Saturday, December 12, 2015

Potter's Field, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI

Can you tell it's been a busy semester? Over the course of the last few months, I've researched and written two papers on the North Burial Ground in Providence. Initially, I was interested in the beautiful slate stones in the colonial section of the cemetery, which was established in 1700. As time went on and I explored the Burial Ground further, however, I entered into a mortuary realm that I had never experienced before: that of the "free grounds" and "potter's field." The former described areas of the Burial Ground that were set aside for people who could not afford to buy and maintain a lot in the main section of the cemetery, but could afford the $4 or so for burial and perhaps a monument. The latter described an area used by the City of Providence to bury the individuals who had no family or funds to provide for their burials: paupers, inmates of institutions, and unidentified bodies.

I have been to a lot of cemeteries in my time, probably quite a few more than your average 26-year-old, but I have to say that visiting the potter's field in the North Burial Ground was by far the most emotional experience that I have had in a cemetery in my life. Stripped of the sentimentalism and beauty that surrounds middle-class cemeteries, the potter's field offers an unvarnished view of mortality that most of us don't think about on a daily basis. It also shows evidence of a very unique and personal tradition of commemoration.

The graves in the potter's field are marked only with numbered markers. Or rather, some are marked. The potter's field was originally much larger than it currently is. In the early 1960s, developers moved many of the graves in the potter's field and western half of the free grounds into a mass grave near the area pictured above. I haven't been able to pin down an exact number, but my estimate is that at least a few thousand graves were moved. All of these graves were originally marked, but it was considered to much of a hassle to move the markers to the new location, so they were discarded.

When I came this place -- which is accessed through a bridge, through a band of forest in the northernmost area of the Burial Ground -- I had preconceived notions of what a potter's field would be like. I imagined undignified anonymity and neglect. My expectations were controverted by the reality I found. There is anonymity, certainly, but also evidence of ongoing memorialization. Some of the numbered markers have been replaced or supplemented by markers with names. Some of these supplementary markers are professional stones, of the kind you might find in other areas of the NBG, but others are makeshift (or "vernacular" as I might put it in a paper). I won't show you these markers, because they are all relatively recent, and I don't like the idea of publishing a photo of someone's gravestone that their family member might recognize, especially when the gravestone is in such a private location. However, I can describe some of them.

Two graves are marked with crosses made of planks of wood; the names are spelled out with the kind of stick-on letters you'd buy at a hardware store. One of these markers is surrounded by artificial flowers.

One marker consists of a slab of concrete spray-painted with the name of the deceased and a heart.

One person's grave is marked with a plastic label bearing his name, next to which is placed a toy car.

In one case, someone wrote the deceased's name and dates of birth/death onto the numbered marker with Sharpie.

And so on. These acts of commemoration seem all the more personal and touching because they were created by hand, rather than commissioned from a professional. They suggest that the people buried in the potter's field are far from forgotten. However, due to the type of materials they are made of, many of these markers are unlikely to survive for very long. It is possible that there was once many more of them, perhaps extending back into the 19th century, but that they disintegrated long ago.

In the oncoming weeks I hope to share more from the North Burial Ground, including stories of people from the 19th century who were buried in the free grounds and potter's fields.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Probates: Thomas H. Brundage

I've now reached the point in my Master's research where I am going back over all of the probate records I copied this summer and looking for interesting things to latch onto. Yesterday this stood out to me (words underlined):
Will of Thomas H. Brundage
The last will and testament of Thomas H. Brundage of the Town of Bedford County of Westchester and State of New York. 
I, Thomas Brundage of Bedford aforesaid, do make, publish, and declare this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say - 
First: I direct my executors herein after named to pay all my just debts and funeral expenses. 
Second: I hereby authorize and by these presents give to my said executors full power and authority to sell and convey all my real and personal property. 
Third: I give and bequeath to my son Nathan Brundage the 1/3 of all the proceeds of my estate and to my sons John Brundage and Walter T. Brundage the 1/3 to be equally divided between them share and share alike. 
Fourthly: I give and devise all the rest and residue of my estate to M. W. Fish, one of my executors herein after named, in trust for my daughter Rachel Ann Brazill, wife of Richard, the interest and income to be paid my said daughter during her natural life, and I further hereby authorize my said executor, in case of my said daughter being in destitute condition and needing more than the interest to make her comfortable, to allow her such portion as he may in his judgment think she requires. And I further provide in case of the decease of my said daughter not leaving any lawful issue then I give and bequeath all that remains of such portion or share to my sons then living share and share alike. 
Fifthly: I hereby nominate and appoint my friend Moses W. Fish and Burnett Miller of Bedford executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking any former will by me made. 
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 5th day of December 1874.
Thomas H. Brundage [his mark]
My thoughts:

It's not surprising that Thomas Brundage set aside 1/3 of his estate for each of his sons with no strings attached, while appointing a trustee to look over his daughter's inheritance; such patronizing conditions were commonplace for female heirs. The fact that such conditions - and the inheritance itself - was intended to provide for the female heir's livelihood and prevent her from falling into destitution is likely implied in every case I have seen; that is to say, fathers who were making wills were anticipating that their daughters might need financial assistance in the future, and set up their affairs to ensure that they were taken care of.

However, I have never seen a father's concern for his daughter falling into destitution so explicitly stated. It's even more shocking considering that Thomas Brundage's daughter was married. Was this simply a "just-in-case" scenario, or did he have reason to believe that his son-in-law would be unable to provide for her?

Even in her hypothetically destitute state, Rachel Ann Brazill is made to rely on the "judgment" of a man - admittedly, a very judicious man (Moses W. Fish was justice of the peace for the county for many years and was very well-respected), but the belittling of Rachel, who was 31 at the time her father's will was written, stands out to modern eyes.

Of course, the patronizing attitude towards women is easy to explain as an artifact of cultural attitudes of the time; it likely has little or nothing to do with Thomas's personal views of his daughter or her financial acumen. Rather, it is the special concern that Thomas gives to Rachel's potential destitution, and his explicit mention of it, that stands out to me.

Gravestone of Susan Brundage (source)
To investigate, I looked up the Brundage family in the 1850 federal census. That year, Susan and Thomas had four children under the age of 13, and Thomas was working as a laborer, which implies that he did not have the same level of job security as a landed farmer or a skilled artisan. The value of his real estate was only $170. Thomas's neighbors, including several farmers and shoemakers, owned real estate valued at $200-$6,000. Relative to their neighbors, the Brundages may have felt disadvantaged, and possibly struggled to make ends meet.

(It's also notable that Thomas Brundage's will is not signed with his name, but with a mark, suggesting that he was illiterate. While illiteracy was much more common in the 19th-century United States than it is now, most of the people in the St. George's/St. Mark's community were literate. I suppose it is possible that Thomas Brundage was too weak at the time he wrote his will to sign his name - but many of the wills I have read mention being "very weake [sic] in body" and yet are still signed by name, in crabbed but still legible handwriting. I don't think I've come across another will belonging to a member of this community that was signed with a mark.)

In the next census (1860), Thomas was again listed as a farm laborer, this time with real estate worth $350 and personal estate worth $100. All four children were still at home, with 21-year-old John working as a shoemaker.

Susan Brundage died in 1868 at the age of 61. It stood out to me that she was more than 10 years older than her husband, and that her oldest child was born when she was in her thirties. Both would have been unusual at the time. Assuming that Thomas was Susan's first husband (which is a big assumption), they may have been married when he was around 20 and she was around 30, which would explain why she didn't have children earlier. Perhaps Susan was the last of her sisters to marry and as a result didn't receive as substantial a dowry as they did; even if this was not the case, her dependence on her natal family past the age when most women would have married could have placed a financial burden on them.

Of course, this is all speculation, but I'm trying to imagine what situations and personal experiences might have inspired a father to be more cautious about his daughter's financial welfare than usual. The family's history of financial instability could be a potential answer.

By 1870, the census closest to the date of Thomas's death, John Brundage had established his own household with a wife and two-year-old daughter. Fifty-two-year-old Thomas Brundage, now a widower, was living with his father John (74), son Nathan (30), and daughter Rachel Ann (27). Thomas was listed as a "farm hand," with an estate worth $500.

