File contributed for use on USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County Heritage Page by Richard Allen Avner,  5 March 2007.  Link change or update: 26 Mar 2007

Will and Letter of Probate of Thomas Copenhaver
Will Transcribed from Lincoln County, MO Will Book 1, pp. 67-68; Letter of Probate Abstracted from Probate File No. 92 and provided by Allen Avner, 2007 .

Transcribed 20 September 1987 by Richard Allen Avner from a photo copy of the original document.

Transcription of Will of Thomas Copenhaver Lincoln County Missouri Will Record Book #1, Pages 67-68

In the name of God, Amen. I, Thomas Copenhaver of Lincoln County and State of Missouri, being of sound disposing mind and of perfect memory, make this my last will and testament, all others heretofore revoked. I give to my son Jacob Copenhaver the land on which I now live, being one hundred and sixty acres, and the use of all the stock, household and kitchen furniture, farming utensils and negroes for and during the natural lives of myself and wife, for which he, the said Jacob Copenhaver, is to maintain myself and my wife comfortably and decently while we do live and at our death (he Jacob Copenhaver) is to have all the farming utensils, except the waggon, and half the increase of the horses and cattle from this time. Also at the death of myself and wife (he Jacob Copenhaver) is to have all the hogs and sheep. Nevertheless (he Jacob Copenhaver) in consideration of the aforesaid property is to pay to the other heirs of the said Thomas Copenhaver their proportion of Eight hundred dollars. It is further my will and desire that my son Jacob shall have eight years after the death of myself and wife to pay the money above stated to the other heirs, all of which shall be due and payable at that time and none before. It is my will also that my son Peter Copenhaver shall have a certain negro girl named Nancy at our death as aforesaid. It is also my desire that my son Abraham Copenhaver shall have one hundred dollars in cash which shall be paid to him at the expiration of three years from this date. It is also my will and desire that all just debts, if any, after the death of myself and wife shall be first paid out of the property which has not been devised as above and the remainder of every kind, real and personal, to be equally divided between all of my children and lastly, I constitute and appoint my son Jacob Copenhaver and Nicholas Wells Executors of this my last will and Testament. Given under my hand and seal this Eleventh day of August, A.D. One thousand eight hundred and thirty four.

Acknowledged in presents ) his of the subscribing witnesses )Thomas X Copenhaver (seal) Test. ) mark Gabriel Reed ) Samuel T. Reed )

State of Missouri ) County of Lincoln ) Se Be it remembered that on this 21st day of September, 1838, the foregoing last will and testament of Thomas Copenhaver, late of said County, deceased, was produced before me, Francis Parker, Clerk of the County Court in and for the county and state aforsaid, in vacation of said Court for probate, and by the oaths of Gabriel Reed and Samuel T. Reed, the two subscribing witnesses, was proved according to law to be the last will and testament of said Thomas Copenhaver, deceased. In testamony whereof I hereto sign my name and affix the seal of said Court at Office the day and year above written. Francis Parker, Clerk, T. G. Hutt, D.C. Recorded the 21st September 1838

Abstracted 20 September 1987 by Richard Allen Avner from a photo copy of the original probate file.  [Editor's note:  This is an abstract of the original document, supplemented with annotations of the transcriber, Allen Avner].

Abstract of Probate File For Estate of Thomas Copenhaver File No. 92 Lincoln County Missouri

Letters of Probate were filed on 21 September 1838, the same date that the will was filed. Jacob Copenhaver placed a bond of $4,000 (with Davis Stewart and Osborn N. Coffey, securitors) and was appointed Executor on 21 September 1838.

An inventory and appraisal of property in the estate was conducted on 1 November 1838 and was filed on 17 November 1838. Total valuation of the personal property was set at $1,379.25, $1,000 of which was the value placed on four slaves ("One Negro Woman named Meridith, $500; One Negro Girl named Mary Jane, $200; One Negro Boy named Charles, $200; and One Negro Boy named Smith, $100"). Also listed were "two bibles, $2.00" and "one testament, $ .25", [One of these may have been a family bible owned by Thomas' father in which early family records were kept. Thomas stated in his Revolutionary War Veteran's pension application that his date and place of birth had been recorded by his father in German in a book which Thomas "had at home"].

The initial inventory was augmented on 8 December 1838 and listed 160 acres of land (the Northwest Quarter of Section 15 in Township 51 of Range 2 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian), "one Black woman named Nancy," (the slave mentioned in Thomas' will who was to go to Peter Copenhaver) and "one (word too faint to read) heifer".

A list of items sold at a sale of personal property on 2 November 1838 was filed on 7 January 1839. Proceeds of the sale were $1,750.70 1/2. Jacob Copenhaver was a major bidder and bought all four of the slaves listed in the original inventory (at $1,312) and all of the bibles (at $3). Other bidders included John Copenhaver, who bought dishes, a trunk, a water bucket, a side saddle, and a sifter; Peter Copenhaver, who bought a wagon (at $60); and James Moore, who bought a large dish (at 90 3/4 cents). A smaller sale was conducted on 1 July 1840, bringing in an additional $16.12 1/2.

Though the will indicates that Thomas Copenhaver's property was to be distributed to the heirs after the death of both he and his wife [identified by other documents as Barbara Staley Copenhaver, though not mentioned by name in the will or probate file], no mention is made of the exact date of death of either him or his wife. It must be supposed that she also died at some time between the date the will was written (11 August 1834) and the date of sale of Thomas' personal property. The probate file includes one receipt "for two dollars for work on coffin Sept. 2nd, 1829". The date is clearly written, but the "18" is very faint and the "29" very dark, so it appears that the writer was interrupted in writing the year by the need to dip the pen in ink, and may have written "29" when "39" was intended. Thomas was still in Virginia in 1829, and this receipt was filed with several others in November 1839. All of the other receipts were dated in the Fall of 1839. Whether the coffin was for Thomas or for his wife is unknown.

The notice of the final settlement of the estate at the November 1841 term of the Lincoln County Court was printed in the Salt River Journal on 25 September, 2, 9, and 16 October, 1841. Though the notice spelled Copenhaver as "Copenhaven", the bill from the publisher appears to have been paid and the notice accepted as proper by the Court.

A statement of the Final Settlement of the estate was filed in the February term of the Lincoln County Court on 16 February 1842. It shows a balance of 1,925 Dollars, 8.25 Cents to have been present at the November 1840 court session and that $231.105 had been spent or obligated by the Executor since then, leaving a balance of $1693.9775. Jacob Copenhaver, the executor was "...ordered to pay to the legatees respectively of said Estate, 9 in number, in equal portion, in pursuance of the will of the deceased, each $188.21 3/4, to wit: (1). Jacob Crigger and wife Catherine Crigger, formerly Copenhaver (2). Peter Crigger and wife Elizabeth Crigger, formerly Copenhaver (3). John Copenhaver (4). Calvin Copenhaver, grandson (5). Joseph Copenhaver's heirs (6). Martin S. Copenhaver (7). Abraham Copenhaver (8). Peter Copenhaver (9). Jacob Copenhaver"

Since the will stipulated that the distribution was to go to the children of Thomas Copenhaver, it is assumed that these nine were all children or the heirs of children. Joseph Copenhaver is reported in November 1839 as having paid $50 into the account of the estate, so his death must have occurred between then and the summer of 1840 since he does not appear in the 1840 census. Calvin Copenhaver is assumed to be the son of Valentine, who is believed to have died in 1825.

File contributed for use on USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County Heritage Page by Richard Allen Avner,  5 March 2007.  Link change or update:26 Mar 2007

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