TRANSLATION OF LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF FREDERICK KERCHNER REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIER BORN MARCH 15, 1750 -- DIED AUGUST 10, 1828 Original German will on file at Recorder of Wills, Berks County Courthouse, Reading PA. Volume 6, page 223-226. Translation commissioned by Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., fourth great- grandson. Forwarded to Mr. Antonius Loeffler, a historian in Germany, to translate old German script into modern German. Translated verbally using tape recorder from modern German to English on Sept. 28, 1991 by: Christa Duelberg-Kraftician, Allentown, PA, formerly of Menden, Germany. Transcription to paper, research of old words in various German dictionaries, with further translation and editing by Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., 3765 Chris Drive, Emmaus, PA. Also some help obtained with tough to decipher words from Ernest Thode. Latest revision: Feb 23, 2003. [pg. 223] In the name of God, Amen. I the undersigned Frederick Kerchner residing in Longswamp Township in the County of Berks and State of Pennsylvania though I am frail/fragile, sick, and weak/bedridden but with sound/complete mind, memory, and faculties/recollections and my ability to judge still being as in my good days and I am enjoying what I am very thankful to God for and I am considering that we all have to die one time and that the time of our death is unknown and that every human at any time should be ready to leave this world that's why I make my last will and I'm declaring this at this time to be my last will and testament. To the first, I'm giving my eternal soul to the hand of my God to his eternal mercy and my body to the earth which is according to the rites of the Christian church that the body should be buried and everything considering my worldly goods I am leaving as follows: It is my wish that all my worldly debts and the cost for my funeral shall be paid as soon as possible from my later named executors. It is my wish that as fast as possible after my death all of my moveable goods and inventory as marked in a book/list is to be sold at public auction to be administered by my executors. I'm leaving my beloved wife, Barbara, for the time of her life as follows: two beds with canopies, curtains, linens, and everything that belongs to it of her own choosing. The oven with the pipe in the living room and the shovel and tongs that belong with it. The house clock, the table and a chest which she can choose, the curtains for her wash/bathing stand, and the wash basin with pitcher with everything that belongs to it. The kitchen cabinets with the kitchen plates, cups made of zinc, copper, iron, ceramics and wood which she can choose as much as she wants to keep. (Translators note: She get various farm implements which could not be translated at this time). She gets a table and a holder to keep the bible on and the bible and she gets her spinning wheel together with all the tools that belong to the spinning wheel. Chairs which she can choose, lawn rake, a garden hoe, a spade, a manure hoe, a manure pitch fork, and a shovel and a cow of her choice. She gets all the linens as much as she can keep and all the flax she can keep and wool everything he has that he still owns. She gets 25 pounds in money as soon as possible after his death. Also 1/3 of all the money that will be left after everything is sold and everything is paid off (except [pg. 224] interest/debts of my children which they still have to pay the estate). It is also my wish that my wife, Barbara, will two years after my death enjoy the use of the farm which I own at this time. She will have the room next to the (shop?/shed?). She will get half of the room above this one room and the full freedom to go into the kitchen to cook and wash as many times as she would like to. She will also have the freedom to go into the basement and the attic or to the baking oven, to the well in front by the kitchen door to get water as much as she needs. She will have the right to go in the barn for her food and she can also keep her things in there as much as she needs. She has the right to go into the stables to put the food for her animals there as much as she needs and she has the right to put her pigs in the pig pen and she can feed them there and keep them there. It is also my will that my wife will have all my cows for the time of two years after my death. If she likes to, she can also have the pigs which I am keeping because of the meat and also the pigs born in this two years on the farm. She can keep also all the hay and straw which I still own and the hay and straw which will be grown in the two years. She will also have all the pasture/grazing land as much as she needs for her animals. She can have all kinds of salts for the summer and winter foods which she still owns and also all the food which she will grow in the garden and everything that still grows in these two years shall be hers. She shall also have during this time a piece of the kitchen garden and hickory as much as she needs which has to be given to her by the executors and they have to go into the woods and cut it for her and bring it to her. She will also get all the food which will be growing on my farm during this time as much as she needs and she likes. It is also my wish that my afterwards named executors (if they think its good) that she will sell all my lying goods/real estate (all the property he owns) that she can sell this the best as she knows and to the one that will give the most. I'm authorizing my executors [pg. 225] on my behalf concerning the farm/plantation to act with the power of attorneys to sell pieces and other assets and in my behalf to make lawfully binding contracts as necessary. It is my wish that 200 pounds in money shall stay in this estate as long as my wife is living from which she will get every year her interest/income. The rest of my moving and unmoving goods are going to my six children and their heirs forever: Johan, George Kerchner, Wilhelm Kerchner, Peter Kerchner, Elizabeth which is the widow of Abraham Griesemer, Jacob Kerchner, Maria married to Jacob Miller. (Editors note: He names clearly his six children, 4 sons and 2 daughters, giving their first and last names. There is definitely a comma or mark between the name Johan and George in the original will. But this should not be misunderstood as to indicate two separate people. Instead this was done in order to clarify the identity of his oldest son. This was due to the fact that his oldest son's legal baptismal name was Johan George but he was known all his adult life by his middle name, George Kerchner. His four sons were: Johan George, Friedrich Wilhelm, Philip Peter, and Jacob. His 2 daughters were: Elizabeth and Maria.) I want to be understood by them that I gave already in my lifetime to everyone of my known children and heirs in-law (this means that he gave them all property and things already and they have to pay it back as long as he living and after he dies the debt is paid off). You can see this in one of my lists of what I gave to which people. But some of them got more than the other ones so I got notes and (bonds?) which are getting interest. So it is my wish as soon as possible after my death my known children will be getting everything equal and they can look it up in the list what has to be done. All my moveable goods which I didn't give to my wife will go in equal parts to my known children or to their heirs. It is also my wish that after my wife's death that everything she will leave will be going to my known children or their heirs in six equal parts. To the last I am naming with this my two sons, Wilhelm Kerchner and Jacob Kerchner to be executors and administrators. This is my last will and testament and I am declaring again this is my last will and testament which is one piece of paper which I am signing by myself. This is my last will and testament and every last will and testament made before is revoked. To make this the last will he is signing it himself and he is sealing it. This is done the first day in August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight. Frederick Kerchner (seal) signs and seals and declares this is the last will and testament and the above was signed by Frederick Kerchner in the presence of Jacob Meyer and Jacob Oberholtzer. [pg. 226] Page 226 is in English in the original and it reads as follows: Registers Office Reading Berks County September 8th 1828 then appeared Jacob Meyer & Jacob Oberholtzer witnesses to the above written will who where duly qualified according to Law did declare and say that they were present together and did see and hear Frederick Kerchner the testator sign publish pronounce & declare the foregoing writing as and for his last will and testament and that at the time of the doing thereof he the said testator was of sound mind memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge and as they verily believe and further that they names Jacob Meyer & Jacob Oberholtzer are of the deponents own hand writing thereto subscribed as witnesses in the presence of each other and in the presence and at the request of the testator. Coram me Rhoads Frederick Kerchner Letters Testamentary in Common form under Seal of Office were granted to William & Jacob Kerchner two sons the Executors therein named they being first duly qualified thereto according to law.
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Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.
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Created - 13 Apr 2003
Revised - 02 Sep 2017