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Jacob Broband Estate File Documents

Introduction and Summary

 

The transcripts for the estate documents of Jacob Broband were prepared from the original documents which are in the York county archives in York, Pennsylvania.

 

Jacob Broband and his wife Anna and their children played a very important role in the family history of Paul Jünger and his family for several reasons.  Jacob and Anna Broband had six daughters and no sons at the time of Jacob’s death in 1777.  The daughters’ names in order of birth were Sophronia (Freney), Anna, Magdalena, Esther, Elizabeth and Catherine.  Freney, the oldest daughter, married George Yinger the oldest son of Paul Jünger (Yinger) and Magdalena Broband, a younger sister of Freney, married George Yinger’s younger brother Anthony Yinger.

 

As a result of these close family connections, Jacob and Anna Broband’s 140 acre farm near present day Yocumtown in Newberry township, York county, Pennsylvania passed on to George Yinger and Freney (Broband) Yinger in 1788.  Then when George Yinger died prematurely in 1790 the same property was taken over by Anthony Yinger and his wife Magdalena (Broband) Yinger who raised their large family and lived out the rest of their lives on a portion of this farm. 

 

When George and Freney’s only child Nancy (Ann) Yinger grew to adulthood and married John Fetrow, Anthony Yinger and John & Nancy (Yinger) Fetrow, in 1813, officially divided the 140 acre farm into two pieces.  Anthony had previously agreed to buy about 45 acres from his brother George near the time of George’s death in 1790.  The remaining 95 acres stayed with Nancy (Yinger) Fetrow and her husband John Fetrow.  It is important to keep these factors in mind while reviewing the transcripts of these estate file documents for the estate of Jacob Broband.

 

Although Jacob Broband died in 1777 according to the inventory of his assets, the settlement of his estate was not conducted until 1784-1785.  Though not the norm for the time, this delay suggests the possibility that Anna Broband managed to carry on the activities of the homestead while raising their youngest daughters alone for several years after her husband’s death.  However, if this was the case, she must have had a lot of help from neighbors and friends.  These estate file documents and the orphans court documents pertaining to the Broband estate, which are also presented in transcript form on this web site, indicate that neighbors who owned adjoining property were instrumental in helping Anna Broband with the monumental task of carrying on without her husband. 

 

Gotlieb Fisher owned the property adjoining the northern border of the Broband farm and John Shuman owned the property adjoining the eastern border of the Broband farm.  They are both listed on the inventory prepared for Jacob Broband at his death in 1777 as the people who prepared the inventory.  However, of much greater significance in illustrating the point of how much neighbors pitched in to help each other through difficult times is the fact that both Gotlieb Fisher (Fischer) and John Shuman (Shoeman) accepted the responsibility in 1789 to be the guardians of the three youngest daughters of Jacob and Anna Broband namely Esther, Elizabeth and Catherine. 

 

Gotlieb Fisher took Elizabeth into his home as her guardian and John Shoeman took Esther and Catherine into his home as their guardian.  When tragedy struck again in 1792, Gotlieb Fisher died and John Shoeman agreed to take Elizabeth into his home even though he already had Esther and Catherine Broband and his own family to provide for.  As a result, the three younger daughters were able to be raised together by neighbors after the death of their father Jacob Broband.  At first their mother continued to have them in her home.  Later, kind neighbors kept them together.  Based on the ages given for these youngest three girls in the guardianship orphan’s court documents and other sources, it is possible to calculate the approximate birth year and age of four of the six daughters at the time of their father, Jacob Broband’s death in 1777:

 

Sophronia (Freny) (birth year unknown, probably before 1755)

Anna (birth year unknown, probably before 1756, married by 1774)

Magdalena (born in 1765 per tombstone) (about 12 at dad’s death)

Esther (born in about 1772) (about 5 at dad’s death)

Elizabeth (born in about 1775) (about 2 at dad’s death)

Catherine (born in about 1777) (infant at dad’s death)

 

Another orphan’s court document dated November 27, 1788 discloses that Anna, the second oldest daughter of Jacob and Anna Broband, had married a man named Jacob Oyman sometime before 1774 because they had two children.  Jacob Oyman, jr. was 14 in 1788 according to an orphans court document and a younger sister named Ann Oyman was 5 years old in 1788.  Therefore, they were born in 1774 and 1783 respectively.  Sadly, this document also reveals that Anna (Broband) Oyman had died sometime between 1783 and 1788.  Hence the need to appoint the biological father, Jacob Oyman, as guardian with respect to the distribution of Jacob Broband’s estate regarding his deceased daughter, Anna (Broband) Oyman’s share.

