The Families of Adam Keith

Adam’s Legacy

Adam Gieg was a financially poor man most of his life, he was not a good business man, but in his own way, a “man for all seasons”.  He was a working man, a smith and a farmer, a devotedly religious man of the Lutheran faith.  He was likely a loving father but a stern taskmaster who clung steadfastly to the traditions of his fore-fathers and their common heritage.  He was a father to 10 children, two of whom died at a young age. He was a man, above all, who wanted to live life on his own terms while taking care of and providing for his family. He was a real asset to his adopted country and an integral part of the heritage and fabric of America provided by the Pennsylvania “Dutch”. Adam likely died in the late spring of 1783 and he left a will, written in German, that was years later translated to English. This will was found at the Pennsylvania Archives in Harrisburg PA.  It has been annotated from the original version to provide clearer meaning.

 

John Adam Gieg, Dec’d [deceased], in the name of God, amen.  J. Adam Gieg of Brecknock Township in the County of Lancaster and Province of Pennsylvania Yeoman [the term “yeoman” as used in this context did not refer to an occupation but rather ‘a common man, or one of the commonly of the first or most respectable class; a freeholder; a man free born.’] being now in the wearily state of body but of a sound retaining mind and memory I thank God and calling to mind uncertainty of death and of this life I do therefore ordain this my last will and testament in manner following viz. [namely, as follows]  I will and allow that all my just debts and funeral charges be fully paid and satisfied.  Now I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Elizabeth [Juliama Schuchard Gieg was the mother of Adam’s children and his first wife.  She died ca. 1773] the third share of my place where we now live on and the third share of the cattle what we shall have when I die except this what I shall mention here and devise and bequeath unto my dear beloved son Michael Gieg [Johann Michael born 2/3/1737] which I give unto him for his kindness and trouble he took with me in the time of need above his equal share with my other children.  I say for this reason I give and bequeath unto him the sum of forty pounds hard money gold or silver  which he shall have insured before I die and after my death he shall likewise have twelve pounds hard money gold or silver before hand and above his equal share with my other children and afterwards he shall have full share equal and alike as one of my other children of any and everything of my estate what I shall leave behind me after my death since I had more good of him than of all the rest of my children in the time of need.  Further I give and bequeath unto my son Baltzer Gieg [Johann Balthasar born 8/10/1733] which is my oldest son that he shall have after my death the sum of five pounds hard money out of my estate for his share and no more. [Balzer had left Brecknock Township by 1770 and likely never returned home other than for brief visits. Since Balzer was the oldest son, he traditionally had the responsibilities that his younger brother Michael had assumed;  this would have alienated him from Adam.] And further I give and bequeath unto my servant boy John Furlow that he shall have after my death the sum of eight pounds hard money of my estate and no more. [John Furlow would live on Adam’s land for a number of years after Adam’s death.  What is now referred to as Bowmansville Road between Adamstown and Bowmansville PA was, for a number of years, called Furlow Road]  And further it is my will and I allow this what Hironimus Gieg [born 12/12/1734] and Ludwig Gieg [Johann Ludwig born 5/22/1747] had before this time that I will bestow unto them in their fathers name and they shall after my death have an equal share with any other children out of my estate. [This is an interesting sentence. The way it is worded indicates that Hieronimus and Ludwig may not have been the biological children of Adam and Juliana.  However, Höchst area church records list Hieronimus as a son of Adam as early as 1741, likely meaning that both of these sons , if not biological, were raised by Adam and Juliana from a very young age.]   And further to mention my beloved wife Elizabeth once more it is my will and I ordain that she shall have the third share of the land where we live on now and the third part of the cattle and the third share of the money what shall remain after the same is paid what is bequeathed and made over in this will already which is plainly to be seen in this will and testament and it is my will that my mentioned wife shall have and keep all her beds and bed cloathes [clothes] beforehand.  Once and likewise it is my will that she shall have beforehand and for herself one iron pot and one pewter spoon and one pewter dish and after my death she shall have the third share of the rent for a certain piece of land which lies in Sheneater [I have been unable to locate this name on any geographical detail of the area.] if it bears rent as long as she lives and no longer this what I give to her in this my last will shall be her dower [The legal right or interest that a wife acquires in the property her husband held or acquired during their marriage.]  and share and she shall no more but this what my last will allows.  And after her death this mentioned land shall be for my children equally.  Further I ordain and it is my will that my mentioned wife shall have liberty to live on said place as long as she lives and I ordain likewise that if it should happen that my beloved son Michael Gieg after my death likes to live one or two or three years on this plantation we live on now so shall my other children and nobody else drive him away and nobody hath the right to but said place and likewise nobody hath a right to sell it he shall live peaceably and without molestation upon the same place as he lives free and my said wife shall have the third share of the moveable goods directly after my death and third share of the land when my son Michael Gieg moves from the place where he lives now.  Lastly I nominate ordain and approve my trusty friends as my beloved son Michael Gieg and George Slough [or Schlauch, the husband of Adam’s daughter Maria Catharina.  She was born 9/25/1742]  I say I approve them as my trusty friends to be my executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and disannulling all former wills and testaments by me hitherts had or made and confirming this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelfth day of October one thousand seven hundred and eighty two, 1782.

