of their Majestie's Justices of the Peace. This inventory shows a small stock of farming utensils, etc. Real estate not given.
Page 45.--RICHARD CORNELL. "In the Name of God, Amen, this 7th day of November in the year 1693, I, Richard Cornell, of Rockaway in Queens County, being sicke, do make this my last will and testament." I do bind and make over all my lands and meadows at Rockaway upon the south side of the Island of Nassau, for the paying and satisfying of a certain debt, owing by me to the children of John Washburn, deceased. And if my executors do not pay the said debt when due, then I direct the overseers of this will to sell the same for that purpose, and give the overplus to my four sons, William., Jacob, Thomas and John. I leave to my son William a certain part of my lands and meadows situate at Rockaway, bounded north with the old fence upon the south side of the last years wheat field, and so running east to Hempstead line, and south by the sea. Including all lands and meadows, excepting my now dwelling house and orchard and the pasture thereto adjoining with the barn and the land in tillage about it. Which reservation I give to my dear and loving wife Elizabeth Cornell, during her widowhood, and then to my son William. I leave to my son Thomas, all that portion of land and meadow bought by me of John Smith of Hempstead, commonly called Little Smith. Also another part of my land and meadow, bounded south by my son William's line; north by the middle of the Fresh Cove that Robert Beadell's meadow was laid out in, and so running east to the three rail fence, and further if it shall happen. I leave to my sons Jacob and John, all my lands and meadows to the north of Thomas Cornell's line, situate at Rockaway. Bounded north by the Great river or Cove, east by the three rail fence, to be divided equally between them. I leave to my son Richard ten acres of meadow joining to Wells his line, to run north and south upon an equal line. I leave to my son William ten acres of meadow joining the above, and to run in the same manner. I leave to my daughter Elizabeth Lawrence, ten acres of meadow joining to my son William's meadow, and to run in the same manner. I leave to my daughter, Mary Cornell, 100, one third to be paid to her when of age, the rest in yearly payments. Also one half of the indoor movables. Leaves to his wife the use of the house and lands during her widowhood. Leaves 12 heifers to his 12 grand children, namely the children of his son Richard, "the children of my son Washburn," and the children of my son John Lawrence. Leaves to his daughter Sarah Arnold, 2 cows. If my wife remarry then she is to have 100 and one half of the movables. Directs his lands at Cow neck to be sold, and the money to go to all his children. Leaves all his rights in the undivided lands in Hempstead to his five sons. His four sons, Richard, Thomas, Jacob and John, are to have the right to put horses on the beach, and they are to assist in making the fence. And if his sons Jacob and John see cause to build by the path side to the eastward of my dwelling house, and on the land purchased of Little Smith, I give to each of them two acres of said land. All the money in my house, and all the debts due to me, shall be employed for the payment of the children of the deceased John Washburn and Captain Charles Lodowick. Makes his wife Elizabeth, and sons Richard and William executors, and his friends Colonel Thomas Willett, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Hicks and Captain Daniel White, overseers. (Not witnessed.) Proved before Governor Fletcher, October 3, 1694.