 

Since Anna (Broband) Oyman had a child named Jacob Oyman, jr. in 1774 she was obviously an adult at the time of the death of her father Jacob Broband in 1777.  Furthermore, her older sister Freney would also have been an adult.  Probably these two older adult sisters provided additional support to help their mother Anna Broband raise their younger four sisters who were still children at the time of Jacob Broband’s death in 1777.

 

Another potential source of assistance to widowed Anna Broband could have been the Paul Jünger (Yinger) family, particularly George and Anthony Yinger, his oldest sons.  Paul Yenger (note spelling variation) appears on a tax list for Newberry township, York county for 1779-80 according to William Henry Egle’s publishedReturns of taxables of the county of York for the years 1779, 1780, 1781, 1782 and 1783.”  His name is located near that of ‘Anna Broband, widow of Jacob.’ 

 

At the time of Jacob Broband’s death in 1777 Anthony would have been 18 years old since he was born in 1759 according to his tombstone.  George Yinger was an older brother of Anthony so they were both young men in the vicinity of the Broband farm at least by 1779-1780 if not prior to that time.   (Tax list appearances in Newberry Township for Paul Yinger and his family have not been positively confirmed prior to 1779-1780 although he may have been there as early as 1766.  Refer to the section of this web site discussing Paul’s life and activities for more on his tax list appearances).

 

Since George Yinger eventually married Freney Broband and Anthony Yinger eventually married Freney’s younger sister Magdalena Broband, it seems to be a reasonable hypothesis that they may have become acquainted when George and Anthony responded to an urgent need for male labor on widow Anna Broband’s farm due to the death of her husband, Jacob in 1777.

 

Without going into a detailed discussion in this section, tax appearances over the years for Paul Jünger (Yinger), indicate that he was a renter and not an owner of farmland throughout his life including the point at which he appears on the 1779-1780 tax list near Anna Broband in Newberry township, York county.  Again the section of this web site which discusses Paul’s life provides details supporting this conclusion. 

 

But the point to be made here is that Widow Anna Broband had a large farm of 140 acres and no son’s, only daughters, to help her with the farm after her husband died.  Paul Yinger had no land of his own but he had three sons, George, Anthony and Martin, the oldest two of whom were able bodied young adult males willing and able to work and they lived in the general vicinity of Anna Broband’s plantation. 

 

The Administration Bond of the Estate of Jacob Broband

Jacob Broband died intestate (without a will).  As a result, the Registrar for the Probate of Wills and granting of letters of administration for York County appointed Jacob’s widow, Anna (his “relict”) and an adjacent property owner and neighbor, Gottlieb Fischer as joint administrators for Jacob’s estate.  A bond of two hundred pounds was set to insure the appointed administrators would fulfill their fiduciary duties faithfully for Jacob Broband’s estate.  The administration bond is dated April 23, 1784.  Two duties of the appointed administrators were to produce an inventory within one month and an accounting for their administration of the estate within one year from the date of the administration bond.

 

It is interesting to note that Anna Broband did not sign her name to this document but, as was very typical for women of the period, she simply “made her mark”.  This probably indicates that she had not learned to write.  Most, if not all, of the documents presented in transcript form on this web site indicate this approach was followed for women signers of legal documents. 

 

The Inventory and Appraisement of Jacob Broband’s Estate

The inventory was filed on the same day as the administration bond document was filed, April 23, 1784.  However, it has already been noted that the inventory had actually been prepared on May 26, 1777 in all likelihood shortly after the death of Jacob Broband.  Therefore, a period of about 7 years passed between the death of Jacob and the process of settling his estate.  No further discussion about this somewhat atypical situation will be offered due to the previous amount of space already spent on the possible reasons for the unusual delay.