It was not particularly desirable for a man to remain a "farm laborer," "farm hand," or "laborer" throughout his life. The expectation was that the young farm laborer would work long enough to establish his own farm, or - perhaps more likely - inherit a part of his father's farm and become a proper landowner who would then employ young farmhands to do his dirty work. This was the cultural narrative, but of course it didn't always play out in real life. It might have been somewhat disappointing if Thomas ended up working as a laborer on other people's farms into his fifties. The fact that he had to support an aged father and adult children at the same time might have compounded his difficulties.

While it's possible that Nathan Brundage was also employed as a farmhand (although it isn't explicitly stated in the census), Rachel Ann's opportunities to provide for her own financial support would have been limited. Taking on the kind of employment that was open to women - such as millinery or teaching - might have reflected poorly on her father and brother's ability to fulfill their cultural roles as men. Thus it wouldn't be surprising if she was encouraged to marry - implicitly if not explicitly - in order to ease her family's financial burden and fulfill her own culturally prescribed role.

So what happened to Rachel Ann? Of course, we know from the will that she ultimately married, but I had the hardest time tracking her down. I guess it shouldn't have surprised me that in a document with a number of spelling idiosyncrasies - including "exutors," "autherize," "equily," "shair," and "intrest"- that Rachel's married name was spelled incorrectly. "Brazill" was actually "Bradsell."

Richard Bradsell, who was ten years his wife's senior, was born in New York to English parents. In 1880, the couple was living together in North Castle.

1880 Federal Census
Since Richard and Rachel weren't married until after 1870 (according to the 1900 census, they were married in 1874), Hiram Bradsell, a 21-year-old shoemaker, must have been Richard's son from his previous marriage. The other three sons were presumably Richard and Rachel's, her first-born son named for his grandfather Thomas. So Rachel, like her mother, didn't have children until her 30s. Given the trend in my own peer group, I suppose Susan and Rachel were just ahead of the times (though I doubt either was delaying childbearing until she was ABD).

According to the census, Richard was a "painter." The 1900 census is more specific - he was a house painter. In that year, he and Rachel were living with three of their sons - Thomas, Walter, and William - and Thomas's wife Theda. Rachel was said to be the mother of five children, one of whom had died. Thomas was a hotel keeper and farmer, Walter was a farm laborer, and William, who was only 14, was in school.

There are no real conclusions to be drawn here, only speculation. Did Thomas Brundage anticipate that his daughter would be destitute? Perhaps not, but the possibility was on his mind, perhaps because of his own experience struggling to support a family on a farmhand's wage. Perhaps the most important knowledge to take away from this, from my perspective, is the fact that people like Thomas were aware that women - even married women living in a middle-class community - could become destitute, and that the beneficence of their relatives might be all that kept them from the almshouse. Other fathers might have trusted that their sons would take care of their daughters in such a situation, but Thomas Brundage wasn't willing to take that chance.

While I can't comment on the moral character of Rachel's brothers in particular, I have seen records from the almshouse explicitly stating that a female resident was left destitute by relatives who either refused to support her or actually took her money. One widow allegedly had her savings squandered by her son and his wife; another languished in the poorhouse while her well-off children refused to provide for her. Perhaps Thomas Brundage wasn't even considering his son-in-law's ability to provide for his daughter; maybe he was looking ahead to her potential widowhood and the children, then only hypothetical, who might abuse or neglect her.

One part of the package of assumptions that overlies the middle class is that middle-classness is a relatively stable part of one's identity, much like race or gender. Class, then and now, is so much more than one's level of income or amount of property owned; it is a part of one's worldview and way of existing in the world. Yet middle-class people in the 19th century were often much closer to the margins than they would like to believe. Class could not be taken for granted, but had to be continuously cultivated and perpetuated from generation to generation. One couple's hard work to establish and maintain their middle-class status could all be undone if the next generation was too irresponsible or simply too unlucky. Provisions like those in Thomas Brundage's acted as insurance on the middle-class status - the class associated more than any others with simple "comfort," rather than luxury (upper class) or hardship (lower class) - of their successors. Thus, middle-class status was, in some respects, a heritable trait - but one that could be very easily lost.

Family Tree
  1. Thomas H. Brundage (1818-1875) m. Susan Brundage (1807-1868)
    1. John Brundage (1838-) m. Unknown
      1. Susan Brundage (1868-) 
    2. Nathan Brundage (1840-)
    3. Rachel Ann Brundage (1843-) m. Richard Bradsell (1833-) in 1874
      1. Thomas R. Bradsell (1875-) m. Theda
      2. Samuel T. Bradsell (1878-)
      3. Walter Bradsell (1879-)
      4. William Bradsell (1885-)
    4. Walter Timothy Brundage (1848-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Probates: Thomas Sarles

Thomas Sarles wrote his will on May 23, 1859, and died on October 9, 1860. I am willing to bet good money that this stone was not erected in 1860, or even 1870 or 1880. I don't think it was erected until after the death of Ann Sarles in 1887, when dark granite was fully in fashion, and it was becoming commonplace for couples to place their names adjacent to each other on one stone (rather than one above the other, in which case the man's name invariably came first).

Thomas Sarles is featured in the 1850 Non-Population Census, which records agricultural holdings. According to this record, Thomas owned 187 acres of improved land and 15 acres of unimproved land. His farm was estimated to be worth $11,500, with $250 in farming machinery. He owned three horses, thirteen milk cows, four working oxen, eight "other cattle," and fifteen swine. His livestock was valued at $1,034. Thomas Sarles's farm was the most valuable one on the census page. In the past year, he had produced:

150 bushels of rye
450 bushels of Indian corn
300 bushels of oats
100 pounds of wool
1,000 bushels of Irish potatoes
75 bushels of buckwheat
3,000 pounds of butter
80 tons of hay

As for the Population Census of that year, 54-year-old Thomas and 49-year-old Ann are recorded living with Samuel Sarles (29) and Aaron Sarles (12), plus a 14-year-old girl named Amelia Ford.

In his will, Thomas Sarles leaves his entire farm to Aaron, who appears to have been his youngest son. While the oldest son may have seemed like a more natural choice of an heir, it seems that Thomas's older sons George W. and Thomas E. had already left their parents' house and established their own farms prior to their father's death. Thus Thomas's will ensured that Aaron, who was only 22 at the time of his father's death, would also have a means of livelihood.

Although Thomas leaves his wife Ann $1000 and "the use of all my household furniture" (use, not ownership), she has no claim to his property. It may have been understood between Thomas and his son Aaron that Ann was to remain in the house for as long as she lived. Sure enough, in the census of 1870, Aaron - whose farm is now worth $18,000 - is living with his 70-year-old mother, who owns $3000 in personal estate. If Aaron had decided that he didn't want his mother to live with him, however, she would have had no legal protection. He would have had every right to throw her out of the house (with her furniture). This seems to have happened to several of the widows recorded living in the Westchester County Almshouse, except that they didn't even have $1000 to live on.

Thomas gives his sons George W. and Thomas E. more than twice the amount of money he gives to his daughter Phebe Hyatt, but as Phebe was already married, it's possible that Thomas had already given her money or property in the form of a dowry. In any case, as a married woman, Phebe would not have expected her father to provide for her, especially since her husband was Jackson Hyatt, a successful merchant who built the Mount Kisco Institute (which was later converted into the largest hotel in Mount Kisco). Still, the sum that Thomas did give his daughter - $2000 - was nothing to sneeze at.

  1. Thomas Sarles (1786-1860) m. Ann (1801-1887)
    1. Phebe J. Sarles (1824-1909) m. Jackson Hyatt (1819-1892)
    2. George W. Sarles (1826-1910)
    3. Thomas E. Sarles (1836-1869)
    4. Aaron W. Sarles (1838-1895)

Will of Thomas Sarles
I, Thomas Sarles, of the town of New Castle, county of Westchester and state of New York, do make, publish, and declare this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say:

First, I do give and bequeath to my beloved wife Ann Sarles one thousand dollars and the use of all my household furniture during her natural life, and at the decease of my said wife I then give all my household furniture to my four children, namely George W., Thomas E., Aaron W. Sarles and Phebe J. Hyatt to be equally divided between them.

Second, I give and bequeath to my daughter Phebe J. Hyatt the sum of two thousand dollars.

Third, I give and bequeath to my two sons George W. Sarles and Thomas E. Sarles each the sum of four thousand and five hundred dollars.

