1807 Chancery Case: Jacob Troarbaugh vs. William & Nicholas Troarbaugh

This case1 was initiated (perhaps in a lower court) before November 1807, as several exhibits in the case file are dated in November 1807, was brought to this court in March 1808 and was dismissed on July 1809. Punctuation has been added in some documents for clarity. Note also that it is not always clear whether the surname is written as “back” or “bach”.

In what follows, my comments are in blue italics while the original is in plain text.

Bill of Complaint (undated, a copy was made for the court file on 25 July 1808)

To the honorable John Brown, Judge of the Superior Chancery Court held at Staunton: Your orator Jacob Troarbaugh, otherwise called Jacob Drorebach, respectively states that his Father Adam Troarbaugh, otherwise called Adam Drorebach, departed this life in the State of Pennsylvania about the year 1770 having first made his last Will & Testament a copy of which is hereto annexed whereby he appointed his brothers William & Nicholas his Executors who undertook the execution thereof before the Registers Court of the County of York in sd. State, as will appear by the probat(sic) & account of the Estate hereto also annexed as part of this Bill.

The Testator left your Orator (now of Rockbridge County), Adam Troarbaugh, & Katy Troarbaugh his only children, all them of tender years. His Brother Adam removed as he is told to North Carolina & from there perhaps to Tennessee. His sister intermarried with one John Noel & resides as he is told in Berkely (sic) County.

William Troarbaugh who he is told was the acting Executor & who he has heard & believes collected all the Estate now resides in the County of Rockingham in this State, his Co-executor Nicholas having removed to the State of Tennessee where he is told he now resides.

Your Orator states that the Executors or one of them have received a considerable personal estate of the deceased & large sums for the price of lands sold of which they have paid no part to the legatees aforesaid.

Your Orator further states that his grandfather Michael Troarbaugh also departed this life in York County Pennsylvania after his Father, to wit, about the year 1771 or 1772 intestate having a very considerable real & personal Estate of which administration was granted to the aforesaid William & one Jacob Rife, since deceased, & who accordingly possessed themselves of large personal Estate, two shares of which he is told by the Laws of that State, would descend to your Orator & his Brother & sister as representatives of their Father who as the eldest son & heir at Law of sd. Michael. But the said administrators have paid no part of sd. Estate to your Orator or his Brother & sister.

He is also told that the said administrators proceeded to sell a large real Estate of sd. deceased, to witt (sic) three plantations in York County, but by what authority or for what sum he knows not, nor has he received any part thereof.

Your Orator being without relief in the premises except by a Court of Chancery prays that the said William Troarbaugh, otherwise called William Drorebach, & Nicholas Troarbaugh, otherwise called Nicholas Drorebach, may be made defendants to this Bill & compeled (sic) on oath to make true & perfect answer to this Bill as fully as if again interrogated, that they be compeled (sic) to exhibit an account of the Estate of their Testator Adam & that said William exhibit an account of the Estate of his Intestate Michael & be compeled (sic) to pay over to your Orator his distributive share of both said Estates; that said William do also say by what authority & under what right & for what consideration he sold the Real Estate of sd. Michael, that if the same was sold by legal authority he may account with your Orator for his share thereof, or that such other relief be granted as may appear just.

On the backside of this document is the note: Suit brought to March Term 1808.

The Answer of William Droarbaugh (sworn on 16 August 1808)

Note that William signed by mark, so could neither read nor write.  This is not in his own handwriting.

This respondent admits that he was one of the executors of Adam Droarbaugh decd, the father of the pltf. and one of the administrators of Michael Droarbaugh his grandfather – he was also a guardian to the pltf, together with several other of the children of the sd. Adam deceased.  This respondent admits too that as executor and administrator as aforesd. he received of the estates of the sd. Adam & Michael considerable sums of money the produce of their real & personal property but he denies that he has withheld any portion of either estate from those justly entitled to receive it.  He avers that he has discharged his several duties as executor, administrator, and guardian to the best of his skill and ability, and has honestly and faithfully accounted for every thing that he received in his sd. several capacities.  He will make a succinct statement of his transactions in this business, in full answer to the several allegations in the pltf’s bill.

As stated in the pltf’s bill Adam Droarbaugh died about the year 1770 and appointed this respondent and Nicholas Droarbaugh his executors.  They took upon themselves the execution of the will and in the year 1771 as this respondent believed, mad a settlement of the estate with the Court of York County in the State of Pennsylvania, a copy of which settlement is believed to be filed with the pltf’s bill.  About that time, this respondent and the sd. Nicholas were appointed guardians of the pltf. and of several other infant children of the sd. Adam de’d.  In the settlement above stated with the court this respondent thinks the produce of all the real and personal estate of the sd. Adam was included, but for greater certainty he refers to the settlement itself.

After this, to wit in December 1772, when Nicholas Droarbaugh was about to remove from the State of Pennsylvania, the orphans court of York County appointed a certain Conrad Kurtz in the stead of the sd. Nicholas as guardian with this respondent of the sd. orphans – he however removed from the State of Pennsylvania before your orator and left the whole business in his hands.

About the year 1771 or 1772 Michael Droarbaugh the father of this respondent & grandfather of the pltf. died intestate, & this respondent together with a certain Jacob Rieff administered upon his estate.  In the year 1772 in the month of December, as appears by the record, a writ was directed to the sheriff of York County (Pensa.) requiring him to divide two tracts of land the property of sd. Michael, between his representatives, as if that could not be done with propriety to value the same.  The sheriff returned that the land could not be well divided, and the same was valued at the sum of £358 Pennsylvania currency.  This land under the law of Pennsylvania was deeded to the second son of sd. Michael, he paying the valuation therefore after deducting his own share, to the rest of the representatives of sd. Michael.  This respondent received from the sd. Jacob, that part of the sd. valuation money which was decreed to the children of Adam Droarbaugh of which he was guardian.

In the year 177- this respondent and Jacob Rieff made a settlement of their administration of Michael Droarbaugh’s estate [uncertain word] sd. court of York County whereby it appeared that there was a balance of the sd. estate in the hands of the administrators of £115.13.7 Pennsylvania money, which balance is decreed by the court to be paid to those respectively entitled thereto.

In the year 1779 when this respondent was about to leave the state of Pennsylvania, and before his sd. wards had arrived at lawful age, he applied to the sd. Orphans Court to discharge his from his sd. guardianship, and to appoint another in his stead – whereupon a certain George Sprenkle was appointed and this respondent discharged upon his paying into the hands of sd. Sprenkle whatever monies might be in his hands belonging to his said wards – this respondent begs however to refer to the records of the sd. court of York County, herewith exhibited as part of the answer, for a more full illustration of what is here stated respecting the proceeding in said court.

In pursuance of the order last above mentioned, this respondent did pay to the sd. Sprenkle all the money that was in his hands belonging to his sd. wards, and took from the sd. Sprenkle a release and receipt herewith exhibited as part of this answer (marked B).  In making this payment, this respondent avers that he paid out everything with which he was in any way chargeable to the sd. wards or any of them on account of his sd. guardianship, or on account of the estates of the sd. Adam & Michael Droarbaugh – this respondent believes that the pltf has received from the sd. Sprenkle since he has arrived at full age everything that was due to him from the sd. estates of Michael and Adam Droarbaugh dec’d.  In proof of that point this respondent herewith exhibits an attested copy of a receipt marked C given by sd. pltf to sd. Sprenkle.

This respondent thinks it proper to state for this that Michael Droarbaugh died possessed of a third tract of land which was not disposed of, in the manner with the other two abovementioned.  To the tract his son Mathias set up a claim, and the representatives of sd. Michael being satisfied of the justice of his claim agreed to convey him the land upon his relinquishing his right to the residue of his father’s estate.  This was accordingly done as will appear by a release herewith filed, marked D.  This respondent believes that the children of Adam Droarbaugh who were then under age have never joined in the conveyance, though they never received their proportion of sd. Mathias share of his father’s estate.  This respondent conceives himself however in no wise accountable to his wards for this land – as administrator he had nothing to do with the land and as guardian he believes he has not acted further than to receive and pay out their [wards?] proportion of Mathias Droarbaugh’s dividend of his father’s estate.

This respondent having answered everything which he supposes to be material for him to answer, he prays to be dismissed with costs.

Rockingham County:  This day William Droarbaugh made oath before me a justice of the peace for sd. County that the facts stated in the foregoing answer of his own knowledge are true, and those stated from the information of other he believes to be true.   Given under my hand this 16th of August 1808.  Geo Huston.

On the back side of this document is written the note:  Dismissed with costs July Term 1809

Summons dated 25 January 1808

The Commonwealth of Virginia to the Sheriff of Rockingham County, Greeting:  You are hereby commanded to summon William Troarbough otherwise called William Droreback and Nicholas Troarbough otherwise called Nicholas Droreback, to appear before the Judge of the Chancery District Court holden at Staunton on the first day of the next term to answer a bill in Chancery exhibited against them by Jacob Troarbough otherwise called Jacob Drorbough… Witness Henry J. Peyton, clerk of our said court at the court house the 25th day of January 1808 and in the 32nd year of the commonwealth.

On the reverse the Sheriff responded:  Executed on William Troubough and Nicholas Troubough no inhabitant.

“Memorandum for Mr. William Troarback”

“Apply to the Orphans Court or to the registers Office in York County, Pennsylvania and get the following papers:  A copy of the orders of Court appointing you guardian to the orphans of Adam Troarback, a copy of the order appointing George Sprengle guardian in your place, a copy of your settlement of your guardians account with the court, a copy of the order of court directing your father’s heirs to convey one tract of his land to Mathias Troarback and of the order directing a sale & valuation of the other tracts, a copy of the valuation and of the account of sales of this land and of the settlement therefore if any such is recorded.  Have all these copies duly authenticated and certified under the seal of office.”  Signed: C. Johnson.

Added at bottom of page: The District Judge lives at Harrisburgh 25 miles distant, so that his certificate cannot conveniently be had, but should it be necessary he will certify it at any time he may be called on. W. Barber, York, 2 July 1808.

Memo for W. Troarbach:  By the intestate law in force in Pennsylvania when the estate of Trorebach was valued, the court would not order a sale (unless for payment of debts).  If any part of the lands were transferred to Matthias it must have been by contract with Jacob to whom it was all decreed – at that period a Jury could not divide it unless it would [hear?] or accommodate all the heirs – so that the court could not decree the premises to more than one child.  W. Barber 2d July 1808.

The following are copied together in the file and are collectively marked Exhibit A.

Exhibit A:  Copy of York County Orphan’s Court Record  (Abstracted)

On 27 August 1771 William Drorebach and Nicholas Drorebach petitioned the York County Orphan’s Court to appoint guardians for “Michael, Henry, Adam, Abraham, Jacob, William, and Elizabeth Drorebach, the minor orphan children of Adam Drorebach late of Shrewsbury Township deceased, all under the age of fourteen years.”  The court ordered “that the said William Drorebaugh (sic) and Nicholas Drorebach be and are hereby appointed to be the guardians over the persons and estates of the said Michael Drorebach, Henry Drorebach, Adam Drorebach, Abraham Drorebach, Jacob Drorebach, William Drorebach, and Elizabeth Drorebach.”

Exhibit A: Copy of York County Orphan’s Court Record (Abstracted)

On 1 December 1772 William Drorebach petitioned the court to “appoint a guardian for Adam, Abraham, Jacob, William, and Elizabeth Drorebach, the minor orphan children of Adam Drorebach deceased instead of Nicholas Drorebach, one of the guardians appointed at former Orphans Court, together with him the said William Droreback, to take care of the persons and Estates of the said children.” The court appointed “the said William Droreback” and Conrad Kurtz guardians. Nicholas Drorebach was discharged from the guardianship “he having removed out of this province”.

Michael and Henry Drorebach were omitted. Both of them had evidently reached the age of fourteen, when orphans were entitled to chose their own guardians, as a later record shows that they had both chosen William Trorebach.

Exhibit A: Copy of York County Orphan’s Court Record (Abstracted)

On 1 December 1772  the sheriff of York County reported that he had taken with him a jury of “twelve honest and lawful men of his Bailiwick” to view the lands of Michael Trorebach, deceased; being one tract of 180 acres with improvements located in the Township of York adjoining the lands of Conrad Kurtz, William Sprenkel and others, and a tract of 252 acres with improvements located in Codorus Township adjoining the lands of John Binkley and Lawrence Klinefelter and others.   The jury was to determine if the lands could be partitioned into ten parts of equal value with one share each for “Jacob Trorebach, Michael Trorebach, Mathias Trorebach, Nicholas Trorebach, William Trorebach, Jacob Rife and Elizabeth his wife in right of the said Elizabeth, she being one of the daughters of the said deceased, Jacob Lingafelter (sic) and Marillis his wife in right of the said Marillis, she being another of the daughters of the said deceased, Maria Catharine Trorebach another of the daughters of the said deceased, they being the children of the said Michael Trorebach deceased, and two of the said ten equal parts thereof unto Michael Trorebach, Henry Trorebach, Adam Trorebach, Abraham Trorebach, Jacob Trorebach, William Trorebach, and Elizabeth Catherine Trorebach, the children of Adam Trorebach deceased eldest son of the said Michael Trorebach deceased…” The jury determined that the land could not be fairly partitioned but valued the whole at £358.

