NOTE: The Wills and/or Probate papers that appear below are not shown alphabetically or in chronological order either by the date of birth or death of the person to whom the documents pertain. Rather they are more or less in the order that I acquired or became aware of the existence of the documents and hence the newest acquisitions appear at the top of the page. You may have to scroll down to find other documents both earlier and later chronologically.
Probate of the Estate of Ann(e) Carter/Hill/Sweetland/Morry
Further to the information pertaining to the Will of Henry Sweetland below, I have also received from Edward Chafe the Probate papers associated with his spouse, Ann(e) Carter, who was first married to Capt. Samuel Hill, then to Capt. Henry Sweetland and finally to Capt. Matthew Morry, three sea captains, all of whom would have contributed to her estate. But it was left to her sons by her second marriage, William and Benjamin, to settle accounts after her death and as these documents reveal they did so reluctantly because of the demands by Elizabeth (Harris Howe) Carter, widow of Robert Carter, for the return of a bond first given to Henry Sweetland and then held by his wife after his death. If the evidence of the court papers is to be believed (highly doubtful) the sons suggested that the property she continued to own outright at the time of her death was not equal to the debt owed to Elizabeth Carter and they must have felt that they would be held to account if they took responsibility for the estate. Since they were profiting from the rents on these properties, this would seem only just. In the end, William, who was a magistrate in Bonavista and could not flout an order from the Supreme Court if he wished to remain so, accepted the responsibility of accepting the Letters of Administration. It is not know whether the debt was ever fully repaid.
James Howe Carter Petition to Supreme Court re Estate of Ann Morry 2 March 1840 Pg 1
James Howe Carter Petition to Supreme Court re Estate of Ann Morry 2 March 1840 Pg 2 and 3
Will of John Monier (1717-1762)
I discovered that there is a Will belonging to Dr. John Monier which was deposited with the registry at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and I ordered a digital copy of this from the National Archives in the UK. Dr. John Monier was the Surgeon to the Garrison in St. John’s during the time that conflicts with the French in particular were flaring up. He was obviously very respected because his surname wound up being used as a Christian name for many people in the Morry family tree. He apparently died a man of limited means despite the properties deeded to him by his father-in-law (a wealthy St. John’s merchant, William Roberts) and Thomas Roberts (his brother-in-law?). All of this he leaves to his wife Hannah and at her death to his four children, John, Betty, Roberta and Mary. Here is the original image of the Will from the National Archives and a Transcript made by me with the assistance of Kevin Reddigan. Curiously, this Will was never filed with the Supreme Court in Newfoundland, though he died in St. John’s and it was the practice to file all important legal documents like Wills and Indentures with the Supreme Court at that time.
Will of Henry Sweetland (1732/33-1791)
Second husband of Anne Carter before her marriage to Matthew Morry, the immigrant.
This will was transcribed by Kevin Reddigan and appears on his website ( http://www.calvertweb.ca/ ) which focuses primarily on the early settlement of Caplin Bay (Calvert). Although it isn’t clear if Henry and Anne actually resided in Caplin Bay or Ferryland, where she owned property from her first husband, Captain Samuel Hill, it is known that the Sweetlands had financial dealings in Caplin Bay at the time that the Morrys arrived there. William Sweetland, the son of Henry and Ann, married Priscilla Anne Morry, the daughter of Matthew Morry I. It appears that during their marriage she never resided in Newfoundland, though he was quite possibly born there and certainly died there.
This just in! Today (November 7, 2018) I received a wonderful surprise from Edward Chafe, a member of the Newfoundlanders and Genealogy group on Facebook. Edward has been systematically going through all extant Probate documents dated between 1798-1867 and came upon the application for probate on this Will filed by Henry’s sons William and Benjamin, with the permission of their mother. Interestingly, this application was file exactly fifty years after their father’s death, on August 3rd 1836. They remarked in their application that their mother was 85 years old at the time, but this was not the reason for the filing. She was hale and hearty and did not die for another two years. The reason was rather that both Benjamin and William were accepting appointments as Magistrates in Bonavista and Trinity respectively and wanted to clear up loose ends pertaining to property in which they would eventually have a right following their mother’s death. They were also attempting to unload property they owned in Caplin Bay at this time.