Fourth, I give and bequeath to my son Aaron W. Sarles the farm on which I now reside with all the stock and all the farming implements, wagons, carriages, sleighs, sleds, hay, grain, on the ground or in the buildings on said premises.

Fifth and lastly, I give and bequeath all the rest, residue, and remainder of my personal estate or real not heretofore disposed of to my three sons namely George W., Thomas E., and Aaron W. Sarles to share and share alike.

Sixthly, I do nominate and appoint my sons George W. Sarles and Thomas E. Sarles my executors to this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty-third day of May 1859.

Thomas Sarles

Witnesses: Moses W. Fish residing at Bedford in the county of Westchester; Philander G. Purdy residing at Bedford in the county of Westchester

Monday, August 17, 2015

Probates: Richard Kirby

When I first researched the Kirby family back in 2013, I mistook Richard Kirby's second wife, Rachel, for his daughter. It was an easy mistake to make, considering that in 1850 he was 69 and she was 45. Richard's first wife was Matilda Frost. The Kirbys were very prolific, and you can see their full family tree in the original post.

The wills I am reading are starting to fit into a pattern. The male writer of the will always instructs that his land be sold and that its proceeds be divided between his wife and children. Like the other men whose wills I have read, Richard Kirby's allowance to his wife is partly contingent upon her remaining a widow. However, unlike other men, who would cut off their wives completely in the event of their remarriage, Richard still allowed Rachel $100 a year. While cutting off their widows seems like a harsh thing to do, in reality it was simply a recognition of the fact that the widow's new husband would now be responsible for her maintenance. Redirecting her deceased husband's legacy to their children prevented it from falling into the hands of the widow's second family. These stipulations were intended to safeguard the woman's first family.

In 1851, when his will was written, Richard would have been 70 and Rachel 46. If she had remarried (which she doesn't seem to have), she would be unlikely to produce any more biological children. Perhaps this fact influenced Richard's decision; or maybe it was the fact that Rachel herself was his second wife. It is notable that Richard, like most of the other men whose wills I have read, doesn't simply give Rachel his property outright, but requires that it be sold, invested, and the interest to paid to her in installments. This practice would have seemed sensible back then, but today it comes across as somewhat patronizing, as though women couldn't be trusted to deal with their own property. Then again, perhaps women didn't receive the education in financial management that men did, in which case this practice would make sense - although the implication is no less offensive.

Notably, Richard only names sons in his will, not daughters. It could have been that he didn't have any daughters who lived to adulthood; I couldn't identify any. Then again, my search was complicated by the fact that when Richard and Rachel first appear in the census (in 1850), Richard's children with Matilda Frost had already grown. The sons he identifies as his youngest - William A., Charles H., and John Wesley Kirby - were most likely his sons with Rachel; they were living with the couple in that year and were aged 22, 20, and 18 respectively.

Also, that line "during her natural life." This is also meant to indicate that the property isn't really Rachel's; it's hers to use while she's alive, as though she's renting it. When she's done with it, it will belong to their children.

Leonard Kirby was the son of Richard and Matilda Kirby and married Jane Vervalen. He was a successful merchant who owned property both in New Castle and Manhattan, and had thirteen children. He died in 1878.

Valentine Kirby also became a wealthy merchant (he owned real estate valued at $120,000 in 1870) and lived in Queens with his wife Emeline, their children, and several servants. He died in 1894.

I haven't been able to find out anything about Caleb Kirby, who was doubtlessly named after the progenitor of the Kirbys, for whom Kirbyville was named.

Richard Kirby didn't die until 1857, six years after his will was written. Rachel died in 1863 at the age of 59.

Will of Richard Kirby

In the name of God, amen. I, Richard Kirby of the town of New Castle in the county of Westchester, this fourteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty one, being in good health and sound disposing mind and memory, thanks to almighty God for the same, and calling to mind the great uncertainty of this mortal life, do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form as follows, viz.

First: I order and direct my executors hereafter named to sell as soon after my decease as may be convenient and proper all my real estate and I hereby authorize them to give the purchaser or purchasers a good and sufficient title for the same.

Secondly: I order and direct my executors to take one equal half of the money arising from the sale of my farm and put the same out at interest on bond and mortgage and pay the interest to my beloved wife Rachel during her natural life provided she remain my widow, but in case she should marry, I order my executors to pay her the sum of one hundred dollars yearly in line (?) of the interest of said half of my real estate - and the money arising from my personal property after paying all my just debts and funeral expenses I give and bequeath to be equally divided between my beloved wife Rachel and my three youngest sons share and share alike.

Thirdly: I give and bequeath the other equal half of all the money arising from the sale of my real estate to my three youngest sons viz. William A., Charles H., and John Wesley Kirby to be equally divided between share and share alike.

Fourthly: I order and direct after the decease of my wife Rachel that my executors divide the money set apart as above stated for the use of my beloved wife and the interest of there should be any due and I direct that the same be equally divided between all my sons viz. Leonard, Valentine, Caleb, Isaac F., William A., Charles H. and John Wesley Kirby and their heirs share and share alike.

Lastly I hereby appoint my sons Leonard Kirby, William A. Kirby, and Charles H. Kirby executors to this my last will and testament and hereby revoking all former wills by me made do declare this to be my last will and testament in the presence of the witnesses named below, the day and year first above written.

Richard Kirby

Witnesses: Gilbert Brundage, W. H. Lane

  1. Richard Kirby m. (1) Matilda Frost, (2) Rachel (1804-1863)
    1. Leonard Kirby (1802-1878) m. Jane Vervalen (1813-1902)
    2. Valentine Kirby (1809-1894) m. Emeline
    3. Caleb Kirby
    4. Isaac F. Kirby
    5. William A. Kirby (1828-)
    6. Charles H. Kirby (1830-)
    7. John Wesley Kirby (1832-1901)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Probates: Reginald Hart

When I researched Reginald Hart back in 2013, I was able to find out many details about his life: he was born in 1846, the son of Robert S. Hart and Harriet Wing Russell; his brother Nathaniel studied law at Columbia and graduated from Amherst College, and died at age 25 in 1861; his brother Robert died of measles while serving in the 17th New York Infantry Regiment in the Civil War; he graduated from Trinity College in New Haven and became a lawyer like his brother and father; he was a friend of Horace Greeley; he married 21-year-old Emma K. Farley in 1877, only to be widowed two years later; he suffered from tuberculosis, which he treated by occasional trips to warmer climates; as a widower, he lived with his father, and then after his father's death in 1887, with two servants, Elizabeth and Maggie Mann, until his death in 1902 at the age of 57. You can read the full account here, and the obituary of Reginald's father here.

What I didn't know - until I read Reginald Hart's probate records - is that Reginald, widowed and childless, left the vast majority of his small fortune to Elizabeth Mann, his servant and companion of more than twenty years. To be more specific, Reginald left his fortune to three people, none of them relatives. The first was William H. Brown of Mount Kisco, to whom he left $545. The second was Evelyn J. Brown of Mount Kisco, to whom he left $691. And the third was Elizabeth Mann, to whom he left the remainder of his estate, valued at $15,491.38. Elizabeth Mann was also Reginald's executor; Evelyn and William Brown were her niece and nephew.

What was the nature of the relationship between Elizabeth Mann and Reginald Hart? Was she simply a loyal servant or was she his common-law wife? 

I can't say for sure, but what I do know is that Elizabeth Mann was born around 1849 in Ireland, and is first recorded living with the Harts in the 1880 census. She was five years younger than Reginald Hart, and would have been about 53 when he died. She may have known his wife Emma, but she probably did not. The probate records mention that she has known Reginald for "twenty years," suggesting that she first came into his life around 1880, not long after Emma died. Elizabeth seems to have never married; she is consistently listed as "single" in the census. Her niece and nephew were forty years younger and also unmarried, and are recorded as living with her in her house at 101 Carpenter Avenue in 1910 and 1920.

Interestingly, in the 1910 census Evelyn Brown is listed as an artist. Reginald Hart left her "my paints, paint box, brushes, and easel." In 1920 she was working in a drug store.

William Brown worked as a clerk in the post office in 1910 and as a salesman for a hair dresser in 1920.

