John André’s Last Will and Testament

JJ Feild as Major John André on AMC’s ‘TURN’

The old “Cucklestowne Inn” stood for a century and a half in Richmond, on or a few feet to the north-west of the present residence of Mr. Willard Barton[demolished]. Throughout the war it was occupied by British officers, among whom was Major John André, the spy, who afterward became the victim of General Benedict Arnold. It was in this old building that Major André. then a captain in the Twenty-sixth Regiment of Foot, wrote his will. Probably on account of the destruction of the Richmond Court House, the document was recorded and probated in New York. It reads as follows:

The following is my last Will and Testament and I appoint as
Executors thereto Mary Louisa André my Mother, David André my
Uncle, Andrew Giradot my Uncle, John André my Uncle.

“To each of the above Executors I give Fifty Pounds. — I give to
Mary Hannah André my Sister Seven Hundred Pounds. — I give to
Ann Marguerite André my Sister Seven Hundred Pounds. — I give to
Louisa Katharine André my Sister Seven Hundred Pounds. — I give
to William Lewis André my Brother Seven Hundred Pounds. — But
the condition on which I give the above mentioned Sums to my afore-
said Sisters and Brothers are that each of them shall pay to Mary
Louisa André my Mother the sum of Ten pounds yearly during her
life.— I give to Walter Ewer Jun’r of Dyers Court Aldermanbury
One Hundred Pounds. — I give to John Ewer Jun’r of Lincoln’s Inn
One Hundred Pounds. — I desire a Ring value Fifty Pounds be given
to my Friend Peter Boissier of the Eleventh Dragoons. — I desire that
Walter Ewer Jun’r of Dyers Court Aldermanbury have the Inspec-
tion of my papers, Letters, Manuscripts, I mean that he have the
first Inspection of them with Liberty to destroy or detain whatever he
thinks proper, and I desire my Watch be given to him. And I lastly
give and bequeath my Brother John Lewis André the residue of all
my Effects whatsoever. — Witness my Hand and Seal

Staten Island in the province of N. York, N. America the 7th June 1777.

“John André Cap’t in the 26th Reg’t of Foot [L.S.]

” N.B.—The Currency alluded to in this Will is Sterling Money of Great Britain. — I desire nothing more than my wearing Apparel be sold by public Auction,

J. A.

“City and Province  )
of New York.              ) ss.

Be it Remembered that on the Ninth day of October in the Year
of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty personally came
and appeared before me Gary Ludlow, Surrogate for the City and
Province aforesaid, Henry White and William Seaton both of the
City and Province aforesaid Esquires who being severally duly sworn
did declare that they were well acquainted with the handwriting of
John André formerly Captain in the twenty-sixth Regiment of Foot
and since Adjutant General Deceased that they have frequently seen
him write, And that they verily believe that the before written Instrument purporting to be the last Will and Testament of the said John André, bearing date the seventh Day of June One thousand seven hundred and Seventy Seven with the Subscriptions thereto are all of his the said John André’s own proper hand Writing and further saith not. Cary Ludlow, Surr.”

According to the dates, it will be seen that the will was admitted
to probate just a week after the execution of its maker at Tappan, on
the 2d of October, 1780.

Major André’s death was one of the saddest incidents of the war.
The decision, though just, was painful — painful to Washington — to the Board — to the officers of the American army — but more painful, if possible, to Sir Henry Clinton and the companions of André in arms.

Efforts, and such as did honor to Clinton, were made to reverse the doom of André. Intimations were given from Washington, that upon one condition — the surrender of Arnold — André might be released; but to this Clinton thought he could not in honor yield — while in the scale of affection, André would have outweighed a thousand traitors like Arnold.

Quoted From: Morris, Ira K. 2010. Morris’s memorial history of Staten Island, New York. New York: Memorial Pub. Co.

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