The Application for Letters of Probate does not indicate what property “in and about Ferryland” was valued at £150. Most likely it was in the village of Ferryland proper as there is no reason to believe that Sweetland the elder held property in Caplin Bay or elsewhere. The property he owned in Ferryland was on the Downs and years later was bargained to Elizabeth Carter by William Sweetland to cover a debt upon the estates of Henry and Ann Sweetland (who was by then Ann Morry). Kevin Reddigan has also transcribed that deed on his website: http://www.calvertweb.ca/land/deeds_1825/sweetland_carter.shtml
It is interesting to note that in their application for Letters of Probate to their father’s estate, William and Benjamin contend that he died intestate, that is, without a will. In fact he did have a will and it was proven after his death in England. Perhaps it was just too much trouble for them to obtain copies of these documents from England so they told a white lie and said no will existed.
Will of Robert Carter (1722-1800)
Husband of Anne Wylly, he was the immigrant Carter who sired a dynasty of illustrious Carters in Newfoundland and beyond..
This will was transcribed by Ronald J. Fitzpatrick and published in the Newfoundland Ancestor – 7,4
Robert Carter and Wife Anne have been credited with saving Ferryland from French attack in 1762, the last occasion on which Ferryland came under enemy fire. His daughter Anne took as her third husband the widower Matthew Morry, the immigrant ancestor of all Newfoundland Morrys. His daughter Mary married Daniel Sanders and their daughter Anne married Matthew’s son, Matthew II. Through these and other connections the Carter and Morry families have been intimately intertwined over the years.
Will of John Morry (1776- 1807)
Son of Matthew Morry I and father of John Morry below.
Transcribed from a digital copy of the official Will transcript record on file at the Public Record Office – The National Archives . This transcription is a combined collaborative effort of Kevin Reddigan , Enid O’Brien and Chris Morry in August, 2003. Note that this is not a digital image of the Will itself but rather the official transcript of the Will entered into the record books at the Public Record Office when the Will was first probated. We do not have a copy of the Will itself. It may no longer exist. Fortunately the Public Record Office copy has been preserved. But there is a risk that this copy contains transcription errors in copying down the original language and it may also be an abbreviated version of the Will itself.
Probate of Estate of Mary Foale Morry (ca 1770-1807)
The widow of John Morry, the son of Matthew Morry above. She only outlived her husband by five months and the cause of her death is not known.
Matthew Morry obtained Letters of Administration to manage the estate of his late daughter-in-law in the interests of, and presumably for the sole benefit of, her only child, John Foale Morry, who was 7 at the time of the deaths of his parents. The Probate papers allude to outstanding Prize money from the sale of one or more vessels capture by John Morry before his death, which were auctioned by Joshua Rowe of Torpoint, Cornwall as his Agent and that of the owners of his Private Ship of War, the ALEXANDER. Although Matthew Morry later took out a Bill of Complaint against Joshua Rowe in 1811, there is no documentary evidence that this suit was successful, or if it was, that the funds were ever added to the Trusts which Matthew Morry and William Cholwich Hunt, the joint Court appointed Trustees, were under to manage the affairs of John Foale Morry until his 21st birthday.
Will of Robert Carter (1752-1810)
This is the version of the Will of Robert Carter (II) which is found in the records of the Surrogate Court, Southern District (GN 5 1 C 1 8 ) at The Rooms. The original of the document is found amongst the Carter Papers (MG 31) and is almost exactly identical to this transcribed version in the official records (see below).
According to Carter family lore, Robert was evidently on his death bed when he made this will and it was necessary to have it declared valid by the court before the two appointed executors could execute it, though it is doubtful that he had a large enough fortune that his will would have been contested by a non family member. His wife and all of his children were included equally in the will, after his debt to his mother in law, Elizabeth [Harris] Howe had been settled, so no complaints from family members were likely.
This is a transcript of what is believed to be the actual original of the Will, of which the above is the registered copy.
Will of Mary (Churchwill) Graham (1725-1817)
I purchased a copy of this will from the National Archives for download. It was quite clear and easy to read. After Christopher Graham died, his widow lived on for quite some time. We cannot be sure just how long because I have not been able to find a record of his death or burial. This likely means he was lost at sea, since he was a sea captain. I have also found no will for him, which is odd. It is possible it was taken out before a County Court rather than the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, where Mary’s will was found. The National Archives only retains these wills. County wills may or may not be found in the archives of the respective County, in this case the Devon Archives at Exeter. But their holdings are not itemised online and even are difficult to find in their archaic card index system when visiting.
Mary was known to have moved to Tiverton where she conducted business as a shopkeeper and landlady and had rented premises to Walter Prideaux. As seen in this document, he was a Witness to this will along with William Wogan, Walter’s law partner. A year after probate was granted, the three executrixes took out a suit in the Court of King’s Bench accusing Prideaux of owing great sums of money to Mary Graham at the time of her death and not settling with the managers of her Estate. Like most court cases in England, the outcome of that case is unknown.
