Colebrook
As we pulled out of Chankly’s driveway in late May, I remarked to Valerie that this whole summer’s travel would be worth it, if only we could find Grandpa Appleton Stillman’s will. It was largely his widow Grandma Amanda’s “missing grandma” status that moved me to feel that way: I knew he’d died fairly young (59), leaving her even younger, with the prospect of a 14-year widowhood. I hoped the will would help me understand how well he provided for her and perhaps whether she remarried. If she took another name, that would help the search for her grave.
Norfolk
Norfolk Town Offices
To relieve your anxiety, let me assure you that we did find the will. In an airless vault room with one wall completely concealed by the shelved spines of leather-bound, legal-sized books. Grandpa Appleton’s 1817 will was the very last one in the first volume.
I’ve put a partial reproduction and a partial transcription of the will in the Mayflower Descendants Section, together with some interpretive discussion, because Grandma Amanda and their son Grandpa Jason are in our probative Mayflower line. The entire reproduction and transcription are in my files at
Jobiska/Content Archive/Family Publications/Appleton Stillman Will.pdf
Please improve my transcription, if you can. With its faults, it already says enough to move me deeply. When they told him he was dying, Grandpa was a vigorous 59, with a youngish, pregnant wife and two families, one grown and the other still dependent, and at least comfortably wealthy.
more…

1Probate records v. 1-2 1779-1826, Connecticut Probate Court (Norfolk District); FHL US/CAN Film 5178; v. 1, pp 431-435. I drove past three times with my GPS yelling that we were there, before I believed it. The only occupant of the unimpressive structure was an elderly and infirm lady who allowed as how Appleton Stillman’s will might well be there, but it would be in the vault in the basement, and she didn’t handle stairs well. We took some time making friends, and she agreed to give it a try, rummaging in a drawer for a scrap of paper. Bearing, she said, the combination, which she’d never had reason to use. But that she’d heard seldom worked the first time… Well, it did work. The first time.
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