What the Will Does Not Say

When James Rampley made out his will in Harford County, Maryland, in 1812, there was an apparent issue with his daughter Nancy’s husband, John Beatty. Rampley made it clear by giving real property not to Nancy, but to her two children. There was a catch. That property was only to go to Nancy’s children after her death. During her lifetime the “use and occupation” of the real property was go to to Nancy’s maintenance. Her husband was to have no “claim, right or title” to the property and Nancy’s brother was to be the trustee.

The will does not indicate the issue James Rampley had with John Beatty, but likely it centered on how John would handle the sixty acres of real estate intended for the Beatty family. It is clear from the will that James wanted to prevent John from having any control over the inheritance and that the Beatty grandchildren should not have access to it until they were of the legal age of majority. By bypassing Nancy and the children until they were of the legal age, James Rampley was, from beyond the grave, keeping John Beatty from accessing that inheritance–either through his wife or through his minor children.

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