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Monday, December 6, 2010

John Adams -- I Don't Like My Brick Wall Ancestor

This past summer, I wondered why John Adams was buried in a cemetery in Elba, Genesee Co., New York, and his wife was buried with their son and daughter-in-law in Stafford, Genesee Co., New York. Since John is a "brick wall" ancestor, I tried to figure out why they weren't together.  Then my cousin sent me the three documents copied below. To save you time from reading them, it appears John had a lady friend, Roxana / Roxanna Dabgins, in his town, and a month before he died, had his will drawn up, leaving all to her and her heirs.

His wife of 40 years lived in another town, and their three children were still living. Fortunately, the lawyer knew about his marriage or somebody informed him, but regardless, a document was sent to the wife informing her and their children to appear the following month for probate of her deceased husband's will. I can just imagine the shock when she found out.

After many hours of research, I haven't been able to locate a Roxana / Roxanna Dabgins anywhere, so until I do, I'll just imagine her as a 30 year old widow with red hair and three young children. She knew her 70 year old man wouldn't last forever. So until I discover John's parent's names, and the brick wall comes down, he will be in the dog house, regardless of his reason for cutting his wife and children out of his estate.

Document #1, The will.
"In the Name of God Amen

I John Adams of the Town of Elba in the County of Genesee being of sound mind and under the full exercise of my natural reason do make and ordain
This to be my last will and Testament.


First  I command my Soul to God who gave --

Second  I give devise and bequeath after paying my Funeral Charges and expenses of sickness all my personal property to Roxana Dabgins and to her Heir's families.

Third  I give devise and bequeath all my Real estate which I now have or may have hereafter possess to Roxana Dabgins to have and to hold the same forever

Fourth  I do hereby nominate and appoint Asa Sawtell and Roxanna Dabgins of the Town of Elba the sole Executor of this my last will and Testament in witness where after I have hereunto set to my hand and Seal this 31st day of August 1830.

Signed Sealed Published and Delivered in presence of the Testators and in presence of each other this 31st of his August 1830

John X Adams (His Mark)

E. D. Davis of Elba
Nathaniel Ford     Elba
Document #2

To Ebenezer Mix Esquire Surrogate of the County of Genesee
The Petition of Asa Sawtell Herewith that John Adams late of the Town of Elba in the County of Genesee deceased died on or about the twenty fifth day of September instant in the Town of Elba aforesaid, where he had resided several years that he left assets in said County of Genesee. That he made executed and left a certain instrument in writing purporting to be his last Will and Testament in which he named your petitioner and Roxana Doogin Executor, that Ebenezer D. Davis and Nathaniel Ford were the subscribing witnesses said Will. That he left a Widow___ and three children to wit, John Adams, Horace Adams and Mary Ann King residing in the Town of Stafford in the County of Genesee, the said children being all of full age, they being all the heirs at law of the said deceased known to your petitioner. Now Therefore your petitioner requests that such proceedings may be had as to prove said Will as a Will dividing Real Estate and bequeathing personal property according to the Laws of the State.
Asa Sawtell

Genesee County.
Asa Sawtell being duly sworn saith that he verily believes the facts set forth in the above petition are true.
Subscribed by and Sworn to
this 29 day of September 1830                              Asa Sawtell
Before me
Ebenezer Mix   Surrogate
Document #3

THE PEOPLE of the State of New-York, by the Grace of God free and Independent: To all to whom these presents shall come or may concern, and especially to Hannah Adams Widow John Adams, Junr, Horace Adams and Mary Ann King wife of Leonard King next of kin of John Adams late of the Town of Elba in the County of Genesee deceased send Greeting.

You, and each of you are hereby cited and required, personally to be and appear before Ebenezer Mix, Esquire, Surrogate of our said county of Genesee at his office in Batavia on the Nineteenth day of October, next at Ten o'clock, in the forenoon of that day, then and there to oppose or support as you may see fit, the probate of a certain instrument in writing, purporting to be the last will and testament, of the said John Adams which has been left with our said Surrogate, by Asa Sawtell who claims to be an executor thereof, and which will be at the time and place, aforesaid offered for probate.
In Testimony whereof, we have caused the seal of office, of our said Surrogate, to be hereunto affixed.  Witness Ebenezer Mix Esquire, Surrogate of our said county, at Batavia this twenty ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty.

Ebenezer Mix   Surrogate

Hannah Adams, Widow, John Adams, Junr, Horace Adams and Mary Ann King wife of Leonard King heirs at Law of John Adams late of the Town of Elba in the County of Genesee deceased.

You are hereby notified that it is the intention of the Subscribers, an Executor named in the last Will and Testament of John Adams deceased to apply to Ebenezer Mix Esquire Surrogate of the County of Genesee at his office in Batavia in said County of Genesee in the nineteenth day of October, meet at ten o'clock in the forenoon to have the said Will proved at that time and place.

September, 29th 1830.
                                                       Asa Sawtell"


Heather Rojo said...

What a story! Now you have a real black sheep member of your family, and no wonder his wife didn't want to be buried with him. Even though he was a scoundrel, he left you some great records to discover!

Carol said...

Well, my my. Barbara, I know you have, but, try searches with just Dab* for your gal (electronic data bases, sometimes will take wild cards.)

Good luck, let us know when you find her. I know you will.

Becky said...

The old goat deserves to be buried all by himself!! You are going to look for the estate settlement papers aren't you?

Apple said...

A shocker! I wonder if the rest of the papers have survived?

Nolichucky Roots said...

Not sure breaking through the brick wall will change your feelings about him. Looks like he deserves to stay in the dog house. Makes a great story from this distance.

Kathryn Doyle said...

Geez, Barbara, he's not even my relative but he's in my dog house too. It's so disheartening to learn (over and over again) that deadbeat dads are not a modern invention.

Barbara Poole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara Poole said...

I don't believe I've ever had so many entertaining comments to a blog. Thank you, I laughed at least six times here. Becky and Apple, I'll have to try to find more information, will keep you all posted.

Susan Petersen said...

WOW! Very interesting story... thanks for sharing this!

Greta Koehl said...

Oof, what a pill! Love the title of this post. I'm wondering if Roxana's surname was something simpler than Dabgins, maybe Dobbins, or Dobgins... curious.

Barbara Poole said...

Greta, the name was written three times, but I will scan them and post to see what you all think. Thanks for the thought. Glad you liked the title, I didn't even have to think of one, it just came.

Nancy said...

If he were my ancestor he would stay in the doghouse. It will be interesting to read what you find.

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

We just can't like them all, can we? I have a few in my tree that I'm not particularly fond of, either. Sort of makes us appreciate the ones that weren't creeps!

Martin said...

It's truly funny that all the women immediately take the man as being wrong. Perhaps his first wife was hell on wheels. There's two sides to every story. Perhaps she wasn't shocked. Perhaps she knew all along. Perhaps she didn't want to have sex anymore and he decided to find someone who did. There are a thousand explanations. He was far too close geographically for her not to know. When my g-g-g-grandfather took off, he left NH for Kansas. That was a 19th century divorce.

Barbara Poole said...

Nancy, Elizabeth and Martin thanks for your comments. Martin, she wasn't the first wife, but was the only wife. You are right, they were living rather close, so who knows what the reason was, but I am still digging for more information.

dee-burris said...

Sure she knew.

But regardless of his relationship (or lack thereof) with his wife, why disinherit his children?