Surrogate's Court SSi
In the matter of proving the
Last Will and Testament of
Jonathan Brown late of Granville
said County deceased
Isaac W. Thompson, Esq. appeared as counsel for Charles
Brown the Executor who propounds the Will for probate.
James C. Hopkins, Esq., appeared and opposed the probate of the Will on the part
of the Contestants Arnold Brown, William Brown, Barzilla Brown, Rowland Brown, Mercy
Wells, wife of ----- Wells, formerly Mercy Brown, Lucy Crouch, widow of Aaron Crouch,
The counsel for said contestants then objected to the proving of said Will on the
grounds that the Will is not duly executed. The witnesses do not state in their
attestation that they subscribe as witnesses at the request of the Testator nor
do they state that they subscribe as witnesses in the presence of the Testator or
in the presence of each other.
The objections were noted - exception taken.
John C. Parker
of Granville was then duly sworn as a witness for the Executor and testified:
I knew Jonathan Brown, he is dead. I drafted the paper shown to me purporting to
be the last Will and Testament of deceased and the codicil thereto. I am attorney
and counselor of law. Jonathan Brown's signature is to the Will against the seal.
I saw him sign it. He said it was his last Will when he signed it. He said so under
my instructions. Previous to his signing it, I told him he must select his witnesses
and tell them it was his Will. He wished me to be a witness. I saw him sign it.
Mr. Dailey, the other subscribing witness was present when he signed it. My name
is subscribed to the paper as a witness. Samuel Dailey's name is also subscribed
as a witness. I signed my name in presence of Mr. Brown at the request of Mr. Brown.
He said it was his last Will. I signed in presence of Mr. Dailey, the signer in
my presence. The Will was executed the day it bears date. I think the deceased was
of disposing mind and memory at this time. Mr. Brown was over 80 years of age at
the date of the Will.
I saw the Testator sign the codicil. My name is to the codicil as subscribing witness.
I was sent for to draw it. I subscribed it as a witness at the request of Testator.
I saw him sign his name and Samuel Dailey saw him subscribe it. We signed it in
his presence and in presence of each other. Codicil is dated Dec. 11, 1847, and
was executed on that day. At that time his health did not appear as good as it was
Question by Counsel for Executor. What was the condition of his mind at the time?
Answer - I considered him of a sufficient competency to make a Will. The answer
was objected to by Contestants' Counsel as incompetent. He appeared to know what
he was doing. A little before I drew the codicil he said he wanted it drawn so to
withdraw the bounty he had given to W m . Bliss in the Will because he
had sued him and put him to cost. He said at the time he executed it that it was
a codicil to his last Will. He was a citizen of the United States. I had known deceased
more than thirty years before his death.
Sworn before me John C. Parker
January 27, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate.
by Mr. Hopkins, counsel for Contestants. He testified -
On the 17 th day of February, 1848, I did not consider him of sound disposing
mind. I did not at that time think him to be competent to transact business. I do
not know whether anything had occurred to change the situation of his mind between
11 th Dec. and 17 th Feb. I did not advise the drawing of
the Deed shown to me. I rather think it was done at Boyer's request. When I drew
the codicil deceased was at Alderman's Mills. I can't state whether the codicil
was drawn before or after the judgment which W m . Bliss (also called
W m . Brown) had obtained against him. From what he said to me at the
time he wanted me to draw the codicil. I consider that he had sufficient capacity
to make a Will. A son of Reynolds Brown came after me to draw the codicil. Reynolds
Brown was not in at the drawing of the codicil. I found the Will there where the
codicil was drawn. Somebody handed me the Will. I think it was not the old gentleman.
The one who came after me told me something about an alteration to be made in the
Will. I think Samuel Dailey did not go down with me. I think he was sent for. I
don't know who sent for him.
When deceased executed the Will he was at my office. Reynolds H. Brown brought him
there. I don't recollect of any other person being with him. His health was as good
as it had been for several years. Deceased told me his object - a Will. Reynolds
was not present during the drawing of the Will. It appears to me we got into some
difficulty about the boundaries and the old man sent for Reynolds and he described
I have no recollection of deceased asking Reynolds, either at the drawing of codicil
in the presence of Hiel Hollister, whether the division of the land in this Will
suited him. I had previously drawn a Will for the old man 2 or 3 or 3 or 4 years
before that Will was drawn. Reynolds came to me to draw the first Will. Deceased
was at his house at that time and I drew it there. For the last 8 or 10 years of
his life with the exception of the last 4 or 5 years I considered him of sound mind.
He did not to my knowledge have sickness for the last 15 years. I was not sworn
as a witness on the inquisition to recollections. I am 76 years of age. My memory
is somewhat impaired. I am now in very feeble health.
Sworn before me John C. Parker
January 27, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate
The case was then adjourned to the 25 th day of February, 1852.
February 25, 1852. The Executor and the Contestants appeared by the same Counsel
Lyman H. Northrop also appeared for Contestants.
In the matter of proving
the Last Will and Testament of
Jonathan Brown late of
Granville in the County of
was then sworn as a witness for the Executor and testified: I reside in Granville.
Shall be 60 next April. I am the Samuel Dailey whose name appears as witness to
the paper which I have in my hands. I knew Jonathan Brown in his lifetime whose
name appears on the Will. I was present when the Will was executed by him. I think
I saw him sign it. If I recollect right, I was called in by Reynolds Brown to witness
a Will and when I went to John C. Parker's office, Esq. Parker was reciting the
Will to the Testator. I stood and saw the old man sign his name and witnessed it.
I should think that the old man made the remark that it was his last Will and testament
though I would not be positive on that point. Witnessed the Will in presence of
the Testator and in presence of other subscribing witnesses. I saw Esq. Parker sign
his name to it as a witness. I am not positive that I heard the Testator say anything
while I was present at the time of the signing of this Will. Someone said that it
was his last Will. Question by Counsel for Executor: After looking at the attestation
clause upon the Will above your signature have you any doubt that the facts which
are recited in the attestation clause are true? (Question objected to and overruled).
Question - Would you have subscribed the attestation clause if the facts which are
recited in it are not true? (Objected to - and Question allowed to be -----). Answer:
I do not remember whether the attestation clause was read to me or not. After I
subscribed the Will I do not know what was done with it. I left the office leaving
the old man and Esq. Parker and I think Reynolds Brown there. I am not positive
that Reynolds was there. I do not recollect what language Reynolds used in asking
me to come and witness the Will. I no not recollect what was said to me in the office
about witnessing the Will. It is my impression that Parker and I both looked over
his shoulder at the time he signed the Will. I do not recollect of any circumstances
occurring on that day or at the time after signing of the Will from which I could
judge of his mental capacity on that day.
That is my signature to the codicil as subscribing witness. I recollect subscribing
my name to it and that John C. Parker did. I saw Mr. Brown sign his name to it.
Parker and myself were present when he signed his name. We signed in the presence
of the Testator and in presence of each other. Esq. Parker read the codicil to them
after I got into Alderman's home. Parker asked him if that was right, he said "yes.
I told Bliss if he sued me I wouldn't give him anything." Esq. Parker put it before
him and he signed it. I presume I was requested to witness it, but I don't recollect
it. I staid there but a very short time and Parker and I left together.
Sworn before me Saml Daily
February 25, 1852
DA Boris -
. I cannot recollect that the Testator asked me to witness the Will. Reynolds
came after me and asked me to go in and witness the old gentleman's Wills and at
that time I went in and witnessed this paper. Reynolds Brown came after me to go
to Mr. Alderman's. Reynolds requested me to go and witness another Will or codicil.
