Tag Archives: Surrogate Court

Benjamin Ward’s Estate, Middlesex Co., Ontario 1873…

When I was in Salt Lake City at the British Institute, last October 2014, I found a Surrogate Court Estate file for Benjamin Ward and was surprised to find it for I was having trouble locating documents and sources on Benjamin and his wife Sarah.  I am trying to prove they are my 2nd great grandparents and the parents of Emma Ward Brown, my great-grandmother.

Included in the Estate was Benjamin’s Last Will and Testament.

Copy of the last Will and Testament of Benjamin Ward late of the Township of Adelaide in the  County of Middlesex yeoman deceased.

Source:  The Estate of Benjamin Ward pg. 365 #1155 – Probate Records 1846-1900 Ontario, Middlesex Co., Surrogate Court. (FHL#0428259)

This my last Will and Testament. I Benjamin Ward of the Township of Adelaide living of sound mind but feeble in Body do Will and Bequest to my children the following property. First – I give to my son George Ward all my Real Estate – Secondly I give to my daughters Emily and Elizabeth and Sarah Ward one hundred dollars eat subject to the following conditions. First the said George Ward shall pay all my just debts and therein my daughters Emily, Elizabeth and Sarah [Elas] shall receive Fifty dollars each for two years [maten] in full three hundred dollars. The date of my daughters payments to commence from one thousand Eight hundred and seventy nine. It is also my will that my daughters Emily and Elizabeth and Sarah Elas shall have one Cow each and I constitute Samuel Mitchell and John Paine my Executors of this my last Will and Testament.  Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of on the Thirty first day of October in the year of our Lord 1874 one thousand eight hundred seventy four.  Benjamin Ward his Mark X

Witnesses James Thompson (signed) and David Thomas X his mark

The original Will of Benjamin Ward?

The original Will of Benjamin Ward?

According to my research in the census, Benjamin and Sarah had about 11 children maybe 12 but in this Will above he mentions only four children, so what happened to the rest of them?

It is believed the Sarah, the mother’s maiden name was Paine/Payne.

Those children were found and listed in the 1851 and 1861 Census.

1. Joseph born about 1836

2.  Vere Ward born about 1836.  I found Vere in the 1861 census working as a domestic for George B. Knoyle a Merchant. She is listed as Wesleyan Methodist.

3.  William Ward born about 1839

4.  Charles Ward Born about 1839 to 1857 and he is buried in the Fourth Line Cemetery.

5.  Esther Ward 1841

6.  Daniel Ward 1843

7. Sabena/Rebina 1845

8.  George Ward 1849 to 1838 and he married Harriet Jones 1845 to 1928 and they are both buried in the Strathroy Municipal Cemetery.

9.  Emma/Emily Ward – my great-grandmother born 1851 and died 1905. Emma/Emily has been featured in many posts on this blog with her husband Richard Brown. Her birthdate is the same in the St. Anne baptismal record I found as on her tombstone so it is probably her.

10. Sarah Ward 1852 to 1857 buried in the Fourth Line Cemetery and she appears in the baptismal records.

11.  Elizabeth Ward 1854 who married John Brodie and moved to Petrolia. She was in the St. Anne Baptismal record.

12. Sarah 1857 – I am not sure about her and wonder if she is mixed up with the Sarah I have as #10.  Or she is the Sarah in the will who looks like she married someone named [Elas].

Here is a summary of the contents of the Estate file of Benjamin Ward. FHL#0428278.

 1. Notice of Application of the goods of Probate of the will bearing the date of 31 October 1874, in receipt of.

 2. Petition of Samuel Mitchell and John Paine of the Township of Adelaide in the County of __________

Humbly showeth that Benjamin Ward Township Adelaide County of Middlesex, Farmer, deceased died on or about the first day of November in 1874 in the Township of Adelaide county of Middlesex and the said deceased at the time of his death his fixed abode was in the Township of Adelaide, County of Middlesex and the said deceased in his life time duly made his last Will and Testament on the thirty first day of October 1874. That your petitioners are the Executors named in the said will.  That the value of personal estate and effects if $500.00. That the probate be granted to them this fourteeth day of December 1874, Signed Samuel Mitchell and John Paine. 

  1. Affidavit of the Witness David Thomas in witnessing the will of Benjamin Ward. 14 December 1874.
  1. Handwritten copy of the will of Benjamin Ward
  1. General Description of Property – Household $40, Farming implements $40, Horses $150, Horned cattle $140, Sheep and swine $100, Farm produce $30, total $500. Signed by Samuel Mitchell in Strathroy Dec 6, 1874.
  1. Handwritten affidavit of John Paine – Promises to pay debts and follow the will’s requirements as Executor – signed by him 14 Day of December 1874.
  1. Handwritten affidavit of Samuel Mitchell – As Executor will follow the Wills requirements. Signed 14 Day of December 1874.
  1. David Thomas – Affidavit of knowing Benjamin Ward and witnesses his Will and Testament and James Thompson did mark and subscribe their names 14 Day December 1874.
  1. Affidavit of Samuel Mitchell saying he will follow the will. 14 Day of December 1874.
  1. Granting of the Petition to probate the Will, 29 day of December 1874.

The only thing missing is the description of the land that he gave to his son George Ward.