JOHN SEAMAN. In the name of God, Amen. I, John Seaman the elder, of Hempstead, in Queens County, upon Long Island, alias Nassau, being weake and infirm in body, and knowing that it appertaineth to every man to set in order all worldly concerns, so yet after decease no suite, trouble, or calamity may ensue. And being well advised with the great and weighty work I am now about, do make and declare this my last will and testament. I leave to my oldest son John a certain lot of 22 acres, of which he is now in possession, and where he now lives; also another lot of 20 acres of meadow upon the neck called the Great Neck, being eastward and within the bounds of said town of Hempstead. I leave to my 5 sons Jonathan, Benjamin, Solomon, Thomas and Samuel, 400 acres of land according to a Patent, granted by Governor Richard Nicolls, lying at a place commonly known and called by the name of Jerusalem, within the bounds of Hempstead, to be equally divided between them. Also a certain neck of meadow lying eastward from said town of Hempstead called in ye Indian tongue Ruskatux Neck. Bounded east by the Oyster Bay line, and upon Hempstead west, and to be equally divided. I leave to my 3 sons, John, Nathaniel, and Richard, the remainder of my meadow, whereof one half is already confirmed to my son in law, Nathaniel Pearsall, with four or five acres of upland for his convenience of yardidge, for wintering his cattle. Which said meadow is situate upon a neck called by the name of the Half Neck, or in the Indian tongue Muskachim. I leave to my eight sons, John, Jonathan, Benjamin, Solomon, Thomas, Samuel, Nathaniel and Richard, all the upland lying and situate upon Ruskatux Neck, as also upon the neck called Half Neck, except the four or five acres confirmed to my son in law, Nathaniel Pearsall. I leave to my sons Nathaniel, and Richard, my lot of meadow at a neck called Sticklands Neck, as also a parcel of meadow lying upon New Bridge Neck. I also give them 150 acres of upland situated and lying at a place commonly called Success, by virtue of an order from the Town. Also a certain parcel of land, being 316 acres, lying at or near the Harbor head, so called, being already confirmed to my said two sons by deed of gift. I give all my rights in the undivided lands in Hempstead to my 8 sons. I leave to my wife Martha a certain house lot adjoining to the land of James Pine, being three acres, during her life, and then to my two sons, Nathaniel and Richard. I also leave them the remainder of my house lots, and the pasture and the field at the eastward of the town called the Holly. I leave to my wife Martha one half of the dwelling house for life and then to my son Richard, and the other half to my son Nathaniel. I leave to my wife one third of the movables, and to my two sons Nathaniel and Richard the other two thirds. I leave to my daughter Mary Pearsall two cows. I leave to my wife six acres of meadow at the Hay Bridge during her life and then to my sons Richard and Nathaniel. I leave two thirds of my remaining live stocks to my five daughters, Mary Pearsall, Hannah Carman, Martha Pearsall, Sarah Mott, and Deborah Kirk, and to my daughter Elizabeth Jackson 20 shillings. I leave to my sons Richard and Nathaniel all my armes except my large gun, which shall be for the use of all my sons. Makes wife Martha and sons Benjamin and Thomas executors, and "my friends Thomas Powell and John Townsend, Sr., overseers."
Page 213.--JOHN SMITH. "In the name of God, Amen, the 9 day of June, 1694. I, John Smith, of the Ferry in Kings County, upon the Island of Nassau, being in health of body." I give and bequeath all the estate I have in the world, or which shall be found to be mine at my decease, to my loving wife, Ann Smith, and I make her sole executor. (No witnesses named.)
Page 156.--PETER BERTON. In the name of God, Amen. I, Peter Berton, of Oyster Bay, in Queens County, on Nassau Island, merchant, being sound and perfect both in mind and body. I leave my body to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner at the discretion of my executors. I leave to my eldest son, Ezekiel Berton, all my lands and houses which I have in Oyster Bay, except 50 acres at the plain edge which I give to my son, Peter Berton. I leave to my eldest daughter, Mary Berton, 50; and to my second daughter, Hannah Dugo, 10; to my daughter, Marian Ayrand, 40; to my son Ezekiel all my wearing clothes, and my gold ring and all my guns. I leave to my wife Elizabeth and the children which I have begot of her all the rest of my estate whatsoever. I make my wife executrix, and my trusty and well beloved friend, Paul Droillet, of New York, merchant, overseer.
Page 383.--A true Inventory taken at the late dwelling house of PETER BRETON, deceased, in Oyster Bay in Queens Co., upon the Island of Nassau, on March 31, 1704. "In the first cellar, 25 gallons of rum at 3s., 3.15s. In the second cellar, 2 barrels of pork and 3 barrels of beef, etc. In the shop, 12 bags felt hats at 3s, 1.16; 25 pounds of sugar, 10s.; 33 ounces of silver plate at 7s., 11.11s.; 55 bushels o wheat, 7.10s.; 1/2 of Sloop Betty, 7 tons, 25. Sworn to by John Townsend, Robert Cooper, and Edward Folwell, before Edward White and John Townsend, Justices. April 21, 1704. Exhibited before Lord Cornbury by Elizabeth Breton, widow and executor.
To horse hire and expenses for 6 days on Nassau Island to settle accounts, and postage of Letters, 1 19s 7 1/2d. A very lengthy account by Samuel Bayard the administrator, March 25, 1706.
Page 56.--Edward, Viscount Cornbury, Captain-General and Governor, etc., Whereas SAMUEL JOTHUM, late of the town of Hempstead on the Island of Nassau, lately died intestate, Letters of Administration are granted to his wife Anne, December 12, 1702.
