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Will of Marten Gerritsen van Bergen

In the name of God, Amen. I Marten Gerritsen van Bergen, dwelling in the county of Albany, being at present in good bodily health and of sound mind and memory, considering the shortness and frailty of human life, the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the hour thereof,and wishing to anticipate the same, therefore make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following.

First and foremost I commend my soul, whenever it shall be separated from my body, to the hands of God Almighty, hoping through the suffering and death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, to obtain a full forgiveness of all my sins and the interitance of eternal life, and my body I commend to a Christian burial in the earth. And as regards the disposition of all such temporal estate as it has pleased Almighty God (far above my deserts) to grant me, I give and dispose of thereof as follows:

First, I will and desire that all my debts and burial expenses shall be paid out of my personal estate.

Item, I give to my sister's son, Claes Ziverse, fifty acres or twenty-five morgens of land lying at Koxhaghje, fit to be plowed, the limits and bounds thereof can not at present be indicated since I stillown and possess the aforsaid land in company with Jan Bronk and do not know where my portion will be; I also give to the aforesaid Claes Ziverse four horses and four cows or cattle, on the express understanding that if my estate shall become notably diminished, whether by war, fire or otherwise, he shall receive no more than the twenty-five morgens or fifty acres of land.

Item, I give to my eldest son, Gerrit van Bergen, all my horseman's accoutrement, namely saddle, bridle, holsters, pistols, sash and side arms. The remainder of my personal estate, comprising all my property, movable and imovable, claims and credits, gold and silver coined and uncoined, jewels, linen and woolen clothing, household furniture, etc., nothing excepted or reserved, I give to my beloved wife Neeltje Mynders, my sole and absolute executrix of this my last will and testament, to do therewith and dispose thereof as is hereinafter further expressed.

First, she shall be holden honorably to bring up and rear in the fear of God, my children (whom we together have procreated and begotten in wedlock), to have them learn writing, reading and a proper trade or handicrafts whereby they with honor may earn their living, to wit, my eldest son, Gerrit van Bergen, aged now about three years, my other or second son, Myndert van Bergen, aged about one and a half years, and if God should please to grant us in our married state still other children, then my wife shall be holden to do by them as by my two aforesaid children.

My wife shall not have power to sell, grant or alienate any of my real estate or the appurtenances thereof (as lands, houses, barns, ricks, negroes, horses, cattle and other animals, farm implements and whatever else belongs to the same), but she shall enjoy all the profits and income thereof in the form of rents, increase, fruits, etc.

Whenever my youngest son Myndert van Bergen shall have attained his majority or entered the married state, my wife shall be holden to restore and turn over to my aforesaid children whom we have now and to those whom we may yet have by each other (to be divided equally among them) all my lands and farm implements at Katskill, with their appurtenances, such as houses, barns, ricks, horses, cattle and other animals and whatever else belongs thereto, a great part of which is now rented by Gerrit Teunise and Jonas Volkertse; item, my lands and rights at Corlaers kill, my lands and rights which I now possess in company with Jan Bronk, the land on the Bevers kill and my house and lot standing and lying in the city of Albany, according to the patents thereof.

As regards my farm (now occupied by me), lying on the west side of Hudson's river, to the south of Casteels island, with all its appurtenances, such as houses, barns, ricks, farm impelements, negroes, horses, cattle and other animals, my wife shall hold and enjoy the same as long as she lives, and after hear death my eldest son Gerrit van Bergen whall have and enjoy the same with all its belongings as above mentioned, in acknowledgment of his right of primogeniture, provided that on the receipt of the same he shall be holden to makeover and pay to his brother Myndert van Bergen a sum of two hundred pieces of eight, current money of this province.

After my death, my wife shall be holden to give to the guardians of my children above named a true inventory of all my real estate and appurtenances, such as lands, houses, barns, ricks, negroes, horses, cattle and other animals, farm utensils and other belongings. As to the negroes on the farm now occupied by me, my wife shall receive the increase thereof after my death, without however being holden to make good the number if any happen to die. Of the two little negro boys, sons of the negress Mary, the eldest names Jan shall be for my son Gerrit van Bergen and the other named Willem for my son Myndert, each [son] to have and receive his negro boy when he becomes of age or enters the marriage state.

