Tag Archives: Will

52 Ancestors – #46 Rudolph Manbeck. Where There’s a Will – Part II

Have you ever wanted to time travel and get to see how a particular ancestor lived? What he or she did for a living, or to help support the family? What kind of furniture did he/she have? What was most important to him/her?

Rudolph Manbeck 1740 or 1743 – 1794

Flax plant

Flax – vintage illustration, Linum usitatissimum L., Common flax or Linseed.

Well lucky me, I’ve just returned from a bit of time travel to the end of the 18th century where I visited my husband, Ken Badertscher’s 4th great-grandfather and  grandmother, Rudolph and Christina (Ziegler) Manbeck. My time travel vehicle is the will filed in the Tulpehocken Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania court by Rudolph Manbeck in January 1794 and probated in February 1794.

Unfortunately, my time travel machine would not take me all the way back to Germany where Rudolph and Christina were born, but I have more than enough information about their lives in Pennsylvania to keep Ken and his family busy for years.Rudolph arrived in America in 1765 with his father and his two sisters (and probably his mother). He settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania and attended the Altahala Evangelical Lutheran Church at Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania, a church founded in 1757 to serve German immigrants. In the 1950s Manbecks were still active members of the church.

What did I learn from the will and inventory of belongings?  I learned much about Rudolph and Christina’s life, but also got a lesson in vocabulary.

Rudolph was religious. His will starts with language that is familiar to readers of wills of the 17th through 19th centuries, in thanking God that he is still of sound mind although “at Present Sickly and Weakly in Body.” He admits to mortality “it is appointed for all Men once to die”. The first order of business is to “commend my Soul into the Hands of God who gave it, Hoping through the Merits of our Savior Jesus Christ to receive Remission of all my Sins and an Happy Admission into the Regions of Bliss and Immortality.”

Rudolph was a traditionalist.  I know that because he followed the assumed pattern of German primogeniture.  His land and accumulated buildings went to his oldest son, John, who was also tasked, along with Christina, Rudolph’s wife, of administering the will.  That does not mean that Rudolph six or seven (I’ll explain the “or” in a bit) other children were left with nothing.  In fact, John had to pay 300 pounds for the farm, doling it out to his siblings according to a formula spelled out by Rudolph. Which brings us to another trait.

Rudolph was the decision-maker

–perhaps even a bit of a control freak.  Besides the specific formula by which John is to pay back his siblings for the farm, 1/3 of the will contains details about what his wife is to inherit and how John is to keep his mother after Rudolph dies. A long paragraph specifies a grocery list of food stuff that she must get yearly from major items like Eight Bushels of good Wheat  to “half a Bushel good Salt, 1/4 li (superscript – latin abbreviation for pound) pepper, 1/4 li Alspices, 1/3 li Ginger” and more.

As though he does not trust John to have good sense to proper care for his mother, he instructs on the care of the cow she is to have.  She is to “Keep a Cow, Summer and Winter’s in provender like his own Cow’s and when said Cow dies or is old and unfit, then to find or give her a young one again from his Cows.”

I could also herar his preachy voice saying “John, you need to give your mother grain, but you also need to take it to the Mill and have it ground and then take the meal back to her.” The wording in the will is, “Eight Bushels of good Wheat, four Bushels of good Rye and to the same from time to time as she Need go into the Mill and fetch these Meal and Bran Home into her dwelling.”

John gets more instructions about Christina’s dwelling place, again with lots of detail. He is to share the farm house and give her the use of “Kitchen, Garrett, Cellar, Spring House, Bake-Oven with Free Egress and Regress and in Case they cannot live peaceable together, then he is to make new Room on the Spring House in good order with a pipe stove and fireplace in it….” One hopes that they lived peaceable.

Rudolph Manbeck

Rudolph Manbeck signature on will 1794

You can see from Rupert’s signature, that he was in bad shape physically. Although he was only in his early fifties, he probably had suffered a stroke. What a terrible blow that would be to the tough old soldier (he was in the militia and served in the Revolutionary War) and a man who was used to giving orders.

Rudolph was a farmer

His major crop was flax, which is a change from the many dairy farmers I have been writing about.  he owned only six horned cows and 7 swine according to the inventory. Oh, yes, and a hive of bees that he gave to one of his daughters.

Out of 63 lines of inventory, many listing two or even three items, 11 lines contained one or more items having to do with flax, plus there were other items that might have been used in growing it (like rakes and scythes) or in making cloth (like spinning wheels, baskets, etc.). The picture below shows two items that are listed–a spinning wheel and reel.

