Friday, January 15, 2016

Harshbarger line: Will of Christian Harshbarger 1744-1810

By 1810, when our Christian died, there were quite a few Christian Harshbargers in the United States.  I found this will on FamilySearch and thought that it was worth trying to transcribe it, in hopes that it will help someone prove or disprove their connection to this family.  This is the Christian Harshbarger who was married to Magdalena (Van) Gundy.  He was born in Pennsylvania in 1744 to Christian Harshbarger and Barbara Rupp, and died in 1810 in Dauphin County.  The will says he was of Inwell Township,  but this must have been Annwell Township.  This is from the transcription in Will Book 1C, page 88.  I noticed that the name of the township was consistently spelled Inwell, but I've not been able to find any reference to such a place.

Here is the will, to the best of my ability to read it, and I do apologize for the lack of punctuation but that's how it looks to me:

"In the name of God, amen.  I, Christian Hershberger of Inwell township in the county of Dauphin and State of Pennsylvania being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and memory, blessed be to God for his mercy Do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following to wit:  Imprimis I order all my just debts to be paid out of my estate after my decease.  Item Item [it appears to be written twice] I will unto my son Samuel Hershberger my plantation one hundred and fourty acres more or less situate in Inwell township in County of Dauphin and adjoining land of John Miller Philip Baumgardner and others to hold to him his heirs and assigns forever he must pay or cause to be paid [from?] foresaid plantation the sum of twelf hundred pounds good lawful Pennsylvania money as followsfour hundred pounds after my decease and fifty pounds yearly and every year until the twelf hundred pounds is paid to the children of my secont wife John Jacob Abraham Samuel Henry Elizabeth Anna Mary and Anna shall have out of my Estate two hundred pounds of the first money more than my other children equal sheares and the rest of my estate shall be sheared equal between the whole of my children Christian John Jacob Abraham Samuel Henry Elizabeth Anna Mary. and I will and bequest unto my grand daughter Polly Handshaw fifty pounds which shall remain in my hereafter mentioned executor's hands Till she comes of age and shall bear interest after my decease and no more and the personal estate shall be solt by my hereafter mentioned executor after my decease  And I do constitute and appoint my son Samuel Hershberger and John Reasor my sole executors of this my last will and Testetment In Witness whereof I the said Christian Herberger have here set my hand and seal the twentieth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three
Signed Sealed Published and declared by the said Christian Hershberger to be his last will and Testament in the presence of the subscribers Martin Meiby [not sure of next name] Williams.  Proved September 10,1810."

In reading this, I've learned some things, including that Christian was married twice, and had at least one son by his first wife, Christian.  I wonder who the first wife was?  I wonder why Anna was singled out for an extra portion of the estate.  Was she his favorite, or had she helped to care for him, or did she need the money due to some sort of physical challenge?   I also wonder who Polly Handshaw was.  She was apparently the daughter of a married (probably deceased) daughter; was this daughter also a daughter of his first wife?  I'd like to know about the last years of his life.  Was he ill the whole time between the time he wrote the will and the time it was proved?  Did he die in 1803 and the will just wasn't presented until later, for some reason?  His will didn't mention his wife, which would lead one to assume she was deceased.  My records show a death date for Magdalena of 1842.  Is that date correct, and if so, what is the explanation?

Perhaps someone reading this already has the answers to some of my questions.  If so, I'd love to hear from you, so I can have a better understanding of Christian's life.  Also, if I have any of this wrong, I'd like to know about it!

The line of descent is:

Christian Harshbarger-Magdalena (Van) Gundy
John Harshbarger-Christena Fehler
George Harshbarger-Mary Kepler
Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mancer Mentzer
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants