Friday, January 27, 2017

Darned Nagging, Nagging, Nagging

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things!


Will No.468/1926.

     I leave all I possess…to SYBIL MARY WEATHERDON, she was the only daughter that wrote to her father when he was in trouble.

                                     Charles Jarvis Weatherdon.

     This is the end of a perfect life spoiled by a woman, a man loved and who did not know it. May she not be buried in the same ground when she goes over the border, as I do not wish the nagging down below as I received up above…

Moral of the story: Don’t nag and always write your father.

As a final note, as funny as it is, this document also pains me. How sad it is that this man died alone and bitter. What trouble had he fallen into? What had fractured a family that must have begun in hope and happiness? May I suggest that we each hold close those we love—in kindness, patience, and forgiveness.

Source: FamilySearch, image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 January 2017), path: Search > Catalog > film 1295235 > “Deceased Estates, 1846-1950” > Film/DGS 1295235 > select camera icon > image 1015; citing Natal, South Africa, deceased estate files, 1846-1950, no. 11510, filed 24 June 1927, will 468/1926; Natal Archives Depot, Pietermeritzburg, Natal, South Africa.

Credit is due Tom Nelson who brought this to my attention. He discovered it via a post by Brenda Haffner in the Facebook group, “Indexing South African Records on FamilySearch.” Thank you, Tom and Brenda.


  1. I found a will that stated: I do also give and bequeath to my eldest son, Samuel Chesley the sum of one dollar to be paid in one year after my decease, by my said wife out of the legacy herein given her.
    I do also give and bequeath to my daughter-in-law Mehitable Chesley, wife of my said son Samuel, the income of one half of my field on the westerly side of the highway to my dwelling house, 'till her daughter Sarah Elizabeth shall arrive to the age of Twenty one years, to be by her applied for the support of herself and children."
    I don't know what Samuel did before 1840 to make his father cut Samuel out of his will and give his wife money for support of their children. This strategy may have caused a reconciliation because, in 1850 census, Samuel, his wife Mehitable and their children are all recorded as living in the same house. Family dynamics are so interesting!

    1. When was the Will made and when did Chesley sen. die? Samuel may not have been cut out at all but may have had provision made for him during his father's lifetime. Also if there was a similar system of landholding and inheritance in America as in England at the time if Samuel may have inherited land simply by the fact he was a child of the testator.

  2. I've got a few "one dollar" bequests to sons in some of my ancestral wills as well, but on investigation they've come down to one of two circumstances; two of the sons inheriting one dollar were born to a first wife who died and left her inheritance to those sons. So they had already inherited at a young age and needed nothing further from their father.

    The other instances were about sons and one daughter who had been given a lot of land by their father when they each married in their early twenties. After 10-20 years of farming that land as if it was their own, the only formality left was for the father to convey legal ownership to each of them via his will. He also left them each a dollar. From what a lawyer told me a bequest of one dollar is a good hedge against having your will challenged, especially by a relative of the first degree (parent, child) who would have a normal expectation of an inheritance. Specifying the dollar shows that the person writing out their will did not forget that heir, which in turn supports the idea they made their will while of sound mind.

  3. I have always wondered about that-one of the first wills I ever looked at was just that situation.

  4. I have seen the one dollar bequests before, and they usually do mean that the person has already gotten their share, but what puzzled me on this one is that Samuel's wife was willed money for child support. This implies that if Samuel had already gotten his share, his father did not approve of what he had done with it.


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