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A few notes about the Audited Accounts Key...
The entries in this list refer to audits of the accounts of :
1. executors and administrators of the estates of deceased people, and
2. guardians of "orphans"--people who owned property, but could not manage their own accounts, usually because they were under 21; sometimes because they were mentally or physically infirmed.
What I have typed here is not verbatim. In an effort to get the job done quickly, I have omitted some words from each record (usually "audited a/c with the" because every record is an audited account with either an estate or an "orphan") and have omitted the balances due (because I hate typing numbers). But I have been careful to include all other information from each entry that might provide a research clue.
Most of the entries are straightforward, and are written in the following form:
Nov Term 1805
Demcy Forbes admor. audited a/c with the Estate of Josiah Wilson decd.
Bal. due Estate...12.7.2
It is clear from this entry that Josiah Wilson died with property, but without a will, some time before November Term 1805, and that Demcy Forbes was appointed as the administrator of his estate. Be careful not to conclude that Josiah Wilson died around November of 1805; he could have died years earlier. Estate settlements were often protracted.
Some of the entries are confusing to read, but can lead to more information:
Nov Term 1805
Malachi Read Exor. & Sally Read Executrix of Malachi decd. audited a/c with the estate of Joshua West decd.
Bal. due Estate...310.2.3
In this case, apparently Malachi Read was the executor of the estate of Joshua West, but Malachi died and his (Malachi's) executrix, Sally, assumed the responsibility of settling Joshua's estate. The records bear this out. A peek into Gordon C. Jones' Abstracts of Wills... reveals that Joshua West's will was proved at court in September of 1803. His executor was his "friend" Malachi Read. Malachi Read's will was proved at June Court 1805, and his executrix was his wife, Sally. The name of Joshua West's wife at the time of his will was Sarah. This, of course, opens up some new avenues to the researcher because it implies that Sally and Sarah were one and the same.
NOTE from Jean Schroeder 7/4/2008 - This infers that Joshua West's wife, Sarah, married (or may have married) Malachi Read after the death of Joshua. I think this is highly unlikely, since she wrote her will as Sarah West 18 Oct 1809. Joshua died in 1803 and Malachi died in 1805.
This could be confusing to someone new researching the West's.
A similar example is this:
May Term 1818 Josiah Jolliff Exor. of Benja. Brickhouse decd. who was Exor. of Wm. Flora decd. in right of his wife audited a/c with the said decd. Estate Bal. due Estate...715.20 1/4
The phrase "in right of his wife" can be a big tip-off to a second marriage. Here it is suggested that Wm. Flora died, and his widow married Benja. Brickhouse. Once again, the records bear this out: The 1811;1812 will of William "Flory" names his wife "Luraney." The 1815;1816 will of Benjamin Brickhouse Sr. names executor Josiah Jolliff and wife "Lurany."
The entries for the audited accounts of Guardians can also range from straightforward to complex. A simple entry names the guardian, the orphan/s and the deceased father:
Aug. Term 1815 Thomas Walston Guar. &c. audited a/c with Zilpha Dunton orphan of Daniel Dunton decd. Bal. due orph...$75.99 1/4
A little less clear:
Nov. Term 1808 Samuel Jarvis Junr. Guar. Wm. Gray admor. audited a/c with the estate of Susanna Jarvis orphn. of Th. Jarvis Junr. decd. Bal. due Estate...$139.58 1/2
We can tell that Samuel Jarvis Junr. was the guardian of the accounts of Susanna Jarvis, and that Susanna Jarvis was an orphan of Th. Jarvis Junr, who had died. But was Wm. Gray the administrator of the estate of Th. Jarvis Junr. decd? Or was he the administrator of the estate of Susanna Jarvis? The entry doesn't state explicitly that Susanna had died (the abreviation "decd." is not written after her name), but implies that she had died by referring to her "estate." Had she died, or had the clerk written "estate" by mistake? Searching for additional records will sometimes help to resolve an issue such as this.
