1785 Will (of Israel Read): Tony, Isabel, Jean

Item

Title
1785 Will (of Israel Read): Tony, Isabel, Jean
Identifier
NJS-EVE-00672
Source
Archives of New Jersey, Series 1, Vol. 37 (Calendar of Wills, Vol. 8, 1791-1795)
Hutchinson, Elmer T., ed. Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey. Archives of the State of New Jersey, 1st series. Vol. 37. Calendar of Wills, Vol. 8, 1791-1795. Jersey City, NJ: Scott Printing, 1942. Page 292.
Event Description
The will of the Rev. Israel Read (pastor of the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church) was written on December 1, 1785, in Piscataway, NJ. Israel Read died 8 years later in 1793, and the will was proved on February 8, 1794, at Somerset.

The will mentions several enslaved persons by name, including Toone (referred to as Tony in other archival documents), Isabel, and Jean.

Note that Jean was described as an old woman and was granted "her freedom" in the will. Whether Jean was still alive in 1794 and whether she attained freedom is uncertain. New Jersey law prohibited enslavers from officially manumitting elderly Black persons lest they become a public charge. The executors of Read's estate could not have legally manumitted Jean after the pastor's death, although unofficial arrangements for her senior years could have been made in accordance with Read's wishes.

The following is a copy of the will abstract as published in the Calendar of Wills, Vol. 8, 1791-1795:

"1785, Dec. 1. Read, Rev. Israel, of Piscataway, Middlesex Co.; will of. Son, Thomas, one silver pint mug, 5 silver table spoons and 4 1/2 of residue of personal property. Son, Archibald, one silver server, one silver sugar cup and the other 1/2 of residue of personal property. Daughter, Mary, negro girl named Isabel, 2 feather beds, one silver teapot, 2 silver canasters, one silver cream pot, 6 silver tea spoons, all china and other household furniture; also the annual interest in the widow’s fund in Philadelphia, while single. Library to be sold and divided between the 2 sons. Lands in Somerset Co. and other realty to be sold and proceeds divided between the 3 children. Old negro wench, Jean, her freedom. Negro man, Toone, to be kept by sons. Executors—friends, Dr. Moses Scott and Matthias Baker, Esq. Witnesses—David Kelly, Anthony Cosad, Aaron Coon. Proved Feb. 8, 1794, at Somerset.

1794, Feb. 7. Inventory, £304.9.8; made by Abraham Staats and James Van Duyn.

Lib. 33, p. 442; File 948R."
Event Type
Legal: Will
Date
1 December 1785
Location
Piscataway, NJ
Related Place
Bound Brook, NJ
Following Event
1798 Sale: Tony
Primary Participant
Tony
Isabel
Jean
Additional Participant
Moses Scott (1738-1821)
Matthias Baker
Participant Details
DETAILS FOR PRIMARY PARTICIPANTS:

*** Tony ***
Role: Person Listed in Will
Age category: Adult
Status: Enslaved
Enslaver(s) of this participant:
- Israel Read (d. 1793)
- Thomas Read
- Archibald Read
Verbatim description from source:
"Negro man, Toone"
Outcome: bequeathed to sons Thomas and Archibald

*** Isabel ***
Role: Person Listed in Will
Status: Enslaved
Enslaver(s) of this participant:
- Israel Read (d. 1793)
- Mary Read Powers (1755-1819)
Verbatim description from source:
"negro girl named Isabel"
Outcome: bequeathed to daughter Mary

*** Jean ***
Role: Person Listed in Will
Age category: Older Person
Status: Enslaved
Enslaver(s) of this participant:
- Israel Read (d. 1793)
Verbatim description from source:
"Old negro wench, Jean"
Outcome: granted her freedom

==========

DETAILS FOR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

Israel Read (d. 1793)
Role: Enslaver - Testator

Thomas Read
Role: Enslaver - Heir (new enslaver of Tony)

Archibald Read
Role: Enslaver - Heir (new enslaver of Tony)

Mary Read Powers (1755-1819)
Role: Enslaver - Heir (new enslaver of Isabel)

Moses Scott (1738-1821)
Role: Executor or Administrator

Matthias Baker
Role: Executor or Administrator
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker

Linked resources

Items with "Preceding Event: 1785 Will (of Israel Read): Tony, Isabel, Jean"
Title Class
1798 Sale: Tony Event
Items with "Event: 1785 Will (of Israel Read): Tony, Isabel, Jean"
Title Class
Participant Details: Isabel as Person Listed in Will in 1785 Will event NJS-EVE-00672 Event Participation
Participant Details: Jean as Person Listed in Will in 1785 Will event NJS-EVE-00672 Event Participation
Participant Details: Tony as Person Listed in Will in 1785 Will event NJS-EVE-00672 Event Participation