 

As previously noted, two neighbors, John Shuman (Shoeman) and Gottlieb Fischer (Fisher) prepared the inventory in 1777.  The inventory is denominated in the currency of pounds, shillings and pence which borrowed from the British system of currency at the time.  That system established 240 pence to the pound.  It also established 20 shillings to the pound.  Therefore, there were 12 pence in a shilling.  So as an example, the first amount indicated on the inventory, 6.1.6 indicates six pounds, one shilling and 6 pence. 

 

Considerable evolution in colonial currency happened throughout the 18th century.  In another section of this web site an overview of that evolution as it relates to the area inhabited by our Jünger (Yinger) ancestors (southeastern Pennsylvania) will be attempted.  The period between the death of Jacob Broband in 1777 and the settlement of his estate in 1784-85 was an especially volatile period regarding American currency as a result of the Revolutionary war.

 

The inventory offers an amazing insight into the material culture of our ancestors in the 18th century.  It is interesting to observe how important livestock and crops raised from the farmland were.  By far the most valuable possessions in Jacob’s inventory were his farm animals and his crops.  It is also sobering to note how few possessions they had compared to our contemporary culture.  Who among us could list all of our possessions on no more than two or three pages if we listed each item we owned.  Frankly, Jacob Broband’s inventory is a lot more extensive than those inventories which are preserved from several later generations of our Yinger ancestors which are also presented on this web site. 

 

From his inventory it can be seen that Jacob raised sheep, swine, cattle, geese, bees, and horses.  Crops he grew on this farm included hay, spelt, rye, flax, wheat, and hemp.  It has been previously noted that this farm became the property of Jacob and Anna Broband’s oldest daughter Sophronia (Freney) and her husband George Yinger in 1788.  Probably, some of the items listed in the inventory compiled in 1777 for Jacob Broband passed on to George and Freney Yinger and later Anthony and Magdalena Yinger.  Comparison of the inventories from the estate files of George Yinger who died in 1790 and Anthony Yinger who died in 1829 and his wife Magdalena (Broband) Yinger who died in 1846 may yield some common household items that stayed in the family for many years.  Those inventories of their estates are also included in transcript form on this web site.

 

Administration Account of Jacob Broband’s Estate

Although the deadline for filing the accounting of the administration of Jacob Broband’s estate was to be April 23, 1785 the accounting was actually dated slightly later, June 1, 1785.  Perhaps the administrators received a court-approved extension.  Once again the currency denomination is in pounds, shillings and pence.  However, a currency fluctuation adjustment was applied to most items on the accounting to adjust the currency value assigned in 1777 called “Congress money” downward by a factor of 2 ½ to one for the equivalent “specie” value.

 

When war was declared in 1776 by the American colonies against Great Britain, the Continental Congress needed to raise funds to prosecute the war.  However, they did not have adequate gold and silver reserves to purchase the necessary war materials and to supply and compensate the soldiers.  Instead they issued paper currency whose value derived not from precious metal reserves but instead from the uncertain future tax revenues of the individual colonies (states) if the war was successful against England.  The currency became known as a “Continental”. 

 

Over time for various reasons too detailed to enumerate in this section of the web site, that paper currency became less and less valuable.  Inflation resulted to the degree that George Washington was heard to say, "A wagonload of Continentals will hardly purchase a wagonload of provisions."  From that era also came the phrase “its not worth a Continental.” 

 

Jacob Broband’s inventory must have been originally valued based on that “Continental” currency.  Furthermore, most transactions regarding the estate also seem to have been valued based on that currency.  When the final accounting needed to be prepared, a conversion was necessary, apparently, to restate the sums into a gold or silver “specie” equivalent value.  It should be noted that not all amounts were converted at the same rate.  For some reason, taxes due from the estate were converted at a much higher conversion factor resulting in a much lower amount of taxes paid by the estate.  Instead of the reduction factor of 2 ½ to 1 used for most items, taxes were reduced by a factor of 41 ½ to 1.  This mystery surely has an explanation, but for the sake of much needed brevity, it will have to suffice with only a notation at this point.

