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The Will of John Roberts of Canonsburgh (Canonsburg) Pa.

Submitted by Margaret Ellen Umberger Rockenbeck


John Roberts of Canonsburgh Pa.  Will written 14 FEB 1821

This is a transcription from a photocopy I made of the ORIGINAL handwritten will of John Roberts of Canonsburg, PA, which was written on 14 FEB 1821. This will was written by someone, possibly Craig Ritchie, and signed by John Roberts in extremis from his injuries sustained while breaking a horse. 

Although I have not found another on-line transcription of this will, it is my understanding that there is one out there, but it has apparently been made from the long-ago-TYPED transcription that can be found in the will book at the courthouse today. According to a fellow Roberts descendant and researcher, that transcription does not mention one of the four named children and heirs in the will, namely Gilpin Roberts. If this is true, apparently the first transcriber overlooked it.

In any case, I attach an exact transcription down to the last bit of spelling and punctuation, or lack thereof.

Original Will Located in the Vault 

[Last Will and Testament of John Roberts]

In the name of God amen I John Roberts of the borough of Canonsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania, being sick and weak in body, but of sound mind memory and understanding, do make and publish this my last will and testament, in manner and form following, to wit First it is my will that all my just debts and funeral expences be duly paid and satisfied

Item. It give and bequeath unto my daughter Catherine all the goods or articles that I allowed or said should be hers.

Item. All my real and personall estate, that may remain after my debts are paid I give and bequeath unto my children Gilpin Juliet and Edmond to be equally divided amonge them their heirs or assigns forever.

And lastly I nominate constitute and appoint Doctor Samuel Murdock and Mr. Joseph Clokey to be the executors of this my will. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this the fourteenth day of February 1821.

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared, by the said testator, as his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who in his presence, and at his request, have subscribed as witnesses.

[Signed] John Roberts [to which either John Roberts or possibly James Smith has added his seal]

Craig Ritchie
Jonathan Leatherman
James Smith


Transcribed by Margaret Rockenbeck from a photocopy of the original manuscript, on February 7, 2009 with spellings and punctuations as in the original.


Margaret Rockenbeck, a John Roberts descendant, thus:

John Roberts
Juliet Roberts Umberger
Edmund Roberts Umberger
Henry Good Umberger
Edmund Henry Umberger
Margaret Ellen Umberger Rockenbeck

Anyone researching related genealogy and history is welcome to contact me at my e-mail address:

P. S. I also did a similar transcription, in 2004, of every piece of paper in the files of the administration of the John Roberts estate, It contains many names and relationships, plus a fascinating look at the articles in his estate, their prices at vendue, etc. It is on-line at the “Chartiers” web-site run by Georgeann Malowney at 

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