Thomas Burroughs. America’s First Drag Queen Governor Edward Hyde Lord Cornbury Signs Thomas Burroughs Last Will and Testament Twice in 1703. Manuscript, ink on paper, 3 pages: 2 sheets of laid paper still joined by the original red wax-sealed ribbon, dated August 18, 1703. The Last Will and Testament of Thomas Burroughs is a holographic instrument, signed and sealed by Thomas Burroughs. Slight paper and text loss from a few small, old fold tears, affecting only a few words, easily discerned from the context.
A signed affirmation by Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury that on September 2, 1703 John Sheppard and Bart Lewis did appear before him in “New York the second day of September made oath upon the Holy Evangelist that they did see the Testator Thomas Burroughs sign seal and Publish the above written Testament as his last will and testament and at the time of its publication thereof he was of Sound and perfect memory to ye best of their knowledge & understanding and at the same time they saw William Huddleston sign ye will as a witness thereto Cornbury.” On the back of the will there is another annotation believed to be in Edward Hyde’s hand: “The Last Will and Testament of Tho. Burroughs / New York September 2d 1703 William Smith and Richard Willet has of the within named Deceased were duly sworn to the execution of the within written will coram me Cornbury.”
The text of the document:
“In the Name of God Amen, the eighteenth day of August in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven Hundred and Three, I Thomas Burroughs of the City of New York Merchant although sick in body, yet of good perfect and sound memory praised be Almighty God therefore I go make this my present will and Testament combining therein my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following That Is To Say First I Commend myself and all my whole estate to the Mercy and Protection of Jesus Christ to obtain full pardon and remission of all my sins, and to Inherit everlasting life To which the holy Trinity, one eternal Diety be all Honour and glory forever Amen. And for the disposal of my Worldly Estate with which God hath been pleased to bless me I give and bequeath all the saved in manner and form (viz), First I will and ordain that all such debts as I shall happen to owe at my decease shall be fully paid as they shall grow dues, and that the funeral of my body be such as beseem as Christian after the Discretion of my Loveing wife and Executors hereafter mentioned. Item I give grant and devise and bequeath to Thomas Burroughs my Eldest Son all that my tracts lying and being in the Collony of Connecticut at a place called Pequennock which for a Certain Debt Due from Ephraim Wheeler was granted to me And Confirmed by Judgement of Court As [?] A Certain Lott of Land at the side of Chestnutt hill by me purchased from one Joseph Bersley in the said Colloney, as alsoe two lotts of ground more in the same place lying one on the North and the other on the south Side of the said Last Devised Lott and which was by my order and by my proper use and behest purchased by one Joseph Watkins as also all my right and Title to all my lands at Casquo Bay To have and To hold the said parcells of land with the appurtenances to the lease belonging to the said Thomas Burroughs my eldest son his heires and Assigns forever. Item I give to my said son Thomas Burroughs all my working Tooles belonging properly to the pewtores trade and business. Item I give grant and devise all that my Land at Quaspeck in the County of Orange and the province of New York To my sonn Joel Burroughs and to my daughter Mary Burroughs as well as the undivided as Divided to each of them an equall mojely or one half thereof To have and To hold to each of them the Mojely thereof in severallity their heirs and Assigns for ever. Item I give devise and grant to my daughter Mary aforesaid All That a Certain Lott of Ground lying and being within the City of New York fronting to Crown Street being bounded on the north by said street on the West by Temple Street on the south by Mr. Nicholas Jamain and on the East by Jacob Booley containing in breadth and length as by the Deeds thereof will at large Appeare. To have and to hold the said Lott of Ground to her the said Mary Burroughs my daughter her heirs and Assigns forever. Item I doe give and bequeath to Abigale Taylor my Daughter in Law my Large Silver Tankard and a silver cup marked with the letters A.T. as alsoe Twelve silver spoones and a silver stand. Item I give to my said Daughter Mary Burroughs A large silver porrager with A Cover to It. Item It is my will that after my decease, debts being paid and Funeral expenses discharged That and exact Inventory shall be made of all the rest of my personall estate. One third part thereof I give and bequeath to my loving wife in full recompense Contention and satisfaction of and for all such portion and part as She by Custom or as the wife ought to have or can or may Claim to have out of my goods Chattels — ready money and other the —-ises (?) whatsoever. The other third parts of my said personal estate I give and bequeath amongst my children That is to say Thomas Joel and Mary Burroughs to each an equall and even share and portion thereof and in case of the decease of any of them my said three children before they Come of Age or be Maryed then the portion or portions of the deceased shall fall to the survivour or survivours of them by even portions. Executor and executors of this my said Last will I make and ordain my Loving wife Mary Burroughs and my Truly and Loving Friends Alderman William Smith and Capt Richard Willett desiring my said Friends to Joyn in the administration of my Goods Chattells and debts and To see this my last will to their utmost power in everything absolutely and thoroughly performed. And I doe Bequeath to each of my said Loving Friends William Smith and Richard Willett the sum of ten pounds current money of New York in consideration of their care and trouble in and about my affairs and Lastly Revoakeing all former and other wills and Testaments heretofore by me made either in word or writting I declare this and none other to be my absolute last will and Testament It Containing Two Sheets of paper. In Witness whereof I the said Thomas Burroughs have hereunto subscribed my name and sett my seal in the presence of the Witnesses whose names are hereunto subscribed. The Day and year First in this will written. Tho. Burroughs
Signed Sealed Published /and declared was this / above and within written / Instrument By the within / mentioned Thomas Burroughs / as his last will and Testament / In the presence of us
New York the second day of September 1703 there appeared before Edward Viscount Cornbury hereto Ext Gentt & Governor in Chief of the Provinces of New York New Jersey &c John Sheppard and Bart Lewis and made oath upon the Holy Evangelist that they did see the Testator Thomas Burroughs sign seal and Publish the above written Testament as his last will and testament and at the time of its publication thereof he was of Sound and perfect memory to ye best of their knowledge & understanding and at the same time they saw William Huddleston sign ye will as a witness thereto Cornbury.”