 

All totaled, the estate had in specie 106.15.0 (one hundred six pounds and fifteen shillings) available to pay legally binding claims against the estate.  A bond (probably mortgage note on the property) was due to a Jacob Nessin from the estate in the amount of 79.11.8 which amounts to about ¾ of the total assets available to pay claims.  This seems to indicate that the farm was highly leveraged at the time of Jacob Broband’s death.

 

If this interpretation is valid, it adds an even more acute sense of anxiety to Anna Broband’s probable state of mind and challenging state of affairs when her husband Jacob died in 1777.  Add to that the turmoil surrounding the Revolutionary war which was just getting started and whose outcome was very much in doubt, and its not hard to apply Thomas Paine’s famous statement “these are the times that try men’s souls” to her situation.

 

On September 26, 1777 British troops under General Howe occupied Philadelphia.  The Continental Congress had to flee for their lives and ultimately settled in the town of York, Pennsylvania 12 miles to the south of Anna Broband’s farm near Yocumtown.  There the Continental Congress in 1777 and 1778 drafted the Articles of Confederation which served as a forerunner to the Constitution.  In hindsight that makes for some wonderful local history.  In real time it must have added further trepidation to Anna Broband and her family as well as to her neighbors like Gottlieb Fisher and John Shoeman and Paul Yinger and their families.  They had to be wondering if they were in the direct path of the British army who would love nothing better than to capture the leadership of the revolution who were just down the road in York town.

 

The same day the administration accounting was filed, June 1, 1785, Anna Broband and Gottlieb Fisher requested the court to approve the accounting and release the small balance remaining, after the payments of all claims against the estate, to them.  Seventeen shillings was approved to be released to the administrators by the Orphan’s Court.

 

Petition to partition or appraise the plantation of Jacob Broband, deceased.

On October 27, 1788, which was about three years and five months after the accounting was filed settling Jacob Broband’s estate, George Yinger and Freney (Broband) Yinger petitioned the Orphan’s Court to have the 140 acre farm (plantation) partitioned fairly among the heirs.  Or, if such an equitable partition was deemed not possible without a detrimental outcome, to value the property fairly in its entirety.   The court ordered the sheriff and a committee of “twelve good and lawful men” to make a partition or determine a fair valuation of the whole.

 

Sheriff’s report on the partition or valuation of Jacob Broband’s plantation.

On November 27, 1788, at the next Orphan’s Court meeting, John Edie, the sheriff of York County reported to the court that the 140 acre plantation was not able to be partitioned among the heirs without prejudice and without spoiling the valuation of the property taken as a whole.  Accordingly, a valuation for the plantation as a whole was determined to be three hundred four pounds, six shillings and eight pence in gold or silver (304.6.8). 

 

George Yinger and Freney (Broband) Yinger asked to be permitted to purchase the property at that value by committing to pay the widow, Anna Broband, Freney’s mother and the other heirs, Freney’s sisters, according to the following terms of payment.  First George and Freney were allowed to deduct seven pounds, four shillings and six pence (7.4.6) from the appraised value for the cost of the appraisal and court proceedings.  This left a net valuation of two hundred ninety seven pounds, two shillings and two pence (297.2.2) to be apportioned among the heirs as the purchase price for the 140 acre plantation.

 

However, George and Freney first committed to pay her mother, Anna Broband, Jacob’s widow, a lifetime annuity of five pounds, eighteen shillings and ten pence (5.18.10), gold or silver yearly as long as she lived.  This amount of money was not deducted from the net purchase price for the plantation to be paid to the other heirs, namely Jacob and Anna Broband’s daughters and\or their descendants or heirs or legal guardians.

 

Because Freney Broband was one of the 6 daughters, she and George Yinger received credit for her share.  Anna Oyman’s heirs, her two children, Jacob Oyman jr. and Ann Oyman, received her 1/6th share.  Anthony Yinger (George’s younger brother) and his wife Magdalena (Broband) Yinger (Freney’s younger sister) received a 1/6th share.  Each of the remaining three daughters of Jacob and Anna Broband, Esther, Elizabeth and Catherine or their legal guardians also received a 1/6th share. 

