Samuel Strain’s Will – 5 Dec 1840

Transcription Tuesday
Roberts-Barnes, Lister, Strain line
Transcription[i] by Don Taylor

Ancesstor #90 – Samuel Strain (1762-1845)

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week, for “Transcription Tuesday,” I am transcribing the 1840 will of Samuel Strain. He is my 4th great-grandfather in my Roberts-Barnes-Lister-Strain family line. In his will, he mentions my 3rd great-grandmother, Nancy Strain [Lister] (1807-1844).

Source: “Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996” Wills 1809-1849, Vol 1-4, Images 385 & 386 via FamilySearch.

Page 267 – Samuel Strain’s Will

In the name of God amen. I Samuel Strain of Highland County and state of Ohio – being in good bodily health and sound mind duly considering that it is appointed to all men once to die and being mindfull of that great change when it shall please God to call me hence to make this my last will and testament.

First page of Samuel Strain's 1840 Will
Page 1 of Samuel Strain’s 1840 Will

First I commend my soul to god who gave it and my body to the ground to be buried at the discretion of my Executors John R Strain, James Johnson and Andrew M Strain of Highland County whome I appoint my lawful executors to settle and dispose of my estate according to the provisions hereafter made ??.

Second having given the following named of my children towit Thomas M. D. Strain Betsey Rogers Samuel D Strain John H Strain, Polly Clark Margarett Stuart Andrew M Strain Nancy litter Hugh W Strain Rebecca Ann Watt Easter Thornton James G Strain dec’s and William ? Strain all that portion of my Estate which I design as their devised or legacy I therefore will that no further dividing of my property be made amongst them by y Executors –

To my three daughters Malinda Sarah and Martha I will one cow and calf each in addition to what they have already received-

I further will and devise that my son Robert H Strain who is now deranged be and remain in the care of the family supported from my estate so long so long as my Executors shall ensure it advisable and safe from there to remain and if upon the event of his being removed he is still to be sustained from my estate subject to the discretion of my Executors-

Page 268 – Samuel Strain’s Will

I further will and devise that my wife Nancy remain in possession of the mansion house & premises household kitchen furniture beds & bedding horses cattle wagon gears farming utensils and whatever else of my estate my Executors may judge necessary for the support of the family or farming purposes.

Image of Page 2 of Samuel Strain's 1840 Will.
Page 2 of Samuel Strain’s 1840 Will.

I further will concerning my library that Scotts commentary be assigned to my wife & four youngest sons and that the remainder of my books be equally distributed between my wife and unmarried children.

It is also my will that my unmarried children remain in the family and that they receive a proportionable benefit from the proceeds of my estate so long as they remain in the family.

And if upon the event of my wife getting married it is my will that she shall have no controle and any part of my estate other than her dowery – and if upon the event of their marriage or dying it is my will that my property personal or then remarrying be for the benefit of my four youngest sons and be under the care of my Executors until they become respectively of age.

It is also my will that all my real estate be eventually divided equally amongst my four sons via Lewis James David & Benjamin and that they never be under the controle of a stepfather.

In testimony whereof my hand hereunto set my hand and seal this fifth day of December 1840.

In Presence of Witnesses
John R Strain                           }
Milton P Templin(?)                }  Samuel Strain (Seal)
Wm J Strain                             }

Page 269 – Samuel Strain’s Will

State of Ohio
Highland county

Image of Page 3 of Samuel Strain's 1840 Will.
Page 2 of Samuel Strain’s 1840 Will.

Personally came in open Court before the Court of Common Pleas of said county now setting Milton C Templin and John R Strain who being duly sworn dispose and say that on the 5th day of December 1840 they were called upon to witness the last will & testament of Samuel Strain late of said county now deceased being of same instrument now exhibited before court that they heard the said Samuel Strain acknowledge the said writing to be his last will and and testament and at his request and in his presence & in presence of each other they subscribed their names as witnesses thereto that at the time of said acknowledgment and attestation the said Samuel Strain was ove the age of 21 years of sound mond and memory and under no restraint as they verily believe.

Sworn to and Ascribed        }
before me this 17th day        }
of July AD 1845.                   } John R Strain
Samuel Bell Clerk         } Milton P Templin

Facts I learned

Samuel Strain lived in Highland County, Ohio, in December 1840.

The executors of Samuel’s Will were:

  •             John R Strain            of Highland County, Ohio
  •             James Johnson        of Highland County, Ohio
  •             Andrew M Strain      of Highland County, Ohio
  • At the time of his death, his wife’s name was Nancy.
  • It appears that Samuel may have had 21 Children. They are listed or mentioned in his will as:


  •             Thomas M D Strain              (Mother Hannah Watts?)[ii]
  •             Betsey (Strain) Rogers        (Mother Hannah Watts?)   
  •             Samuel D Strain                   (Mother Hannah Watts?)
  •             John H Strain                        (Mother Hannah Watts?) Possibly Executor?
  •             Polly (Strain) Clark               (Mother Hannah Watts?)
  •             Margaret (Strain) Stuart      (Mother Hannah Watts?)
  •             Andrew M Strain                  (Mother Margaret Miller?) Possibly Executor?
  •             Nancy (Strain) Litter (Lister)(Mother Margaret Miller?)
  •             Hugh W Strain                      (Mother Margaret Miller?)
  •             Rebecca Ann (Strain) Watt (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             Ester (Strain) Thornton       (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             James G Strain – Deceased before December 1840 (Mother Margaret Miller?)
  •             William Strain                        (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             Malinda Strain                      (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             Sarah Strain                          (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             Martha Strain            (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             Robert H Strain – Deranged and in the care of. (Mother Martha Wilson?)
  •             Lewis Strain                          (Mother Nancy Johnson?)
  •             James Strain                         (Mother Margaret Miller?)
  •             David Strain                          (Mother Nancy Johnson?)
  •             Benjamin Strain                    (Mother Nancy Johnson?)


detail of Nancy Lister's name in Samuel Strain's 1840 Will.
Nancy Lister’s name as it appears
in Samuel Strain’s 1840 Will.

Nancy Strain married William Lister in June 1822, but Samuel Strain’s will suggests her surname is Letter or Lister. I suspect it is a clerk’s error, but Nancy’s parentage needs to be confirmed with other sources. Nancy died in 1844, before her father died but after the will was written.


  •             James is mentioned as one of the four youngest sons, but other researchers suggest he was born in 1788 with Margaret Miller being his mother.
  •             Benjamin is mentioned as one of his four youngest sons, but other researchers suggest he was born in 1785 with Hannah Watts being his mother.
  •             Not mentioned – Cyrus Byington Strain (Possibly 1830-1851)
  •             Not mentioned – Hannah Martha Strain (Possibly 1783-1861)

Further Research:

  • James Johnson is one of the executors. Samuel’s last wife was Nancy Johnson. Is is possible that James Johnson is a sibling, father, or otherwise related to Nancy. Further research should be conducted to determine if there is a relationship.



[i] The Cambridge Dictionary defines “transcribe” as to “make a complete written record of spoken or written words.” My transcriptions are seldom perfect but I do my best to convert handwritten documents into typed words for my genealogical purposes. If you see anything that I have incorrect, please let me know your thoughts via the Contact Form at the bottom of the page.

[ii] The (tentative) mother of each child is based on other trees and not on my research.

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