Will of Christopher Smith of Covert, Seneca Co., NY
Will Signed: 30 Aug 1828
Probate: 17 Jan 1835
Seneca County, New York, Will Book: A3 Pp. 316/116 - 320/120
Surnames: Smith, Robertson, Travis, Pickel, Wheeler, Close, Fritts / Fifts
Transcribed from SAMPUBCO copy of microfilm of handwritten court records by Lynn Stevenson Fisher
Bequeathed to son John $50; to son William $200; to son Peter cancellation of a note for $300; to son Elias cancellation of a note for $300; to daughter Polly, wife of John Robertson, $150 and 10 acres in Covert 95; to son James, 50 acres in Covert 95 and 10 acres in Covert 94, with James to pay John $50; to daughter Christian, wife of Stephen Travis, $300; to son Isaiah remaining land in Covert 94 and 95, with Isaiah to pay the legacies bequeathed to William, Polly and Christian, and with Isaiah to share the fruit from Christopher's orchard with Polly and James for eight years and then the fruit will be wholly Isaiah's. Executors: Sons James Smith and Isaiah Smith. Witnesses: Baltes H. Pickel, Levi Wheeler and Frederick Fritts. Testifying at 17 Jan 1835 probate hearing in Waterloo: Frederick Fritts/Fifts, Jacob Pickel (son of Baltes) and William P. Close. Testimony was that: Christopher signed the will with an "X"; the will was in the handwriting of Levi Wheeler; Christopher died at his home in Covert; Levi Wheeler and Baltes Pickel, both formerly of Covert, had died since witnessing the will.
Christopher X Smith, L.S. his mark
Signed, sealed, published and declared by the above named Christopher Smith to be his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses, in the presence of the testator.
Baltes H. Pickel
Frederick G. (or S.) Fritts
At a Surrogate Court held at the Surrogate's office in Waterloo in and for the County of Seneca the 12th day of January A.D. 1835
Present Samuel Burdsall Surrogate
On the day and at the place and in the year aforesaid, personally appeared before me the Surrogate aforesaid, James Smith and Isaiah Smith executors named in the last will and testament of Christopher Smith, late of Covert, in the county of Seneca and State of New York, deceased, and produced a notice, subscribed by the said executors and dated the 12th day of December A.D. 1834 and directed to the heirs of the said Christopher Smith deceased, requiring them as well as all others concerned to take notice that they should apply to the Surrogate aforesaid at his office
In Waterloo in said County, on the 17th day of January next (being then reset) at ten o'clock in the forenoon to have the said last will and testament proved and recorded according to the Statute in such case, made and provided, as a will of Real and Personal property and made satisfactory proof of personal service of a copy of said notice upon William Smith, Polly Robertson and John Robertson her husband, John Smith, Peter Smith, Elias Smith, Christian Travis and Stephen Travis her husband, on the 13th, 15th and 7th days of December A.D. 1834. The said heirs all residing in the counties of Seneca and Tompkins in the state aforesaid, as will fully appear by the deposition of the said Isaiah Smith annexed to the original notice on file in the said Surrogate's office, which proof being satisfactory of the due service of the said notice and no one appearing to oppose the proof of the said will, and the said Surrogate having satisfactory proof that the above named persons are all the heirs of the said Christopher Smith deceased. The following persons were then duly sworn by said Surrogate and testified as follows: --
Frederick G. Fifts testified that he was well acquainted with Christopher Smith, late of the town of Covert in the county of Seneca deceased, that he is one of the subscribing witnesses to the last will and testament of the said deceased that he is also well acquainted with the other subscribing witnesses to the same will Baltes H. Pickel and Levi Wheeler, which said will bears date the thirtieth day of August A.D. 1828. that he saw the said deceased sign by making his mark, the said Levi Wheeler writing his name at his request, and seal, and heard him publish and declare the said will to be his last will and testament, that as was this deponent, as the other subscribing witnesses, were present at the time and place the said deceased executed the said will. That the said deceased executed the same in the presence of this deponent and the other subscribing witnesses, who severally in his presence, and in the presence of each other, subscribed their names as witnesses to the execution thereof. That at the time of so executing the said will, the said deceased was of sound disposing mind, memory, and understanding and not under restraint and that he became a subscribing witness at the request of said deceased, and who at the time he so executing, the said will was about seventy years of age. That he departed this life in the month of November A.D. 1834 at the place of his residence in the town of Covert in said County of Seneca, that the other subscribing witnesses to said will Baltes H. Peckel and Levi Wheeler are both dead. That the said Pickel departed this life about one year since, and the said Wheeler
died about two years since at their places of residence in the town and county aforesaid. That this deponent saw them both subscribe their names to the said will as witnesses to the execution thereof.