I wouldn't swear that the old gentleman requested me to witness the codicil. He
might have asked me but I do not recollect it. All that I recollect of the old gentleman's
saying was that he told Bliss he wouldn't leave him anything if he sued him. I have
no recollection of hearing the old gentleman say anything at the time of executing
the Will. John Alderman and Reynolds H. Brown married sisters.
I cannot recollect of the language used by Reynolds H. Brown on both of these
occasions of his coming for me to be a witness.
Sworn before me Saml Daily
Febr. 25, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate
was sworn as a witness for the Executor and testified. I reside in Granville
and have since 1802. I knew Jonathan Brown in his lifetime. I have met with him
frequently until within a few years past. I was in at Esq. Parker's Office some
years ago on one occasion when old Mr. Brown was there, can't say how long ago it
was. While I was there, He was talking with Esq. Parker about some land. He was
describing a piece of land. Esq. Parker I think made some minutes of the description.
I can't form an idea how long I was there. Mr. Brown and I had some conversation
in the office. Mr. Brown and Esq. Parker talked together. I don't know but Mr. Brown
appeared as rational as he has been for many years. I discovered nothing to the
contrary. He appeared to know what he was about on that day. Can't recollect how
many years ago this was. I have an idea that I went for the purpose of having some
papers made about some orphan children I have charge of. Reynolds H. Brown was there.
I heard something said about a Will. I mean the Will of Jonathan Brown. Old Mr.
Brown asked Reynolds H. Brown some questions in relation to the making of the Will
and he replied that he wanted him to make his own Will and not to ask him any questions
I have never seen Mr. Brown when he did not appear rational. I have not seen
him since then. I have not seen him very frequently since 1810. Have lived from
4 to 6 miles from Mr. Brown. R. H. Brown was there in the office all the time the
old gentleman was there while I was there. I have no distinct recollection of what
was said regarding that business except I do recollect what the old gentleman said
to Reynolds this reply as I have already testified. I think Jonathan Brown asked
Reynolds if he would be satisfied with a certain portion of his farm, naming it.
He asked him if he would be satisfied with something. Reynolds replied, Father,
I don't ask you to give me anything. I wish you to make your own Will and if you
don't give me anything, I will be satisfied. I don't know but that something was
a part of the land, and I don't know as it was. I should rather think it was a part
of the land, but I can't tell.
Sworn before me Feb 25, 1852 H. Hollister
D.A. Boris, Surrogate
was sworn in as a witness for the Executor and testified.
I am a son of Reynolds H. Brown. I recollect the time when Jonathan Brown was at
Alderman's when Esq. Parker and Daily were there. I heard Jonathan Brown say he
was going to make his codicil. I heard him to say to him to make his codicil. I
saw Esq. Parker write. I heard Testator tell him what to do. He said that he had
said when he made his Will that if Mr. Brown sued him he would take away his Gift.
I don't recollect particularly of any thing more that he said. I was not in all
time they were there. Question. Were you present when the codicil was executed by
Testator? The questions was objected to by the Counsel for the contestants as improper
evidence and incompetent. Objection overruled and exception taken. Answer. I heard
him say what it was? Q._ What did he say it was? The question objected to as incompetent
the witness not being a subscribing witness to the codicil. Objection overruled.
Answer. He said it was a codicil. Q. Did he say anything in relation to the witnesses
to his codicil? Objected to as to an incompetent admitted. Answer. He did. I believe
he asked Mr. Daily and Mr. Parker to sign it. He spoke to Mr. Daily and asked him
if he would have the honor to sign it. He asked Mr. Parker the same. Grandfather
requested me to go and get Mr. Daily to witness his codicil. I don't recollect of
his saying anything when he took the pen in his hand to write. When he requested
me to get Mr. Daily I went and got my father to get him. I believe father was not
in the house when Parker was drawing the codicil. Grandfather drew his pension a
few days before this. I don't recollect of anything more that Testator said while
he and Parker were there. The codicil was drawn before I went to Dailey. Reynolds
Brown was not in the room before the codicil was drawn.
I am resided in Slyborough in the Town of Granville. I was then betwixt ten
or eleven years old. I carried Father and Grandfather to Alderman's in the afternoon.
I went back home and came up again the next morning and the business was done on
that day. Grandfather ------- ----- ----- to go down to Alderman's. I don't know
how long he had been at --------. I left Father at Alderman's with him overnight
and the next morning. I came down there. They and Alderman's folks were there. Grandfather
told me to go after Esq. Parker and I went. Father was present when he told me to
go after him. Father did not say anything. Father was there when I got there with
Parker. Father passed the compliments with Esq. Parker that was all. I stayed there.
Father sat in the kitchen a shift and then went over to Bissil Alderman's. The codicil
was executed in the west room. The first words I heard him say was, he told Parker
he was going to take away the gift to W m . Brown. He said when he made
his Will he told him if he sued him he should take it away from him. He told Mr.
Parker he wanted he should write him a codicil. I never heard that word before.
I did not know what it meant there. I recollect now that he used that word. I don't
recollect exactly what he said after that. He and Parker sat up at the table and
talked together. I did not hear what they said, and Parker went to writing. I don't
recollect what was said after that till he got it done. Then Mr. Parker said they
were ready for witnessing of it and Mr. Parker said he thought any other man could
witness it just as well as the same ones who had witnessed the Will. Grandfather
said he would rather have the same ones witness it who had witnessed the Will. He
told me to go after Mr. Daily. I went and told my Father. After Daily came Grandfather
said he would like his honor to sign that paper. That is the language made use of
as nigh as I can get it. That is all I recollect that was said in the presence of
Mr. Daily. Grandfather brought that Will down there. I don't know where he got it.
Grandfather had the Will when I first saw it which was at Alderman's. He had it
in the kitchen. I have not talked with anybody from that time to this about this
transaction. I have not talked with my father about it. I will swear positively
I have not talked with him, nor my mother, nor my brother Rowland nor told them
nor my uncle Charles a single word about it. I have not told my uncle Charles that
I was there when the codicil was executed. I have not talked over the matter with
any one. I don't know how they knew or how they came to ask me these questions put
to me on the stand. I didn't know that anyone knew that I was there except these
folks who were there. Alderman's folks and cousin were in the house, but not in
the room. Alderman was sick on the bed. Renner Boyington was the cousin. No one
was present to hear the conversation except Parker, Daly, and Testator. I can't
tell whether the paper was send over after Daily came there. Don't recollect that
by Counselor for the Executor. I am now sixteen past. Father told me to stay
at home. I came here today without anybody's leave. When you called my name I answered
what do you want me for because I did not think I should be mentioned in this case.
Grandfather told Daily and Parker that the paper was a codicil which he wanted them
to witness. This things which I have reported I remember distinctly. I don't recollect
of grandfather talking with Esq. Parker on any other subjects. I took the old gentleman
home on that day. I don't recollect what he said. I don't know whether Grandfather
was --- with father at that time or not.
After Daily came Grandfather said he wished his honor to sign that paper. He
told him that it was his codicil, that he told them when he wrote his Will if he
W m . Brown sued him he should take away his gift. I don't recollect
that this last was said when Mr. Daily was present. I refer to his saying that it
was his codicil and what he said about taking away Brown's gift. All that I recollect
that was said in Daily's presence was that he wished his honor to sign that paper.
I did not know when I left home what business father or grandfather had. I did not
know that my father had any business nor do I now know that he had any business
there at that time.