Will of John Foale Morry (1799-1837)
Son of John Morry and Mary Foale Luke
This will, which was administered by John’s Uncle, Matthew II, leaves the bulk of the estate to Matthew’s son John for reasons that are not explained.
Will of William Carter (1751-1840)
Son of Robert Carter and Ann Wylly.
This will was transcribed for the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website by Judy Benson and Ivy F. Benoit ( http://ngb.chebucto.org/Wills/carter-william-1-347.shtml ). William Carter was a Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court for 52 years and the Supreme Court before that. He was an immensely wealthy man at the time of his death, leaving lands and houses from Aquaforte to St. John’s. His position of Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court alone brought in 500 pounds a year, according to notations on George Le Messurier’s family tree. His land holdings in the various fishing out ports along the southern shore (fishing rooms and associated buildings) were surveyed in 1877 by John Maher, a Crown Land Surveyor from St. John’s. The plans are all found at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. it isn’t clear why it took so long to carry out these surveys since it was a condition of his will.
Will of Thomas Silly (1759-1825)
Thomas Silly was a merchant and landholder in Dartmouth whose sons were heavily involved in the marine activities of that seaport. In fact, it seems more of his descendants died at sea than from natural causes. He is relevant to the Morry family history because his grandson of the same name married Priscilla Sweetland, the daughter of William Sweetland and Priscilla Ann Morry. The trail leading to the discovery of Thomas Silly and his will began with the discovery of the bible given by Matthew Morry I to his daughter Priscilla on the occasion of her marriage to William Sweetland in 1810. Pricilla [Sweetland] Silly’s husband Thomas and son Sweetland were both lost at sea. Priscilla herself died in 1847 due to complications in the birth of their second son, Thomas, who only lived until he was 16.
Will of John Graham (1806-1848)
His is one of the many names mentioned on the Graham monument at St. Saviour’s in Dartmouth because they were lost at sea and have no known graves. At least in his case he did not leave behind a wife and family, though had he done, they would have been well provided for, judging by the extent of his estate. He must have been a very successful merchant mariner because the year he died he was presented with a silver salver by the Merchants of Sydbury (Sidbury) in Devon as a token of their esteem. One wonders where that salver is now to be found.
Will of Nicholas Brand (1761-1854)
Husband of Maria (or Anna Maria) Hill, the daughter of Anne Carter by her first husband, Captain Samuel Hill.
The transcript of this will was found on the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website ( http://ngb.chebucto.org/ ) and was transcribed by Judy Benson and Ivy F. Benoit. Nicholas was a surgeon from Topsham, Devon, England who wound up in Ferryland for a while in the late 1700s, for reasons unknown, and wound up returning to Topsham after marrying and having at least two children in Newfoundland. These children would have as a grandfather and grandmother Robert and Anne Carter, the famous couple who saved Ferryland from a French attack in 1762.
Will of Mary Morry Sweetland (1820-1854)
Mary Morry Sweetland was the daughter of William Sweetland and Priscilla Morry, the daughter of Matthew Morry, the immigrant. It is thought that neither her mother nor any of her siblings ever went to Newfoundland. They certainly all died in Dartmouth and are buried at St. Saviour’s. Her father, William Sweetland, is thought to have essentially abandoned his English family and gone to Newfoundland on his own where he eventually became a magistrate in Bonavista. He remarried there years later but did not raise a family with his second wife. Mary and her sister Ann, her executrix and heir, both remained spinsters until their death. One wonders if their experience with their father was the cause.
I acquired a copy of this will and associated probate documents from the Devon records office in 2006 and transcribed it at that time..
Will of Matthew Morry II (1791-1856)
This will, along with the Probate papers also included, is found in the Morry Papers (MG237) in The Rooms, though the original is on file at the Supreme Court Probate Office in St. John’s. The Will itself was transcribed for the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website by volunteers Judy Benson and Ivy F. Benoit, to which I have added a transcript of the Probate papers.
Will of James Howe Carter (1794-1859)
Father of Mary Oxenham Carter, the wife of Arthur Kemp Morry
As transcribed on the Newfoundland GenWeb website by Judy Benson
James Howe Carter was an important ship owner and merchant in Ferryland. In addition to Mary Oxenham Carter, he was also the father of Sheriff James Carter and another daughter named Elizabeth about whom little is known. There may have been other children, but these three are known for sure because of birth and baptismal records in St. Saviour’s Parish, Dartmouth, Devon. Daughter Mary and son James also spent their lives in Newfoundland and died there.
On a more disturbing note, James Howe Carter is also noted for having been convicted of raping a servant girl named Ellen Delahunty, who bore his child as a result. The name of the child is not known, nor is it known if he contributed to its upbringing other than through the 30 pound fine he paid.
Will of John William White (1811-1893)
This is the Last Will and Testament of John William White, of Dodbrooke, Kingsbridge, Devon. He was the father of Catherine White, my G. Grandmother, the wife of Thomas Graham Morry III. He died and is buried in Ferryland. This will was transcribed by his G. Grandson, Cal White, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA, and kindly provided for display here.
Will of John Henry Morry (1818-1897)
This is the will of John Henry Morry, whose properties in Ferryland were originally purchased by him and his business partner, Peter Paint LeMessurier, from Arthur William Olive Holdsworth in 1844. It should be noted that, apparently because of a pecuniary shortfall, that purchase could only be completed by essentially mortgaging the property in an indenture to John’s mother-in-law, Ann Coulman Winsor, in 1853. Later, in 1881 she wrote another indenture restoring the Holdsworth house and lands to her grandson, Thomas Graham Morry, but only on condition that her unmarried granddaughters (who are named in this will) would continue to have the use of this property for as long as they remained unmarried and alive.
It is interesting to note that, while John Henry Morry’s will seems to reflect these earlier financial and legal arrangements to a certain degree (e.g. he makes no mention of the house he lived in, which was effectively not his property for the above reasons), he nevertheless felt empowered to leave his son the lands and waterside premises which were then in his possession, even though they were in fact not John’s to leave to anyone either. He was in effect leaving to his son property that he already owned or held a right to as a consequence of the indenture from the real property owner, his grandmother, Ann Coulman Winsor. I suppose this allowed the poor old man to save face, since he seems to have pretty well lost his entire fortune and all of his property during his lifetime and really had very little of his own to leave to anyone at the time of his death.
Will of Peter Windsor (1823-1905)
Peter Windsor was the father of Clara, the childhood sweetheart and eventually the second wife of Thomas Graham Morry III (see Will below). When T. G. Morry III married Clara in Victoria, BC on June 24th 1930, he was not destitute, but he was not at all rich either. He had lost his fortune in the bank collapse of 1894 and, being a scrupulously honest and ethical man, he spent the remainder of his working life attempting to pay off all his debts at full price, rather than for pennies on the dollar, as most Newfoundland merchants of the time chose to do. As can he seen from her father’s will, Clara on the other hand would have had some personal wealth to bring to the marriage from her inheritance as well as anything she had received upon the deaths of her two previous husbands. This transcript was found on Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website ( http://ngb.chebucto.org ) and was contributed by Judy Benson, Wendy Weller and Ivy Benoit.
Will and Codicil of Thomas Graham Morry III (1849-1935)
Here is the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Graham Morry (1849-1935), transcribed from a photocopy made at the Probate Office of the Newfoundland Supreme Court in August 2001. This transcription also includes the Codicil which amended the original bequests.
Wills of William Nichols Gray (1867-1942) and his wife Josephine (Josie) [Morry] Gray (1866-1942)
These two wills were obtained at my request from the Supreme Court of Newfoundland Probate Office on August 24, 2015 by Enid O’Brien, who scanned them and sent me the scans from which these transcriptions were made. The reason I wanted to see these wills, apart from the fact that Jane Josephine (Josie) was a Morry family member by birth, was that I suspected that the mystery surrounding the accumulation of wealth left in the will of Josie’s sister, Emily Frances (Fanny) Victoria Morry below could only have come from the Gray’s, with whom she lived most of her adult life. While the will of William Gray left nothing to Fanny, on the contrary the will of his wife who only outlived him by a few months left everything to Fanny. The latter will is in handwriting and very brief and appears to be a deathbed will. The possibility exists that Josie did not entirely know what she was doing at the time because she neglected to leave anything to anyone else, including her other spinster sister, Flossy, who could have well used some money at the time. I am suspicious that Fanny, who would have nursed both William and Josie in their final days, may have exerted undue influence in the outcome of this latter will, which was for a substantial fortune equivalent to over $1.2 Million in today’s money. In any event, these wills do solve the mystery originally posed by Fanny’s will.
