The Will of Robert G. Stephens, Drawn 1879, Probated 1881

I mentioned in an earlier post that Robert G. Stephens may not have held his son-in-law, J. A. C. Ruffner, in the highest regard. Now you can judge the evidence for yourself. Shortly after Robert’s death in early 1881, James and Hulda (nee Stephen…

I mentioned in an earlier post that Robert G. Stephens may not have held his son-in-law, J. A. C. Ruffner, in the highest regard.  Now you can judge the evidence for yourself.

Shortly after Robert’s death in early 1881, James and Hulda (nee Stephens) Ruffner filed an objection to Robert’s will, alleging that he was under undue unfluence and duress when he signed it in 1879.  They requested a court trial to determine the facts. Six months later, they withdrew their objection, in consideration of valuable (unspecified) consideration paid by the named executors, and the will was probated. (1)  Next research step – check the court records in Indiana County to determine if a trial, in fact, took place.

Here’s the transcription of his will. This time I wasn’t looking at a microfilm of an original, rather the copy written into a will book by a clerk.  So there’s no image of the actual signature. I’ve added spacing to make it easier to read.

Transcription of the Will of Robert G. Stephens drawn 30 April 1879. Pennsylvania. Indiana. Will Books, 1807-1917, Vol. 5, p. 65. Register of Wills, Indiana. FHL microfilm 1,288,595, item 2. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, transcribed by Malissa Ruffner 20 April 2010.

Will

In the name of God Amen I Robert G Stephens of the Township of White in the County of Indiana and State of Pennsylvania being of Sound mind memory and understanding and being mindful of my mortality do make and publish this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

And, first I commit my immortal Soul to God who gave it and my body to the dust from whence it was taken in the hope of a glorious resurrection at the last Great day: as to Such estate as it has pleased God to entrust me with I dispose of the Same as follows to wit it is my will and I desire and direct that all my Just debts and funeral expenses be paid as Soon as Convenient after my decease.

As I advanced to my eldest Son James A. Stephens now deceased in his lifetime his full Share of my estate his heirs are not entitled to come in for any share of my property and I do not therefore Allow them any part or portion of the estate I leave at my decease.

I have also advanced to my Second Son John J. Stephens his full share of my estate he is not entitled to come in for any share of the estate I may died possessed of and Therefore I do not allow him any part or portion of the estate I may leave at my decease and as my third son Samuel H. Stephens has also received his full share of my estate he is not entitled to any Share of my property and I do not Therefore allow him any part or portion of the estate I may Leave at my decease.

I have by conveyance of a certain tract of land in the State of Iowa given to my daughter (now deceased) intermarried with George W. Simpson the fullshare of herself her Husband and heirs in any estate her heirs are not entitled to come in for any Share of my property and therefore I do not allow them any part or portion of the estate I may leave at my decease.

Item. I give and bequeath to my Daughter Amanda intermarried with William J. Ray the sum of Two Thousand Dollars which She and her husband have already received in the purchase of my farm and all my personal property and also I give devise and bequeath unto my Said daughter Amanda in Addition to the Said Sum of Two Thousand Dollars all the household and Kitchen furniture and All other Items In and about the house wherein I now reside  not particularly named and otherwise disposed of in this my will.

I give devise and bequeath to my Daughter Hulda intermarried with James A. C. Ruffner Esq. The Sum of One Thousand Dollars in addition to the money which She and her Said Husband has already received from me. I hereby enjoin and direct My Executors hereinafter named to invest the Said Sum of One Thousand Dollars in the best possible manner for the use Of my Said Daugher Hulda during her natural life and At her death to her children and heirs forever, the said Sum of money to be So invested in Such a manner for my Daughter Hulda and her children that in no event may Her said husband James A. C. Ruffner be enabled to obtain Control or interfere with the disposal of the Said Sum of One Thousand Dollars herein bequeathed for the use of my Said Daughter Hulda and her children.

Item. I give and Bequeath to my Grandsons Robert Stephens Simpson one hundred Dollars to be paid to him or his Guardian as Soon after My decease as convenient.

It is my will and I do hereby Direct that whatsoever money or effects of my estate if any Remain after the payment and discharge of the foregoing Bequests the balance if any to be equally divided among My heirs and legal representatives Share and Share alike.

And lastly I do nominate constitute and appoint my Son John J. Stephens and my Son in law William J. Ray to be The Executors of this my last Will and Testament. In Witness Whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal this thirtieth Day of April in the Year of our Lord One Thousand and Eight Hundred and Seventy nine.

                                                                                                                           Robert G. Stephens {Seal}  

Signed Sealed published and declared by Robert G. Stephens the testator above named as and for his last Will and testament in the presence of us who in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as witnesses.

J. T. Jamison
Loretta F. Sloan

(1) The filing and withdrawing of the caveat were recorded in the Will Book with the will itself; citation above.

1 thought on “The Will of Robert G. Stephens, Drawn 1879, Probated 1881”

  1. Of course it was! It helps if you read the dates. I guess he was just prescient. But I just sent all the shooting information to Elizabeth, so she’ll have the background for the forthcoming dime novel.

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