Page 58.--Edward, Viscount Cornbury, Captain-General, etc. Whereas the Reverend Mr. PATRICK GOURDAINE, late of Jamaica, on the Island of Nassau, lately died intestate, Letters of Administration are granted to Lewis Morris, Esq., of New York, December 5, 1702.
Page 200.--GARRETT COERTES. In the name of God, Amen. The first day of October, 1702. I, Garrett Coertes, of Flatlands in Kings County, on Nassau Island. I leave to my wife Willimantie, all houses, lands, and tenements situate in the town and limits of Flatlands, or elsewhere. But if she marry again, then she shall only possess and enjoy that messuage or tenement wherein I now live, containing 45 morgen (80 acres), with one half of the meadow, with the rights and privileges thereto belonging, during her life. And all that piece of land lying behind the said messuage, commonly called Bashurgs Hook, being by the Stroomkill, so called, shall, after my wife's re-marriage, be taken into the possession of my executors for the benefit of my children, Marike, Coert, Alke, Peter, Hendrick, Steven and Gertie, to be hired out till my eldest son comes of age and then to be divided. And after my wife's decease they are to have all my estate in Flatlands or elsewhere. My father, Coert Stevenson, and his wife are not to be disturbed in the possession of the house where they now live. My eldest son, Coert, shall have 25 over and above his share. Leaves all household goods to his wife Willimantie, and makes her sole executor, with Peter Monfoort and Cornelius Coert, as overseers.
Page 260.--ROELOFF SCHENCK. In the name of God, Amen. I, Roeloff Schenck, of Flatlands, in Kings County, upon Nassau Island. I leave to my wife Katharine, during her life, all my farm or tenements at Flatlands, where I now live, with the houses, gardens, and orchards. And all in accordance with a certain agreement made between me and my said wife before our marriage, and bearing date November 9, 1688. If my wife should marry then the above bequest is to be null and void. I leave to my loving son Martin Schenck, after the death of my wife, all my houses, lands, meadows, and tenements, within the bounds of Flatlands or elsewhere, and he is to pay the following legacies, viz., to each of my children, Janike, Marytie, John, Garritt, Margaritie, Neltie and Sarah, 64, 10s. each, and the same to the children of my daughter Anake, deceased, Roeloff and Albert. And they are to have all the personal property after my wife's decease. My eldest son Martin shall have for his birthright my negro boy Anthony. I make my son Martin sole executor.
Page 270.--WILLIAM SMITH. In the name of God, Amen. I, William Smith, of the Manor of St. George in the County of Suffolk, on Nassau Island. Being, blessed be the Almighty, in reasonable good health of body, I bequeath my body to the earth to be decently buried without any manner of Pomp, in such place and in such manner as my executor shall think fit. I will that my most dear and intirely beloved wife Martha, shall have the use of all my estate, both real and personal, during her life, for the comfortable maintenance of herself and children. I leave to my eldest son, Henry Smith, all my land lying and being situate on the north side of this Island, That is to say the Home Lots called Cheston and Harlow's Home lots, where I now live, as also the mill lot, and all my land and meadow in the neck, commonly known by the name of the little neck, of the Town of Brookhaven, but now within the manor of St. George, with my new and old house, and all other buildings thereon ; And also the entire rights of Commonage, and all future divisions and Commonage appertaining to Cheston and Harlows accommodations ; And also my Thatch bed, lying between the Old field and the Little neck, which I bought of Samuel Eburne, clerk ; And also the Thatch bed which the Town gave me, fronting to the Indian land against Roscommon Elm ; Also all that part of my South Beach, from the head of Long Cove to the westernmost gut, To him, my said son Henry, to him and his heirs male forever, and in default of issue, then to my next heirs. I also give to my son Henry all that certain tract of land or Island containing seven acres, lying near Cranes neck, adjoining to the Fresh pond, which I bought of Mr. Eburne. I leave to my son, William Henry Smith, my house on the south side of this Island, within the manor of St. George, which stands on Sebonack neck, With a full half of all my land and meadow on the south side of this Island, within my manor of St. George, and lying eastward of Connecticutt or Sebonack river, With one half of my South Beach from Cupsogue gut eastward, and to the head of the Long Cove, westward ; And also that Home Lot within the town of Brookhaven, which I formerly bought of John Wood, deceased, and is called John Wood's lot, containing 10 acres, Bounding westward on Daniel Brewster's home lot, With one entire right of Commonage, and