 

John Adam Gieg (seal)

Elizabeth Gieg (seal)

 

Sealed signed published and declared in the presence of us Henry [his mark] Silknitter [Henry Silknitter or Seidenstricker was a good friend and likely close neighbor of Adam and Elizabeth Gieg.  Michael and Rosina Retge) Geig named their son Henry, born in 1782, for Henry Seidenstricker.] and Englehard Brown.

 

Lancaster County the sixth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty three before me the subscriber personally appeared Englehard Brown one of the witnesses to the foregoing will and gave his solemn affirmation according to law did declare and say that he was present and saw and heard Adam Gieg the testator above named sign seal and publish pronounce and declare the foregoing writing as and for his last will and testament and at the time of doing thereof he was of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge observation and belief.

 

John Hubley, Register

 

Be it remembered that on the sixth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty three the last will and testament of Adam Gieg late of Lancaster County yeoman deceased was proved in due form of law and letters testamentary thereon were granted to Michael Gieg and George Slauch the executors therein named they being first duly qualified well and truly to administer the estate and especially to exhibit a perfect inventory thereof into the Registers office at Lancaster on or before the sixth day of July next and to render a just account of their administration on the said estate within one year or when thereto lawfully required given under the seal of the said office.

 

John Hubley, Register

 

The inventory of Adam’s estate, a part of the will, provided insight in the time in the 18th century when Adam lived.

 

The Exors [executors] affirmed Henry Weaver one of the appraisers affirmed and Philip Miller the other appraiser sworn same day and year.

 

Signed John Hubley, Register

Signed Michael Gieg [Son]

Signed Georg Slough [Son-in-law]

 

An inventory made this 17th day of May 1783 of the goods and chattels of Adam Gieg in Brecknock Township Lancaster County lately deceased. Note: The first item is a description of Adam’s asset, followed by the value in pounds, shillings, pence, where, in 1783, 12 pence [p] = 1 shilling [s], 20 shillings [s] = 1 pound [£]

Because some of the land was not sold and I do not know for sure how many of the items were sold in an auction, I cannot compare the total value of the estate with the monies that were actually available for estate income and distribution as defined next.

 

The account of Michael Gieg and George Slough executors of the last will and testament of Adam Gieg late of Brecknock Township in the County of Lancaster Yeoman deceased as well of all and singular the goods and chattels rights and credits which were of the said deceased at the time of his death which came to hands possession or knowledge of the said accountants as of their payments and disbursements out of the same as following.

 

Imprimis the said accountants charge themselves with all and singular the goods and chattels rights and credits which were of the said deceased according to an inventory and appraisement thereof made and exhibited into the Registers office at Lancaster amounting to: 

 

L 101.4.11 [101 pounds, 4 shillings, 11 pence]

 

Also with the advance made by the sale of the said goods and chattels at public vendue…11.11.11 [11 pounds 11 shillings 11 pence]

 

Also with a bond due from Jacob Remb [Reim] to the said deceased which is not included in the said inventory. [Jacob Reim or Ream was a wealthy land owner of the area.  The area town of Reamstown is named for his family. Jacob was likely renting land from Adam.] 39.0.0 [39 pounds]

 

L 151.16.10 [a total of 151 pounds 16 shillings 10 pence due to be distributed]

 

Exhibited into the Registers Office at Lancaster the 8th day of September 1784:

 

Cash paid the Registrar for letters testamentary, 1,5,0

Cash paid John Forlow [Furlow] a legacy bequeathed to him in and by the will of the decedent, 8,0,0

Cash paid Jacob Sheder , 1,3,3

Cash paid Christopher Heger , 1,2,8

Cash paid Abraham Dieler , 0,15,3

Cash paid Henry Good , 0,16,6

Cash paid Christian Eshelman, 0,12,6

Cash paid Michael Stoltz, 12,6

Cash paid Angelhard [Engelhard] Brown, 0,10,6

Cash paid Marx Fair , 0,10,0

Cash paid Andrew Bear [Baer], 0,7,6

Cash paid Henry Hoffman, 0,6,9

Cash paid Martin Lauman, 0,5,0

Cash paid Alexander Gibboney, 0,3,5

Cash paid Henry Seitenstricker [Seidenstricker], 0,3,0

Cash paid Philip Heyl, 0,2,6

Cash paid Peter Heckard, 0,2,0

Cash paid the Reverend M. [Mister] Illey for performing the funeral service [this is likely the Revered Frederich Traugot Illing who was serving Lutheran Churches in the area at the time.], 0,7,6

 

Retained by George Slough one of the accountants for a debt due him by the deceased in his life-time.

