The will of Susanna Efford née Issell (c.1758 – 1842)
Susanna is a 6 x gt aunt, the sister of my 5 x gt grandfather John Issell (b. c. 1753).
She outlived her husband who, unlike many men at that time, had left her everything, rather than leaving it in trust to her for her lifetime and specifying what should happen after her death. But they often did this to make sure their children inherited, and that the money did not go outside of the family because their widow had remarried and her new husband taken control. This did not apply in Thomas and Susanna's case as they seem to have had no children, certainly none who survived them. Consequently most of Susanna's bequests were to her relations and those of her husband, so her will is useful in confirming relationships and in a couple of cases providing evidence where I wasn't sure which of two similarly aged people of the same name were involved in a marriage.
Although both nephews and nieces and other relations were left bequests it seems to have been the female relations who were favoured with the larger amounts; showing a preference to other females is common in women's wills.
But one of Susanna's nephews was left more than the others. To her other nephews specified by name Susanna left £5, but to one named after her husband she left £10, and also her silver watch. The money was still less, though, than she left to her named nieces - they received fifteen or nineteen guineas. Thomas Efford Issell was baptised in May 1798, over 6 years after the marriage of Susanna to Thomas Efford. If they didn't have any children by then it may well have been seen as probable that they would not be blessed with children, and so a nephew named after him have been desirable. Whether to comfort Susanna and Thomas, or in the hope of being left a good inheritance is not clear.
Without knowing the size of the estate that Susanna left it is not certain, but it seems that those who may have received most might have been the children of her sister Betty Stone and her brother-in-law William Efford, who were to receive the residue, carved up between them. (I'll see if I can find out the size of her estate from the death duties register)
In the transcription of the will which follows I have tried to stick to spelling and most punctuation as in the copy transcribed, but I have added paragraphs and a list, as well as bold text, to aid reading / studying the will. Comments not in the original are in square brackets - [ ]
This is the last Will and Testament of me Susanna Efford of the City of Bristol widow of Thomas Efford late of the same City Mariner deceased
I appoint my friends Richard Thomas Williams Surgeon And Daniel Brown Gentleman both of the said City of Bristol Executors of this my will And I give and bequeath to them all my estate and effects and request them as soon as possible after my decease to convert into money all such parts thereof as shall not then consist of money except my silver watch hereinafter specifically bequeathed and out of the money arising from such conversion and the money which I shall leave at my decease (after discharging my funeral expences the expences of proving this my will and my just debts) I direct my said Executors to pay the following legacies (viz)
to my Sister Betty Stone widow the sum of thirty pounds
my Niece Susanna Patey the wife of Robert Patey nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings
To her Sister Sally Pedrick wife of James Pedrick fifteen pounds and fifteen shillings
To my Nephew John Roper (brother of the said Sally Pedrick) five pounds
To my Grand Niece Mary Patey daughter of the above Robert Patey and Susanna his wife the sum of ten pounds
To my Niece Susanna Pike wife of John Pike fifteen pounds and fifteen shillings
To each of the other Sons of my brother John Issell who shall be living at the time of my death five pounds
To William Efford brother of my said late husband ten pounds and if he shall die in my lifetime the same to be divided between such of his children as shall be living at my death including the two next mentioned legatees
To George Efford a son of the said William Efford fifteen pounds and fifteen shillings
To Nicholas Efford another Son of the said William Efford fifteen pounds and fifteen shillings
To my friend Elizabeth Oxenham wife of Roger Oxenham of the said City of Bristol woollen draper ten pounds
To their youngest two sons Robert Oxenham and George Oxenham five pounds apiece and if they or either of them shall be minors or a minor at my death the same to be paid to the said Roger Oxenham for their or his use and his receipt shall be a sufficient discharge
and to Mary Ann and Eliza Jane daughters of the said Daniel Brown five pounds each and if they or either of them shall be minors or a minor at my death the same to be retained by or paid to the said Daniel Brown for their or her use
And I desire my executors to divide the residue of the said monies equally between such of the children of my said Sister Betty Stone and the said William Efford * as shall be living at the time of my death
[* the underlined words have a comment in the left margin by them which I think says “underlined in the original” and in the right margin are the initials J. F. S. and W.P.H. – I think, the J could be an I. My guess as to the reason for the emphasis is that it is to make sure that it was noted that the will was talking about both the children of Susanna’s sister Betty and the children of her late husband’s brother, lest the “Efford” be overlooked and it be read as the children of Betty and William Stone.]
And I declare that the receipt of each female legatee who shall happen to be under ?? shall be the only effectual discharge to my Executors for the legacy payable to her
And revoking all wills and testamentary dispositions by me heretofore made I declare this only to be my last will and testament
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty eighth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty six – Susanna Efford-(LS) – Signed sealed published and declared by the above named Susanna Efford as and for her last will and testament in the presence of us J. Ford Sevier Bristol – Wm. Parsons Haythorne Bristol
Proved at London 20th July 1842 before the Judge by the oaths of Richard Thomas Williams and Daniel Brown the Executors to whom Administration was granted having been first sworn by Commission duly to administor.