Where there’s a will there’s a way, right? Well, this week’s #52Ancestors really was a slog through wills, the absence of wills, probate, estate records, land sales, etc. But first, let’s start with the gentleman who inspired this blog: Cornelius Delos Vreeland.
Cornelius D. Vreeland was born in Paterson, New Jersey on 4 March 1813. At this time, Paterson was in Essex County but it eventually became Passaic County. Young Cornelius was duly baptized at the First Reformed Church in Totowa, a small community just outside of Paterson. On 29 September 1836 he married Rachel Beach and they settled on a farm in Wayne township. They six children: Josiah Pierson (1841-1895), Maria Mottear (1842-1844), Elizabeth Derrom (1846-1924), Adelia (1850-1893), Cornelius (1852-1854) and Jonathan Beach (1855-1911).
Cornelius D. dies at the Vreeland Homestead in Wayne on 6 July 1890, and is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell. This is all quite straightforward. However, apparently Cornelius did not leave a will and this is where the search gets interesting. By 1870, the homestead is valued at $20,000 and the personal property at $7,000. Tax records will tell us more but all of this leads me to wonder, why no will? Josiah and Adelia are still in the area, Elizabeth has married and is out in California setting up a vegetable farm and Beach, as he was called, is in Charlotte, North Carolina due to his wife’s poor health.
Interestingly, Beach is left to file the articles of administration, which speak to the need for the estate to be inventoried. Although Passaic County has an online index, the case files themselves have not been put online, so a request for a paper copy has been made.
Happy Birthday, Cornelius Delos Vreeland! You helped me delve into some records I propably would have avoided, left to my own devices. And thank you, @amyjohnsoncrow for challenging me to dig a little deeper.