The only other evidence I have found is this notice in the Mount Kisco Recorder from December 16, 1887:
As we last week stated, on the day of his death, Judge Hart went to the city, attended the funeral of John H. Johnson, and accompanied the remains to the grave in Oakwood Cemetery. He seemed in his usual health in the evening, and retired soon after ten. Shortly afterward groans were heard by his faithful housekeeper, Lizzie Mann, who had been Mrs. Hart's attendant, and who, with her cousin, Mary Pierson, enjoyed Judge Hart's entire confidence. They hastened to his aid, but in a few moments he was dead. His heart had failed in its functions, and he passed away without apparent pain.

Will of Reginald Hart
I Reginald Hart of the village of Mount Kisco, town of Bedford in the county of Westchester and state of New York, do publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say,

First: I give and bequeath to William Mann Brown, nephew of Elizabeth Mann, five hundred dollars, my gold watch and chain (the watch being number 33915 made by Augusta Sallzman), my double barrel gun, cane and loading apparatus, my fishing rod, line, and reel.

Second: I give and bequeath to Evelyn Jane Brown, niece of Elizabeth Mann, six hundred dollars, the gold watch and chain formerly worn by my mother, my paints, paint box, brushes, and easel.

Third: I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Mann the sum of seventy-five dollars in trust to purchase a gold watch for Evelyn Jane Brown, such watch to be purchased as soon as possible after the probate of this will.

Fourth: All the rest, residue, and remainder of my property, real, personal, and mixed, I give, devise, and bequeath to Elizabeth Mann, commonly called Lizzie Mann, whom I hereby nominate and appoint sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and one.

Reginald Hart

Witnesses: Howard F. Bailey, Mount Kisco, NY; Frederick J. Carpenter, Mount Kisco, NY

Estate Inventory

Personal Estate
  • Antom Leibler note ($22 / worthless)
  • Cash in bank ($906.56)
  • Award due from City of New York ($3581.08)
  • Old law books ($100)
  • Six silver tablespoons ($6)
  • Six silver forks ($2)
  • One gold watch and chain ($30)
  • Furniture and Household Effects
    • Two black walnut bedsteads ($10)
    • Two black walnut bureaus ($12)
    • Black walnut bookcase ($10)
    • Two black walnut chairs ($1)
    • Three old couches ($6)
    • One old piano ($30)
    • Lady's watch and chain ($15)
    • Gun case and loading apparatus ($10)
    • Fishing rod, reel, and line ($5)
    • Paints and brushes ($1)
    • 75 yards carpet 35 years old ($15)
    • One dining table and six chairs ($5)
Real Estate
Real estate consists of house and about five acres of land in village of Mount Kisco.
  • Situated on road leading from Mount Kisco to Bedford Station and on avenue running southerly from said road ($12,000)
  • A tract of nine cares in swamp south of village of Mount Kisco in town of New Castle ($100)
  • One hundred and fifty acres of land in town of Pawling, Putnam County ($1200)
  • Strip of land ten feet wide running around a small vacant lot in the back part of town of Bedford on road leading from Bedford Station to Bedford Village ($10)

Probates: William Craft

When William Craft wrote his will on May 9, 1791, he probably knew the end was coming. He described himself as "very weak in body but of perfect mind and memory." He names seven children in his will, as well as his "my dearly beloved wife" Hannah. I know the birth dates of only two of their children. Mary Craft, to whom William left "one cow and one feather bed and furniture" (the term "bed" referred only to the mattress; "furniture" referred to the bed frame), would have been fourteen years old; his son Robert, whom William wanted to have one year's schooling and an apprenticeship in a trade, would have been twelve. William Craft died on July 30, 1791. His stone was carved by Solomon Brewer, a native of the Connecticut River Valley who was born in Springfield, MA, and moved to Westchester County after the Revolutionary War. 

William lived just long enough to be recorded on the first United States federal census in 1790. The total number of household members was thirteen: four white males under the age of 16 (Robert and Walter, perhaps William Jr., and who else?), four males 16 and over (William, perhaps Charles, and two unknown others?), and five females (Hannah, Mary, Deborah, Anne, and one unknown other). As you can imagine, the 1790 census is frustratingly vague.

William must have been troubled by the prospect of leaving his children, all of whom seem to have been minors at the time, without a father. His will does not simply deal with possessions and property, but with arrangements for his children's transition into adulthood. William Jr. was probably older, perhaps the second oldest; he would receive his father's blacksmith shop and tools, ensuring that he would have a proper livelihood. He had probably already received training from his father. Charles may have been the oldest, as he is named as executor along with William's wife. William didn't leave him anything, yet the fact that he was executor likely meant it wasn't because the they were estranged; more likely, Charles had already received something from his father, perhaps when he left the house.

William wanted Robert and Walter, the younger sons, to each receive schooling and to be "bound out to a trade" when they reached the age of fourteen, a typical arrangement for the time. The arrangements were very different for the girls; William's three daughters, Deborah, Mary, and Ann, were to receive one cow and one bed each either when they reached the age of eighteen or married - also typical for the time.

Mary must have received her cow and bed, as she married Gilbert Montross at some point after her father's death. However, she died not long after that, in 1801 at the age of 24. Her stone in the Episcopal cemetery is attributed to the Upper Connecticut Carver.

Robert Craft, on the other hand, may have never received the schooling or apprenticeship that his father wanted for him; he died in 1793 at the age of 14. His stone, like his father's, was carved by Solomon Brewer. In fact, it is this Solomon Brewer stone that served as the model for the cherub face that Laurie and I have used as the mascot for our excavation. 

The Craft family lays claim to the largest number of old sandstone gravestones in the cemetery. There are nine Craft gravestones in all, three belonging to to William and Hannah Craft's family, and seven belonging to Thomas and Catharine Craft's. 

Notably, Charles Haight, the man who built St. George's Church and donated the land for the cemetery, and who served as a vestryman, is one of the witnesses to William Craft's will. 

Will of William Craft

In the name of God, amen, the ninth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand, seven hundred, and ninety one, I, William Craft of New Castle in the county of Westchester and state of New York, gentleman, being very weak in body but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is [illegible] for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say -

Principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it, and for my body I recommend it to the Earth to be buried in Christianlike and decent manner at the discretion of my executors and as touching such worldly estate, whatevereth it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, [illegible] and dispose of the same in the following manner and form:

First my will is that all my just debts and funeral charges be paid and settled (?).

Imprimis I give and bequeath unto Hannah, my dearly beloved wife, one feather bed and furniture which she shall choose; also my clothes cupboard and looking glass and further as the law provides.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my well beloved son William my blacksmith shop and blacksmith tools.

Item: And my will is and I give unto my daughter Deborah one cow and one feather bed and furniture and that when she shall come to the age of eighteen or married.

Item: I give unto my daughter Mary one cow and one feather bed and furniture and that when she comes to the age of eighteen or married.

Item: I give unto Anne my daughter one cow and one feather bed and furniture and that when she comes to the age of eighteen or married.

Item: And my will is that my son Robert shall have one year's schooling, and my will is that when my son Robert shall come to the age of fourteen years he shall be bound out to a trade at the discretion of my executors, and my will is that my son Walter shall have reasonable schooling at the discretion of my executors, and my will is that my son Walter when he shall come to the age of fourteen years he shall be bound out to a trade at the discretion of my executors.

Item: And my will is that my lands shall be sold when my son Robert shall come to the age of twenty one years and the monies arising there from first to pay unto Robert and Walter the sum of five pounds apiece before division and then the remainder to be equally divided between my sons William, Robert, and Walter and my will is that if either of my sons aforesaid should die before they shall come to the age of twenty one years and that without lawful issue then their part to be equally divided between the surviving brothers aforesaid and my will is that my executors shall sell so much of my movable estate as shall pay my just debts if it should be [illegible] and my will is that if either of my said daughters should die before they shall come to the age of eighteen years or married and without lawful issue then their part to be equally divided between the surviving sisters aforesaid. And my will is that when my son Robert shall come to the age of twenty one years that if there be any of my movable estate left that it be sold at the discretion of my executors and the monies arising therefrom to be equally divided between my daughters aforesaid.

And my will is that my well beloved wife and my well beloved son Charles Craft shall be my executors whom I likewise construe (?) make, and ordain my only and sole executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby utterly disavow, revoke, and disannul [sic] all and every other former testament, wills, legacies, and executors by me any [illegible] before this time named, willed, and bequeathed, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above [illegible].