UPDATE 6/17/2017:  Just recently I received a descendancy chart for Sarah Paine/Payne and it turns out that she was married twice, 1st to Charles Ward and then to Benjamin Ward. The relationship of these two is unknown at this time.  So what you see above in the 1851 and 1861 census is a meshing of two families.  If you would like a copy of the descendancy from Sarah (Paine) Ward leave a comment and I will get you in touch with the researcher on the Ward/Paine family.

Charles Ward and Sarah Paine had: Vera 1837-1889, Joseph 1837-1914, Charles 1839-1857, William 1840-1904, Esther 1842-1925, Daniel (maybe Samuel) 1844 to 1933 and last Robenah 1846 to 1919.

Benjamin and Sarah had Emily/Emma 1851-1905, Sarah 1852-1857, Elizabeth 1854-1884 and Sarah 1857?.

Emily is my great grandmother on my mother’s mother’s side. She married Richard Brown in 1874 in Port Huron and they had 4 children. Their daughter Ethel is my grandmother.


Benjamin Ward’s Death…1874

Obituaries are not real strong in the newspapers for Ontario in 1874.  If you get more than a line in the newspaper you are doing well.  Unfortunately, Benjamin’s obituary was very brief and extremely difficult to read in the newspaper.

Strathroy Age Index

Strathroy Age Index

At the Strathroy Public Library, there are binders with indexes of the local newspaper.  I am impressed it is a monumental job but so helpful.  Once you find the name in the index you then go to the microfilm of the newspaper and seek your newspaper article.  In my travels in September 2014 I saw a lot of this indexing going on in various archives for newspapers and more.

On the page for the Wards I found a nice list:  names, type, place, S_A, date and page. There were about 26 Ward surnames listed.  I did not find Sarah, his wife, in the list.

Ward, Benjamin, death,  Adelaide, 86, Nov. 6, 1874, page 8

I then pulled the microfilm and here is the announcement of the death of Benjamin Ward.  It is right above the line and title.  It reads:  In Adelaide on the 1st ____, Benjamin Ward aged 86  died or something like that.  I really tried to get a good clean photo but the film was fuzzy.

Benjamin Wards Death

Benjamin Wards Death

About a month later I was in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library and I was able to look at the Surrogate Court Records for Middlesex County and I was blown away.  I found a will and a case file for Benjamin Ward.  I was so surprised.  He was not the only Ward listed so I took pictures of at least the wills for the others I found with the Ward surname, I only went up to 1873.  I do not know if they are related to Benjamin.

Source: Probate Court, 1846-1900 Middlesex Co., Ontario (R.G. 22, Series 6-1) R126. Index FHL#428256. 

1. 1846 No. 44, Ward, Charles Register A-109 FHL#428527 Probate Books

2. 1864 No. 343 Ward, Hyland, D-186, FHL#428258 Probate Books

Notes:  This will is very detailed with up to eight bequests. It is very difficult to read:  Will dated 18 June 1862, Twp. of Lobo, died 13 March 1864,  Appoint son-in-law Donald J. McArthur Executor and wife Hannah Ward Executrix. Son [Jameson] Ward gives 100 acres of land. Son Hiriam Ward 80 acres in Lobo Twp.  Son Judson coming of age 21 years. Son William Ward real estate in the State of Iowa 80 acres and he goes on for a while.  Gives to said Executrix the lot in Number 1 in Block B in the Village of [Romotha] and land to be equally divided between his sons George and Judson Ward. Executrix also gets his personal possessions.  Mentions daughters Mary [Elwilly] sum of two hundred dollars. Daughter Catherine Jane the sum of two hundred dollars. Daughter Hannah Ann sum of one hundred dollars. Daughter Prudence Ann sum of two hundred dollars. Walter Ward the sum of one thousand dollars.  Witnessed by John Moffath and Wm. Barnum. Signed by Hyland Ward, a true copy.

3. 1872 No. 820, Ward, George Gay, Register E-269, FHL#428258 Probate Books

Notes:  The Will of George Gay Ward is very complicated:  9 March 1872, late of the township of Mosa, died about the 19th of December 1872.  Appoints his beloved wife Margaret Ward his Executrix and John McLean of the town of St. Thomas in the County of Elgin Bannister at law my Executor of my last will and guardian of my several infant children.  He gives his household items to his wife Margaret and arranges for her care and care of his children but he does not name them. Witnesses: Malcolm G. Monro and Martha Monro, 11th day of November, 1873.

4. 1872 No. 896 Ward, Michael Admin, A-33, FHL Check Index #428256? Probably #428527

5. 1873 No. 1026 Ward, Judson D. E-688, FHL#428258, Probate Books

Note:  This will is also very complicated and the handwritting was difficult to understand. It looks like he might be Hyland’s son: The Estate of Judson Davis [Adniram] Ward, 3 December 1873 late of town of Strathroy who died on or about the 13 November 1873. Wife Agney and two children Ida Ward and Bynon Herbert Ward. Divide real and person property between wife and children. Executor is Donald J. McArthur and William [Buanam] both of Township of Lobo. Witnesses are John Cameron of the Town of Strathroy and Truman H. Ward of the Township of Lobo.

6. 1873 No. 1155, Ward, Benjamin F-345 Probate Books FHL#428278 and Probate papers FHL#428278.  I will share the estate of Benjamin in the next post. 

7. 1873 No. 1223, Ward, John F-309, FHL#428278 Probate Books. I am not sure this is name is Ward. In reading the Will it looks more like Wark or Wirk.

If you are interested in any of these wills, I do have copies which are hard to read but you can give it a try, so leave me a comment and I will contact you.