Q. After the codicil was drawn by Parker as stated by you, did your Grandfather
declare what is was? If so, state what was said. Objected to as too indefinite.
A. I don't recollect as he did. On the question being repeated and explained to
witness he says that Grandfather said it was his codicil. Q. Do you remember whether
or not at the time of his saying so Daily was present or not. A. I don't. I don't
recollect of anything of that sort being said in Daily's presence.
When they got the codicil done before they went after Mr. Daily, he called it
his codicil. I don't recollect of his saying so after that. The reason this business
was not done that night that I took them down was that Esq. Parker could not attend
to it. I came down to Parker's in the afternoon. After we got to Mr. Alderman's
that afternoon I found what my Grandfather want of Mr. Parker. The next morning
he asked me to go down after Mr. Parker.
The first day Grandfather told me to go and tell Mr. Parker that he wanted him
to come up and draw him a codicil I went and told it to Parker. He told me he couldn't
attend to it that afternoon, but if I would come after him in the morning he would
go. I told that to my grandfather. Grandfather then said they would stay there all
Sworn before me Feb. Ellis Brown
D.A Boris, Surrogate
The counsel for the Executor then rested his case. And the Counsel for the Contestants
objected to the probate of said Will and codicil on the grounds that the execution
of said Will and codicil in compliance with the requirements of the Statute had
not been proven.
The objections were overruled.
The Contestants then offered in evidence a Deed executed by Jonathan Brown to William
Boyer dated February 19, 1848. Consideration of $2,000 Warranty Deed, proved on
same day before John C. Parker and recorded in Wash. Co. Clerk's Office in Liber.
No. 17 of Deeds, page 571-72, 21 st Feb. 1848, conveying the whole of
the real estate contained in the Will.
The introduction of said Deed in evidence is objected to on the grounds 1 st
that the Deed is not known to be delivered, 2 nd It is immaterial
the same not being in favor of any of the contestants.
The Deed was admissible in evidence over Counsel for Executor exception.
Asa H. Brown
was then sworn in as witness for the Contestants, testifies. I am grandson of
the deceased. I know this land described in the Deed from Brown to Boyer the description
of which has been read to me. That is all the land he occupies or desires to own
as I know of. These boundaries cover the whole farm. The devises to Charles Brown
in the Will are a part of the premises contained in the Deed to Boyer. They do not
cover all the land in the Deed. The part on which Reynolds Brown lived at the time
of the making of the Will is not contained in these devises. Testator's land all
adjoins. The farm contained 140 or 150 acres. The part upon which Reynolds lives
is contained in the Deed.
I do not know when Testator died. At the date of the Deed the land contained
in the Deed was all he owned or desired to own. The Barn Meadows Pond is not contained
in the Deed. Testator used to desire some portion of that Pond. There is not over
15 acres of the water. The boys swim and fish there. There is water enough to turn
a mill at some seasons of the year. There is a fall on the Alderman farm. He desired
a right to water cattle and some right to take water.
I never heard Testator claim to have a deed of this pond or never knew of his
using the water.
I saw Testator dead upon the premises at the house of Reynolds H. Brown upon
the premises the house where Testator used to live when I lived with him. Testator
was buried upon the premised contained in the deed.
Sworn before me Feb. Asa H. Brown
D.A. Boris, Surrogate
The contestants then rested the case and the case was adjourned to the 26 th
of Feb., 1852, at 9 A.M.
Continuation of the Testimony taken on proving the Will of Jonathan
Brown brought forward from Record of Wills
February 26 th , the parties appeared. The Counsel for the Executor then
offered in evidence a deed from William Boyer to Jonathan Brown, dated 1 st
April, 1848 of the farm premises described in the deed to Boyer. It is a Warranty
Deed. Declares that it is a reconveyance and release. Acknowledged day of date before
Parker and recorded 1 st August, 1848, in Wash. Co. in Liber. of Deeds,
The Counsel for the contestants objected to the Deed being read in evidence on the
grounds that it is immaterial and it does not ----- the devises in the Will without
republication of the Will.
The objection was overruled and the Deed read in evidence.
The Counsel for the Executor then rested his case.
The Counsel for the Contestants then entered in evidence an order of the Court,
County of Wash. Co, appointing Stephen Wing Committee of the person and estate of
Testator, entered March 21 st , 1848 also the order containing the finding
of the jury, entered March 1 st , 1848. Also offers an office(?) copy
of the inquisition of the Jury dated 26 th Feb., 1848 which finds him
to be of unsound mind and incapable of the management of himself and of his lands
and testimony to have been so for two years previous to the day of finding.
The Counsel for the Executor objected to all this evidence as immaterial they show
no valid proceeding authorizing any finding of lunacy and that proceedings offered
do not prove it and are not the best evidence. The evidence was received and the
Counsel for the Executor excepted.
Isaac G. Hopkins
was then sworn as a witness for contestants says: About the 26 th
day of January last past I sent to the County Clerk of Wash Co. for the papers in
the case of finding Jonathan Brown a Lunatic sent by Asa H. Brown requesting him
to enclose them to me. On 27 th of January I received a letter from Clerk
stating that he had searched faithfully for the inquisition and petition and could
not find them. Since that time I have seen W m . Stratshere the Clerk
and he states that he has made diligent search and has not been able to find them.
I know that an inquisition was found. I was atty. for petitioner and was present
at the finding. I have in my hand a copy of the inquisition which was found at that
time and was made for my use and which was retained by me with the other papers
in the course. I have also in my hand a copy of the Petition and affidavit upon
which the order appointing the Commissioners was granted.
Sworn before me Feb. 26, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate Isaac G. Hopkins
The papers were received in evidence.
was then sworn as a witness for the Contestants. I reside in Granville. I am
a farmer. I have lived where I now live over 56 years. About half a mile from the
former residence of Testator from his farm. I have known Testator ever since I was
old enough to know men, say about 48 years. For the last ten years his mind had
not appeared to be as sound as it used to be. For that time his business has been
principally done by his son, Rowland Brown. He was living at home on the place with
his father and he principally did his business abroad. I don't know that Testator
did much of any business at home or abroad during that time. I used to see him frequently
during that time. He used some years to come to my house quite often. Some 6 to
8 years ago he used to come to my home with a complaint that he had been misused
and wanted my protection. I have seen him when he staid at my house upon going to
bed take out two or three knives - 2 shoe(?) knives and a butcher knife out of his
pockets. He said he had them to defend himself with. He said some of his children
and grandchildren that lived there on the place were bent on killing him and he
had these knives to defend himself. He had ideas about his business different from
what he used to have before that. I had been in the habit of getting his pension
for him from Albany. Sometimes he has appeared to know what it meant. At other times
he did not seem to know much about the amount or about the business. Sometimes he
had notions about witches. I don't know but he always had such notions. Don't recollect
of hearing him say much about them till the latter part of his life some ten years
ago. From my knowledge of the facts and circumstances and the man I do not consider
that he has been competent to transact business within the last ten years. Within
that time he has had his likes and dislikes toward particular children. I don't
think that was so formerly. These alleged causes of dislike were based on the fact
as he alleged that they were going to kill him, that they were conspiring against
his life. As near as I can recollect most of these statements were made from 6 to
8 years ago. At that time Lucy and Mercy, his daughters, Rowland, his son, and William
and Asa H., his grandsons, were living on his farm. Reynolds lived on the premises
but in a new house. Charles did not live there. Rowland and I think the other boys
had some property on the premises. Mercy I think had a cow. I don't know that Lucy
had any property. Charles was reported to own a farm at Chazy. Leonard was reported
to be worth some property. Roland, Mercy, and Lucy had always pretty much lived
and worked at home. It is admitted that in 1848 Lucy was aged 62 years, Rowland
53, Mercy 38. In 1845 none of these three were married. The girls worked at home.