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced, and declared by the said William Craft as his last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers,

Charles Haight
Mary McKeen (her mark)
Jacob Carpenter

  1. William Craft (1740-1791) m. Hannah
    1. Mary Craft (1777-1801) m. Gilbert Montross
    2. Robert Craft (1779-1793)
    3. Charles Craft
    4. William Craft
    5. Walter Craft
    6. Deborah Craft
    7. Anne Craft

Friday, August 14, 2015

Probates: Ann Powers Alford

Ann Powers was born in Newfoundland around 1785. Her marriage to James Alford, a sailor, on August 27, 1801, is recorded in the ledger of the Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. Seventy years later, she wrote her will in New Castle, New York, leaving money and several prized possessions to her friends. No relatives are named in Ann Alford's will; they are uniformly friends, and all who are explicitly named are female.

In a society where legal and social machinery conspired to keep property in the hands of men, and where familial ties were valued over non-familial ones, it is touching to witness the freedom of a woman to distribute her property among her female friends. Even more so than the pecuniary gifts, the choice of Ann's personal possessions illustrate the close bonds of friendship, as well as the way in which objects could function as conveyors of meaning and memory. Ann was 87 years old when she died; the recipients of her dresses were more than 30 years younger than she. Would the recipients actually wear the dresses? Or would they be kept for sentimental reasons only? It is worth noting that in the estate inventories of the 19th century, a person's "wearing apparel" was often the most valuable item in the list.

The other objects, while likely meant to evoke sentiment, seem more useful: the counterpane (bedspread) given to Emeline Benedict; the gold watch given to her daughter; even the bed and bedding left to Caroline Peters of Cincinnati (how exactly was that transaction accomplished?). While the idea of inheriting your elderly friend's bedsheets may seem a bit odd today, beds and bedding were very valuable in the 19th century, second only to apparel in the average person's inventory of possessions. 

Here is the will in its entirety:

Will of Ann Alford

In the name of God, amen: I, Ann Alford, widow, of the town of New Castle, County of Westchester and State of New York, being of sound mind and memory do make, publish, and declare this my last will and testament, in manner following, that is to say:

First. I order my executors hereinafter named to pay all my just debts and funeral expenses.

Second. I give and bequeath unto my beloved friend Emeline Benedict, widow of John Benedict of the town of New Castle, the sum of one hundred dollars, my black silk dress, my brown or slate colored dress, and my white counterpane.

Third. I give and bequeath to my beloved friend Deborah Benedict, daughter of Emeline, my gold watch.

Fourth. I give and bequeath to my beloved friend Caroline Peters, wife of John Peters of the city of Cincinnati and state of Ohio, my bed and bedding.

Fifth. I give and bequeath to my beloved friend Hannah H. Sarles, wife of William A. Sarles of the town of Bedford, county of Westchester and state of New York, the sum of one hundred dollars and all the rest and remainder of my wardrobe not hereinbefore disposed of.

Sixth. I give and bequeath to my beloved friend Sarah Ann Jackson, widow of George Jackson of the town of Bedford, county of Westchester and state of New York, the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars, and in case of the decease of the said Sarah Ann Jackson before receiving any benefit from the provision herein made for her benefit, then the said sum of one hundred and fifty dollars bequeathed to her shall be for the benefit of my beloved friend Hannah H. Sarles, wife of William A. Sarles of the town of Bedford, county of Westchester and state of New York.

Seventh. I give and bequeath unto my beloved friends Mary Seaman of Norwalk and state of Connecticut; Phebe Chase, wife of Edward Chase of the town of Bedford, county of Westchester and state of New York, and Susan, daughter of Gilbert Van Tassel of the city, county, and state of New York, each the sum of fifty dollars.

Eighth. I give and bequeath to my beloved friends Frances Cecelia Wheaton and Maria Henrietta Wheaton, children of Miles B. Wheaton of the city of New York, each the sum of fifty dollars.

Ninth. And I further provide in case of the death of any one of the parties to whom I have left any legacy or given any articles (except in the case of the said Sarah Ann Jackson) then the provision so made to them shall not become void but shall revert to their heirs at law.

Tenth. I give and bequeath all the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, goods and chattels, of what nature or kind so ever to the children of my beloved friend John Romer, of the city, county, and state of New York, who shall remain unmarried at the time of my decease, share and share alike.

Lastly. I hereby nominate and appoint my friends John Romer and Miles R. Carpenter of the city, county, and state of New York executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty-fifth day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and seventy one.

Mrs. Ann Alford

The above instrument consisting of one sheet was at the date hereof signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said Ann Alford as and for her last will and testament in presence of us, who at her request and in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses hereto.

M. W. Fish, Bedford, Westchester Co., NY
H. S. Banks, New Castle, Westchester Co., NY


Emeline Benedict, the recipient of $100, two dresses, and Ann's white counterpane, would have been 55 years old in 1871. Her daughter Deborah would have been around 30. John Benedict, their husband and father respectively, was a farmer who died sometime before 1870. Just two years earlier, Ann Alford was a boarder in the Benedicts' house, as shown in the 1870 federal census.

Hannah H. Sarles would have been 46 years old when she was named as the recipient of the remainder of Ann's wardrobe, as well as $100. She was a milliner, her husband a shoemaker.

Sarah Ann Jackson, who would have been 38, was born Sarah Ann Van Tassel. Phebe Chase and Susan Van Tassel were her sisters. Sarah Ann was recorded as a milliner in the 1860 census and a seamstress in the 1870 census. Her husband, George W. Jackson, was a tailor. Phebe Chase's husband Edwin was a tin smith; they married in 1861 and had three children. Phebe, one of her children, and her other sister Ardelia are buried in the cemetery.

Mary Seaman, who appears to have been unmarried, would have been 46, and in 1880 was living with her sister and brother-in-law, the Sherwoods, in Norwalk.

Miles B. Wheaton was a builder in New York City; his wife was Julia A. Wheaton. In 1871, their daughters Frances and Maria would have been 14 and nine years old, respectively. Their son William would have been five, but Ann didn't leave anything to him.

I haven't been able to identify which John Romer it was who is identified in Ann's will (there were several living in New York City in the 1870s, all with children). However, I find it interesting that Ann stipulated that only the yet unmarried children were to receive an inheritance.

If there's one pattern that I can discern running through the people named in Ann's will, it is that they tend to be women who exercise a relative amount of independence from men. Emeline Benedict was a widow; her daughter Deborah was single. Mary Seaman was single. Sarah Ann Jackson and Hannah H. Sarles were married, but both practiced trades of their own (milliner/seamstress and milliner, respectively). Frances and Maria Wheaton were unmarried adolescents.

Of course, this is only a theory, but perhaps Ann Alford had a soft spot for women and girls who, whether by choice or circumstance, provided for themselves either partly or totally. Perhaps, having no living children of her own, she befriended women and girls whom she could imagine as daughters and granddaughters. Perhaps some of these women also sought out Ann to fill a familial role in their lives. In the case of the Benedicts, it seems plausible that Emeline, in addition to being Ann's landlady, also served as her caregiver.

While this is all conjectural, these are the kind of relationships that I like to explore, the ordinary ties between neighbors and friends that were so essential to a community, yet can also feel very ephemeral as the stories and meanings behind the gifts to "beloved friends" are left unspoken and undocumented.

Probates: Will of James Ferris

After examining several estate inventories of men who died intestate, I thought it'd be interesting to investigate the case of a person who actually left a will.

James Ferris (father of Peter N. Ferris; of unknown relation to Stephen Ferris) wrote his will on September 8, 1826, and died two days later at the age of 65. Eleven years older than Stephen Ferris, he would have been alive to witness (but probably not remember) the building of St. George's Church in 1762. He definitely would have remembered the years of the American Revolution, during which New Castle was a hostile no-man's-land located between British and American territories, and would have been a young man in the time that the community was slowly being rebuilt.

