1729 Last Will and Testament of John Schuyler, "bequeath...four of my Negro men..."

1729 Last Will and Testament of John Schuyler,
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Price: $495.00


Description: This fascinating document is the Last Will and Testament of John (Johannes) Schuyler (1668-1747), signed and sealed by him on August 27, 1729. John married Elizabeth (Elsie) Staats, a widow with 11 children from her previous marriage, in 1695; they would have four additional children together, beginning that same year.

John begins quite religiously, "In the name of God Amen," and "first and principally" makes a provision not commonly found in current wills, committing his "mortal and precious soul to almighty God that gave it and my body to the Earth."

The document then carries on in a much more modern fashion, directing that his debts and funeral costs be covered, then bequeaths his "houses, lands, and real estate" to his wife, with a few exceptions. The houses and lands not given to his wife included Stone Hook in Rensselaerswyck, two dwelling houses in the city of Albany, and two plantations at Saraghtoga, which were split in various ways between his two sons.

Also bequeathed to his two sons, in a terribly 18th century fashion, were six slaves - four men and two women - to be chosen from among all his slaves, and to be made available immediately following his death("...to put...on their farms at Saraghtoga...").  

John makes no provisions for his stepchildren, but does make a number of other specific and general bequests to his wife, all four of his biological children, and two of his grandchildren. He names his wife and his sons as Executors of his estate.

A member of one of New York's more wealthy and influential families, John Schuyler was a fur trader, merchant, Militia officer, local politican, Deacon of the Albany Dutch Church, and envoy to the Iroquois, eventually leading to a position as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Beginning in 1695, he was involved in the Albany City Council for thirty years. During that time, he also served as Mayor of Albany from 1703-1706, and as the Albany County Representative to the Provincial Assembly from 1710-1713.

Written on all four pages of a sheet of plain writing paper, measuring approximately 12.25" x 15" when unfolded. William Smith, Joseph Chambers, and Jeremias van Renssealer (Sixth Patroon of Rensselaerswyck) all signed their names as witnesses.  Item #A00485

Condition: A short separation at the left side of the center horizontal fold, a few light spots. Generally, in good condition overall. Wonderful insight into both an important New York family and Colonial American legal documents.