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A Collection of Newfoundland Wills
Honora Travess


Will of Honora Travess
from Newfoundland will books volume 3 page 151-152 probate year 1870


The Last Will & Testament of Honora Travess

In the name of God Amen the twenty ninth day of May A.D. 1866.

I Honora Travess of Horse Cove in the Island of Newfoundland Widow being very sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God do make and publish this my last will and testament that is to say:

I give and bequeath to my son Richard Travess by his deceased father's consent my dwelling house, outhouses and cellar flake and stage and all the land belonging to said dwelling house, also one horse, three cows and one heifer.

Said Richard Travess to occupy said property after my decease and that the said Richard Travess shall give his sisters Mary and Elizabeth Travess a heifer calf to each and shall allow each of them a home until such time as they will be married and settled down in life.

Also that my sons Martin and Robert Lalor shall be allowed by son Richard Travess to occupy their dwelling houses, cellars, kitchen gardens without any debate or dispute, also the enclosure used by the said Richard Travess, Martin and Robert Lalor for their pigs shall continue as usual without making dividends of said enclosure.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first aforesaid.

Honora (her mark) Travess widow.

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said Honora Travess, widow as her last will and testament in presence of:

John Tapp

John (his mark) Squires.

Comments provided by Jim Roache:

Although this Will, made by a two-time widow on behalf of her widower husband, appears in the official records, the Married Woman's Property Act was not enacted until l886 (20 years after the Will was made). Oral tradition has it that the Parish Priest helped Honora with the Will to allow her dispose of her dowager one-third share to her husband's son, Richard, by his first marriage (as he had instructed prior his dying suddenly and Intestate).

Her own sons (first marriage) were given some consideration - certainly not equal - considering they had worked the land from an early age. They later applied for their own land grants. But Richard's sisters, Bridget and Mary, did what they felt they had to do.

Bridget Travers, 1831 to 1924 married Michael Stapleton son of Wm Stapleton from Gregg, Co Tipperary. She was likely omitted in her mother's Will because she already had taken land on Whelan's Ridge owned by Patrick Travers.

Mary never married, took only an acre of her father's land and sold it to the Parish for $50 as a site for a school and later an RC Cemetery at St Thomas. Upon receipt from the priest, she saved it for her funeral. Mary Travers later developed a mental illness and when she died, she was buried on that very property...the cost was exactly $50.

Richard, son of Patrick, brother of Bridget and Mary, never accepted the fact that his sisters took their shares. He moved to Portugal Cove, married and settled down there. But the women were not concerned.

Patrick had died without a Will prior to the passing of the Married Woman's Property Act which allowed a married woman for the first time to own land in Newfoundland. Legal opinion is that it is doubtful the Will ever had any effect on the Travers estate since the legislation was not retroactive. Yet it is shown as probated in Volume 3, pages l51-152 of probate year of l870 - without details.

Because of the Will, later generations of the Travers family felt they had not been paid for the land on which the cemetery was created.

In addition, Patrick Travers had a brother Thomas who came to Horse Cove from Waterford fifteen years after Pat had arrived. He took land adjacent to his brother's, but it was poor. Both Patrick and Thomas Travers had sons named Richard, first cousins living next door to one another, but it should be clear which of the two was directly affected by this whole matter and which likely had no interest in it whatsoever.

Legal Source:
Michael J. Laurie, B.A., LL.B.
Retired Barrister and Solicitor
Bell Island, NL.

Comments by Michael Laurie:

Note:  All of the spelling of the surnames were not standardized in Horse Cove in l866. One hardly used one's surname in writing save at marriage and at baptism and confirmation. All writing would be done by the clergyman or the teacher. This scribe spelt one's surname as he/she felt it ought to be since the person involved normally was unable to write.

Most surnames of the time were spelled phonetically and hence "Topp" is present-day "Thorpe" and the Catholic Spelling of the anglicization of the Gaelic name "O Leathlabhoir" of "Lalor" is used. Both are phonetic but Irish writers suggest that "Lawlor" spelling was first used by Protestants in Ireland. Most of them changed back to Catholicism when the Test Acts were rescinded by l829. There are three spellings prominent in Laois, Ireland, their Irish home of the name, today and which are: Lalor, Lawlor, and Lawler.  Since all are mere anglicizations of the Gaelic patronymic name, whatever one used does not matter. Lowry  and Laurie are anglicizations of "O Labhradha" or "descendant of the spokesman" but Laurie is never used in Ireland. It is used in Scotland, Isle of Man and in England and I witnessed a London-based junk dealer with that name of "Laurie."  Travess is now Travers (the English love to even off syallables with three letters one each side and now in Fox Harbour, PB the name is written as "Traverse".  It was spelled phonetically by Topp (Thorpe) in l866.



Page Contributed by Jim Roache

Comments by Michael Laurie posted February 26, 2006

This will was also contributed by Judy Benson as part of the wills project.
It is the same will with the only difference being that Judy's copy contained the words
Certified correct, D. M. Browning Registrar


Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit ( Wednesday February 20, 2013 )

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