James's will makes use of the same conventions that most wills of the day used. He made sure to state that he was "of a perfect mind and memory," to instruct his executors to pay his debts and funeral expenses, and provided for his family in the way that would have been expected. His wife, Martha, received a third of his real and personal estate, which was a typical portion (in some places the "widow's third" was written into law, to ensure that a married woman would have enough to live on after her husband's death). The mention of Martha's dowry was meant to imply that she would receive back the value of those items she brought with her into the marriage. James's two sons received money, while his unmarried daughter received furniture and money -- all pretty much typical arrangements. James's married daughters would have likely received some personal property at the time of their marriages, so that Sarah Ferris would be owed a larger portion.

It is also not that unusual that James gives only ten dollars to his son, Peter N. Ferris, while giving eight hundred dollars to his son Horatio. James seems concerned to point out that Peter's portion is a "just and full sum," and "the reason why I give him no more is he has heretofore been provided for." It's not uncommon that a portion of a person's estate might have been distributed to one or more children before the writing of the will. Ten dollars was probably meant as a nominal sum so as not to appear to snub Peter in his father's will.

Will of James Ferris

Be it remembered that I James Ferris of the town of New Castle in the Country of Westchester and state of New York, being weak in body but of a perfect mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament as follows.

First I order and my will is that my executors hereafter named and appointed by me first and foremost to pay my funeral charges and also all my just debts out of my estate. Secondly I order and my will is that my real estate be sold by my executors at private sale (and if not sold within two months after my decease then to be sold at public auction or as soon as thereafter as my executors shall think proper) and a deed of conveyance given for the same by my executors. I further order and my will is that my executors sell any personal estate at public auction as soon after my decease as they shall think proper except such of my personal estate as is herein after disposed of.

I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Martha Ferris in sense of her dowry two cows one equal half of all and singular my beds, bedsteads, cords, and bedding, one table and three chairs at her disposal and the use of one third of the monies arising from the sale of my real and personal estate what remains after my just debts, funeral charges, and the exchange of settling my estate is paid, and the use of all my household furniture as long as she shall wish to keep house and at her decease to be equally divided between my four daughters.

I give and bequeath to my son Peter N. Ferris the just and full sum of ten dollars to be paid to him by my executors after the sale of my real estate. The reason why I give him no more is he has heretofore been provided for.

I give and bequeath to my son Horasho [sic] Ferris eight hundred dollars to be paid to him by my executors after received by them from the sale of my real and personal estate.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah Ferris two cows, the equal one half of all and singular my beds, bedsteads, cords, and bedding together with forty-five dollars in money to be paid to her as is mentioned above.

I further order and my will is that the remainder of my estate not otherwise disposed of be equally divided by my executors between my four daughters namely Emily Clapp, Aliner [sic] Carpenter, Mary Kirby, and Sarah Ferris to be paid to them as is mentioned above.

I further order and my will is as it respects the one third of my estate which my wife has the use of as is before mentioned to be equally divided by my executors or their survivors as soon after the decease of my wife as is convenient for them so to do between my son Horasho Ferris and my four daughters namely Emily Clapp, Aliner Carpenter, Mary Kirby, and Sarah Ferris.

I constitute and appoint my son Horasho Ferris and my friend Gilbert Brundage to be my executors to this my last will and testament, disallowing and disanulling [sic] all other wills and testaments, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament, sealed with my seal dated this eighth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty six.

Signed, sealed, published, and declared to be my last will and testament in the presence of

Emos Mayshall
Benjamin Kirby
Jonathan Cornwell

Using James Ferris's will and information from gravestones, it is possible to reconstruct his family tree (green names indicate those buried in the Episcopal cemetery):
  1. James Ferris (1760-1826) m. Martha (1767-1830)
    1. Horasho Ferris
    2. Peter N. Ferris (1789-1845) m. Phebe Ward (1791-1857)
      1. Emily Ferris (1812-1878) m. George M. Sherwood (1812-1901)
      2. Jane Ferris m. James D. Sherwood
        1. Maria S. Sherwood
      3. Joseph D. Ferris
      4. Sarah Matilda Ferris (1825-) m. Silas Constant Whitney (1810-)
      5. Benjamin M. Ferris
      6. Absalom N. Ferris
      7. Mary E. Ferris m. John H. Scott
    3. Emily Ferris (1796-1842) m. Philip Clapp
    4. Eleanor Ferris (1796-1827) m. William Carpenter (1801-1830) m. Sarah (1802-1830)
    5. Mary Ferris (1800-1879) m. Joseph Kirby (1801-1849)
    6. Sarah Ferris

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Probates: Stephen Ferris

If there's one immediate conclusion I can draw from the estate inventory of Stephen Ferris, who died January 30, 1827, at the age of 55, it's that he and his family probably weren't consuming all of the hundreds of gallons of alcohol in various forms that was counted among his property at the time of his death. The quantities of beer, rum, brandy, wine, and gin that Stephen Ferris owned most definitely indicate an "intent to sell," to couch it in modern-day criminal justice terms. That is not to say that Ferris's was an illegal operation. Most likely, he was a merchant or tavern keeper as well as a farmer (he owned cows, chickens, scythes, and garden seed). His wife and daughters may have engaged in textile production and/or dressmaking (see the "wheels" a.k.a. spinning wheels and the large amount of textiles that they owned), or they might have sold textiles in their store (note there are no looms mentioned, suggesting that the weaving was done somewhere else).

What I find most interesting about Stephen Ferris's estate inventory is this section, enumerating the modest collection of items separated from the extensive list as "goods belonging to the widow for the support of their minor children."
  • One stove an operates (?) ($40)
  • Three beds and bedding ($62.50)
  • Six fancy chairs ($4)
  • One table and one stand ($7)
  • Six plates ($0.50)
  • Six cups and saucers ($0.44)
  • One Bible and Flynn (?) book, other books ($4)
  • One large pot and one small pot ($1)
  • Two iron kettles ($1.25)
  • One large wheel and one small wheel ($5)
  • One frying pan and one gridiron ($0.75)
  • Two candlesticks [illegible] ($0.50)
  • Six bowls, one tin work bowl ($0.88)
  • Six knives & forks ($0.75)
  • One oval dish & six tumblers ($0.62)
  • One pair handirons ($2)
  • One shovel and tongs ($1)
  • One teakettle and two pails ($1)
  • One teapot milk & sugar dish ($3.50)
  • One red white face cow ($18)
  • Pork and cask (?) ($8)
  • Six tin pans ($1.52)
  • One colander ($0.25)
  • One coffee pot ($0.25)
  • Two stone pots ($0.50)
  • One bread tray and bowl ($0.37)
  • One churn & pitcher ($1.25)
  • One pair smoothing irons ($0.62)
  • One washtub ($0.25)
How many "minor children" were these goods intended to support, and for how long? To answer that I need to go back to the beginning, when Stephen Ferris was born, around 1771 or 1772. I don't know anything about his parents, but I do know that he married Rachel Fish, who was born in 1774, most likely around the mid-1790s. Her gravestone is pictured above (Stephen is also buried in the cemetery, but the photo of his stone on FindAGrave isn't legible). Three of Stephen and Rachel's children are buried beside them in the cemetery: Cornelus (1800-1843), James (1803-1838), and Richard (1814-1841). Of these children, only Richard would have been a minor in 1827, but sources on Ancestry and FindAGrave (which I can't verify at the moment) indicate that they had two other children who would have been minors at that time.