Frederick S. Fritts
Jacob S. Pickel testified that he was well acquainted with Christopher Smith, late of Covert in the County of Seneca, deceased, That he was also well acquainted with Baltes A. Pickel and Levi Wheeler, both of Covert aforesaid, and who are now dead. That the said Pickel died about a year since, and is the father of this deponent. The said Wheeler died about two years since. That he has examined the signatures of the Baltes H. Peckel and Levi Wheeler subscribed as witnesses to the last will and testament of the said Christopher Smith deceased, bearing date the 13th day of August A.D. 1828. That he is well acquainted with the hand writing of both the said Pickel and Wheeler and that their signatures to said will are in their respective hand writing. And, that the name of Christopher Smith, his mark, is also in the hand writing of the said Levi Wheeler deceased.
Jacob S. (or G.) Pickel
William P. Close testified that he was well acquainted with Christopher Smith, late of Covert in the County of Seneca deceased. That he is also well acquainted with Baltes H. Pickel and Levi Wheeler of Covert aforesaid and both of whom are now dead. The former having departed this life in November 1833 and the latter about two years since, That he is also well acquainted with the hand writing of the said Pickel and Wheeler. That he has examined the signatures to the said will of the said Christopher Smith now exhibited to him bearing date the 30th day of August A.D. 1828 as also the signature of the said Testator Christopher Smith That the signatures of Baltes H. Pickel to said will is in his hand writing. That the signature of Levi Wheeler to said will is also in his hand writing and that the signature of the said Testator to said will in these words "Christopher Smith, his mark" is in the hand writing of the said Levi Wheeler.
William P. Close
The foregoing proofs and examinations taken before me the Surrogate aforesaid, at the time and place first mentioned, and the depositions of the respective witnesses were by them respectively subscribed, after having been carefully read over to them, and of the said Surrogate, being satisfied upon the
said proof taken, that the said will was duly executed, that the said Testator at the time of executing the same, was in all respects competent to devise Real Estate and not under restraint, do therefore allow the said will proofs examinations to be recorded. ------- Witness Samuel Birdsall, Surrogate aforesaid The day and year first aforesaid
Samuel Birdsall Surrogate
I Samuel Birdsall Surrogate of the County of Seneca do hereby certify the foregoing to be a true Record of the will of Christopher Smith decease and of the examinations and proofs had before me in the matter of the proof of the execution thereof, as and for the last will and testament of the Real and personal estate of the said deceasee.
Samuel Birdsall Surrogate
I am a descendant via: James Stevenson (my father); Clinton R. L. Stevenson; S. Frank Stevenson; Nancy Mary Smith Stevenson; Fithen Halsey Smith; Peter Smith, (Christopher's son).
According to other researchers, Christopher's son John first came from New Jersey to the Finger Lakes around 1793 and shortly thereafter acquired land in the town of Ovid, which was probably the Covert property. John sold that land to his father around 1803, and moved to town of Ulysses (now in Tompkins County) and later town of Hector (now in Schuyler County). His brother Peter joined him in Ulysses around 1803; their brother Elias joined Peter in Ulysses in 1807.
Witness Baltis H. Pickel appears to have been the brother-in-law of Christopher Smith. He was married to Mary Ann Smith, aka Maria Schmidt, Christopher's sister. Thus, Jacob Pickel, who testified at the probate hearing was the nephew of Christopher. Baltis and Mary Ann are buried in the Trumansburg "Old" Cemetery: Baltes Pickle, d. Nov. 2, 1833 ae 67y 11m 28d; Mary Ann Pickle, his wife d. Mar. 11, 1834 ae 70y 0m 28d.
William P. Close, who testified in 1835 regarding the handwriting in the will, may have been an in-law. Christopher's granddaughter Charity Smith (daughter of James Smith) married a William Close -- per the will of James Smith. Charity was about 21 years old in 1835; thus the William Close who testified could have been her husband, or possibly his father. Charity is buried in the Trumansburg "Old" Cemetery: Charity Close, wife of William d. Jan. 18, 1845 ae 32y.