Rowland worked at shoe making and some on the farm. The girls kept house for the
Testator after he lost his wife.
I drew Testators pension for 4 or 5 years before 1843. All the business I have
to do was to take the power of attorney and receive the money and pay it over to
him. One or twice the Testator gave me the power of atty. himself. I think he told
me to draw the money on that. He knew my father was a pensioner. I got the idea
from what he said that he wanted I should get him money. He drew in neighborhood
of $50 per year. I don't recollect what he said to me when I paid him the money
I obtained on these pension powers which he gave me himself. I told him I had got
his money and how much it was. He took the money and retained it. I handed it to
him and told him that was the amount. I don't recollect of counting it to him. On
the other occasions that I got the money I rather think that Rowland gave me the
power. I paid the money to him on all occasions but once. Then I think that some
of the boys came after it. Once or twice when I handed him the money he did not
say anything about it. I generally handed it over to him in the presence of the
family. On one occasion when I paid him money he told me he would pay me for the
trouble. That is the only expression of I remember of his using at any time when
I paid his money. Testator's farm is generally tillable but some broken and stony.
The buildings are poor and older. The fences are rather running down. I should think
it would bring nearly twenty dollars an acre. Times between 1845 and 1847 that Testator
stayed at my house over night as I have stated in my direct evidence. Sometimes
he knocked and sometimes he didn't. I recollect that I said on one of these occasions
that I thought he was mistaken in thinking that his children wanted to get rid of
him and went on to give my reasons why I old him that. I supposed that they have
as good feelings towards him as other families had and would not injure him. He
replied that they had banded together to take his life and he had fled from them
and wanted my protection. I recollect of asking him to eat on these occasions. When
I asked him to eat he generally sat down with us. Sometimes he helped himself and
sometimes I would help him. I would ask him whether he would take something and
he would sometimes reply and sometimes wouldn't. He was some deaf the latter part
of his life. He told me he wanted to stay all night. I think I generally told him
that when he was ready he might retire to bed. He would start to go with me to the
bed room. Generally I would wait till he went to bed. I think that at all times
he slept with his pantaloons on. Once he only took off his hat and boots. Since
1845 he slept 3 or 4 times at my home, 2 of these times were within two months of
each other, the others were within 5 or 6 months. I think he had his knives on all
these occasions. He took out his knives and put them on the table. I asked him what
he had them for and he said he had them to defend himself. I asked him about the
knives but once - He was a decided man in his politics - During these years that
I speak of I was in to his house more or less. I think he was a man decided in his
prejudices and in his likings. He and I did not have misunderstandings the latter
part of his life. He scolded at me for being a witness in the inquisition of lunacy.
When I used to call at his house on some occasions I used to talk with him. Can't
recall anything that he said on any of these occasions. I think he talked with me
about being a witness at Reynolds H. Brown's house. He said he understood I swore
that he was crazy or didn't know how to do business at Middle Granville. I believe
he said I had testified at Middle Granville in relation to the state of his mind
somewhere within a year before that time. His pension powers were made out by Esq.
Parker sometimes and sometimes by Standish. I can't say that he has voted since
1845 - I have seen him vote within ten years. I don't recollect of any instances
in which he had to do business except what I have stated. I saw Testator at the
taking of the inquisition - His health failed him in the last ten years. I don't
recollect of having any business transactions with him since 1843. I have seen Roland
going to the Blacksmith's to get business done. I don't know of myself of his doing
any business for old man. I have heard the old man speak of Lucy staying home &
that he couldn't do without her - I can't say that this was within ten years. I
have heard the old man say he kept her a good many years ago. I can't say that I
have heard him say so within ten years. I never heard any bargain with them. I should
suppose from the circumstances that the girls always had their living and support
Sworn before me Feb. 26, 1852
D.A. Boris - Surrogate Jesse Averill
Asa H. Brown
was then recalled as a witness for the contestants and testified -
I am son of Arnold Brown. I remember near the time that my grandmother died, it
was eight years ago last November - I was at Jonathan Brown's most part of the time
during her sickness and until her death. During the latter part of her sickness
he was not as easy to get along with & during the forepart of her sickness -
I have hear him say toward the latter part of her sickness that he wished he had
killed her while she was young, he wouldn't been plagued with her as he had been
- He appeared very different toward her during the last fortnight or 2 weeks of
her life. I did not hear him make such expressions toward her till about two weeks
before she died. The last two weeks I did not see him show any kindness toward her.
I saw him one evening there near one light in the bedroom he had his cane in his
right hand held up over her. She was lying in the bed. I made my home with him until
- years ago this winter & during that time he remained in the same state he
was during the last part of her sickness. His state of mind was different from what
it had been previous to her sickness. He used frequently to complain of having witches
and dogs about his bed & room during the night. Frequently he would make noises
in the night. Sometimes I have known of his leaving what he called weapons in his
room during the night, a club and hatchet, he said he had them for the purpose of
keeping off these witches or persons who were going to kill him. His hatchet was
most of the time in his room - One night the last winter I lived with him he commenced
sometime in the night to holler and beg for his life. I and W m . Brown
I think got up and went to his room and found the door fastened. I called to him
to know what he wanted. Before I went down sometimes for half an hour he would beg
for his life and then for 15 minutes, and then for a space he would be freezing
- We then went to the room and found the door fastened. I called to him & asked
him if he wanted I should come in and he said did - I asked him to get up and open
the door - his reply was he couldn't. I then broke the fastening and went in. By
this time my aunt Mary had got up and we then went in. We found Testator on the
floor and partly on the hearth, there was a fireplace in the room - He appeared
very cold & benumbed so he couldn't help himself much. We got him up and got
a fire built. After he got comfortably warm he accused us of being the ones who
had been there to kill him. To use his expression he said We were the devils who
had been there all night trying to kill him. We left him in his room. The next morning
I started for the north and I saw him but little after that. He had names for them
imaginary dogs - two of them were Growler and S------. He frequently talked about
these. He complained that they annoyed him and that he couldn't rest nights. Towards
the last of his life he was more at home. After wife's death he was at home more,
although he then went away some - he sometimes went away and staid all night. Pleasant
days in summer he was some walking about the neighborhood. He sometimes, once or
twice, complained of Growler taking him down while he was walking about in the day
time. After his wife's death during the time I knew him from what I saw and know
of him I shouldn't think that he was competent to transact business.
He was not always alike in his dislikes towards members of his family - One day
he would think better of one than the others and another day he would think better
of another. Sometimes he would use harsh language against & then use pleasant
language in favor of the members of the family. If a man would go in and sit down
with him & agree with him in his religious notions & ideas on most any subject
he would like him & if he differed with him he didn't like him.