all future divisions of undivided lands, due to the said accommodations, To him my said son William Henry, and his heirs and assigns forever. I leave to my son, Charles Jeffrey Smith, All that other one half part of all my lands and meadows on the south side of this Island, within the Manor of St. George eastward of Connecticutt or Sebonack river ; Also the Home lot within the Town of Brookhaven where John Wood lived, and commonly called John Wood's Home Lot, containing 12 acres, with the house and buildings ; Also one entire right of Commonage, and all future divisions of land; Also the other half of my South Beach, from Cupsogue gut eastward, to the head of Long Cove westward, To him my said son, Charles Jeffrey Smith, and his heirs and assigns for ever. I leave to my eldest daughter, Martha Heathcote, one half of what the leases of my houses in New York can be sold for. I leave to my grand son, William Heathcote, one home lot within the town of Brookhaven, commonly known by the name of Williams, his Home Lot, containing 14 acres, Fronting to the creeke or Harbor, and adjoining to that which was John Wood's Home Lot, with one right of Commonage and all future divisions of land as far as the middle of this Island, To him and his heirs and assigns, when he shall come of age. I leave to my youngest daughters, Jeane and Gloriana, to be equally divided between them, all my land and meadow at Westen Hook, in Company with Colonel Schuyler, Mr. Abeel and others ; And also all my land and meadow on the west side of Connecticutt or Sebonack river, lying at the head of Yaptianack and by a north line until it comes again to the river as is by my Patent set forth. I also leave to them two 50 acre lots which lye between the Oldmans and the Wading river, which I bought of John Wood and Abraham Whittier ; Also two 50 acre lots more, which were laid out to Cheston and Harlows Home Lots, and are near the road that goes to the Oldmans farms ; Also 50 acres of land bought of Joseph Lee, which is at Mount Misery ; And also the other half of what the leases of my houses in New York may produce, to be paid to them when of age or marriage, provided neither of them marry without their mother's consent. As to my land on the south side of the Country road that goes about the middle of the Island, and is contained in my last Patent, from Governor Fletcher, and is adjoining to the bounds of Southold, Southampton and Brookhaven, I do give the same to my three sons, Henry, William, and Charles. The will divides slaves (twelve of which are enumerated, some of them being Indians) among his children. the personal property is left to his wife, with all stock, personal property, silver, gold plate, etc., to be disposed of as she shall see fit. If his son Henry dies without issue then his share is to go to his next brother. Makes his wife Martha sole executor.
Page 277.--GULIELMUS LEOPARDUS. In the name of God, Amen. This 9 day of February, 1701/2, I, Gulielmus Leopardus, minister, of Kings County on the Island of Nassau, being of good and perfect memory. I leave to my loving wife Cornelia all my lands, houses, and tenements within the Province of Holland or elsewhere, and all goods and chattels, during her life, and after her decease, then to my children procured by her, viz., Anne, Christian, and Adriana, and the children of my wife by her former husband, by name Rokus, Symon, and Cornelia. My young child Christian is to have 12, 10s above his share. If my wife should re-marry, I give out of my estate 700 to be divided among the said children. I make my wife executor, and my friends, Colonel Gerard Beekman and Captain Peter Stryker, overseers.
Page 299.--HENDRICK VLIETT. In the name of God, Amen, the 9 day of January, 1705/6, I, Hendrick Vliett, of Flatbush in Kings County, on Nassau Island. I leave to my wife Tryntie all houses, lands, and tenements and meadows in Flatlands or elsewhere during her life. But if she shall happen to marry, she is to have one half, and the rest to my brothers and sisters, John, Morya, and Gertruy. I leave all my personal estate to my said brothers and sisters.
Page 379.--ZACHEUS GOLDSMITH. In the name of God, Amen. I, Zacheus Goldsmith, of the town of Southold in Suffolk County, on the Island of Nassau, yeoman, being very sick and weak. I leave to my wife, Mary Goldsmith, one half of all my lands and meadows and housing and orchards, so long as she shall remain my widow, and no longer, and one half of my present estate. "If my wife should happen to be with child, the said child is to have 1/2 of all the property," but if not then my brother, Richard Goldsmith, shall have the same, and he is to pay to his brother, Thomas Goldsmith, 15, and also he is to release all the 40 I am to pay him by my father's will. The personal property which would go to said child is left to my brother, John Goldsmith, and my sister, Mary Goldsmith. I make my wife Mary executor.