Here is the rest of the estate inventory (or rather, what I could read of it): 
  • Old scythe ($0.12)
  • One box and hazelnuts ($0.18)
  • 25 lb feathers & [illegible] ($11.19)
  • One pair sole leather ($0.75)
  • Box and quills ($0.75)
  • Lot of casks in storehouse ($1.38)
  • One set axe [illegible] ($0.60)
  • Lot of old irons ($1)
  • Three baskets of onions ($0.50)
  • Set of wooden measures ($1.50)
  • Three augers ($0.50)
  • One case of English powder ($6)
  • One case of orange powder ($5)
  • One sugar break ($0.12)
  • Fine salt in cask ($1.75)
  • One bottle and wedges ($0.50)
  • One lot of whiffletrees ($0.50)
  • 5 [illegible] forks ($1.50)
  • Two scythe sheaths ($0.12)
  • Six scythes ($4.50)
  • Nine and a half dozen cups and bowls ($3.56)
  • Four shovels and one spade ($2.50)
  • Nine dozen blue teas (?) ($9)
  • Thirteen muskrat skins ($2.84)
  • Two barrels mackerel (?) ($8)
  • One sack (?) of salt ($2.75)
  • One barrel [illegible] wine ($30.81)
  • Two and a half dozen plates at 4/ ($1.25)
  • One half barrel [illegible] ($1.50)
  • Two decanters ($0.50)
  • Two and a half dozen small blue plates ($0.94)
  • One barrel of flour ($6)
  • One lot of wild game ($0.56)
  • One barrel ground logwool (?) ($1.75)
  • One barrel of flour ($1.12)
  • One half dozen blue plates ($0.62)
  • Nine blue plates ($0.62)
  • Five oval dishes ($1.75)
  • One lot small plates ($0.28)
  • Three and a half dozen white plates ($1.75)
  • Five white work brushes ($2.25)
  • Three pair bellows ($0.25)
  • Two clothes baskets ($0.25)
  • Three dozen plates at 2/9 ($1.83)
  • Thirteen milk plates at /6 ($0.81)
  • Four milk plates ($0.50)
  • Fourteen plow shares ($5.25)
  • Five dozen bowls ($2.50)
  • Seven gallons (?) salts and peppers ($0.88)
  • Four chambers (?) at 1/9 ($0.88)
  • Five glass jars ($1.25)
  • One decanter ($0.25)
  • Five teapots ($2.62)
  • One tea set ($1.12)
  • One ditching (?) shovel ($0.38)
  • Six blue pitchers ($2.25)
  • Three fancy pitchers ($0.65)
  • One pepper mill ($0.38)
  • Three hoes ($0.38)
  • One gross [illegible] teas ($2)
  • Nine black teapots at 10 ($0.94)
  • One and a half dozen white bowls ($0.66)
  • Eight fancy bowls ($0.50)
  • Lot of tumblers ($1.75)
  • 91 (?) baking dishes ($4.64)
  • Ten lash strings ($0.62)
  • Ten wash bowls and chambers ($0.88)
  • Fifteen jugs ($2.19)
  • Five pots ($0.78)
  • One pair of chisels ($0.38)
  • Eight pair women's shoes ($6)
  • Five pair men's shoes ($6.88)
  • Four pair children's shoes ($1)
  • Two small shoes ($1)
  • One iron pot ($0.75)
  • One skillet ($0.15)
  • Three sugar boxes ($0.44)
  • One barrel of sand ($3.62)
  • One [illegible] jug ($0.25)
  • One box of corks ($0.25)
  • One lot of glass ($0.88)
  • One ladle ($0.09)
  • Three iron squares ($0.75)
  • One box of pipes ($0.18)
  • Lot of wooden bowls ($2)
  • 84 lb batting ($8.42)
  • Five pair [illegible] shoes ($3.12)
  • One dozen suspenders ($1.62)
  • One half dozen suspenders ($1.75)
  • Eight pair small forks (?) ($0.75)
  • 33 lb cotton yarn ($8.25)
  • 11 lb batting ($1.15)
  • 5 lb candlewick (?) ($1.25)
  • Five lumps of sugar ($6)
  • One lot of garden seeds ($12.65)
  • 5 lb wire ($0.94)
  • Lot of tobacco ($3.09)
  • Case of plug tobacco ($0.62)
  • Two and a half boxes [illegible] ($7.50)
  • Two trunks ($2.50)
  • 40 lb ginger ($3.45)
  • 150 lb white sugar ($17.25)
  • 125 lb brown sugar ($11.25)
  • One cheese [illegible] ($2.25)
  • One steel trap ($0.38)
  • One pair steelyards ($0.75)
  • Twelve lb skin (?) tea ($6.72)
  • 25 lb [illegible] ($22.25)
  • 15 lb alspice ($3.60)
  • 30 lb pepper ($5.40)
  • 8 lb salt ($0.32)
  • 18 lb [illegible] ($1.26)
  • 6 lb Epson salts ($0.60)
  • Case of ginger ($0.23)
  • 17 lb salts [illegible] ($1.70)
  • Barrel of butter ($2)
  • Bag of coffee ($14)
  • 28 lb crackers ($1.88)
  • 12 lb [illegible] ($0.75)
  • 19 lb starch ($1.08)
  • 100 lb nails ($6)
  • 30 lathe (?) nails ($6)
  • 80 lb shingle nails ($5.60)
  • Two horse [illegible] ($1)
  • 70 lb [illegible] nails ($4.20)
  • 14 sheets [illegible] ($0.88)
  • Two whips ($0.50)
  • 14 yards Lyon skin ($10.50)
  • 7.75 yards [illegible] ($15.09)
  • 32 ditto ($4)
  • 18.75 ditto ($2.15)
  • 135 ditto ($13.55)
  • 50 ditto ($8.12)
  • 17.75 yards ditto ($2.43)
  • 45.75 ditto ($4.57)
  • 24 [illegible] ($3.52)
  • 28 [yards?] flannel ($5.25)
  • Five pair of [illegible] ($1.75)
  • 3.5 yards of cord ($1.09)
  • 18.75 yards cord ($6.37)
  • 15.75 drab cloth ($27.62)
  • 5.25 white [illegible] ($3.28)
  • 3.75 mixed cloth ($18.12)
  • 3 yards of [illegible] cloth ($0.94)
  • 14 yards blue cloth ($31.50)
  • 12 yards blue cloth ($31.56)
  • 7 1/4 yards blue cloth ($19.30)
  • 10 yards Buckram ($1)
  • 20.25 cloth ($30.38)
  • [illegible] ($0.25)
  • Five green veils (?) ($2.18)
  • One [illegible] ($0.50)
  • Two light silk [illegible] ($0.46)
  • Two ditto ($0.62)
  • 12 yards cashmere (?) ($10.50)
  • 7.25 satinette ($3.62)
  • 4.25 ditto ($2.12)
  • 10.75 [yards?] blue cashmere ($16.12)
  • 21.5 satinette ($12.53)
  • 8 yards black (?) cloth ($5)
  • 12 yards blue cloth ($4.50)
  • 5.5 drab cloth ($4.12)
  • 15.75 tartan plaid ($4.95)
  • 39.5 teal (?) flannel ($4.94)
  • 14.5 yards cotton [illegible] ($6.04)
  • 47 yards green flannel ($11.75)
  • Lot of cotton thread ($2.62)
  • 86 yards gingham ($10.75)
  • 98 ditto ($9.80)
  • 14.5 yards stripe [illegible] ($2.32)
  • 26.25 [illegible] ($6.57)
  • 4.75 check ($0.59)
  • 27.5 cotton stripe ($4.95)
  • One buffalo skin ($5)
  • 10.75 ted (?) flannel ($3.37)
  • Remnant (?) of flannel ($0.12)
  • 105 yards calico ($10.52)
  • 39 wide ditto ($5.85)
  • 56.25 yards ditto ($8.44)
  • 92.25 yards ditto ($17.61)
  • 38.5 yards ditto ($7.60)
  • 23.75 yards ditto ($5.84)
  • 49.5 yards ditto ($7.92)
  • 72 India calico ($16.56)
  • 10.25 spotted flannel ($3.84)
  • 7.75 ticking ($1.94)
  • 21.25 check ($4.68)
  • 7 yards gingham ($1.05)
  • 12.75 furniture [illegible] ($3.88)
  • Six pair black hose ($2.62)
  • Four pair white ditto ($2.50)
  • Four black cotton ($1)
  • Five white cotton ($1.72)
  • 42 yards [illegible] ($6.48)
  • Six bed quilts ($5.25)
  • 35 children's [illegible] ($1.05)
  • 14 cotton flags ($2.19)
  • 16 cotton [illegible] ($2)
  • 3 [illegible] ($0.28)
  • 9 [illegible] ($1.80)
  • 13 ditto [illegible] ($1.17)