He used frequently to say that ---- shouldn't have much of his property. Sometimes
he said not any - but Lucy he said had earned more than he could give her. I heard
him say once, he said he should give the north end of the Northup farm to Lucy and
Rowland together. In 1845 neither Lucy nor Mary had anything but what they had in
the house. Mary may have had a cow at that time. I don't recollect of Roland having
anything but a cow and some hogs. The Testator had given nothing to these three
except a living along with the rest of the family. Lucy and Mary lived with him
all the time I was there. I took it that the girls kept house for him. They did
the work in the house for him. He owned most of the personal property on the farm
I should think. I understood him that in settling of a mortgage he had against Charles
property he had given in some $40 to Charles. I have heard him say that he gave
father $100 when father went north. Heard him say that he had given to Edmund about
same he gave father. I have heard him tell of assisting Reynolds frequently but
how much I don't know. I heard Testator say that Reynolds was going to have on hand
hand the half of the purchase money of a piece of land which father bought off of
Grandfather's farm. The purchase money was $600 he said. Reynolds used frequently
to come in & go to the old man's room & sit with him sometimes. I was once
at Testator's when Esq. Parker, Reynolds, and Levi Martin were there. Reynolds came
into the house and the old man and Reynolds went out and got into a sleigh &
they all went out of my sight together in the direction towards Reynolds's house.
While Reynolds was helping him put on his coat someone spoke about waiting till
Testator had his dinner & Reynolds said that Esther (his wife) would have dinner
ready by the time they got there.
I lived on the farm with the old man ten years & lived there till within
7 years. I made a home there a year after I quit working the farm - the first year
I worked there I worked as I supposed in company with Reynolds and Leonard but in
the fall I settled with them. I took pay by the month. They worked grandfather's
farm and Leonard's farm. In the fall they gave Testator half or some share of the
produce of the farm of Testator. I boarded with grandfather most of the time. The
next year I worked grandfather's farm on shares. I was to have one sixth. I don't
know how much Reynolds had. Never saw it divided between them. The first year Reynolds
was living on the farm in another house. I think I worked two years with Reynolds
in the same way. Grandfather agreed to board me. I won't be positive how long I
worked in company with Reynolds. After that Reynolds took a part & William &
I had a part.
Testator brought up William from a boy. Sometimes Testator would give directions
about planting. He has sometimes told not to sow. He didn't want us to sow until
after planting. He interfered considerably with the farming matters until the last
part of the time. I think there was not a year he did not give us directions what
to do. I think he gave directions about selling the produce of the farm. Don't recollect
particularly but one instance. I have heard him pretty much every year in the season
of haying giving directions about getting up the hay. He always said he wanted a
bush cut to draw hay on a sled instead of on a wagon. He thought it could be got
I made no particular bargain with him after the first year until the last. I made
a bargain with him 8 years ago this coming spring. He told me he didn't want me
to work the farm that season. He said he didn't want me there and I left & went
to father's and went to ploughing that very day. I never settled with him. One spring
that he told me he didn't want me and I went away. It is some 10 or 12 years ago
that he sold a part of the farm to Arnold Brown. It was called 35 acres - he gave
$600 for it.
The old lady was sick about eleven months. I was there at the time of her death.
I heard the old man say that he didn't want the doctors round because there would
be doctor's bill to pay. I have heard him say that if they would throw the stove
out of door and build the fire in the fireplaces they wouldn't have to burn lightly.
I have heard him quite a number of times forbid them to get things charged to him
at the store. He generally paid the taxes or sent the money. He has given me money
to take and pay his taxes. He would give me money and tell me to go and pay the
taxes. I saw him one year pay the taxes in his own house to Thomas Rubl---.
He used to say that such & such a field was adapted to a particular crop. We
kept a few cows on the farm. I came up with him once while I lived with him after
his pension. He was making out some money to pay a man named Stoddard. In my last
ten years I wouldn't be positive that I know of his undertaking to do any business
whatever. I think I know of his going to the polls to vote within last ten years.
I never know of his going to meeting in his lifetime. It was about 8 years ago that
Esq. Parker came in there & they went away in a sleigh. The last or next to
last year I worked there Testator said to me that someone had told him that you,
Asa, said there was 30 tons of hay cut & I say that there wasn't as much cut
and that I was going to make him pay for one quarter of that and I told him I hadn't
said so, and I said I supposed it was to be divided as formerly by the teeth the
fodder to be divided by the cattle eating it up. I have heard him direct a horse
to be shod. I have heard him tell William to take the horse away & get him shod.
Occasionally he would speak of shoeing the horse. Frequently he would converse with
People who came in, would speak about the revolutionary war - his experience of
visions & on religious topics - I heard of a Bail Bond being given for Arnold
as Administrator of Reuban Guilder's estate. I saw Testator lend Arnold Brown $15.00
Asa H. Brown
4 years ago about this time W m . Brown had a lawsuit with Testator
Sworn before me Feb 26, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate Asa H. Brown
was duly sworn for Contestants & testified: I reside in Granville, am a
Physician, have lived here 13 years the coming spring. I knew Jonathan Brown in
his lifetime. I knew him some dozen years. Had some little acquaintance with him,
have seen him occasionally, have heard him converse some. Tis several years since
I had a conversation with him. He was rather wondering in his conversation. He would
not converse long upon one subject. I can't recollect the subject matter of his
conversation. I have seen him very seldom for the last few years. When I have seen
him, I wouldn't consider him competent to transact important business. But my acquaintance
was very limited. I regarded him as a sort of monomaniac rather than anything else.
I heard a part of the testimony of Asa H. Brown - that part regarding seeing witches
and dogs, Growler etc. I should not regard such illusions as the marks of sanity
in any man - would regard them as evidence of insanity. A man might have such illusions
occasionally & yet have lucid intervals: if they were the results of disease
he might have lucid intervals - but if from old age, I would regard them as evidence
that the mind was very much impaired. I should think from hearing the testimony
of Mr. Averill that if the complaints made by Testator about them trying to kill
him were true his conduct would indicate sanity, if untrue they would indicate insanity.
I should think from the testimony of Mr. Averill that he would not be competent
to transact business where the persons of whom he entertains these apprehensions
: A person may be perfectly sane upon all subjects but one and on that subject
he may be insane. If the old man had these notions about witches all through life,
they would not be the result of old age. I can report no conversation which I had
with him, nor any part of them, nor any topic upon which we conversed The opinions
which I formed from my conversation with Testator was that he was in his second
childhood. I attempted to do no business with him and was not present when he did
any business. He might have had many intervals during the time I was acquainted
with him when he could transact business. When any man arrives at second childhood,
he is not in my opinion competent to transact important business. I have formed
the opinion that Testator was in second childhood, but I do not know whether I formed
that opinion from what I saw and know myself. I had a bill of a dollar or two against
Testator. I attended to one of the girls. I think some of the children paid me.
I visited his wife in 1841 - charged $1.25. Lucy 29 th April 1841 - $1.00
was paid as credited by Mr. Brown but don't recollect of his paying it to me.
: If a man had those notions about witches etc. they would probably increase
and strengthen as his mind became impaired by age, and would then control the judgement.
A man might come to such a belief by education and that does not amount to insanity.
If he believed his children had turned into witches and were tormenting him it would
amount to insanity. Imbecility is not the usual attendant of such illusions. When
I speak of second childhood the judgement may not be necessarily gone but impaired.
I regarded that he had passed to that stage of second childhood where he was incompetent
to transact important business but I may have formed that opinion from report as
well as from my own knowledge.
Sworn before me Feb. 26, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate A. Kendrick
being duly sworn in as a witness for contestants says I reside in Hartford.
