Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Misinterpretation of Deeds & Probate: Three Generations of Pralls - Benjamin's estate

Skipping a generation, we come to Benjamin Prall [son of Aaron]. Benjamin's story is a cas of not investigating all available records, when researchers assumed Benjamin died childless. It was also believed that he died intestate in 1791. In a court action in 1798, Edward and Cornelius Prall [siblings], Asher Atkinson [nephew], and the children of brother James were named heirs.

On a business trip in 1784, Benjamin stopped at the house of George Wegner. He became seriously ill and had his will written by Egedius Myers. Benjamin named his sister Elizabeth executrix and named his children, Benjamin Jr., Elizabeth and Jemima. Benjamin left the document with Wegner, planning on returning to pick it up later. He did not. When Wegner learned of Benjamin's death he got the will to Hunterdon Co. and signed an affidavit explaining what had transpired.

The mother of Benjamin's three children was Rachel Snyder. The couple never married. Rachel's father charged Benjamin with fornication twice. Since all three children were born out of wedlock, they were not entitled to their share of his estate.

A copy of the will and Wegner's affidavit were in the Prall file at the Deats Library in Flemington, NJ. 3X5 cards noting the various court actions involving Benjamin, Rachel, the kids and the heirs were also on file at the library. For whatever reason, only the 1798 court case seemed to have come to light until the rest of the documents miraculously appeared in the library files!

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