Page 386.--RICHARD THORNE. In the name of God, Amen, the 28 November, 1706. I, Richard Thorne, of Madnans neck, in the township of Hempstead, on Nassau Island, being very sick and weak. I leave to my wife Phebe all my estate for her own use, and the bringing up and education of the children, until my son Richard is of age. If my wife marries again and she prefers to stay upon the farm she may, or if she chooses to remove elsewhere she shall have the use of the farm at Madnans neck and the movables for the bringing up of the children, till my son Richard is of age. I leave to my son Richard all my land, messuage, and tenements on Madnans neck, and all my rights within the town of Hempstead. If he die under age then all the estate is to go to my three daughters, Hannah, Mary, and Phebe. I leave to my daughters, Hannah and Mary, 200 acres of land at Maidenhead in West Jersey. I leave to my daughter Phebe the meadow at Westchester, purchased by me from John Tallman, and now in possession of Charles Morgan, for which he is to pay, according to covenant, 31. In case of non payment it is to return to me, and I leave it to my daughter Phebe. I will that within twelve months after the death of my mother, Winifred Thorne, that the sum of 40 be paid to my sister, Margaret Rattow. I make my wife Phebe executor. Witnesses, John Thomas "Clerk," Thomas Hicks Isaac Hicks, Johanes Van Wyck. Proved, February 17, 1706/7.
Page 407.--GARRETT WYCKOFF. In the name of God, Amen, this 9 October, 1704. Be it known that I, Garett Wyckoff, of Flatlands in Kings County, on the Island of Nassau, being at present very sick and weak. I leave to my loving wife Katharine, all estate of houses and lands, during her life, and 12 acres of land within the limitts of Gravesend. But if she remarry, then an inventory is to be made, and my eldest son Peter shall have half of the houses and lands when he is of age, and the other half after my wife's decease, and he is to pay to the other children, namely, Greetie, Adriane, Amke, Marytie and Janica, 450, I give to my son Peter, a silver tankard, and my plows and harrows and all the tackling belonging to a farm. The testator makes provision for an expected child. I make my loving friends and brothers, Claas Wyckoff, Hendrick Wyckoff, Peter Wyckoff, Garett Stoothoff, and Peter Nevins, my executors. And they are to sell a 12 acre lot of land, lying at Ambrose Island, so called in the town of Gravesend.
Page 416.--EPHRAIM GOLDING. In the name of God, Amen. I, Ephraim Golding, of Hempstead, in Queens County on the Island of Nassau. I empower my executors to sell the house and farms where I now live, and all my lands in Queens County, and the proceeds to be divided into nine parts, viz., 2 parts to my eldest son John Golding, and the rest to my other six children, namely, Elizabeth, Ephraim, Thomas, Mary, Daniel and Rebecca, and to my wife Rebecca. The rest of my personal estate I leave to my wife and children, and my wife is to have my best bed and furniture. I appoint my wife and Charles Doughty executors.
Page 430.--HUMPHREY CLAY. In the name of God, Amen. I, Humphrey Clay, of Boswyck, in Kings County, on Nassau island. I leave to my wife Sarah all estate of lands, houses, and goods during her life. After her decease, I leave to my son Humphrey Clay the Plantation where I now dwell, with all houses and buildings. And he is to pay to my daughter Mary, wife of Thomas Evins, 40, and I also leave to her three cows. I leave to my loving cousin Richard Alsop, my negro boy Jacob. All the rest of estate to my son, Humphrey Clay.
JOHN COOKE. I, John Cooke, of Gravesend on the Island of Nassau. I make my wife Sarah executor I leave to my daughter, Sarah Whitman, two oxen and all the money due me in the hands of Mr. Nicholas Mayor. To my daughter, Elizabeth Holmes, 2 cows and to her husband Obadiah Holmes all my iron ware and 1/2 my horses. To my daughter, Mary Stillwell, 2 cows and 100 guilders, and to her husband, Richard Stillwell, 1/2 my horses, and I give the sheep which are in his hands to his children, Thomas and Martha Stillwell. "And this is my will and pleasure for to do."
This page was last updated March 1, 2001.