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In my previous post, I transcribed the 1797 will of George Myrise. So now what?

We can reconstruct George’s family using the names mentioned in the Will. From that, we learn that he is very likely widowed by 1797 as there is no mention of a wife, and he mentions his daughter and her family living with him, “for their care and attendance of me these six years past” (“Fifthly” section, page 3). I have no current knowledge of who George’s wife and the mother of his children was, but it is presumed that she passed before January 1797.

The known children, listed in the will, of George Myrise include:

  • John Myrise
  • Adam Myrise
  • Margaret Myrise, married George Sponsaller
  • unnamed daughter, married John Gray

George’s will does not tell us anything about John or Adam’s families. Were they married by 1797? Did they have children before George passed in 1799? I know they have to at some point, as my line descends from John. We do know Margaret’s family. Margaret married a George Sponsaller (many spellings of that surname), and they had at least five known children: Elizabeth, Catherine, Lovis, George, and Rachael. They are listed twice in the will (“Fourthly,” page 1, and “Seventhly,” page 2) and both times in the exact same order. Does this suggest that they have been listed in age order with Elizabeth as the eldest and Rachael as the youngest? Possibly. We do know that Elizabeth and Catherine were gifted 1 cow each, and the other three were gifted sheep. George also gifts them “all and singular the money & Bonds not herein bequeathed to be equally divided amongst the children of my daughter Margaret Sponsaller… to be paid them as they arrive at age or marry…” and I know from the Estate Inventory (post coming soon), that Elizabeth had married a Hrise (I believe it is actually Grise) by the inventory date of 13 Nov 1799. Catherine is not named in the Inventory, but George, Lovis, and Rachael all get their sheep!

The mystery in this will is the unnamed daughter who married a John Gray. They had a daughter who is named in the will as “my GrandDaughter Christina Gray Daughter of John Gray” (“Thirdly” section, page 1). The wording of this immediately suggests to me that Christina’s mother is deceased. We know that she is not yet “of age” (21? Does anyone know what the legal age was in the late 1790s in Pennsylvania? Thanks!) in January 1797 when the will was written, but we do know she is set to receive a healthy sum of 30 pounds, with interest, upon George’s death. Seems better than a cow, to me! 

I have found an old church that is still in existence in the area that George lived, that his family may very well have attended. I very much hope that some of the loose ends left unclear in the will (John and Adam’s families, Christina’s mother, birth and marriage information of Margaret and her family, George’s wife) might just be found there. Wish me luck!