Washington County, Salem, NY Volume number E-279
Source: Transcribed from SAMPUBCO copy.

Mary H. Collins’ Will

The last Will and Testament of Mary H. Collins of Salem Washington County and State of New York.

I Mary H. Collins of Salem aforesaid being of sound mind and memory blessed be Almighty God, for the same do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner following.
1st I direct my Executor hereinafter mentioned and named to pay all my just debts due at my decease.
2nd To my Sister Elizabeth I give and bequeath one bed and bedding and Table.
3rd To my brother John I give and bequeath one set of bedding and one hundred Dollars.
4th To my brother Elias I give and bequeath one hundred Dollars.
5th To Thomas P. Collins my nephew I give and bequeath one bed and bedding & Table and one hundred Dollars.
6th To Joseph C. Taylor my nephew I give and bequeath one bed and bedding and one hundred Dollars.
7th To my brother Joseph Daughter I give and bequeath my Cooking glass table & bureau.
8th I give and bequeath unto the Associate Reformed Church of Salem one hundred Dollars.
9th I give and bequeath unto Rebecka Stewart one bed and bedding.
10th I give and bequeath unto Wm H. Stewart three hundred Dollars and the residue of my effects at his disposal.
Lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint James B. Stevenson and William H. Stewart my Executors of this my last Will and Testament & allow them to pay within one year after my decease the above amounts or in proportion of what then may remain & hereby revoking all former Wills by me made previous to this date.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eleventh day of January one thousand eight hundred and fifty one.
Mary H. Collins L.S.

Signed, sealed, published & delivered by the above named Mary H. Collins to be her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names in the presence of each other at the request of the testatrix.
Samuel Stewart, Salem Washington Co. N.Y.
Rebekah Stewart Do Do
Wm H. Stewart Do Do

Surrogate’s Court
In the matter of proving the last Will & Testament of Mary H. Collins decd.
Samuel Stewart being duly sworn says that he knew Mary H. Collins in her life time. She resided in Salem in Washington County. That he signed the instrument now produced as a witness. He saw Mary H. Collins sign the said instrument, on the 10th or 11th of January last. It was sealed in his presence. She stated the said instrument to be her Will and requested him to sign it as a witness and he signed it as a witness in her presence.
Wm H. Stewart and his wife Rebecca were present. He also saw Rebecca Stewart sign the instrument as a witness. It was Executed at the house of Wm H. Stewart in Salem. Mary H. Collins was said to be about 70 years of age. She was quite out of health and quite feeble. She died the 15th or 16th day of January last. She had been at Wm H. Stewart a day or two when she made the Will. Mrs Collins had resided in her own house previously about ¼ of a mile south of Stewarts. She had always resided there. Witness first knew her to be feeble the 4th or 5th day of January last. Wm H. Stewart was her nearest neighbor north of her and Shepherd Bartholomew, south who married her niece. She lived alone during the winter previous. He knew of no one about her house or who slept there. He was in the habit of going to see her every day after he heard she was sick. Her wood was white birch. Her mind was as good as it ever was. Has always known her. At the time of executing the instrument she declared it to be her last Will. She also requested Rebecca Stewart to witness it and declared in her presence that it was her last Will. Mrs. Bartholomew and her sister were her only relatives living in Salem. She was of sound disposing mind and memory.
Samuel Stewart

Cross Examined – Witness happened to be at the Stewarts at the time of executing the Will. He went to his brothers in the morning & in the evening the will was executed in the evening. He was not present when the Will was drawn. He thinks it is in the hand writing of Wm H. Stewart – has no doubt of it. Mrs Collins was sitting up in a rocking chair bolstered up. Wm next to the stand & turned the stand round & said to Mrs Collins the ones she wants were these. She turned to the table & signed the paper (Will). She asked me if I would sign it. Then he took & signed it. She asked Rebecca Stewart if she would sign it & Rebecca signed it. Wm then asked in whose hands she would put it for safe keeping. She said into his hands. Nothing farther took place that I recollect of. She had a nephew Josiah Collins residing in Whitehall & Thos. P. Collins of Ballston. She had a brother in Northumberland, Dr John Collins.
Samuel Stewart

