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Will of George MacGhee, Stabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland 1741

Submitted by Bill McGee
Wisconsin, USA


As I George Macghee of Strabane and County of Tyrone have entered into the sixty ninth year of my age notwithstanding whereas by the assistance of God I am designed soon to go abroad and as the contingency of human affairs there may be a probability of my not returning and therefor by the rules of common prudence dictated by me if I should in some measure settle my worldly affairs for the avoiding of confusion to my posterity. It’s true I made a settlement of the better part of my estate in June 1740 as the reference being thereunto had in a large document sealed among my papers may more fully appear I order my following named executors to fully adhere. But as I had several other concerns and effects which I did not settle and have made some acquisitions since—disposal of as follows. First I appoint my dear wife Rebecca who should be my sole executrix had I much more to dispose of but she is old and a woman and therefore unqualified to take care of things of the world. Therefore for these reasons as well as being for her assistants I appoint my worthy and good friend John Denning of Strabane, shopkeeper, and William Knox of the same, innkeeper, not great but I believe honest men to be joint executors with said Rebecca Macghee of this my last will and testament revoking and (disannulling?) all former or other wills. I leave to my wife Reabacca Macghee all my household goods, desk, furniture and chattels whatsoever together with a right to a lease I have in the city of Dublin in Plunkett Street for a term of years yet unexpired and also a mortgage I have in Ennishon upon the lands of Stephen Butler deceased amounting to the sum of thirty eight pounds six shillings and eight pence yearly, all which several premises I have her said Rebeccah a full and absolute power to dispose of at her death as she shall think proper and no sooner but with the advice of the aforesaid co-executors and after taking competent maintenance to herself she and they shall pay all my just debts whomsoever due as well as legacies to my dependants and servants. Whereas I lately purchased a lease of some land in Dergalt for a full and valuable consideration from John (Homer?) to whom I had formerly made said lease as also I purchased another lease of lives from him made by my son George. Also I purchased from Robert Willson of Lower Dergalt a poor honest man as also another lease from (Noble Ban?) of Upper Dergalt and have become tenant to my son for the half town inhabited by James Thompson as also part of a town formerly held by Hugh Fulton as also about four acres of ground formerly held by James Denison. All these latter express articles are by no means intending my former demise but if I still reserve it in my power to dispose of as follows improvements I have made and do intend to make God sparing me days upon those concerns of Dergalt aforementioned and after paying my son reserve chief rent due to him by said leases granted by him and me and during the subsistence of those leases and I have a right to appoint the improved value to what purposes I think proper I therefore desire my forenamed executors may in case of my death before my return sett and let all the different concerns herein mentioned to the best improved value and not (squeezing?) incoming tenant or tenants but they may live comfortable according to their several stations with the following provises or exceptions. Therefore first I order that in case of a marriage to be solemnized or intended to be solemnized between James McKee and Margaret Buchanan (Juner, Iuner?) of Ballyshannon who is to bring a portion of fifty pounds along with her shall commence on November 1742 to a farm I lately purchased from Robert Willson for which he is to pay reserved rent to my son eight pounds sterling per annum thereby if improvements I am designing upon same it will be worth double in value which farm he shall enjoy for twenty four years the former date and shall be obliged to keep all ditches and planting in sufficient repair and to keep his cattle out of copts, woods and ---. Trees grow out of ---destruction and shall allow fireing for Willson’s half town for ---. If at any time said Robert Willson fall behind in his rent and become incapable of holding his half town shall have two acres of land and two more for a living with his house, his garden and his stable rent free during the term or it shall be in his option to returning g---absent tenant. As it hath pleased Almighty God to cause a late discovery of a (lake) quarry on land I own in Dergalt of which I have subsisting twenty-five years lease from November next and whereas it is estimated by several to be worth from twenty to fifty pounds per annum if properly managed and whereas it is an unmerited gift of God who is the author and guide of all good fortune my forenamed executors from time to time pay to the poor inhabitants of the Strabane and the Outer Parish who they think fit. I dedicate this as the first fruits or offerings to the poor of God which is to continue during my lease of twenty five years for that I am not able to make it longer. I have made a former settlement upon these concerns to my son for I am now only lease to him but I do heartily recommend it to my son and my posterity if they may continue it as a charitable endowment if it may be well worthy of their posterity for God is not unrighteous if he will forget good work of those who do for his holy name. If at any time be obliged to sell or dispose of these concerns they shall continue as mortgages of twelve pounds per annum issuing out of the quarry and not subject to sell it forever for which pious observations of these my injunctions they shall have my blessing as they cannot miss of God’s blessing. I further order my executors shall appoint a proper person to keep a book and registry of all outlaying or disbursements and receipts issuing out of the quarry and he shall be a competent for same deducting of which expense and all---of the poor shall be one pound per month punctually if so much accrued, if less they are to honor all if more to be given as afterward directed. As I have already provided a farm in Glenfinn for John McKee and gave him stock to put upon I further order for each child he has by his present wife Margaret McKee may have---pounds each of them to be paid by my executors according to their prudence which sum or sums are to be from the (superfluous?) profits of the quarry and leases in Dergalt but if less arrives from then my present expectations are they to be paid in proportion for having settled my previous purchases. There is a child called John Macghee, an illegitimate son of my son Patrick Macghee. As the child was in no way faulty in this matter and therefore ought to be provided for I therefore enjoin to my wife my surviving son and my executors may all of you going in giving him and good education and bringing him up in the scripture of God and the knowledge of the true protestant religion, the Church of England. If he may be taught Latin language fitted to be an apprentice to an apothecary or surgeon. If (conveyance?)---I propose Mr. Hamilton Donaldson to be his master and I have left said child a certain Arcanum Knowen to no other person upon the earth but to myself with will be---to him and no other when he comes to years to peruse. By leaving him this I leave him a greater estate which if by God’s blessing he makes a good use of than ever I myself was. ----of my son George may be put to as little expense as may be in his education I desire if costs may arise they be paid out of my leasehold in Dergalt and my mortgage in Ennishon, my mortgage in Dublin but out of all he may not only be bred a scholar but made a gentleman and put out as such into the world. I have yet one material affair to devise to wit my concern of Morenbeg and Carryduff which concerns I have most unjustly a long time been kept out of contrary to all laws and humanity— without least preference of right---they will when recovered be worth at least one hundred pounds per year and possibly much more. I promised formerly and I now hereby do confirm it that these whole concerns do go to my son and daughter Harrold during the longest lives of the two to their heirs if my said daughter Harrold has any they are paying in full and quiet possession of same and out of accruing profits as they can reasonably be raised fifty pounds sterling to each of them and Rev. Jr. John Spotswood. (Childring?) Fifty pounds to each of my niece Francis Strong’s children but if it should happen that my daughter Harrold should have no children of her own body they are only to be rent and not subject to payment---but in proportion to the time they are to hold it free---if they hold it five years they are to pay half of the sums only but if they hold it ten they are to pay the whole. And in case of their want of children upon the body of my daughter they are to have it during their lives---longest lives and afterwards to my son George and to his posterity forever. All costs of and trouble necessary for it. Recovering it by my son Harrold shall be reimbursed to him by my executors out of the profits arising out of my leases, quarry and always first paying the twelve pounds to the poor. If two young Murdaghs my tenants in Dergalt are greatly in my debt but as they are hopeful boys and have an old mother to support that if they give us next season’s crop of hay when saved they shall be acquit of all demands but for what they owe my son I am not concerned they whereas Noble Bane is by bond indebted to me I order it if he proves a faithful servant if my executors think proper to confirm---the farm in his hands he may pay part of his debt by his service---. If Hugh Fulton leaves my land as I believe he will for neither he or his wife was ever from me but always were searching for other farms and if they could have been better provided for elsewhere would have left me in the lurch as Thompson did and though I am neither obliged in law or conscience to allow them anything yet if they leave their crops upon the ground together with the lime limestone and turf agreed for by Mr. Owen Dogherty with him and do give a full and quiet possession of their land without trouble then in that case my executors shall pay him four pounds as it can be raised out of accruing profits. I order James Bane McIlbride of Donachy, his brother may have for twenty five years from All Saints next year the whole farm James now lives on at a rent of forty shillings per year and the brothers shall equally enjoy it at a rent. I could sell it at double the value but I acquit them of all my former demands which are not little ones but James shall pay my son what he owes to him.

