• Dave Engle

Late of Somerset, Deceased

Updated: Aug 30, 2020

The Inventory of the Personal Estate of John Blaw (c.1728-1778) 1.3.2.

Transcribed by C. David Engle August 6, 2020

Copied from original c.1950 by Charles H. Engle

The following inventory was part of the probation of John Blaw’s will. It was copied from the original by Charles H. Engle in the early 1950’s. The main part of this document is a listing of the possessions of John Blaw at the time of his death and their appraised value in 1778. There are 14 rows of possessions. In the original document, each row starts with the word “To”. For the sake of clarity, I have replaced that word with a number.

Whenever I wasn’t quite sure of a word, I have placed what I believe is the most likely interpretation of that word in brackets to indicate the uncertainty. Any word seen in parenthesis is not in the actual document but added for clarity or organization.


An inventory taken March 7th, 1778 by Hendrick Sortore of Somerset and John Stout, of Hunterdon, executors of John Blaw late deceased. Of the estate of {Yeoman} John Blaw are as followeth and {valued}:


P . S. P

1. His money and wearing apparel 30

2. Bed and furniture and two chests, two cases with bottles 20

3. Pewter and lumber and bed and furniture in the east room 28

4. Cupboard, desk, table, and looking glass in same room 17

5. A table, 12 chairs, bed, {bedstead}, spinning wheel 1. 10

6. Lumber in the chamber and in the cellar 6

7. A bed and furniture, two guns, and axes, beetle’s wedges, hoes, and scythes 23

8. 8 swarms bees and grind stone, wagon, timber, and boards 10. 10

9. Two wagons and {pleasure} sleigh, two sleds and two chairs 55

10. Plows, harrows, wagon gears, casks, and pitch forks 20

11. A mill for cleaning wheat and {four} half bushel and shovels 6. 15

12. Six horses 92. 10

13. Five cows and eight two year olds 75

14. 25 sheep 25

(Total Value) 410. 5

{Appraised} by Gilbert Lane (and) John Sutphen

(Executors Sworn Statement)

Hendrick Sortore and John Stout executors of the last will and testament of the within named John Blaw, being duly sworn according to law, did personally depose and say that the within writing contains a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods, chattels, and credits of the said deceased, as far as have come to their knowledge or {possession} or to the {possession} of any other person or persons for their use.

Sworn at Hopewell, the 18th day of March, 1778.

Before me, Jared Seaton, Surrogate


Hendrick X Sortore


John Stout

(Appraisers Sworn Statement)

Gilbert Lane, one of the appraisers of the within inventory, being duly sworn according to law, did declare the goods, chattels and credits in the said inventory, {set} down and specified were by him appraised according to their just and true respective rates and values after the best of his judgment and understanding and that John Sutphen, the other appraiser, whose name is hereto subscribed, was present at the same time and consented in all things to the doing thereof and that they appraised all things that were brought to their view for appraisement

Sworn at Hopewell, the 15th day of April, 1778. Before me, Jared Seaton, Surrogate

{Gilbert Lane

Some Thoughts about the Transcription

18th Century Handwriting

The spelling in this document isn’t standardized. The words are phonetically spelled, typical for writing from before the 19th century. I have read that William Shakespeare spelled his own name at least six different ways. For clarity, I’ve used modern spelling norms.

Upper case letters were used to begin many of the nouns, adjectives, and verbs inside of the sentences, as well as at the beginning of them. For clarity, I’ve used modern capitalization rules. I have also used modern punctuation norms for the same reason.

In the original document, the lower case “s” was written in elongated form at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word, and when written together with a second “s.” It looks very much like an “f”.

Also, many of the lower case letters, especially the “i”, “m”, “u”, “n”, and “v” are all pretty much shaped the same.

There are a couple of abbreviated versions of words where the beginning of the word is written in regular-sized letters but it ends with superscript letters-there might be a line underneath where the missing letters should be. In some places, the word is just shortened with no indication. When unclear, I have guessed and placed the guess in brackets.

Beetle Wedge

Row number 7 of the inventory lists a “Beetle Wedge”. A beetle is a tool resembling a hammer but with a large, heavy wooden head. It’s used to drive wedges into logs and split them. This is a tool that I used growing up. In Tennessee, we called them “shillelaghs”. It makes the splitting logs for firewood much easier than using an axe.

Colonial Money System

Pounds, Shillings and Pence

12 pence in one shilling

20 shillings in one pound

240 pence in a pound.

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