Mrs Rebecca Stewart sworn on the part of the executors says she resides in Salem, knew Mary H. Collins in her lifetime. She was an unmarried lady. She was present at the execution of the Will. Mrs Collins asked her if she would not sign her last Will and Testament. She saw her sign it. She witnessed it. Wm H Stewart and Samuel Steward was present. She signed it as a witness in her presence. She wished her to sign it. She did not wish any strangers to witness it, did not want it known. Did not hear her ask anybody else but Samuel and herself to witness it. She was sick a week before she came to her house. She requested witness to sign the paper shown to her. She called it her Will & Testament. She remained at witnesses house till she died.
Rebekah Stewart

Cross Examined – Witness is the wife of Wm H. Stewart. Will was executed in the evening. Was drawn that day by Wm H. Stewart. Wit was not present when it was drawn. The will was read to her but she can not recollect whether before or after Samuel came there. Samuel came there in the forepart of the evening – after Samuel came in Wm spoke to him & said they were ready now to sign the will. They helped her round to the table and made the paper ready & she signed and said she would leave her seat for Stewart & Witness to sign it. Samuel & Witness signed it. Wm asked her in whose hands she would leave it for safe keeping. She said in his. Witness said no other person signed it but herself and Samuel. No other person was asked to sign it. Does not now recollect that she heard the Will read at all. Had not seen the paper before that day.
Rebekah Stewart

[The person contesting the Will in this matter having filed a request in writing that all the witnesses to said will be examined and Wm H. Stewart being a subscribing witness to said Will being present in Court is produced and examined by the Counsel of the Executors solely in consequence of the said demand and request filed in Count.]

William H. Stewart – being duly sworn & examined testifies. Mary H. Collins came to my house on the tenth day of January last sick. The next day after she came she spoke to me about her affairs and asked if I could draw up a paper that she could control them by. I said that I thought I could. I told her that I have a copy of a Will in the house and I could draw it by that if she wanted it as the shape of a will. She said she did. She said she had not been treated as she ought to have been by those under obligations to her. She wanted it drawn up so that they should not have any of it. I eventually got a paper and began to take down what she wanted to do with it and after she had got through with the manner of her disposition; I drew it up in this form. Copying from the other Will which I have in the house. When she got along to my name, I requested her not to have my name appear in the Will at all. Before I began to copy I refused to have my name appear in the will & she insisted on it. I proposed to her to have some other one draw it. I mentioned Deacon McMurray & Deacon Stevenson. She requested if I could do it legally to do it and I went on & finished it. There was no one at the house to witness it. She proposed waiting to see if any one of my brother Samuel’s folks did not come in. I preferred having some other ones. Did not name any ones & she objected on the account she wanted it kept as private as possible. She did not know but she might have to go back to her house again and she might not be treated as well as she had been if it was made public. Finally we waited until Samuel did come in. She asked if him & my wife could not witness it & after he came in she requested them to witness it. She signed it in my presence & they also signed it. I asked her whose hands she would put it in for safe keeping. She said she would put it in mine. I had read the will to her before her signing. I signed it before I took the Will. The will was on the stand sometime after she had signed it. The reason I signed the will was the copy of the will was drawn by Deacon John McMurray & it had been signed by two witnesses & his name was attached to it. And I did not know but it was necessary for the one that drew up the Will to sign it & I signed it. After she executed the will she did not ask me to sign it. I took it to my charge & kept it until I took it down to the Surrogate. It remained entirely under my control until I took it to the Surrogate unaltered in any respect.
Wm H. Stewart

Cross Examined. Rebecca Stewart mentioned in the Will as legatee is my wife. I am the legatee named William H. Stewart in the Will. There was a trunk there. She said her effects would amount to eight hundred Dollars. I don’t know how she came at it. She did not say what they were invested in. I think I read the will to her sometime in the afternoon as it is now signed. I did not read it in the presence of my wife & Samuel. No one present but myself when I read it to her. The will was executed between day and dark. If the candle was lighted, it was lighted for that purpose. I think Samuel came then before the candle was lighted. I intended to state all that I remember after Samuel came there. I have not stated anything incorrect. I have stated all I recollect of now. Whether I have put it all in and I don’t know. She meant it confined among us there. She wanted it kept private. She wanted I should take her effects, that her stay then. This was the first move that she made. I did not know but my wife could be a legal witness. I did not know anything about it. I think about the time I took the will & put it away. I signed it.
Wm H Stewart

Washington County Surrogate Office ss: I, Joseph Boies Surrogate of said county do hereby certify the foregoing to be a correct Record of the last Will & Testament of Mary H. Collins late of Salem in said County deceased and of the Testimony taken by & before me on proving said Will as a will of real and personal estate.
Recorded April 2nd A.D. 1851
J. Boies Surrogate