From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

David Blaney vs. the Reads and Maxwells

Sad end of a little family


I came across an interesting abstract of an old will, and became curious about the circumstances behind it. The will was written by David Blaney in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, about 210 years ago. He named his wife, son, and mother as legatees (beneficiaries) but placed a curious restriction upon his wife (see the clause I have italicized below):

BLANEY, David: Leg. wife Helen; son Cadwallader; to my mother my estate in Isle of Wight called "Sprinfield;" my wife must not acknowledge or keep up the least connection with any of the family by the name of Maxwell or Read, Mr. Benjamin Payne, his wife and children excepted; to William Pennock, Jr.; copies of my will to be sent my brother Asa Blaney in New England, in the care of William Lee, Esq.; Col. Godwin's son and Mr. Benjamin Payne to assist in selling my estate; refers to property in the hands of Dr. Foushee of Richmond, bond of General Lee's and the deed for "Chesterville," of which Col. William Moore and his son are agents; to James Payne, son of Benjamin. Exs., William Pennock, Esq. and brother Asa Blaney. D. ----------
R. February 4, 1799
Wit: Benjamin Payne, Brewer Godwin, Alexander Wilson.
Security: John R. Read and James Maxwell.

Quoted from Wills and Administration of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 1647-1800, Books 1-3, by Blanche Adams Chapman. Copyright 1938. Page 312 (as viewed on Google Books.) Emphasis added.
I suppose that David Blaney had some kind of feud or hard feelings with the Reads and Maxwells. I wonder if he would have been angry that John R. Read and James Maxwell posted the security bonds for the executors of the estate.

I'm nosy, so I tried to locate more  information about the Blaneys. I didn't find much. The abstract infers that David Blaney passed away sometime before the recording date of February 4, 1799. A Find-a-grave photo of a headstone indicates that Helen Blaney died on May 16, 1799. Apparently Helen was pregnant at the time that her husband died. An infant daughter named Helen Maria Read Blaney, six weeks old, died on June 25, 1799. Little Cadwallader Blaney died on August 24, 1799.

The little girl's name makes me wonder if Helen Blaney's maiden name was Read. Maybe the Reads were her family on her dad's side and the Maxwells were her family on her mom's side. Maybe David Blaney was angry at his in-laws for some reason -- all of them, except for the Benjamin Payne family.

Images from Wikipedia
Whatever the case, Blaney's attempt to control his wife from the grave seems petty -- to me, in my day and age. It was also pointless, but of course, he didn't foresee that his wife would outlive him by only a few months.

And why am I looking at Isle of Wight will abstracts?  I've traced one line of my mother's family back to Thomas Taberer (1616-1692), who was my 8th great grandfather. He immigrated to Virginia around 1650 from England and lived in Isle of Wight County. His will included the children of his wife's widowed sister (or cousin?), along with his own daughters and grandchildren.

Isle of Wight article at Wikipedia
Thomas Taberer in the 1919 Encyclopedia of Virginia
Will of Thomas Taberer (scroll down to "VI Supplementary Records")

2 comments:

Collagemama said...

Yikes. Why does the estate go to his mother instead of his wife and child?

Genevieve said...

Helen and Cadwallader may have been dependent on the mother-in-law for a roof over their heads, after David died If that was the case, I hope Helen kicked over the traces and went back to her own family. She did inherit something though. She is listed as a legatee, and the mandate to stay away from the Reads and Maxwells would have been pointless if she didn't receive an inheritance. The original will would have the full details, and it would certainly be interesting to read it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.