Will of Jan Becker - 1694
In the name of God, Amen. In the year of our Lord 1694, the 31st of August, at Albany, being in the sixth year of the reign of William and Mary, king and queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defenders of the faith. I, the undersigned, Jan Becker, senior, residing in the aforesaid city, considering the frailty of life and the unknown hour of death, have thought fit not to depart hence without first disposing of my temporal estate granted me by the Almighty. Therefore, being hale and sound in body, going and standing, having the full possession an use of my mind, memory, understanding, sense and speech, as outwardly appears, and acting without the persuasion, inducement or misleading of anyone, but of my own free will and motion. I commend first and foremost my soul to the gracious protection of the Most High and my body to a Christian burial and hereby canceling, annulling and my rendering void all testamentary dispositions and bequest heretofore made, now make a new disposition as follows.
My son Johannes after my death shall receive first the sum of one hundred guilders seawan value, that is 50 shillings; he shall also have all of my linen and woolen [clothing] that has belonged to my body, not comprehending therein anything else. My daughter Martina shall have all my other movable estate, including my bed, sheets, blankets and other appurtenances; also all my credits and out standing claims, nothing whatever reserved or excepted.
My garden lying behind the old fort and now by me occupied shall be equally divided between my son and daughter, that is, each to have one-half; the debts which I shall leave being and my burial expenses and whatever is connected therewith shall be a lien upon my house and ground which I now possess, but it is my express will that my daughter shall not let the cost of the funeral and incidental expenses exceed thirty prices of eight at the most. My daughter shall have full ownership of the aforesaid house and ground belonging thereto, to do therewith as she pleases, in all respects as I in my life time might do, without her husband or anyone else having anything to say in the matter or making her do ought but what she intends to do, the same as about all other things which she by virtue of this will of mine shall inherit, but she shall be holden to turn over to her brother one hundred pieces of eight within three years after my death, a third part to be paid every year, all my debts and funeral expenses to be also at her charge. It is also my express will and desire that the aforesaid one hundred pieces of eight which I give to my son, shall not be taken attached, claimed or received by any of his creditors under any pretext whatever, but he shall receive and dispose of the same for his own benefit and use as he pleases.
Also, if either of my aforesaid children be not satisfied with the aforesaid provisions, he or she shall be deprived of what they other wise would have had, the same to in crue to the benefit of the one who is satisfied.
All that is herein before written, I declare to be my testamentary disposition and last will, which I desire to have full effect from the least to the most important article thereof, whether as will, codicil, gift in anticipation of death or among the living, or any other bequest of whatsoever nature it may be, notwithstanding that all the formalities required by law or laws of this province may not be fully observed herein, desiring that said laws may be held not to apply and be not enforced in this case, desiring that the most favorable construction may be allowed for the maintenance of what is herein before written. In witness of the truth of which I have deliberately signed, sealed and executed this on the said 31st of August 1694.
The reason why I apparently give more to my aforesaid daughter than to my son, is not that I bear less affection to him than to her, but because of the great service which from her youth onward she has faithfully rendered in the household and to her mother onward she has faithfully rendered in the household and to her mother in health and sickness, yes to the hour of her death, whereby she has saved much money, for which the mother my (wife) in her last hours promised a reward and recommended the same to me, and because since her mothers death she has, as occasion demanded, rendered me great service, to this day and undoubtedly will continue to do so; yes, I am in truth bound to say that without her diligence I could not have put my estate (small as the same may be) in so good a posture, all of which is not necessary for me to particularize, but is best known to me and after my death it is very apparent her brother will not or very little take into consideration.
Nevertheless, in consideration hereof, knowing that it is the truth and that though untoward circumstances I could not reward her according to her merit, I have given to her what is comprised in my aforesaid will.
Done in Albany, the 31st of August 1694.
Transformed by JP
first posted: 3/15/03