After the passing of Philip Danehy of Fort Wayne, Indiana, the day after Christmas in 1885, there was yet another gift embedded in his last will and testament: the naming of his executor.
Unlike what I've noticed in other wills, this gentleman, after insuring that each of his children were provided for, chose someone outside his family—at least, I presume that is so—to see to it that his intentions were accomplished according to his plan. Not only that, but Philip Danehy's selection for executor was someone residing outside the country.
Item 7". It is my will and I hereby Nominate & appoint Rev. A. Morrissy Parish Priest, Banteir County, Cork Ireland. My Executor of this my last Will and Testament and in the event that he should die before me then & in that case, I hereby nominate & appoint my oldest Son Jeremiah Denehey my executor of this my
alstlast Will & Testament
I do hereby revoke all former wills by me made.
In Testimont hereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 2nd. day of March A. D. 1885. Philip Denehey
Perhaps it was this last item that caused the fifteen year delay in completion of these final arrangements, for the process of probate lasted until March 8, 1901, for what seemed to be a fairly straightforward legal process.
Then, too, the accomplishment of locating the actual parish of this priest—presumably Catholic, as was the Danehy family—may have been somewhat muddled by the clerk of the Allen County Circuit Court, who listed the priest's residence as in "Banteir County." Hopefully, someone set the record straight that the location in Ireland would be in County Cork. One more detail: the reference to "Banteir" likely meant the village of Banteer, in northern County Cork, near the town of Mallow.
But would Banteer refer to the civil location—in that case, in the parish of Clonmeen—or to the Catholic parish of that name within the diocese of Cloyne?
And more to the point: if I looked online for church records in that area—whichever one the designation meant—would I find any signs of Philip Denehy's family, especially his son Jeremiah? Or even a signature of the parish priest in the course of his duties?
Suddenly, after all this searching, I'm handed a gift of door to door delivery, bringing me from the courthouse in Fort Wayne to the records of an immigrant's home back in County Cork, Ireland—all because an aging man couldn't bring himself to select an executor for his will who resided in his newly-adopted hometown.
Above: Item 7 of the March 2, 1885, will of Philip Denehy, filed in the Record of Wills, volume 11, page 38, at the Allen County Circuit Court in Indiana; image courtesy Ancestry.com.