Van Cooten family history progress and collaboration
This is a transcription of the will for Hendrik Van Cooten contained within the collection of wills contained in the UK PRO online archives.
The text in original flows a one continuous sequence with almost no layout or punctuation. Some punctuation and paragraphing has been added in this transcription to improve readability.
Thanks to Merle Van Cooten, Jillian Van Cooten, and Geert Kamphuis for their contribution to the transcription.
I the undersigned after revoking and annulling all former testaments and other deeds containing those powers of last will heretofore made or passed by me holding the same to be of no value now disposing anew declare to bequeath as follows-
To my wife Dorothea Nicols all my furniture, utensils, wearing apparel, gold and silver plate, printed books, my Gig Gighorse saddle horses cows and sheep further she shall be at liberty to continue living in the dwelling house as long as she remains unmarried in which are not included the side buildings low stables, chaise house fowl house &c and further that she shall have for her attendants a negro man as a cook a negro woman as washwoman a girl about the house and the slaves Fortune, Macoll and Phill to cultivate her flower garden round the house her yams and cassava lands &c The women Mietji, Eve and Charlotte must also remain under her direction by which I have in view that they be kindly treated and not sent to the field and after the demise of my wife no labour must be exacted from the aforesaid three women Meitje, Eve and Charlotte and they are to receive allowances and lodgings in the same manner as the other slaves. My wife is also to be furnished every week with plantains necessary for her use and that of her slaves with fish and other allowances at the proper times with firewood for the kitchen fresh fish as customary and with sugar when it is on the Estate. I further desire that my wife shall during her life time receive the sum of two thousand five hundred guilders per annum which I conceive will in addition to the other f2,500 to which she is entitled by the antinuptial contract procure her a tolerable subsistence.
To my natural son, Cornelis the sum of ten thousand guilders which said sum however he shall not receive before the division or partition of the Estate unless all the heirs consent thereto but he must be satisfied with receiving every year the interest thereof at the rate of five per cent in the event of his death previous to the division of my Estate his right shall devolve upon his children He shall also have the right to continue in the occupation of the house which he now lives in until the division of the Estate which right is also to devolve upon his children. There is about half an acre of land belonging to the said house. To my natural son, Hendrik brother of Cornelis also a sum of ten thousand guilders or the yearly interest of five per cent in like manner as Cornelis that is to say in case he should return previous to the division of the Estate he having absented himself from Holland where he had been for his education so that no tidings from him have been received by me for several years but should he make his appearance subsequent to the division of the Estate he must be satisfied to receive from every one of the Heirs one thousand guilders which is hereby bequeathed to him.
To Henry Van Baerle and his sister Jeanette widow Dijkhuijzen three thousand guilders each which sum the first named is to receive in three equal annual dispersements but the widow Dijkhuijzen not before the division of my Estate. She is to be paid the interest of five per cent per annum in the event of her death her right is to devolve upon her son Jacobus Dijkhuijzen In consequence of promises made to my slave Shrul during the last revolt on the West Sea Coast of this Colony he shall be released from labour and continue to enjoy his lodgings allowance and every other are as formerly and 1/4 of an acre of land for his cultivation and now further and finally disposing I declare to nominate and do institute for my sole and universal heirs my seven children Jan, Nicholas, Anthony, Lucius, Ann Townsend, Theodorus Hermanus Hilbertus and Cornelia Bennett, married to J.L.C. Playter each for an equal share of my Estate It is my last will and desire that the plantation Vryheids Lust and Sheet Anchor shall remain undivided and under proper management and admon and that no division of the Estate or Effects shall take place until twenty years after my demise and in case my said wife should then be living the said division or partition shall not take place until after her death. With regard to another part of my effects which at the time of my demise may be in the Mercantile house of shops Combmaker and Forbes of London either in Exchequer Bills or otherwise it is my will and desire that the same shall remain upon interest and accumulate with the yearly interest until the time that the aforementioned division of the Estate takes place.
It is further my will and desire that my son Nicholas shall continue to manage the plantation as long as he wishes at the usual salary of f3000 per annum and enjoy such privileges as are now customary. That my son Anthony shall continue to act as overseer at the customary salary of six hundred guilders and six hundred guilders for his board and a boy to serve him. That my son Lucius shall keep accurate books of everything relative to the plantation and duly close them at the end of every year and render a correct statement of all the revenues and expenditure to the heirs at his house and give them copies thereof for which he is to receive eight hundred guilders per annum and a boy to serve him. That my son T.H.Hilbertus shall act as doctor and daily visit the sick and those who have sores he is to prepare and administer the necessary medicines or remedies for which he is to receive eight hundred guilders per annum. The necessary medicines are to be furnished to him by the administrators at the expense of the plantation. He is to have a boy to serve him and the administrators are to take care that his and the overseers clothes are properly washed. That my daughter Ann as long as she remains unmarried shall live with her mother and have a washerwoman and a girl to wait upon her and should it happen that her portion of the yearly revenue doth not amount to f660 such deficiency must be added in order to complete that sum for her use - that two Joes be paid every month to my daughter Cornelia Bennett married to J.L.C. Playter for her children and should she lose her husband she is to have a washerwoman and a girl to wait on her.
My son Lucius shall have the right to remain living in the house in the foreground in consideration of which he is to keep it in proper repair. He shall not have the power to let it or to have it occupied by any other person without the approbation of his co administrator my wife will have no objection to my son who now lives in one of the side buildings continuing in the occupation thereof. However he is not to be allowed to have any person living there with him without her consent. It is also my positive will and desire that after the demise of one of the heirs or heiresses his or her right of inheritance shall devolve upon his or her lawful children or by default thereof upon the other heirs. The four sons Nicholas Anthony Lucius and Theodorus Hermanus Hilbertus shall be bound to have the hereafter named coloured children instructed in reading writing arithmetic and a Trade and to maintain them until the age of 18 years viz. Nicholas the Boy Dan born from my slave Mietji, Anthony the Girls Henrietta born from my slave Christina and Petronella born from my slave Brunol Lucius the Boy Edward born from my slave Eve, and Theodorus Hermanus Hilbertus the boy Wilson born from my slave Charlotte.
I appoint for my sole and absolute executors of this Testament or last will as also for advisors of the plantation and other effects to my sons the co heirs Nicholas and Lucius giving and granting unto them to that effect all such power and authority as to Executors and administrators can or may be given including with all respect all born of unadministered estates as will have as executors and administrators they are to receive five per cent on the produce made upon the plantation in which are included the Executors commission hoping that they will be satisfied therewith one of the reasons of their appointment being to save expenses to the general heirs by paying strangers. The revenues or surplus which shall remain every year after paying all the expenses legacies and salaries of the plantation are to be divided amongst the heirs each of them receiving an equal portion but should the heirs unanimously or by majority think it advisable to apply part of the revenues for the purchase of slaves in order to extend the cultivation of the plantation they are at liberty so to do in case the other heirs that is to say those who are not administrators should be dissatisfied with the management of the administrators they shall have the power to have everything inspected by two or more skilful persons after having first giving notice thereof to the administrators who should they think proper shall have the right to add an equal number of persons which inspectors are to decide what is to be done in future and should the administrators afterwards act contrary to the opinion of the inspectors they shall refund the necessary expenses and after having maturely considered all that which is herein before written. I now declare the above to be my Testament and last will desiring that it be fulfilled and take effect as such praying to that effect the assistance of all Judges either in this Colony or elsewhere thus done and confirmed the same with my usual signature on the plantation Vryheids Lust this 13th of August 1825 which is to be sealed and the first time I go to Town to be delivered at the Secretary's office in order to have it superscribed. (signed). H.V. Cooten
Copied from the English a true copy from the original will sealed the 7 Sept 1825 opened on the Seventh of March 1826 and remaining in the Sectys office of Demerary and Essquibo this 17th November 1826 quod attestor A Shepherd  
Faithfully translated from the annexed Dutch will into English London the 17th May 1827 quod attestor I. Gillard not pub
Proved at London 25th May 1827 before the Judge by the orders of Nicholas Van Cooten and Lucius Van Cooten the sons the executors to whom admon was granted being first sworn by commission duly to admin.