Spinning Wheel and Reel

“Charlene Parker, spinner, at Knott’s Berry Farm” by DTParker1000 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charlene_Parker,_spinner,_at_Knott%27s_Berry_Farm.JPG#/media

I am still learning more about raising flax and what you do with it after you raise it, but here are the terms that I was unfamiliar with in the inventory of his property.

Flax Brakes: Tool to crush the stems and release the fibers.

Hackles: Combs that straighten the fibers.

Hatchels: Another term for Hackle

Towlinen: Coarse cloth made from shorter fibers of flax.

Riddles:  Sieves for sifting seed–there were specific Flax Riddles, I am told.

Culling Box: Another device for separating seed. Not necessarily specific to Flax.

Flaxen Yarn:  The long-fiber thread that would be made into linen

Tow Yarn: The short fiber thread that would be made into the inferiorTow.

This paragraph from Mother Earth on line, explains many of the terms and the process.

Processing the bundles of stems to extract the fibers for spinning is a complex task that requires simple but special tools, a lot of hard physical work, and a sense of timing and judgment that comes only from long experience. The first step, called retting, involves soaking or wetting the stems for a period of days or weeks to promote bacterial action, which separates the different layers of stem tissues and loosens the fibers. After retting, the stems are dried again, then crushed between the wooden blades of a tool called a break or brake, which breaks the woody core into short bits that fall away from the mass of fibers. Finally, the bundles are combed through metal-tined combs called hackles. The result: a smooth bundle of long, straight fibers called line flax and a pile of fluffy, tangled, shorter fibers called tow. The line flax is used to make crisp, glossy fabrics, and the tow is used for everyday goods.

And this web site has a series of pictures showing the whole operatoin.

Christina Spent a Lot of Time Spinning and Weaving

There were a total of 6 spinning wheels and a reel listed in the inventory. One was specified as a Woolwheel, so presumably the rest were used for flax. Christina must have woven the linen and the tow, also, because Rupert leaves her quantites of yarn–both the amount of flaxen yarn and the amount of tow yarn were increased from what was originally written. (The first amount scratched out or written over). Fifty pounds flaxen yarn and thirty pounds Tow yarn. Additionally, the inventor lists 54 pounds of flaxen yarn and 20 of Tow yarn. Although there is no loom mentioned in the will, she most certainly was going to weave that yarn.

If the family was not in the business of selling cloth, they surely must have used it in barter for other goods.

Rudolph was Frugal

When he made his will, Rudloph owed 37 pounds, 6 pence to others, but he had 110 pounds, 10 shillings and 10 pence in cash on hand, which is a healthy amount of money for the time.

In the roughly 32 years since he arrived in America, Rudolph had created a successful 70 acre farm, and with Christina raised 7 (or 8) children.

More Work to be Done

At the beginning of the will, Rudolph specifies a paltry ten pounds as the legacy in full of his “Son Leonard”, to be paid to him or his attorney two years after his decease, with interest.

I have no idea who Leonard is, when he was born, or why he does not get the equal share that “my six children–my four Sons, George, Nicholas, Jacob and Daniel and my two Daughters Christina and Catharine”–plus John, who gets the major portion, and is not counted in the list.

Was Leonard actually a son, or a step son? Or was he perhaps a god-son? Or was he the eldest who under the rule of primogenture had to get something no matter how estranged the father and son might be–so he gets a token. Or did he marry a rich woman, and Rudolph didn’t think he needed any more? And why did he have to wait two years? The most obvious reason would be that he was not yet “of age”.

I find records for John and for a Johannes Leonard.  The Johannes Leonard Manbeck had a son that he named John in September 1794–nearly nine months after Rudolph Manbeck died.The son John who inherited the farm, according to the history of the Grim family of Pennsylvania that includes some Manbecks, was born in 1766,  which is one year after Rudolph arrived in America.According to that same source, he married around 1790.

The other problem is that I cannot verify the information in the Grim family book. I have very little information on Christina.  Although the Grim Family book says that her maiden name is Ziegler, I have not been able to confirm that. I don’t know for sure if Christina and Rudolph married in Germany or in America.  There are hundreds of Christinas among the German immigrants, adding to the confusion.

So there is much work to be done. I probably will leave it to Ken’s sister to finish some day.

Meanwhile, I’ll follow this post next week with one on Rudolph’s father’s will. And I’ll talk a bit soon about Christina’s kitchen.

