Sunday, September 27, 2009

Will of John Conger - 17110111

PROBATE: Will of John Conger, 11 Jan 1711

In the name of God, Amen, the 11th day of January 1711. I JOHN CONGER of Woodbridge, in the county of Middlesex, and Province of East New Jersey, Planter, being in bodily health and in perfect mind and memory, thanks be given to God, therefore: Calling in mind the mortality of this body, and knowing that it is appointed 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 a Christian-like and decent manner, at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the general

Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God, to bless me in touching such worldly estate, wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life. I give, devise, and dispose of the same in the follow manner and form:

ITEM: My will is that my farm or plantation on which I now dwell to be equally divided into two parts, beginning at the River and running with a direct line through the whole length of my said farm or plantation, the Eastern division whereof I will and bequeath to my son BENJAMIN CONGER, to be by him quietly and peacable possessed, and enjoyed as soon as he shall arrive at the age of 21 years, and if my son JOSEPH please, he shall have the liberty to live upon it 10 years after my decease, paying the charge arising thereon.

ITEM: The use and improvement of the western division of my said farm or plantation, and my dwelling house standing thereon I give to my wife during her state of widowhood and when her condition shall change either by marriage or death I will and bequeath the said western division of my farm together with my now dwelling house and all other buildings thereon to my son JOB CONGER.

ITEM: I will and bequeath to my son JOSEPH all my freehold right in the towne of Woodbridge (Will also specifies as conveyed to Joseph his rights to Woodbridge common lands yet to be divided.) I give to my son my Carts and Ploughs with all the tackling belonging to them to my son JOSEPH to have liberty to use them when they can be spared so long as he lives upon the place, he being at equal charge at repairing them.

ITEM: My will is that if either of my three sons above mentioned, JOSEPH, JOB or BENJAMIN, shall die without issue, then what land I have willed to them do descend to the survivor or survivors, and be equally divided between them.

ITEM: I give to my son JOHN ten schillings; to my son JONATHAN five schillings; to my son GERSHOM five schillings; and to each of my daughters five schillings, all to be paid by my son JOB, if demanded.

Lastly, I give all my cattle, horses, sheep and household stuff, to my faithful and beloved wife, SARAH CONGER, whom I do nominate and appoint my sole Executrix, to see that this, my last will, be punctually fulfilled, and I do declare this to be my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking and making void all other wills by me formerly made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the day and year above written.
Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said John Conger, as his last
Will and Testament, in the presence of us, the subscirber viz:
--James Connet, James Connet Jr., Richard Pangbourner, John Bishop

CODICIL: June 14, I the above name John Conger, being very sick in body and not expecting many hours of this life, and my son GERSHOM being born since the making of this my Will, above written, do declare that my will & desire is that my three sons, JOSEPH, JOB and BENJAMIN, as they come to age, give unto my son GERSHOM, ten schillings, each of them and that seven pounds out of my movable estate be put out for his use when he comes to age, this I declare to be my desire before thise witnesses.
--John Stille, John Moore and John Bishop

Proved before Thomas Gordon, the 27th of August, and approved and sealed by his Excellency, Col. Hunter, the 17th day of Oct 1712. (Some say he died on 27 Aug 1712. Maxine Leonard states he died in September 1712.)
(J. Bass. Liber I, folio 382, New Jersey Wills, Secretary of States Office.)
(Source: The Conger Family of America, Vol. II, p. 19-20 - Maxine Crowell Leonard)

CONFLICT: Codicil Confusion
The naming of a youngest son, Gershom Conger, in the Codicil has caused confusion and conjecture among Conger researchers, owing to the fact that an elder son of John Conger, named Gershom who had been born in 1685, was listed in the last "ITEM" of the 11 Jan 1711 will. At the time the will was written, the elder Gershom was married and was father of David, born in 1707 and Phoebe, born in 1708.

Researcher, Charles L. Conger, believed that the Gershom Conger, born in 1711, was the son of Gershom Conger, born in 1685. Gershom Conger, b. 1685, supposedly died before his father, a date of death of, Abt. 1710/1711 in Union Co., NJ, has been listed by some researchers.

It seems highly unlikely that John Conger would have had a son in 1711. At that time, his health was probably already failing, since he had drawn up a will. And, his second wife, Sarah Cawood, who had been born in 1660, would have been 51 years old.

It seems more reasonable that either the person drawing up the Codicil made a mistake when he wrote, " . my son Gershom being born since the making of this my Will ." or that John Conger was confused in his last days, and that the family pampered him in his belief that his grandson was indeed his son. If the Gershom, mentioned in the Codicil, was indeed the grandson of John Conger this would raise the question of why this grandchild was the only one that John Conger chose to mention, by name, in his will.
[Note: This discussion from CFA II, p. 20, has been edited by Richard E. Henthorn in order to clarify and expand on some of the points made.]
(Source: The Conger Family of America, Vol. II, p. 20 - Maxine Crowell Leonard)

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