I have lived within 1/2 mile of Testator for about 20 years before last spring. I
have seen him frequently during that time. He has been frequently at my house. I
have heard him say that he had had a vision when he was a young man and lived at
home with his father and they thought he was crazy - He said they chained him. In
his conversation he said his brother Daniel had and did kill him. He said the Lord
had work for him to do & brought him back to life again. I heard him tell about
bringing a critter to life for Mr. Guilder - He said the critter was dead &
the tallow(?) was cold and sometimes, he said and sometimes, he said that it was
himself that brought it to life and sometimes he said that Glider's girls felt so
bad that they induced him to bring it to life. I have seen him pray at brother John's.
I was there one time and he said that he wanted to pray and they said he might and
he did. After he got through praying he would be mute as if partly asleep. Reynolds
H. Brown was present at the time of taking the inquisition. He was approving the
inquisition. I saw the Testator on the day of the inquisition. His manner was about
the same it had been for several years previous. He grew more feeble every year,
but his mental condition appeared about the same. I have heard the Testator say
that his children then at home tried to poison him - I have heard him say so several
times. He would sometimes say that they tried to poison him. He said he had taken
snails & ----- to kill the poison. I have heard him speak in favor of Reynolds
and then against him. He sometimes said that Reynolds would do better if it weren't
for his wife. She he said had tried to poison him. I have heard him say that spirits
haunted him and tried to kill him. He appeared to have a stronger belief in these
stories as he advanced in years. From my knowledge of him he was incompetent to
transact business for the last 15 years.
. - I am 44 years old. I knew him when a boy. I heard him then tell about his
youth, and about his brother killing him - the last 10 or 11 years ago - I have
known him to work out at days work. I have not seen him work out within 20 years.
I have seen him at work in the garden 10 or 15 years ago. I presume I have been
in his house 100 times within ten years. Sometimes he would accost me and sometimes
wouldn't. He appeared to be intimate with ----- Hicks. I don't swear that he hasn't
done business within 8 years. I have no recollection of him doing business within
8 years. Testator attended father's funeral 4 years ago last July. Testator attended
funeral. At the funeral he made a disturbance & a speech. I heard his voice.
There has been a family controversy for some time between the brothers, sons of
Testator. I borrowed ---- of Testator 8 or 10 years ago. About 8 years ago I asked
Rowland Brown for $5.00 and he hadn't it and he went & told his father that
I wanted $5.00. He said he had got it. I got the money & afterwards paid it.
I paid the debt by way of Reynolds Brown. Afterwards the old man called me a scoundrel
& knave & other hard names because I did not pay it to him when due. He
asked why I hadn't.
Sworn before me Feb. 26, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate Carr Northup
The contestants then offered in evidence an affidavit of Jonathan Brown & a
petition signed by him and an affidavit of Reynolds H. Brown in the matter of Reynolds
H. Brown an insolvent debtor sworn to 20 th Sept. 1847 in which Testator
swears that the sum of $473 is justly due from Reynolds H. Brown to him & R.
H. Brown also swears that he owes it to him.
Objected to by Executor on ground that it is immaterial - Admitted after objection.
The contestants then rested.
John C. Parker
was then recalled for Executor and testified. I drew his papers for drawing
his pension during all the time I was a Justice. He drew under law of 1832. I was
Justice from 1832 until now with the exception of about 5 years. He drew twice a
year. I think I drew the papers for every year while I was Justice after I commenced
drawing for him which was before 1840. He used to come & say that he wanted
to draw his money - he always produced his certificate from pension office. I used
to read over the declaration affidavit & power, because to understand it. He
directed me to do all the business to save him the trouble. He did not know of anyone
going down. When I received the money he sent for it sometimes, don't recollect
of his calling. He always had the certificate in a piece of brown paper. He may
sometimes have had it in a pocket book. I got his pension for him during the last
years of his life. On all the occasions when I got it for him he seemed to know
& understand it. The last two years it took a little more trouble to make him
understand it. The latter part of the time I went to his house. He knew me. Sometimes
at the house he spoke about the business first and sometimes I introduced the subject.
After Wing was appointed committee I paid it to him all but once & Testator
found fault with me two or three times for not paying it to him. Once two or three
years ago I retained $3.00 which I did not pay to Wing & went and offered it
to him & he would not take it because I would not pay him the whole. I gave
him the reasons why I had paid it to the committee and said I had no right to pay
it to Wing, it belonged to him. (Brown - He said it was cheating not paying it to
him - and another time after this he apologized to me for having found fault with
me for paying it to Wing. I have known Testator for many years. He has always been
for as long as I knew him an odd man, understood some business and wrote a good
hand. From his conversation and manner I should say he was a decided man. And as
far as any acts within my knowledge, he acted decidedly. I don't know much about
On Mr. Browns coming to the office on the day the Will was executed - He & R.H.
Brown came into the office together. He informed me he wanted me to draw his Will.
He told me how he wanted me to draw the Will. I had drawn a Will before that. My
recollection is that I spoke of the former Will & he said he wanted to alter
it. I inquired how he wanted it & he told me & I wrote it according to his
directions. He remained in the office until I got it completed. He told me something
about the difficulties with the real estate contained in the Will and at the time
of drawing this Will or the former Will he got puzzled about a bound & asked
Reynolds about it. I rather think this was the first Will. During the writing of
the first Will I put questions to him for the purpose of knowing what he wanted.
He appeared to understand the questions & I believe he did. I believe he did
because he gave the directions without any prompting from any body. He responded
to my questions. His answers were intelligent. He appeared to know on that occasion
- on that occasion what he wanted to do with his property as much as any man I ever
drew a Will for in my life. On former examination I stated I read over the Will
to him. I suppose he understood it. He approved of it. I do not recollect the language
he used when he approved of it. When I was drawing the Will he gave some reasons
for making particular provisions - but what these reasons were I do not recollect.
I do not recollect that he said anything about the witnesses to the Will. I think
he sent Reynolds to get someone to come in to witness the Will. This is according
to my best recollection now but I will not say that was so. It appears to me that
Mr. Daly came in for that purpose - and witnessed the Will at the request of Mr.
A boy came after me to draw the codicil, the son of Reynolds H. Brown, I think.
I went with him the first time he came. When I came to where Mr. Brown was at the
time of making the codicil - all that I recollect is that he said W m
. had sued him & he wanted to take away what he had given him. I believe I mentioned
it had better have again witnesses who had witnessed the Will to save expenses of
proving the Will. At any rate some one mentioned it. I read the codicil. I don't
recollect that he said anything. I think he then understood that he wanted to do
away with what he had done for W m . The old man was unusual that day
and didn't say much. He was generally a talking man. He seemed to understand that
he had already provided something for W m . by the Will and wanted to
revoke it. I don't recollect whether I delivered the codicil to him or left it on
the table. I don't remember whether he paid me for drawing the Will or codicil.
In relation to the Will I am sure my attention was turned toward his mental capacity
for making a will. And as to the other from speaking what he had done & what
he wished to undo by the codicil. I supposed he understood what he was about.
: My attention was turned to his mental capacity at time of drawing the Will
because he was an old man & had some oddities & because he was more clear
in his statements than I expected to find him. I don't recall any particular expression
Testator used except in reference to the Will. I can't recollect any particular
expression that he used except that he wanted me to write his Will. That is all
that I remember that he said before drawing the Will. I don not remember any particular
expression that he made use of except as I have stated.
Q: Do you recollect of any other expression that was made use of by Brown during
that interview except that he said that he wanted I should write his Will? A: I
don't remember any other particular expression except the directions to draw the
Will, which I followed - but the particular language he used I do not recollect
nor what directions he gave - I only recollect that he gave directions - I cannot
state from recollection what those directions were nor any other language that he
made use of at that interview.
