Will of Andrew Lederach, 1758
Written by Forrest Moyer on May 23, 2019
MHEP published the will of Andrew Lederach in 1983. The notes below were written by Joel Alderfer at that time.
Andrew Lederach immigrated, with his brother, John, to Pennsylvania in 1717. The Lederach family was originally from Worb, Switzerland, but had lived in the Palatinate in Germany before coming to this country. Andrew and John both settled in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County, where Andrew bought 102 acres of land from David Powell in December of 1717, and where John bought 100 acres, also from David Powell, in September, 1718.
It has been assumed that Andrew Lederach was an early member of the Salford Mennonite congregation, yet his name does not appear on the congregation’s original 1738 deed, which lists the four original ministers and deacons and the other 17 members of the congregation. Andrew apparently was not a member of the church, at least at that time. He may have been a member earlier or later in the congregation’s history. We know he lived in the Salford Mennonite community (his farm was just east of the present village of Lederach). Also, many of his descendants were members at Salford and Andrew’s grandson, John Lederach, was a deacon at Salford.
Andrew’s wife’s name was Magdalena (maiden name unknown) and they had three children: Henry m. Catharine Clemmer; Magdalena m. John Steiner of Coventry, Chester County; and Esther m. Jacob Oberholtzer, a minister of the Franconia Mennonite congregation. Andrew Lederach wrote his will in March, 1758, and it was probated in December, 1759, which means he died in November or December of 1759. Andrew and his wife are very likely buried in the old Lederach family burial ground, although no stones exist for them. This tiny old graveyard is located on the Andrew Lederach farm, just off Morris Road about one-quarter mile below the village of Lederach.
This graveyard has only five or six stones visible anymore, and only three of those have inscriptions on them. The oldest one is CA.L. 1776 (Catharine Clemmer Lederach, wife of Henry, died 1776). Another stone has the inscription H L DC24 1799 (Henry Lederach, died December 24, 1799, the son of Andrew). The other stone that has an inscription on it is M Z 1785 (probably a Ziegler, died 1785).
There is a very old house standing on the Andrew Lederach homestead, which was probably built by him. In his will, Andrew mentions twice the “old House”, which may have been his original log house on the farm, and was probably where he and Magdalena lived when they were old. In his will, he gave to Magdalena “free Lodging in the Old House.” This “Old House” is no longer standing. The present house, which is built of stone, was probably the second house built on the homestead, apparently before Andrew died. This house is located off Route 113, on the left, as you enter the old village of Lederach, going west.
Some other interesting items that are in the will include: “our Large Chest which we brought from Germany,” “Our Cupboard in the Old House,” and “my son Henry shall have that Horse which I have long heretofore promised him…the Stove in ye New Room…he shall lend a Horse to his Mother to Ride on Necessary Occasions.”
Lederach’s will is given here according to the English transcription in Will Book L, Register of Wills office, City Hall, Philadelphia [breaks and headings added].
BE IT KNOWN To all whom it may concern That I Andrew Ledrach of Lower Salford Township in ye County of Philadelphia in ye Province of Pensylvania Farmer, being aged and weakly in Body, but at present of sound Understanding & Memory Thanks be to God for ye same, and knowing also that its appointed for all Men once to die DO therefore hereby make this my Last Will & Testament in manner & form following;
And first of all I recommend my Soul unto ye Hand of Almighty God my Heavenly Creator & my Body to the Earth to be Decently Buried at ye Discretion of my Executors And as Touching my Worldly affairs & Estate wherewith it hath Pleased God to bless my Endeavor, It is my Will and I do Dispose & Ordain of the same as followeth,
Inheritance of widow
SECONDLY It is my Will & I give to my dear beloved Wife Magdalena Ledrach (in lieu of her full thirds of and in all my Real & Personal Estate) The sum of one hundred Pounds Pennsylvania Currency for her Livelyhood and likewise her free diet of my son Henry Ledrach with free Lodging in the Old House, as also Firewood During her remaining my Widow, And as Touching the said one hundred pounds it shall be paid by my said son to my said Wife for her more Comfortable Subsistance, on the Terms & Conditions following; That is to say, Five pounds yearly of ye said one hundred pounds During her being my Widow in order for her being Enabled to get Refreshments for herself at Pleasure as aforesaid;
“During her yet being my widow….” This was a common stipulation, that a widow’s inheritance would continue as long she did not remarry, in which case her needs would be met by her new husband.
ITEM It is my Will & I do further bequeath to my said Wife for her use & service During her life, our owne Bed & ye furniture of ye same, her own apparel, our Large Chest which we brought from Germany, Our Cupboard in the old House; and which such Household Goods which we have and of ye Linnens what is Necessary for her own private use;
Inheritance of children
ITEM It is my Will & I give to my son Henry Ledrach my Plantation of One hundred & thirty two acres of Land (be ye same more or less) in Lower Salford Township in Philadelphia County aforesaid whereon I now Dwell, so that my said son Henry is to have and to hold the said one hundred & Thirty two acres with ye Buildings thereon to him his Heirs & Assigns for Ever; And which I Value to him at three hundred pounds pennsylvania Currency, Whereof he is Nevertheless to have one third part, that is to say after ye said one hundred pounds for his Mother are first Deducted; And whereas its Likely that but little Cash of mine besides will be left; Therefore the sum of Two hundred Pounds only of the value of my aforesaid Plantation, will after my Decease remain to be Divided in three parts; Whereof Each of my Children will share 66 pounds 13 S [shillings] & 4 d [pence] Which Shall be my said Son his heirs & assigns be paid in manner following, That is to say, in six Successive yearly payments of 23 pounds 4 S & 3 d Each payable without Interest, the first payment whereof to be made unto my Daughter Magdalena (Wife of John Steiner) or to her heirs within one year next after my Decease The Second payment to my Daughter Esther (the wife of Jacob Oberholtzer) or to her heirs, and so on Successively that Each of my said Daughters shall alternately Every second year Receive her said payments till paid;
ITEM It is my will that in Case my said Wife should die Shortly after me, That whatever part of her said One hundred pounds may at such Time of her Decease be remaining after all her Burial Charges & Charges of Attendance on her in her sickness are first paid & Deducted, That such remainder shall then also be Divided in three Equal Parts amongst my three Children, to wit: Henry Ledrach, Magdalena & Esther, or their heirs in Equal parts to be Divided. * * *
ITEM It is also my Will That my son Henry shall have that Horse which I have long heretofore promised him, and the old waggon, the Horse Gears, the Stove in ye New Room. The Table in ye same room & ye Dresser in ye Kitchen over & besides his share aforesaid But then he shall lend a Horse to his Mother to Ride on Necessary Occasions;
It appears Andrew remembered at the end to name a few specific items to go to his son, including a certain horse — but the condition was that Henry had to let his mother borrow a horse if she needed transportation.
ITEM It is my Will & I do hereby Nominate make & ordain my said son Henry Ledrach and my son-in-law John Steiner to be the Executors of this Last Will & Testament And I do hereby Revoke & Declare void all Will & Testaments by me any ways heretofore Made And do Declare and acknowledge this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & Seal the fifth Day of March in ye year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred & Fifty Eight
Signed Sealed & by the said Testator Declared as his last Will & Testament in ye presence of us as Witnesses:
BE IT REMEMBERED that on ye 28th Day of December 1759 The last Will & Testament of Andrew Ledrach deceased in due form of Law was Proved & Probate & Letters Testameny were granted to Henry Ledrach & John Steiner Executors in ye said Will Named Given under ye Seal of ye said office.
Wm PLUMSTEAD Reg. Genl.