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth R. Badertscher is the son of
  • Agnes Bair Badertscher, who is the daughter of
  • Adam Daniel Bair, who is the son of
  • Daniel Manbeck Bair, who is the son of
  • Elizabeth Manbeck Bair, who is the daughter  of
  • Jacob Manbeck, who is the son of
  • Rudolph Manbeck and Catharina Ziegler Manbeck

Notes on Research:

Estate Files, 1752-1915; Author: Berks County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Berks, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Rudolph Manbeck, 1794. On line at Ancestry.com

Pennsylvania, Revolutionary War Battalions and Militia Index, 1775-1783, Vol. 2, pg 260 Rudolph Manbeck, Corporal. From Ancestry.com

Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission; Records of the Office of the Comptroller General, RG-4; Tax & Exoneration Lists, 1762-1794; Microfilm Roll: 316, Rudolph Manbeck, 1781. From Ancestry.com

A historical booklet of Altahala Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rehrersburg, Berks County, Pennsylvania : published for the 200th anniversary, Sunday, June 23, 1957, Rehresburg, PA: Brossman, Schuyler C.,Church Council, 1957.  From Ancestry.com

Genealogy! Just Ask!  I received help on unfamiliar terms in will from this Facebook Page. Principally from Marlys Pearson, but many others chimed in as well.

 Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen or Medicinal Plants, Franz Eugen, 1887, Germany. This is the source of the beautiful vintage plant illustration of the flax plant. In the public domain. Found on the web site: Plant Curator.

Where There’s a Will – Part One: 52 Ancestors – #45 Eve Manbeck.

Eve Ann Manbeck (Gutshall) 1806-1871

It is absolutely amazing what you can learn from an ancestors will. I lucked out with the Manbeck family, finding wills for three successive generations.

In the 18th and 19th century it was unusual for a woman to make a will, since men always assumed the role of money manager (as we will see strongly in the next two wills we look at). But this is the will of Eve Manbeck, one of the sisters of Ken’s great-great-grandmother, and sheds some light on the Manbeck family. It also prompted me to look longer and harder at the information available on this third great-aunt of my husband, Ken Badertscher.

Eve Manbeck Gutshall

Eve Gutshall -Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 10-20-1871 pg 1

Eve (or Eva), named for her mother Eva Haslett Manbeck, was born in Pennsylvania in 1806, before her father Jacob Manbeck moved the family to Ohio.  She was about ten years old when the family made that move, and her sister Margaret was just two years old. I can imagine her caring for her little sister, since her mother had her hands full with a family of nine (soon to be eleven). When the tenth child was born, Eve probably was a caretaker for him–George–as well.

I paid more attention to the proximity of Eve, Margaret and George, and thought about the chaos of moving such a large family from one state to another, after I read her will. Although all but one of her siblings were still living when Eve drew up her will in 1871, she leaves bequests only to George and Margaret among her nine surviving brothers and sisters. She also includes Margaret’s daughter and two of her own step daughters.

As I put together a timeline of Eve’s life, trying to understand why she chose the legatees that she chose, it became clear that hers was a life that had been haunted even more than usual for that time by death.

In the last half of the 1830s, her sister Margaret marries Eli Roser. (Eve, still single, would have been in her thirties.)  Soon after 1842, Eve marries Joseph Gutshall.  Joseph’s 42-year-old wife had died in 1842, leaving Joseph with six children still at home plus two older sons.  But soon the first tragedy strikes, and Joseph’s two oldest sons, Jeremiah and Solomon, die in 1848 and 1849. Jeremiah’s cause of death is listed as Bilious Fever. (Bilious fever is a not-too-helpful term applied to any disease consisting of high fever, diarrhea and vomiting.  It could have been typhoid fever, cholera, or malaria, for example.)

In 1850, Eve’s beloved sister Margaret loses her husband, who is only thirty-eight years old. Margaret is left with two children, son Benjamin and daughter Susan Isabella.

In 1853 and 1854, Eve and Margaret’s parents die, but the worst is yet to come.

In 1857, their brother Benjamin dies in Iowa. (He had married a woman named Gutshall–possibly a sister of Eve’s husband.)

In 1859, a typhoid epidemic sweeps through Ohio, and takes three Gutshalls. One is an infant girl, May, whose parents I have yet to identify, but one is the 26-year-old unmarried Hannah Gutshall, daughter of Joseph (and therefore Eve’s step-daughter). It is not hard to imagine many other people sick, and Eve, ever the caretaker, playing the role of nurse. Hannah died in August, and capping that terrible summer, in September, Joseph Gutshall, Eve’s husband dies as well.