 

Retained by Michael Gieg one of the accountants for a legacy bequeathed him by the will of the said testator over and above his equal share with the children of the decedent, 40,0,0

 

Retained also by the aforesaid Michael Gieg for a further left him by the will aforesaid, 12,0,0

 

Cash paid the Register for examining passing and filing this account and copy, 0,15,6

Cash paid for a counsel fee and for stating this account, 1,10,0

 

Allowed these accountants for their trouble and expences in their administration on the estate of the decedent, 7,11,6

 

Balance remaining in the hands of these accountants to be disposed of agreeable to the direction of the will of the decedent, 69,15,06

 

It is not often such a compete set of will papers can be found for a Germanic American during this early period of American history.  With the amount of pewter Adam had in his estate it is likely they were made by him since he did have that skill.  I wonder what the value of some of these items might be on E-bay today?  It is somewhat ironic that the amount Adam had left in his estate, not counting the bequeathed land, was probably about what he owed for his family’s trip to America about 30 years earlier.

 

Trivia Question: What was one pound sterling worth in Pennsylvania in 1783? Answer: About two hogs.

Inventory Item

£

s

p

First to his cloathes [clothes]

4

 

 

Mans saddle

1

5

 

Hand scale

 

10

 

Iron stove

3

 

 

Chest

 

10

 

Table

 

5

 

Leather [I suspect scraps]

 

7

6

Kneading trough and old chest and lantern

 

5

 

Two table cloathes [cloths] and one towel

 

6

 

Four knives and five forks

 

5

 

Hone and razor

 

2

6

Hand bible and two other books

 

15

 

Lamp and two gimlets [glasses]

 

3

9

Old brass

 

3

 

Two chains

 

2

6

Three pewter dishes

2

5

 

Iron pot and lid

 

3

9

Dozen pewter plates

 

18

 

Pewter basin and five pewter porringers [small dish with a handle]

 

12

6

Pewter teapot and eight spoons and one tea canister and a funnel

 

10

 

Six earthen pots and one dish and six cups and a mug

 

4

6

Four pans and five iron spoons one flesh fork and an iron yor to cut cucumbers, a grater

1

 

 

Old tub to pickle cabbage in

 

2

 

Six dough baskets

 

2

 

Three little pails and a chest of drawers in the kitchen and two bottles and a salt cruet

 

7

6

Six iron spoons

 

7

 

Bed and bed state [stead],

1

15

 

Two sieves and a half bushel and a tub

 

3

9

Two old bags

 

3

 

Four pounds wool

 

7

6

Seven heads of sheep

2

12

6

Mattock [pick axe] and a dung fork [pitchfork] and three garden hoes and one grubbing hoe

 

9

 

One ax and two iron wedges and one iron hopple [animal leg restraint] and a tumers knife

 

9

 

One ax and two iron wedges and one iron hopple [animal leg restraint] and a tumers knife

 

9

 

Old spinning wheel and a san and two sickles

 

5

 

One horse collar and one pair of traces and an old scythe and two old baskets

 

5

 

Two hogs

2

 

 

Four acres grain growing upon the field

5

 

 

Two cows

8

 

 

Sundry smith tools [anvils, stoke, and horn]

2

 

 

Money in cash

14

6

9

Nicholas Fox to pay in a certain note the sum of

3

 

 

Marckt [Marx] Fair is indebted to pay in two certain notes the sum of

18

10

 

Henry Weaver in indebted to pay the sum of

1

6

8

Peter Heckerd is to pay in a certain note

6

 

 

Christian Dietz is top pay in a certain note

5

6

 

A piece of land in Brecknock Twp. Lancaster Co. hath no other right but a provement containing one hundred acres more or less

60

 

 

Another piece of land about 70 and 5 acres about 20 acres of this land is an island

48

 

 

Dewalt Fivecoats is indebted to pay in a certain note

3

5

 

Phillip Miller is to pay in a certain note

1

4

 

Jacob Long is to pay the sum of

3

5

 

Adam Stire is to pay

1

3

10

Michael Fivecoats to pay

 

5

5

Jacob Ram [Reim/Ream] hath to pay

1

12

 

Total value

195

326

101

 

 

 

 

Converted total value

211

14

5