• Dave Engle

The Last Will and Testament of John Blaw, 1778

Copied and edited by C. David Engle 8-16-2020

Transcribed by Charles H. Engle, Sr.


This is the Last Will and Testament of John Blaw (c.1728-1778) 1.3.2. It details the distribution of goods found in his inventory and the dividing of his plantation.

As with his inventory, whenever I wasn’t quite sure of a word, I 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. Also, I have used modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization norms. Lastly, the provisions and bequeaths are listed as an “Item.” I have added a number to each item for organizational purposes.


In the name of God, amen– I, John Blaw, in the County of Somerset and Eastern Division of New Jersey, yeoman, being weak in body but sound in memory, thank be to God, I do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner following: Vis – And first, I do hereby nominate and constitute and appoint Hendrick Salter of Somerset County and John Stout of Hopewell in Hunterdon County, my friends, to be my executors of this my last will.


Item (1)

I give and bequeath to my wife one bed with the furniture belonging to said bed and one cow and all the pewter and the pots, tea kettles, and five pounds in money in lieu of a dowry and Michael and John to find their mother and her cow provision as long as she remains my widow and no longer.

Item (2)

I give and bequeath to my sons, Michael and John, all the middle part of my plantation to be equally divided between the two and all the cattle and horses and sheep except such as I take out for the other children afterward, with all the farming utensils, wagons, plowshares which is now on the place provided they take care and pay the debts which may be due upon the Estate. Further, their sister and youngest brother to be found all necessaries till they come of age and further they must give their youngest brother schooling so as to read and write and, further, Michael and John, to have the use of their youngest brother’s land till he comes of full age and for John to have his equal part with Michel of all the crops for to help pay the debts.

Item (3)

I give and bequeath to Son Cornelius the east end of my plantation beginning at Hickory Poplar stand, near Hendrick Salter’s line from thence a straight down to the gate, whence it now {hangs} all that parcel of land eastward free and clear without any encumbrance with six sheep and the black mare.

Item (4)

I give and bequeath to son John my desk, my big gun and the sorrel mare and a bed and furniture belonging to the said bed.

Item (5)

I give and bequeath to son Lambert the west end of my plantation the field as it stand now in fence and a {streak} of woods down Hendrick Salter’s line to the East Corner of the {Little meadow} thence north to the north corner of the meadow and from thence to run a parallel line with Hendrick Line through the woods to the fence of the same field and two horses and two cows and a gun and a bed with the furniture belonging to said bed and if any one of the three- John, Phinilphia (also called Nelte), or Lambert should die without any issue, their part to be divided amongst the living.

Item (6)

I give and bequeath to my daughter Phinilphia one bed with all of the furniture belonging to said and a cupboard and the round table, a looking glass and two cows and fifty pounds in money to be paid by Michel and John four years after she arrives to full age in two yearly payments.

Item (7)

And if my daughter marries to John Stout, {Tailor,} I cut her entirely of nothing to be to her of my Estate.

And I do hereby ratify, allow, and confirm this to be my Last Will and Testament in witness where of I have here unto set my hand and seal this twenty fourth day of April in the Year of our Lord, Anno Domini, One thousand, Seven Hundred, and Seventy Seven.

Signed Sealed and published pronounced and Delivered by the said John Blaw as his Last Will and Testament in present of us the Subscribers - - - - - - - - - -

John Sortore Benijah Stout John Hyde

Item (8)

Before the insealing of this my Last Will and Testament, I leave the east end room of my dwelling house to my wife and daughter with the things now standing in the room and the brass kettle as long as she remain my widow.

(Executors Sworn Statement #1)

John Hyde and John Sortore, two of the witnesses of the written will being duly sworn on the holy evangelists of Almighty God did depose and say that they and each of them saw John Blaw, the Testator, herein named, sign and seal the same and heard him publish, pronounce and declare the within writing to be his Last Will and Testament; and that at the doing thereof the said testator was of sound and disposing mind and memory as far as these deponents know and as they verily believe and that Benijah Stout, the other subscribing evidence was present at the same time and signed his name as witness to the said Will together with these deponents in the presence of the said testator.

John Hyde

John Sortore

Sworn at Hopewell, March 18th 1778 Before me Jared Seaton, Surrogate

(Executors Sworn Statement #2)

Hendrick Sortore and John Stout, executors in the will and testament named, being duly sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God did depose and say that the within instrument contains the true Last Will and Testament of John Blaw, the testator therein named so far as they know and as they verily believe and that they will well and truly perform the same by paying first the debts of the said deceased, and then the legacies in the said testament specified so far as the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased can thereunto extend, and that they will make and exhibit into the prerogative office of New Jersey a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased which have or shall come to their knowledge or possession, or to the possession of any other person or persons for their use and render a just and true account when thereunto lawfully required.

Sworn at Hopewell this 18th Day of March 1778 Before me, Jared Seaton, Surrogate


Hendrick X Sortore


John Stout

John Blaw’s signature on the will

Some Thoughts about this Transcription

There was a word that I was confused about for a very long time, a word spelled, “Neseryes”. It is found in Item 2, as part of a sentence that goes, “…all neseryes till they come of age…” The item is referring to the older brothers, Michael and John, taking care of the younger children. I finally settled on the translation “necessaries,” as it seemed to make the most sense.

A second transcription issue concerns Item 7, which I read as “And if my daughter marries to John Stout, {Tailor,} I cut her entirely of nothing to be to her of my Estate.” This differs from will abstract found in the book, New Jersey Colonial Documents, which, in its interpretation, sees this as two people, John Stout and John Taylor. Looking at the original section below, I think that the second “John” actually belongs to the line above it and refers to his son, John Blew (c.1750-c.1810) and the word “Taylor” refers to John Stout’s profession, that of a tailor. This same type of addition of John’s omitted name can be seen in Item 2, where his name is added below the line in between words of another sentence.

The same Item as seen in the “Documents relating to the colonial, revolutionary and post- revolutionary history of the State of New Jersey, Vol. 34.” Page 48

Copy of John Blaw’s Will c. 1950

Charles H. Engle’s Original Transcription c. 1950

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