I was Council and Atty. for Testator in a suit which W m . Brown commenced
agst. Testator. Reynolds H. Brown came and requested me in his father's name to
defend the suit for his father. I did not attend as counsel for Testator in the
taking inquisition. I do not now recollect as I did, I think on reflection that
I assisted a short time as counsel. Testator did not personally call on me to go
there. I don't remember that Reynolds H. Brown conducted the defense. I don't remember
that I advised with any body about the progress of that suit. I might have done.
I have not been the legal advisor of Reynolds H. Brown for some time past nor has
he advised with me about the Will. I think I drew the plea in the suit of Brown
vs. Testator & sent it to pltfs Atty. the day the codicil was drawn. I obtained
certain parts from Reynolds from which I drew the plea in that case. I must have
drawn the plea before the -th Dec.(?) 1847. I don't remember particularly of seeing
Testator within last 10 years except those mentioned in my direct examination. I
have at different places & on different occasions expressed my opinion about
the probate of this Will. In the controversy between Reynolds and Arnold I have
supposed Reynolds to be most correct from what I hear.
Sworn before me Feb. 26, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate John C. Parker
Asa B. Cook
was then sworn in as a witness for contestants and testified - am a Physician
and reside in the town of Granville. I knew Testator in his life time. I saw him
first I think in Sept. 1846. I had a conversation with him at this time. I never
heard him speak only that time. This conversation, as to the matter, was disconnected.
The matter of the conversation I do not particularly recollect. From what I saw
and heard from him I formed the opinion that he was imbecile. I did not have conversation
enough to form an opinion whether he was capable of doing business or not.
Question: Suppose Mr. Brown should have his own house and go to the neighbors &
say that he had fled from his family to save his life - that they were trying to
kill him and had business with him which he stated he had to defend his life with
- and go to bed with his clothes on - what would it indicate as to his mind? Answer:
If these statements were true, it would indicate sanity - if untrue, it would indicate
insanity to some extent. The circumstances as stated by Asa H. Brown would indicate
in connection with the other insanity. Should regard the circumstances stated by
Carr Northup as evidence of insanity. I should not have any doubt that such person
was insane. I should not be able to answer the question whether he was able to transact
business in a general sense. He might be laboring under a monomania. This monomania
would be likely to influence him in transacting business with reference to those
persons whom he apprehended were trying to kill him a poison. I have predicated
my answer on the supposition that these transactions occurred continuously and as
to these when he supposed men conspiring to kill him this monomania would influence
him against those but wouldn't influence him during lucid intervals. The transacting
of business or intercourse with these persons during lucid intervals might have
a tendency to produce a recurrence of the illusion - but not necessarily so.
: A Physician cannot speak unto the insanity of a person as well from the description
of others as from seeing the arts & symptoms of insanity himself. My opinions
based upon what has been stated to me here cannot be very well founded but is necessarily
broad and general. Lucid intervals occur more frequently in monomania than in general
Sworn before me Feb. 26, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate Asa B. Cook
1852, Feb. 27 - Parties appeared:
Rowland Brown 2ndwas then sworn in
as witness for the executor and testified - I reside in Granville. Will be 23 years
old next April, am grandson of Testator and son of Reynolds H. Brown. Q: For the
last 10 or 12 years what has been the state of your father's health in respect to
ability to labor & provide for his family? Objected to as immaterial. A: He
has enjoyed very poor health during that time. He has labored some. He has two children
in his family. For the last twelve years have resided in my father's family. At
the time of Asa H. Brown living with Testator I lived on the same premises in the
house occupied by my father, about 1/4 of a mile from grandfather's. During the latter
part of Asa's living there I recollect of a controversy between the old man and
Asa. I heard him remark to Asa several times that he wished he would leave the place.
The old man said he didn't work the place as he wanted it worked - he didn't keep
his pension up. He complained that the cattle destroyed the grain. These complaints
were made every year Asa staid there after Asa & father dissolved partnership.
I couldn't say that Asa paid much attention to what Testator said. Asa said the
family wanted he should stay. While Asa worked there I have heard the old man try
to give direction about the carrying on farm but they wouldn't head to him. The
old man appeared to be dissatisfied with their not attending to him and he would
use harsh language, would talk loud and tell them they would find trouble. As far
as I was acquainted from what he said and did I should think the old man understood
himself at the time he gave these directions. I used to be in grandfather's house
as much as mine a day, sometimes much oftener. I used to talk considerably with
the old man when I was there. I did not discover any change in the old man when
I was there. During the time Asa was there I did not discover any change in the
old man. Except that he grew older. I saw him sign a bond during that time in the
Van Guilder business. I thought the old man from the questions he asked Esq. Parker
of Hartford to understand what he was doing. In the first place Stephen Guilder
asked him to sign the bail bond. He said one of the bondsmen had been rejected by
Nelson Van Guilder and if he couldn't get a bondsman his property would be enjoined
or something to that effect. He asked him if he would sign it - & old man replied
that he had got to be too old a man to entangle his property with signing a bond.
He said that he had had a mortgage upon his place, which he had got off and never
intended to have his place encumbered again. He said he was an old man & wouldn't
probably live long & he didn't wish to do anything which would come onto his
property after his death. He said he had formerly in years past signed bonds for
Arnold which had been a damage to him. He said if Arnold was an honest man he shouldn't
hesitate to sign the bond for him - he said if --------- do it without inquiring
himself ----- ------- ------- ------- he would do it as he did not wish to see his
son injured when he could assist him. I saw him sign the bond, can't say that it
was the same day. On the day he signed the bond he asked Esq. Parker what responsibility
he should be under if he signed the bond. Parker told him all the liability he would
be under would be to see that Arnold made a right disposition of all the property
he received. He asked Parker what was the amount of the personal property that Arnold
had received. Am not positive. The old man was in the habit of using for a pocket
knife an old shoe(?) knife put in a handle, which he carried in a leather sheaf.
He used to whittle with it and cut his tobacco. He said he couldn't open a jack
knife very well. That was the reason he used this knife. He used this knife the
latter part of his life except last two years of his life. He carried it two years
or more. All I know of a butcher knife is that he left one at father's house and
said that he had carried it in his pocket for several days. He had a handle(?) also
in his pocket which he fixed. He said he intended to have it handted(?) and ground
up. He said he thought when he found it it would make a good bread knife or to cut
meat with. He said he found it in a drawer in an old bureau. He has the last of
his life stayed over night at other places besides Mr. Averill's. He has since I
remember slept in his pantaloons. The last of his life he slept with all his clothing
on. Except his hat and boots. He had a sort of cap which he called his night cap
which he slept in. He said it kept him warm to sleep in his clothes. He said his
blood had got to be poor & he didn't feel the heat as when he was young &
he required more clothing. He gave as a reason for not taking off his coat that
it bothered hem to get it off and on. He generally carried his sheathed knife in
his vest pocket. The butcher knife & handle(?) he took out of his coat pocket.