Five years later, Eve’s sister Margaret is grieving the death of her son Benjamin, who was just 18 years old.

This litany of death explains to some degree the choices that Eve made, and even why she made a will at all.

After the formal preamble, Eve lists the following bequests. (I have simplified the language)

Item 1- To my beloved Step-daughters Anna Gutshall and Eliza Gutshall, all my real estate in the town of New Rumley, which consists of lots 27 and 28 with all buildings and appurtenances.

Note;  In 1860  Anna is still living with Eve. She marries John Epley in 1880, but he dies before ten years have gone by. Eliza never married, and worked as a domestic. After Eve died, three Gutshall sisters lived together–Anna and Eliza, listed as housekeepers and Rebecca, now married with a small child who is listed as a seamstress before her marriage in 1880. (I have not figured out where Rebecca’s husband is.) Anna and Eliza continue to live together the rest of their lives after Anna’s husband dies.

Item 2- To same…my household and kitchen furniture, namely cooking stove, parlor stove, clock, chairs, bedsteads, and carpets.

Item 3 – To sister Margaret Roser and Isabella Wilson–wearing appararel and bed clothing. Also to Margaret Roser $100.

As mentioned above, Isabella is the daughter of Margaret, and Margaret must have been Eva’s favorite sister.  Because her husband died in 1850, Margaret may have been having a hard time making ends meet, which would explain the bequest of $100.

Eve Manbeck Gutshall

Eve Gutshall -Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 10-20-1871 pg 2

Item 4- to brother George Manbeck–all the money remaining and I appoint Thomas Cunningham guardian of the money that I have willed to George Manbeck. It should be invested so George will get $4 a month and if he dies before the money is consumed, it is to go to his heirs.

This is the final bequest and Eve has left out most of her brothers and sisters and step-children. Why George? Even though I explained why she might feel close to George–as we saw when I wrote about the Manbeck family--he was late to marry and settle down and not particularly successful at any particular venture. The 1970 census holds the clue as to why his life pattern was what it was, and why Eve cares so much for him, and why there needs to be a guardian even though he is fifty years old.

George cannot read or write, is married, and has four children between 5 and 12 years old. The census lists him as an “Idiot” and says his right to vote is suspended for some reason. “Male Citizen of U.S. of 21 years and upwards whose right to vote is denied or abridged on other grounds than rebellion or other crime.” Further, Census Agriculture reports show that he is living on a few acres and has only a pig and a cow and a few acres of corn and some fruit trees–not enough to make a living.

Item 5 – Eve appoints her neighbor, a school teacher, Rudolph Graybill as the Executor.

The final surprise of the will comes when I notice that Eve has “made her mark” rather than signed for herself.

Eve Gutshall Will

It is not a particular surprise that she did not get schooling.  Among the German immigrants, boy’s education was more important than girls, and even that took second place to farm work.  Although none of the census reports admitted that she could not read and write, she is obviously illiterate.  I can’t help thinking how brave she had to be to cope with all the business of the farm, her husband’s death, and then making her own will, without being able to read or write.

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of
  • Agnes Badertscher, who is the daughter of
  • Adam Daniel Bair, who is the son of
  • Daniel Manbeck Bair, who is the son of
  • Daniel Bair, who is the husband of
  • Elizabeth Manbeck (Bair) who is the sister of
  • Eve Manbeck (Gutshall)

Research Notes

Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Probate Court (Harrison County); Probate Place: Harrison, Ohio , Will Record, Vol A-C, 1813-1878, pgs 503-504. Will of Eve Ann Gutshall, New Rumley, Harrison County, Ohio, Probate date: October 20, 1871

U.S. Federal Census Reports: 1850, Rumsley, Harrison County, Ohio; 1860, New Rumsley, Harrison County, Ohio (Eve Manbeck Gutshall)

1850, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910 (Rumley, Harrison, Ohio): Anna Gutshall Epley, Eliza Gutshall

1850, 1860, 1870, (Rumley, Harrison, Ohio); 1880 (Perry, Carroll, Ohio): George Manbeck

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Non-population Census Schedules for Ohio, 1850-1880; Archive Collection: T1159; Archive Roll Number: 29; Census Year: 1859; Census Place: Stock, Harrison, Ohio, Joseph Manbeck, September 1859, Died of Typhoid Fever.

Web: Ohio, Find A Grave, Eva Manbeck Gutshall,    Hannah Hagey Gutshall,   Anna Gutshall Epley,    Eliza Gutshall