I order that poor widow O’Quin shall have twenty shillings per year out of the profits of the quarry, it is a part of the twelve pounds that widow (Mackroaian) may have twenty shillings out of the same. Mary Robison alias widow Monroe may have the same sum of poor money. The lame woman may have the same. Bigg Margaret may have the same. Joseph Dowler an honest poor man may have the same if more is left to the prudence of my executors. There is a poor honest man Gillaspy Mackinis who has taken great pains to improve upon a park of ground to which he is my tenant. I recommend him to my son to renew his lease for thirty one years from November next that he may have the benefit of his labors. I shall provide for my servant David Fleming if I can in Dublin but if not will remember him other ways. I leave each of my executors ten pounds to buy mourning at my death but not to be paid until by their care my debts which are but few are paid arising from the promises. Lastly I order that my corps may be buried in the Church of Leck Patrick in the burying place of my ancestors in a plain black coffin giving no drink or (searves?) as usual but to be carried by tenants of Dergalt quickly without show by giving the poor five pounds at the burial place in case I die in Strabane. But if my executors should otherwise fall out my directions God willing shall be accordingly as the afore recited particulars I do hereby confirm. Written with my own hand with the same reason wherewith God has endowed me and this I publish as my last will in presents of it I subscribe this 25th day of October 1741.

Signed Geo. Macghee (seal)

Witnesses present; John Denning, Owen Dogherty, Wm. Knox, David Fleming