I have seen him sometimes when I slept with him take out the knife and tobacco box
and lay them on the window or chest at the foot of the bed, as he was getting ready
to go to bed at night. I heard the old gentleman tell Asa once when the cattle broke
into the grain that he didn't want the grain destroyed by the cattle. Each gave
the other the lie. During the conversation Asa raised his cane & drew his pot(?)
at the old man. The old man told him to strike. He didn't fear him. Asa got up &
left the room. I know W m . & the old man had controversies about
the place while he & Asa staid there. Grandfather wanted W m . to
take a lease of the place. Testator one day came over and requested father to go
and talk with W m . W m . came to father's house. W m
. consented to take a lease. Father & I went over to grandfather's after
that. Grandfather said that if William took the lease it must be in it that Asa
should not stay there. W m . was present at this. W m . said
if he took the place he should have any one work with him that he saw fit. Testator
said it must be in the lease that Asa shouldn't work there or he shouldn't have
the lease. W m replied that he should work the place and he might help
himself. Testator said he thought he had better not do so. Father then said to W
m . that he better not work the place unless he made a bargain with the
old man. W m . replied that if he made a bargain with him he would have
to retain him on half & he said if he ploughed and sowed he should take the
whole & do what he pleased with it. Grandfather then said he had better take
a lease as he wished him to work the place on shares. W m . said he would
not do it. He said he should work the place as he was a mind to & Asa might
stay there and he (Testator) might help himself. Grandfather turned to father and
wished him to hear a few remarks which he (Testator) would make to W m
. & the rest of them. He forbid W m . working the place at his expense
in contracting any debts. He said he should pay no debts which they contracted,
any of them. The girls were present. The girls appeared to insist upon W m
. staying. The Testator said that he had not received any of the avails of
the place since Asa & Father had dissolved partnership. He said they disposed
of the avails as they saw fit and he didn't know what had become of them. The old
man said he couldn't eat wheat. He said he had to make use of his pension money
to buy rye. He said he thought he ought to have some of the avails of the place
to use himself. He said he had to pay the taxes on the place. He said he thought
it was no more than just that he should have some of the avails of the place to
do it. I heard W m . say once to Testator that he (Testator) ought to
be horsewhipped for finding fault with their managing the place as they did. I have
heard Aunt Mary and W m . make the remark to him that he ought to be
shut up & not allowed to come around. The reason they assigned for shutting
him up was because he abused them & talked as he did. I heard these conversations
of the old man. He complained of young people being there Sunday and making noise.
Young people were there Sunday. They were noisy. I was over at Grandfather's while
W m . was at work at Mr. Hick's in fall of the year. The old gentleman
& Aunt Mary had some hard words. He said he shouldn't stay there through the
night. He said he should go to the neighbors and stay. He started and went out doors.
He got around the corner of the house and was going into the road. Aunt Mary started
after him to fetch him back to the house again. I got up and went out doors &
I saw her have him by the arm. He told her to let go of him. She held on to him,
he was hollering & making considerable noise. He said if she didn't let go of
him he should holler murder & commenced along so I took hold of him & assisted
in getting him back into his house again. By the corner of the house he hollered
& she put her hand over his mouth. I never saw anything of that kind but that
once. Some of Uncle Arnold's girls were visiting there one afternoon & the old
gentleman wished to go into the room where they were & Aunt Mary told him he
shouldn't go in. He said the house was his & he should go into what room he
pleased. He said he wanted to go in & visit with one of his granddaughters,
who had gone from the nest. He got into the door of the parlor. She met him and
pushed him. He tried to resist her all he could. She pushed him & he struck
and kicked at her & he fell backwards and struck his head against the entrance
door. I helped him up. He hollered & said she had killed him. He went into his
room. He afterwards complained of his head paining him. There was a bump on his
head. Lucy was in the house at the time. 3 or 4 of Arnold's daughters were there.
I can't say that any thing was said by any particular one at this time. This transaction
was 4 to 8 years ago. Since Arnold bought a piece of the place of the old man.
Arnold was telling the old man how he might to dispose of his property. I was there
----- ------ ------ ----- ------ -----. Testator said he was capable of disposing
of his property better than he was capable of telling him. Arnold told him what
portion of the land he ought to give to Rowland, Lucy, & Mary. Arnold wanted
him to give them a deed. Testator said he shouldn't do it. They then had some words
back & forth & the old gent rose up out of his chair & said he wouldn't
sit there & hear abusive language. This I should think was between 1845 &
1847, might have been a year or two after that, wouldn't be certain. At one time
I heard Uncle Rowland tell Grandfather if he didn't do what he had been asked to,
to give these deeds, He said Arnold & W m . had gone to the corner
to counsel a lawyer and if he didn't do it by the next day at noon he would be taken
with a Superior(?) Writ - Old gent said he shouldn't do it. - They were not capable
of keeping property if he gave it to them. Uncle Rowland said if he didn't he would
be sued. Grandfather replied they might sue as quick as they pleased - the property
they wouldn't get in that way. This was at old gent's house between 1842 and 1846
- My father was present at this time. Girls were not present. This threatening of
Rowland made him (Testator) very angry. I never heard Testator say anything against
Uncle Charles. I always heard him speak well of Leonard as far as I can remember
now. I heard W m . the latter part of his staying on the place tell grandfather
he ought to give Lucy & Rowland a Deed. He said they had worked enough to have
a certain position of the land which he described. The old man replied that Rowland
had never worked a great deal for him. That when Rowland was young he had never
put it on him to do much hard work - as for Lucy she had been sick a good deal &
he had paid a good deal of money in Doctor's bills for her & had a great deal
of trouble in taking care of her. He said when he was dead he intended to have his
property in such a way they should both have their living. He said if he gave his
property to them they were not capable of taking care of it. They would squander
it and be left without a home. The old gentleman said to William that he appeared
to have a great deal of sympathy for Uncle Rowland and Aunt Lucy - but he thought
it was more to get the property than anything else. W m . replied if
he didn't do so he should sue for Uncle Rowland's and Aunt Lucy's work & that
would sweep the whole. Old man replied he might sue as quick as he pleased - he
shouldn't give it to these he mentioned. He would dispose of it as he saw fit. This
conversation irritated the old man. This conversation was in Testator's house.
: Uncle Charles took a lease of that farm somewhere about 1845, for 3 years.
Charles let father have a part & Arnold have a part and a part to Rowland. Do
not know what he came of the avail of the farm during the time of lease. I slept
with Grandfather the winter before the inquisition was taken. He wanted me to sleep
with him & when I didn't sleep with him he wanted father or Ellis to come and
sleep with him. Tis some 12 to 14 years ago since father and Asa worked the place
together. Sometimes nightly he would sit up & keep the farm(?). He would sometimes
pray and sometimes sing hymns & he would tell the witches to keep off. Very
often after he lay down he would repeat a small prayer that his mother taught him
and then he would sing hymns. He would sometimes tell about his bringing a dead
cow to life. He was a very singular and secretive man. He believed that old Captain
Northup could fly like a duck. Heard him say that his brother Daniel jumped upon
him and injured him so that he was lifeless but the Lord brought him to life. I
have seen him draw his cane and tell something to stand back. Did not call names.
He said some of his family appeared to be possessed of the devil and that by their
action, he judged that they were conspiring against his life. When he had hard words
with the family at home he would frequently come to my father's. He told me that
I was the first one that ever watched(?) him. He said I have good streaks about
me. The Van Guilder's house I should say was signed within ten years.
Sworn before me, Feb. 27, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate Rowland Brown Jr.
was called for Executor - testified I recollect of bringing grandfather down
to Dr. Kendrick's. He paid Dr. some money for doctoring. He told Dr. he wanted a
receipt. He took the receipt & put it in his pocket book and carried it home.
I can't recollect how long ago this was. We came up to Mill. I drove. We had grandfather's
.: It was in warm weather.
He asked Dr. how much his amount was against him & Dr. told him.
Sworn before me, Feb. 27, 1852
D.A. Boris, Surrogate Ellis Brown