Will of Emily Frances Victoria Morry (1865-1944)
There is a mystery over the financial status of Fanny. She inherited very little if anything from her father, who was left destitute almost as a result of the bank crash in 1894. She and her sister Flossy did have access to the Holdsworth property as a result of a condition on its release from indenture to their brother, Thomas Graham, by their grandmother, Ann Coulman Windsor. But we know from the letter that she wrote to Dad Morry in 1933 that this land, which was rented out to local fishermen, was not bringing in much rent and was a constant annoyance in terms of collecting the pittance for which it was rented. We also know from her letters that she was unable to obtain any significant amount of employment as a nurse upon her return from overseas. And what little work she did for her brother-in-law, William Nichol Gray, in his stationery store would not have afforded her much in the way of a living allowance, let alone money to put away for the future. Because she lived with Gray her needs would have been modest, but still she would theoretically have been living in straightened circumstances.
All of this was the conventional wisdom until this month when an old contact from the Geoffrey Williams Morey research group, Cliff Morrey in England, informed me that there was a will in her name in the index of Probates in the UK. This is what appeared in that index:
MORRY, Emily Frances Victoria of St. Johns Newfoundland spinster died 22 June 1944 at Melvern-square Annapolis Nova Scotia Canada Probate St. Johns to the Eastern Trust Company of St Johns Newfoundland. Effects £4159 8s. 8d. in England. Sealed Llandudno 21 November.
This was most astonishing because this represented a considerable amount of money at the time and it implied Fanny had hidden wealth no one knew about. I applied to obtain a copy of the Will only to discover that in the UK documents from former colonies are destroyed after 50 years. I then thought perhaps somehow I had failed to find this Will in my search at the Supreme Court in St. John’s many years ago. So I examined a transcript of the index to the Wills held there which can be found on the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website. At first all I found were the Morry Wills I had already obtained long ago. Then I decided to search for her by her Christian name and there she was, only under the surname “Marry”. With the assistance of Enid O’Brien I obtained a copy of that Will, which she digitised to send me right away. I was floored at what I found. The UK Probate only related to the estate in England. The total estate was valued at $51,577.21! In today’s money that would represent a sizable fortune in excess of $600,000. Yet for all she let on in life she was essentially penniless. The mystery of where this fortune came from is also compounded by the somewhat less mysterious way in which she chose to dispose of it. In short, nothing went to her Morry relatives. Almost all of it went to charities and only a trifling amount was given to people she favoured for one reason or another. This typifies what we know of her in that she had a serious falling out with her only living brother, Thomas Graham, over his decision to marry a Catholic and she never forgave him or had close ties with any of his children or grandchildren because of this.
<ADDENDUM: Having obtained and transcribed the wills of William Nichols Gray and his wife Jane Josephine (Josie) [Morry] Gray, Fanny’s sister (see above) it now becomes crystal clear where Fanny obtained the money she left in her will. What is not clear is how she managed to spend or give away almost half of her vast inheritance in the two years from the death of her sister Josie until her own death in 1944. I have no idea what became of all that money.
Wills of John Morry (1856-1946) and his wife Judith (O’Leary) Morry (1872-1946)
Last Will and Testament of John Morry (1856-1946)
This Will and First and Second Codicils are registered with the Probate Court in St. John’s and a copy was kindly provided for transcription by Enid O’Brien.
This Will and First Codicil are registered with the Probate Court in St. John’s and a copy was kindly provided for transcription by Enid O’Brien. Judith (O’Leary) Morry was the wife of John Morry above. They both left substantial estates, each in his or her own right. John, who was sixteen years his wife’s senior, died only two months after her.
Will of Howard Leopold Morry (1885-1972)
The copy of this Will from which this transcript was made was found among papers belonging to Phyllis (Morry) Mercer in the possession of her daughter Fredris Caines in Ferryland. It is itself only a poor quality photocopy and not a signed original. It is assumed that the original is with either the lawyer or the probate office, if the will was probated.
Of note in particular is a bequest to his son Howard George Morry of land on which Dad Morry built his “Wee Hoose”. Unfortunately he did not remember when writing his Will that this was the same piece of land left to another son, Thomas Graham Morry, by Dad Morry’s father and hence was not his to bequeath. Errors like this must have been common in the old days when legal surveys of land passed down from generation to generation were seldom made. This reality is accentuated by the fact that the dimensions of the piece of land as given in the Will are a geometric impossibility. A triangle cannot be comprised of sides of the dimensions 125 x 140 x 283. It is assumed that the last dimension must have been 183 in reality or else it was more of an arc than a straight line. In effect we may never know because no survey of that land was ever made before or since so far as is known.