Defiance County officially became a county on March 1, 1845. Prior to that most county records were kept in Bryan, as we were a part of Williams County. So, if one conducted early research before 1845, one would want to check the Williams County records as well as the Henry County and Defiance County records.
|From an 1845 map, before Defiance County was created|
The documents below were located in Defiance County and were some of the earliest wills discovered here.
JACOB TITTLE -
His will was dated on July 30, 1839 and recorded in Henry County in 1846 and entered in Defiance Common Pleas court on 12 November 1850. His wife, Rachel, inherited 200 acres, all the stock, household goods, etc. to have during her natural life. After her death, the majority of the land was divided between his sons, James and Jefferson with the residue of the estate going to sons Peter and George, and daughters, Polly Perkins, Elizabeth Perkins, Rachel Davidson, all equally divided.
He gave his son, Jefferson, the "gray horse creature he claims," and son, James, the "roan horse creature he claims." He directed all his sons and daughters to "take care of and provide a comfortable living for my son, Jonas Tittle, due to his inability to take care of himself." His wife was named guardian of the minor sons. Peter Tittle and Jacob Davidson were named executors and the will was signed in the presence of Pearce Evans and Wm. Musher.
ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND -
Mr. Sutherland left all his estate and personal goods to his "beloved wife, Jane" for the support of herself and the two children, Mary Jane and Rebecca Elizabeth. After Jane's death, it was to all be equally divided between the daughters and son, John H. Sutherland.
The will revealed that Mr. Sutherland was in a partnership with James Ross, John Andrews, N. Dike, and H. H. Leavitt to the tune of $10,000 with the Steubenville Land Company which invested in lands in Williams and Henry Counties. His portion was $800. He bequeathed this interest to his son, John H., to pay. If the son declined, then everything was to be sold and the surplus to go to his daughters.
An outlot of 1 1/4 acred in south Steubenville was bequeathed to Rebecca Howard. No relationship was mentioned.
He left to his two daughters 120 acres in Section 28 of Williams County. If one sister died, it was to go to the others and their heirs. If needed for their support or education, as determined by the executors, it could be sold for that.
His friend, Dr. John Andrews was appointed guardian of the two daughters. His wife and brother, William, were to be executors.
Sutherland signed 25 Feb 1840 and by 30 April 1840, it was presented in the Steubenville court. It was 1847 before it came back to the Williams County court.
His burial was in Union Cemetery, Steubenville.
JOHN EVANS -
As it turned out, John Evans wrote his will on 10 August 1842, the day before he died. He began the document proclaiming his weakness in body and his sound mind, as well as his faith in God. His first directive was to have his body buried in Fort Wayne, and that was carried out in Lindenwood Cemetery.
Dr. Evans appointed his daughter, Merrica, and sons, Carey and Rush, and Allen Hamilton, Hugh McCullough, and Pierce Evans as his executors. He asked that the last three named allow the sons, Carey and Rush, to continue the mercantile business until all the debts were paid. After that, his wife (unnamed in the will) should receive 1/3 of all the personal and real estate.
He indicated that his daughter, Eliza Hill "shall receive nothing" more until the other children had each received $1000.
"And I further direct that my children shall provide for Ally Cumberlin as long as she may live." Her relationship to the family was not stated.
Lastly, he asked the last three executors to not have a public sale of his property, but instead to allow the sons to conduct a private sale to their best interests.
The will was first recorded in Allen County on 16 August 1842, and later recorded in Defiance. No date was given