The Last Will and Testament of Samuel Wallace

Will Samuel Wallace

Before I move on to Samuel’s parents, James and Nancy, I want to share Samuel’s will. Not often am I fortunate enough to find a will from one of the early ancestors. When Samuel was mentioned as having a will in the book “Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, 1650-1855” by Joseph Carvalho, I had to try to get a copy. I wrote to the Probate Court in Springfield, and they not only sent me a copy of the will, but also everything that they had in his file for settling his estate. I was thrilled! Not only did this information tell me which of his children were alive at the time of his death, but it also gave me more information on his property – real and personal. I will do my best in transcribing the documents for you.

Be it remembered that I, Samuel Wallace of Monson County of Hampden in the State of Massachusetts being of sound mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainty of this life, do make this my last will and testament.
After the payment of my just debts and funeral charges, I bequeath and devise as follows:
I give bequeath and devise to my beloved wife Emily Wallace all of my estate both real and personal of which I may die seized to her sole use forever.
I appoint my wife Emily Wallace to be executrix of the my last will and testament and request the Judge of Probate to require of her no surety or sureties on her official Bond.
In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand, and in the presence of three witnesses declare this to be my last Will, this Twelfth day of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and Eighty-Eight.
                                                       Samuel X Wallace
On this Twelfth day of March A.D. 1888 Samuel Wallace of Monson Mass has made his mark signed the foregoing instrument in our presence, declaring it to be his last Will, and as witnesses thereof we three do now, at his request, in his presence, and in the presence of each other, hereto subscribe our names.
                                                             Geo Hunter
                                                            Geo E. Fuller
                                                         Tha L Cushman

George Fuller was a physician, Thaddeus L Cushman was President of the Bank, and they both lived in Monson. I found a George Hunter from Holyoke who worked in a silk mill. This might have been the third witness.

Samuel died March 14, 1888, two days after completing his will. He knew he was dying and, because he had property, wanted to make sure that his wife would inherit his estate.

On February 8, 1889 Edwin R. King petitioned the court to be named administrator of the will, in that Emily Wallace had died after her husband, and before this date. Although I was never able to find the date of death of Emily, I know that it occurred between March 1888 and February 1889. Edwin R. King is the husband of Nancy Wallace.

To the Honorable the Judge of the Probate Court in and for the County of Hampden:

Respectfully represents Edwin R. King of Palmer in the County of Hampden that Samuel Wallace who last dwelt in Monson in said County of Hampden, died on the Fourteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Eighty-Eight possessed of goods and estates remaining to be administered, leaving a widow. Whose name was Emily Wallace (since deceased) and as his only heirs-at-law and next of kin, the persons whose names, residence, and relationship to the deceased are as follows:

Sarah Law, wife of George P. Law – of New Bedford, Mass, daughter.
James Wallace of Monson, Mass – son.
Alanson Wallace of New Bedford, Mass – son.
Betsey Wallace Thompson of Palmer, Mass – daughter.
Rosanna Kelsey of Palmer, Mass. – wife of Sidney Kelsey, Palmer, daughter.
Emily Mason of Palmer, Mass wife of Wm Mason – daughter.
Nancy King wife of E.R. King of Palmer, Mass – daughter.
Mary Wallace of Monson, Mass – daughter.
Julia Wallace of Monson, Mass – daughter.

That said deceased left a WILL herewith presented, wherein his widow was named executrix but she having since died the heirs at law request your petition to act.

Wherefore your petitioner prays that said will may be proved and allowed, and letters of administration with the will annexed issued to him.

Dated the Eight day of February A.D. 1889.
Edwin R. King

The undersigned being all the heirs-at-law and next of kin, and the only parties interested in the foregoing petition, request that the prayer thereof be granted, without further notice.”

The Court responded by setting a date Edwin King was to appear in court – March 1, 1889 – and he was to give public notice by publishing in the Palmer Journal once a week for three weeks his request to be named executor of the estate to ensure that no one else wanted this job.
On the Sixth of March, 1889 Edwin R. King was appointed executor of the estate.

Edwin presented to the court, on this same date, the debts of the estate.

Dr. W. H. Stowe Medical attendance 23.00
Dr. Wilkins 8.50
John Monyhair 2 caskets etc. 89.00
Taxes due town of Monson 6.40
Teams to Funeral J.T. Stevens 3.75
Teams to Funeral L. G. Cushman 2.50
Geo H. Newton’s account 3.00
Frank Warren – mortgage 32.80
W. N. Flynt Co. – Robes etc. 3.10
George E. Fuller medical attendance 47.00
Total debts – $229.05

On March 7, 1889, the value of the amount of Real Estate was appraised at $400 for the home place of about 15 acres with buildings. The amount of Personal Estate was appraised at $5.00 for household effects and stone tools.

Samuel must have been a stone mason since he had stone tools, and probably taught his two sons, James and Alanson, the trade since they also became stone masons.

To be appointed as executor of the estate, Edwin had to put up eight hundred dollars in bond. He got the help of his father, Sylvannus King of Monson, and his brother, Albert King of Palmer, in pledging the money for the bond. The order of appointment was signed March 8, 1889. No wonder none of the other family members wanted this job!

On March 17, 1889, Edwin presented an accounting of the estate. Debts totaled $229.05. A charge for administration was $45.00, increasing debts to $274.05. Personal estate amounted to $5, which did not cover the debts. Real estate was appraised at $400, and must be sold to satisfy the debts.

“Home place of the late Samuel Wallace situated northerly of the farm of Rev. James Tufts containing Fifteen acres more or less together with the buildings thereon.”

Edwin was licensed to sell the real estate in order to pay the debts and settle the estate.

You would think that the land would be sold, the debts paid off, the remainder split among the heirs, and that would be the end of it. Well, think again!

I found two small pieces of property auctioned off in 1891 because of nonpayment of 1890 taxes by the heirs of Samuel Wallace. Thirty-nine and one-half cents was owed on 1¼ acres near the Rock House. This was purchased by Truman Watross at public auction for nine dollars.

On another one acre lot of land near Rock House, fifteen and one-half cents was owed for taxes. This land was purchased by David J. Anderson of Monson at public auction for twenty dollars.

Some of Samuel and Emily’s ancestors might be ambitious enough to figure out how to use new technology to discover exactly where their land was located. I found land records for Massachusetts on You can also visit for Massachusetts Land Records. I have not used this site before, so it might be fun to see what you can find on the Wallace family, other relatives, or other property you are interested in.

Until the next time….

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