 

Two thirds of the amount due to each heir equaled thirty three pounds, zero shillings, two pence and three farthings (33.0.2 ¾).  (A farthing was 1/4th of a pence).  This amount was committed by George and Freney to be paid to each heir in one year from the date of this petition.  After the death of Anna Broband, each heir was also to receive the final 1/3rd portion of the purchase price which amounted to sixteen pounds, ten shillings and one and a half pence (16.10.1 ½).

 

Therefore, each of the six heirs (daughters of Jacob and Anna Broband) were to receive 33.0.2 ¾ plus 16.10.1 ½ for a grand total of 49.10.4 ¼ , 49 pounds, ten shillings, four pence and a farthing.  Multiplying this amount by a factor of six following the rules of 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound yields exactly the net purchase price agreed to by George and Freney Yinger of two hundred ninety seven pounds, two shillings and two pence (297.2.2) in gold or silver.

 

When this agreement was struck, it represented the first time anyone in Paul Jünger’s family actually owned, albeit heavily indebted, a significant amount of property in America. This dream motivated Paul and many thousands of other European immigrants to take the calculated risks to leave their war torn homeland to come to the new world and seek a better life for themselves and especially their children and future descendants of which I am a part.  Tax list appearances for Paul throughout his life indicate he did not own any land and, therefore, probably he was only a tenant farmer-laborer.

 

Paul came to America in 1748.  Not until 1788, forty years later, did his eldest son become the first in the family to actually own his own land on which he could work hard and, hopefully, enjoy the fruits of his labor and eventually have something of increasing value to pass on to future generations.  This deeply yearned for goal which motivated thousands of Palatine immigrants from the impoverished Rhineland area of Europe was simply not even remotely possible for the vast majority of people living in those regions because they were peasants with no upward mobility prospects.

 

More background information about conditions in the homeland from whence Paul Jünger came will be given in the section of this web site dealing with his life and times.  However, it must also be noted that while Paul took great calculated risks to venture to the British colony of America in search of a better life, his son George also took a large calculated risk, financially, in committing to purchase the Jacob and Anna Broband plantation on credit as enumerated above and in the transcript of the actual document which is on this web site.  I wish I could truthfully report that his gamble paid off.  It is deeply saddening to report that he died less than two years after this agreement was entered into.  His estate file information is included in another section of this web site.  He died in February or early March of 1790.  It’s hard not to wonder whether the stress from the financial burden associated with acquiring this property may have been a factor in his premature death.

 

Alternative spellings for the Broband family name.

Throughout the various transcripts of documents presented on this web site a mind boggling number of alternative spellings are seen for the Broband family name.  Searches in broader databases like immigration records, family tree postings, bulletin board discussions, etc. add even more alternatives to the mix.  Variations I have noted include Brovant, Proband, Provant, Browand, Brabant, Provance, Brabander, etc.  Many Germanic and other ethnic European family names underwent evolution when they came to the new world and faced English speaking officials and neighbors who struggled to understand the foreign language and spellings.   It is important to develop a flexible mind-set when encountering alternative spellings for our common immigrant family names. 

 

Op Den Graeff becomes Updegraff or Updegraft for instance.  Jünger becomes Yinger.  It is, therefore, important to be flexible but also be a bit of a detective looking for other corroborating evidences either confirming or dispelling suspected connections. 

 

Administration Bond, April 1785 Jacob Broband Estate

 

Inventory, April 1785 Jacob Broband Estate

 

Accounting, June 1785 Jacob Broband Estate

 

Adminstrators' Orphans Court Petition, June 1785 Jacob Broband Estate

 

George Yinger & Freny (Broband) Yinger, October 1788 Petition

 

Sheriff's land appraisal response to the petition, November 1788

 

Oymen children guardianship petition, November 1788

 

Elizabeth Brovant's guardian, Gotlieb Fischer, June 1789

 

Esther Brovant guardian, John Shoeman, August 1789

 

Catherine Brovant guardian, John Shoeman, August 1789

 

Elizabeth Provant replacement guardian, John Shoeman for Gotlieb Fischer, November 1792

 

 

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