Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Female Legatees


Since the 1815 will of William Ijams specified selling a parcel of land in Fairfield County, Ohio, and dividing it equally among his unnamed daughters, of course inquiring minds like mine want to know just what the names of those daughters might actually be.

I already knew one daughter was Sarah Howard Ijams, in 1815 not quite yet the wife of John Jay Jackson, my mother-in-law's third great-grandparents. I also knew of one other daughter, Comfort, who married Edward Stevenson. But who the others were—or if there even were any others—I couldn't say.

That is where the grunt work should have come in, but fortunately there was something else that popped up to save me many steps in grinding through digitized copies of microfilmed records.

Here is what I found. In the several pages of the legal paperwork it took to settle William Ijams' estate, there were several items listing partial payments to the "female legatees" of the decedent. And there actually was a recapping page detailing all five of the so-called female legatees, in some cases giving the daughter's married name, then "formerly known as" version of their name at birth. Perfect: just what I was hoping for.

With that discovery, it was quite pleasing to see that my wild chase of the one Ijams in the early Fairfield County marriage records—for Mary Ijams who married Walter Teal—turned out to be a reasonable hunch. Though I couldn't find anything further on documentation for the couple, William's probate case records stated what I was seeking specifically:

Walter Teal and Mary Teal formerly Mary Ijams Receipt, No. 7 [for] 541.00

With that confirmation, here are the others whom I'll be adding to William's family group sheet. First appearing in the steady stream of receipts issued by the executor, William Wiseman, were several items concerning Rachel Ijams, wife of James Turner.

In addition, the recap mentioned another daughter, Rebecca Ijams, whose married name turned out to be the same as that of the executor: Wiseman. Wife of William? Hard to tell, though there have been many times when a family member related by marriage has appeared as part of the process of drawing up or executing the directives of a will. More searching through local documentation may reveal Rebecca's husband's given name, but for now, at least she has a place among the daughters—and legatees—of William Ijams.

If it weren't for that little something else which had popped up during my search for answers, I would likely still have been going page by agonizingly slow page in the microfilmed court records of Fairfield County, Ohio. Thankfully, something helpful showed up...something that deserves mention in a post of its own, tomorrow.


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