Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ashbel Waller’s will

Waller Ashbel Record of Will

I last wrote here about Ashbel Waller, my 5th great grandfather and, hopefully, my ticket into Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  Now I’m digging through things I stashed away a few years ago and am anxious to get back to proving my descendancy so I can complete my DAR application.

Ashbel died 20 Sep 1848 in Butler County, Ohio and the Butler County Records Center was kind enough to send me quite a few documents pertaining to Ashbel’s life and death.

Here is the Record of his Will – I love the old handwriting but it is nearly impossible for these old eyes to read.  Thankfully, members Valerie Williams and Barbara Sparks have transcribed it which makes things a whole lot easier.  I've only included a photo showing a portion of the will but the full transcription follows.

Waller Ashbel Will
Old Will Book 3
Pg. 257
Butler County Records Center & Archives
Hamilton, Ohio

1848, Waller, Ashbell, Sept. 26th
In the name of the Benevolent Father of All:
I, Ashbell Waller of Butler County Ohio do make and publish this my last will and testament.  Item 1st  I direct that all my just debts and journal charges be first paid.  Item 2nd  I direct that my Executor hereafter named pay as soon as he can after my death to my daughter Ruth Thompson two hundred dollars, to my daughter Hannah Myers two hundred dollars, to my daughter Sena Moore two hundred dollars, to my son Alvy Waller two hundred dollars, to my son Salmon Waller two hundred dollars and to my granddaughter Ruth Osborn the sum of two hundred dollars.  If my Estate is not sufficient to pay all the above legacies, then each one is to have an equal proportion of what is above directed to be paid to each of them.  Item 3 The title to my farm in Liberty township is now in litigation in the Supreme Court of Butler County Ohio as a suit validated by me against Zadre W. Turner.  If by the decree in that came the Land would be directed to be recovered to me, then I direct my Executor to sell my said real estate for the purpose of meeting my debts and the above legacies.  But if the Court should merely decree to me the payment of a certain sum of money and leave the title to said land as it now is then the said money is to go towards paying said debts and legacies.  Item 4th  If there is anything left of my Estate either real or personal after paying the above legacies I direct that the whole residue thereof shall be equally divided share and share alike between Alvy Waller, Salmon Waller, Ruth Thompson, Hannah Myers, Sena Moore and Ruth Osborn.  Item 5th  I hereby nominate and appoint Cyrus Osborn to be the Executor of this my last will and testament.

In Witness Whereof I have set my hand and seal this 18th September A.D,. 1848.

A. Waller [seal]

Signed sealed and acknowledged by the testator as and for his last Will and testament in our presence who signed the same as witnesses in his presence and at his request September 18, 1848.

G.T. Bell
R.H. Cook
Otis Brown

A couple of items stand out to me:

1.  The Will was signed 18 Sep 1848 and Ashbel died just two days later.  Was he on his deathbed and dictating this to someone?

2.  At the time of his death, Ashbel was married to Jane Turner.  Was Zadre W. Turner a relative of hers?  Ex-husband?  Brother?  Son?

3.  Cyrus Osborn was the husband of Ruth Waller, daughter of Alvy Waller.

4.  The signature of Ashbel was noted with a [seal].  Was he too sick to sign his name or was he illiterate?

5.  It looks like $200 in 1848 would be worth about $5,500 today.

6.  Who were G.T. Bell, R.H. Cook, and Otis Brown?  All three are new names to me.

The most important question I have – is the fact that Ashbel names Salmon Waller as his son significant documentation for my DAR application?


  1. The handwriting is beautiful, Debi. Congratulations for wading through it. Ashbel's an unusual name. When I first read it I guessed it was a female you would write about.

    The surprise for me in this will is that he did not mention, or leave anything to, his wife.

    Do you know what the property dispute was about?

    Do you know Ashbel's date and cause of death?

  2. I used to think everyone had beautiful penmanship "back in the day," but I've seen some horrible writing in old documents. I always shout a big "thank-you" to those who recorded deeds and wills and such with care and beauty. And you're reminding me I need to get back on my DAR quest too -- man, I dropped that ball too long ago!