An earlier entry from May Term 1807 gives Samuel Jarvis former guardian and William Gray present guardian of Jonathan Jervis, orphan of Thos. Jarves Junr. Backing up even earlier, we find at May Term 1804 that at that time John Williams was the former guardian and Sam. Jervis the present guardian of Jna. (Jonathan), Thomas and Susanna Jervis, but the identity of their father is not stated.
Returning to the Nov. 1808 entry, I would suspect that Susanna Jarvis, orphan of Thomas Jarvis, Jr. had died and that William Gray was the administrator of the estate that she had inherited from her father, Thomas Jarvis, Jr. In order to confirm this, I would search the minutes of the county court of pleas and quarter sessions for additional clues. And in fact, in the minutes of February Term 1808, we find this: "Ordered that William Gray have the right of administration on the estate of Susanna Jarvis decd. orph. of Thos. Jarvis Junr. decd... so that division could be made among lawful representatives." A later entry in the Audited Accounts Key, from August Term 1811, has "Samuel Jarvis late Guar. audited a/c with Levi W. Hall present Guar. of Thos. Jarvis orphan of Thos. Jarvis Junr."
For anyone who is really interested in this particular family group, a little more digging in the court minutes will yield up the fact that by November Term 1811, Jonathan Jarvis, orphan of Thomas Jarvis, Jr., decd. had died, and the administrator of his estate was Levi. W. Hall. Close study of all these vague records put together will lead to quite a lot of information about this family.
The following is an example of the type of record that can really trip us up if we're not careful:
Nov. Term 1809 Samuel Ferebee former Guar. audited a/c with the estate [of] Penelope Dauge orph. of Philip Dauge the present Guar. Bal. due orph...52.14.3
Is Penelope Dauge dead? ("estate" of Penelope Dauge), or alive? (no "decd." and "bal. due orph"). Her father is apparently Philip Dauge, who is still living because he is the current guardian of Penelope's account. In this case, it's probable that the use of the word "estate" was a mistake. Penelope was likely alive and well and enjoying an inheritance she had received from a grandparent, which was being handled by her father, Philip. If I were researching this family, though, I would definitely look for more clarification.
Some guardian account entries can be a little mind-boggling to read, but the interpretation is not so difficult:
May Term 1814 Enoch Ball P. (present) Guar. of Nancy Gray orphan of Griffith Gray decd. audited a/c with George Howard admor. of Amos Gray decd. who was former Guar. of sd. orphn. Bal. due orph....$56.96
A possible interpretation is that Griffith Gray died and some or all of his property was inherited by minor daughter, Nancy. The guardian of Nancy's accounts had been Amos Gray, but Amos died before Nancy reached the age of majority. So Amos' estate administrator (George Howard) and Nancy's new guardian (Enoch Ball) presented a joint audit to the court.
A quick search of the Inventory Key (also located on this web site) reveals that Amos Gray had died by November Term 1813. An abstract by Gordon Jones of the 1803;1805 will of Griffith Gray shows that Griffith had a son Amos (possibly the same as Nancy's guardian) and a daughter Nancy. Griffith's will also names children Timothy and Agnes, so if I were a serious researcher of this family, the next thing I would want to know is why Timothy and Agnes were not mentioned in the 1814 guardian account audit. Two possible answers are that they had both reached the age of majority by 1814 (which gives us good clues to their approximate years of birth) or that they had both died by 1814. I'll leave it up to a Gray family researcher to answer that one!
A couple of additional notes:
The phrase "de bonis non" refers to an administrator who was appointed by the court because a former administrator or executor could not or would not complete the settlement of an estate.
The phrase "with the will annexed" refers to an administrator who was appointed by the court because a testator had not named an executor in his will, or the executor who had been named did not qualify.
Hoping the abstracts of these records are not too full of errors and that they help you in your search...
© 2002 Marty Holland