  • One large cotton shawl ($0.75)
  • Two green silk shawls ($1)
  • Two cotton [illegible] ($1)
  • Nine silk [illegible] ($5.62)
  • One ditto ($0.75)
  • 4 bandanas (?) ($2)
  • Three yards vesting (?) ($2.25)
  • 4.5 vesting ($1.68)
  • 2 vest portions ($1.25)
  • 6.75 white muslin ($0.68)
  • 15.5 ditto ($2.02)
  • 43.75 ditto ($9.62)
  • One [illegible] ($0.15)
  • 25.5 black [illegible] ($4.83)
  • 10.5 ditto ($1.89)
  • 21.25 tabby velvet ($9.24)
  • 18.75 black [illegible] ($5.52)
  • 15.75 ditto ($1.97)
  • 8.25 twilled ($2.31)
  • 5.25 [illegible] ($1.15)
  • 20.25 silk stripe ($10.12)
  • 21.5 [illegible] ($4.33)
  • 3.75 sateens ($1.88)
  • 1.25 cotton stripe ($0.18)
  • 15.5 green silk ($5.81)
  • 5 [illegible] dresses ($6.25)
  • 4.5 mill muslin ($1.72)
  • 11 yards spider net (?) ($1.98)
  • 5.75 [illegible] ($2.30)
  • 8 yards ditto ($2.80)
  • 7.25 ditto ($1.81)
  • One wrapper ($0.12)
  • Four shawls ($0.75)
  • 4.75 spidernet ($0.59)
  • Four [illegible] shawls ($1.50)
  • 1.5 [illegible] ($0.75)
  • 11.25 book muslin ($2.10)
  • One wrapper ($0.12)
  • Two cedar pails (?) ($0.88)
  • Eighteen watch ribbons ($0.90)
  • Four cloak clasps ($0.50)
  • Eight watch seals ($0.50)
  • Nine keys ($0.56)
  • Three yards lace ($0.13)
  • Four buck skin mitts ($1.25)
  • Eight pair gloves ($3.50)
  • Two pair ditto ($0.50)
  • Three men's ditto ($0.69)
  • Thirteen oz black sewing silk ($4.87)
  • 12 oz assorted ditto ($3.75)
  • One pair gloves ($0.12)
  • Three oz. [illegible] ($1.50)
  • Two [illegible] furniture binding ($0.50)
  • One dozen tapes ($0.56)
  • Lot of silk braid (?) ($0.62)
  • One box hooks & eyes ($0.18)
  • 32 pieces ribbon ($6)
  • Three pieces ribbon ($2.50)
  • Two flats (?) ($4.75)
  • Two ditto ($2.25)
  • One beer pump ($15)
  • One stove and pipe ($15)
  • Two lamps and [illegible] ($0.52)
  • Two old candlesticks ($0.12)
  • One [illegible] ($0.88)
  • Two pair smoking irons ($0.88)
  • Two tons of plaster ($10)
  • Two old pails ($0.38)
  • Three silver spoons ($2)
  • Two [illegible] cows ($18)
  • One yellow cow ($16)
  • Two cows ($36)
  • Cart shelvers (?) ($0.50)
  • Two narrow axes ($0.75)
  • Lot shoe thread ($0.75)
  • 112 [illegible] flour ($2.25)
  • Wearing apparel ($22.75)
  • 33 fowls ($6.18)
  • Four guinea fowls ($0.75)
  • One turkey ($0.38)
  • Two geese ($0.88)
  • Five pair snuffers (?) ($2.19)
  • Four pair siphons (?) ($0.75)
  • Five pair ditto ($0.75)
  • Ten pair [illegible] wine (?) ($0.31)
  • Ten dozen buttons ($1.25)
  • One lot buttons ($3.12)
  • One half dozen Brazilian combs ($2.12)
  • One ditto ($0.22)
  • Lot of combs ($0.72)
  • Two packs (?) of pins ($2.12)
  • One lot ditto ($0.56)
  • Eight wallets ($0.64)
  • Lot of books ($1.56)
  • Seven Japan (?) lamps ($0.88)
  • Nine top (?) lamps ($0.56)
  • 13 sparrowbills ($0.93)
  • Nine paintbrushes ($0.94)
  • Seven pair wool cards ($1.31)
  • Ten combs ($0.42)
  • Five [illegible] straps [illegible] ($0.62)
  • Snuff boxes and combs ($0.44)
  • Nine razors (?) ($2.25)
  • 14 [illegible] knives ($1.31)
  • Three ditto ($0.25)
  • Six ditto ($0.62)
  • Six ditto ($0.62)
  • Seven ditto small ($0.37)
  • 10 ditto ($0.83)
  • Three ditto ($0.38)
  • One hammer ($0.38)
  • Five shoe tarps (?) ($0.62)
  • Two knives ($0.75)
  • One m [illegible] braids ($0.31)
  • Pegging awls ($0.12)
  • One basin (?) ($0.12)
  • Combs and [illegible] ($0.18)
  • Lot of mousetraps ($0.38)
  • Lot of [illegible] beads ($0.38)
  • Awl hafts ($0.70)
  • One chisel ($0.25)
  • Three pair hinges ($0.47)
  • Four spike gimblets ($0.25)
  • One pair pinchers ($0.25)
  • Nine gross shoe tacks (?) ($1.62)
  • Lot screws ($0.31)
  • Two slates ($0.25)
  • 22 lb chocolate ($3.52)
  • One bunch shutting pins ($0.12)
  • 36 [illegible] augers ($1.80)
  • One pair brushes (?) ($0.19)
  • Lot Jews harps ($2)
  • [illegible] ($1.62)
  • One box Spanish [illegible] ($3.50)
  • One box shaving soap ($0.75)
  • Lot of garden seed ($0.50)
  • Two shoe hammers ($0.32)
  • Two dozen shaving boxes ($0.75)
  • Four bottles blacking (?) ($0.50)
  • Five part ditto ($0.31)
  • Eight [illegible] ($0.83)
  • One bottle of lavender ($0.75)
  • Bottle of [illegible] ($0.50)
  • Jar of snuff ($0.75)
  • Lot of dishes ($0.50)
  • Jugs and pitchers ($0.62)
  • [illegible] of coloring ($0.88)
  • Lemon syrup (?) ($0.18)
  • Lime squeezers ($0.18)
  • Six flat files (?) ($1.50)
  • Three spoons ($0.38)
  • Eight pair nippers ($0.75)
  • Three snuffer trays ($0.38)
  • Four shoe knives ($0.33)
  • Nine pair compasses (?) ($0.83)
  • One dozen knives and forks ($1.62)
  • One lot of gimblets ($1.50)
  • Decanters and bottles ($1.25)
  • 2.75 lb indigo and pot ($6.18)
  • Pot of brownstone ($0.18)
  • Tallow and barrel (?) ($2.25)
  • Shot box ($2.50)
  • Pewter measures ($1.31)
  • Tin measures ($1)
  • 16 gallons lamp oil ($11.52)
  • Oil can ($4)
  • Cask of [illegible] wine ($17)
  • 16 gallons [illegible] wine ($16)
  • 28 gallons cherry ($14)
  • 16 gallons Holland gin ($13.60)
  • 10 gallon kegs ($3.38)
  • 30 gallons Jamaica rum ($22.50)
  • 34 brandy ($29.75)
  • 4 cherry ($2)
  • One gallon cordial ($0.50)
  • 2.5 currant wine ($1.25)
  • 10 gallons corn brandy ($4.50)
  • One barrel ($0.62)
  • 35 gallons [illegible] ($24.06)
  • 120 gallons [illegible] ($45.60)
  • Gin and [illegible] ($1.12)
  • Two pewter tea pots ($1.25)
  • Scales and weights ($13.37
  • Wine and cask ($1)
  • Sixteen gallons rum (?) ($12)
  • Beer barrel ($0.50)
  • One half [illegible] tobacco ($1.38)
  • One hogshead of sugar ($1.25)
  • One barrel of cider ($1.50)
  • One barrel of beer ($4)
  • Tub and contents ($0.75)
  • Three empty casks ($2)
  • Lot tobacco ($1.12)
  • Currant wine and cask ($7)
  • Cherry and cask ($4)
  • 74 gallons brandy ($33.75)
  • 55 gallons molasses ($18.15)
  • Old boxes tubs etc. ($0.50)
  • Spade and shovel ($0.38)
  • One pair shears ($0.12)
  • Cash in silver ($95.63)
  • Cash in cents ($2.33)
  • Silver ($15.78)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scenes from Bellevue Poor House

Photographs of Bellevue Poorhouse, Blackwell's Island, NY, 1900. Via the Museum of the City of New York (link).

Scenes from the Kings County Almshouse

Photographs of the Kings County Almshouse, Brooklyn, NY, Circa 1900, via the Museum of the City of New York (link).