The number of horses, cattle and other animals and farm utensils belonging to all my aforesaid lands, my wife shall be holden to keep entire, that my children at the appointed time may receive the same as found at my death, except the same be destroyed by war, fire, or otherwise (which may God avert). My further personal estate and effects shall wholly remain and be at the disposal of my wife, without her being obliged to give an inventory or accounting of the same to anyone, save that she shall be holden to pay al my depts out of the same as aforesaid. If any of my children happen to die, their right of inheritance shall pass to the other child or children, and if they all happen to die before they become of age or enter the marriage state, their right of inheritance shall be equally divided between my relatives and my wife or her relatives. Furthermore, I nominate and appoint, as guardians over my children Gerrit Teunise and Claes Siverse,and in case one of them during the minority of my children happens to die, the survivor of the two shall have power to nominate and appoint another. If my children can not agree with each other regarding the division of the estate left by me, it is my will and desire that the guardians be umpires and apportion to each his part of the inheritance, without the interposition of any judge or judges (saving their respect).

All that is hereinbefore written, I, the testator, declare to be my last will and testament, revoking, annulling and canceling hereby all former testamentary dispositions heretofore ever made or executed by me, whether oral or written, desiring that after my death the same may have full force and effect, whether as will, codicil, donation, gift in anticipation of death, or otherwise, as may be most suitable, notwithstanding that certain formalities demanded by law of custom be herein omitted, neglected, or not inserted and observed, asking of all judges and courts before whom these presents may come, that the utmost benefit from this my will may be enjoyed. In witness whereof I have signed and sealed this my last will and testament, written upon seven sides of paper and numbered from one to seven, in Albany in America, this 6th day of January, in the second year of their majesties' reign and in the year of our Lord 1691.

Was signed, Marte Gertse van Bergen (L.S.)

Signed and sealed in presence of Pieter Schuyler, L. V. Schaick

Inventory of the estate of Marten Gerritsen van Bergen

Inventory of the estate left by Marte Gerritse van Bergen, deceased in the county of Albany this 6th day of May 1696, according to the provision of his last will and testament that after his death an inventory should be taken of his real estate, to wit, of lands, houses, barns, ricks, cattle and all other animals and farming utensils. This 3d of June, 1696, in Albany.

First, the land lying at Catskill, a part of which is in the possession of Gerrit Teunissen and Jonas Volkertse,1 according to the patent;2 eight horses, to wit, six mares, one gelding and one stallion; eight cows, a half-worn wagon and a plow, eight traces, four lines, four whiffletrees, four stirrups, two bits, an iron neckyoke, a fan, an iron chain, all of which are on the aforesaid farm occupied by Gerrit Teunis and Jonas Volkertse.

Second, the lands lying at Corlaers kill, in partnership with the heirs of the late Mr Corn. van Dyck, comprehended in Coxhachy patent.3

Third, all the land at Coxhachy in partnership with Jan Bronk,4 comprehended in the same patent of Coxhachy. An old, dilapidated house and a barn in the possession of Helmer Janse, with a cow.

Fourth, a sawmill lying on a kill called Marte Gerritse's kill, included in the aforesaid patent of Coxhachy.
The land on the Bevers kill, according to the patent thereof.5
The farm lying at the south end of Castells island,6 at present in the possession of Neelte van Bergen,7 the widow of the late Marte Gerritse van Bergen, on which were found six cows, also four cows bequeathed to Claes Siverse, as appears by the last will and testament of the deceased; six hogs 1/2 year old, six geese, twelve hens, a brew kettle, a half-worn plow with appurtenances and traces, a cart and a harrow with iron teeth, six horses, viz. three mares and three geldings; six sheep, three Flemish scythes with snaths and grain hooks; a house, a barn and two ricks, a journal box and iron support, a half-worn fan, a wooden sled, two axes, four forks, a dung fork and sled, an auger, a hammer, a brace, two iron wedges, a negro named Samson, a negress names Marya with four children, to wit, three boys names Jan Tap, Will and Harma and a girl named Sara.

The above inventory was made by the guardians Capt. Gerit Teunise and Claes Siverse in the presence of us, the undersigned, in Albany, the 3d of June 1696.

Pieter Schuyler, Dirk Wessels, Killian van Rensselaer

1 Gerrit Teunissen van Vechten and Jonas Volkertsen Douw, who had leased the land, according to Marten Gerritsen's will.
2 Patent of March 26, 1680, to Capt. Sylvester Salisbury and Marten Gerritsen for five flats on both sides of the Catskill creek, purchased of the Indians on July 8, 1678.
3 No such patent seems to be recorded.
4 See deeds from Jan Bronck and Johannes Clute and others, Early Reords of Albany, I-455, 479-80
5 Patent dated November 12, 1677.
6 Castle island, now called Westerlo island. In the Dongan charter of Albany it is called "Martin Garretsons Island."
7 Neeltje Mynders, the second wife of Marten Gerritsen.

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