On 1 December 1772  William Trorebach and Jacob Reiff, administrators of the estate of Michael Trorebach, recorded their accounting of their administration. A balance of £115:13s:7p remained.   The court ordered £7 retained by the administrators “for their trouble and expenses”; £21:14s paid to the heirs of Adam Trorebach deceased, eldest son of Michael Trorebach; £10:17s each to Jacob, Michael, Mathias, Nicholas, and Maria Catherine Trorebach; £10:17s to Jacob Lingafelter and Marillis his wife; £10 (sic) to be retained by Jacob Reiff in right of Elizabeth his wife; and £10:17s to be retained by William Trorebach. The remaining 12s:9p retained as court costs.

Exhibit A: Copy of York County Orphan’s Court Record (Abstracted)

On 2 June 1773 “William Trorebaugh and Conrad Kurtz, as guardians of Adam, Abraham, Jacob, William, and Elizabeth Trorebaugh, five of the children of Adam Trorebaugh deceased” and the said William Trorebaugh “as guardian of Michael Trorebaugh (which said Michael is the eldest son and heir at law of Adam Trorbaugh deceased) and of Henry Trorebaugh another of the sons of the said Adam Trorebaugh deceased” petitioned the Orphans Court to grant the two tracts of land belonging to the estate of Michael Trorebaugh deceased to “Jacob Trorebaugh the second son of the said Michael Trorebaugh deceased” for the valuation determined [see above] “he paying the children of the said Adam Trorebaugh deceased and the children of the said Michael Trorebaugh also deceased their respective shares of the same.” The court granted the lands to Jacob Trorebaugh and ordered him to pay £358 as follows:   £68:14s within one year to Michael, Henry, Adam, Abraham, Jacob, William and Elizabeth Catherine Trorebaugh, the children of Adam Trorebaugh, or the guardians of such as are minors, the sum to be equally divided among them except the eldest son Michael to receive two shares; £34:7s each within one year to Michael, Mathias, Nicholas, and William Trorebaugh, to Jacob Reiff in right of his wife Elizabeth, to Jacob Lingafelter in right of his wife Marillis, and to Maria Catherine Trorebaugh. Jacob Trorebaugh to retain £34:7s for his share of the estate and pay £14:10s court costs.

Exhibit A: Copy of York County Orphan’s Court Record (Abstracted)

On 26 August 1779 Adam Trorebaugh, “aged about sixteen years”, selected George Sprenkle as his guardian.

Missing from these papers is an Orphan’s Court record that on 29 December 1772 “Michael Trorbaugh aged fifteen years and upwards and Henry Trorbaugh aged fourteen years, the minor orphan childen of Adam Trorbaugh late of Newbery Township chose William Trorbaugh of Newberry Township, their uncle, to be their guardian.”

On 26 August 1779 William Trorebaugh, guardian of Abraham, Jacob, Elizabeth and Catherine Trorebaugh, minor children of Adam Trorebaugh, all under the age of 14 years, “he the said William is about to remove out of the State into Carolina and praying the court will discharge him of the guardianship aforesaid as also appoint another guardian for the said minor orphan children in his stead.” George Sprenkle of Manchester Township was appointed guardian of the said minor children and William Trorebaugh ordered to pay over all such sums of money as belongeth unto the said wards.

Note that Elizabeth Catherine was rendered as two persons in this copy, apparently a copying error by William Barber the York County clerk. Barber certified on 2 July 1808 that these were true copies of York County Orphans Court records.

Exhibit B: George Sprengle Release to William Trorbauch

19 February 1780:

George Sprengle of Manchester Township, York County and State of Pennsylvania, yeoman, releases William Trourbach of York Township of all claims and responsibilities concerning the guardianship of the heirs of Adam Trourbaugh deceased and their shares of the estate of Michael Trorbaugh deceased in right of the said Adam Trourbaugh deceased.

19 February 1780:

Received of William Trorbaugh above named the sum of three hundred and ninety five pounds, fourteen shillings and eight pence in full the shears of the (sic) all the heirs of Adam Trorbauch deceased which was in his hands or possessions for the said children. Signed: George Sprengle

Exhibit C: Jacob Drorbach Release to George Sprenkle

“I Jacob Drorbach of Linkhorn County in the State of North Carolina, second son and heir of Adam Drorbach, late of York County in the State of Pennsylvania deceased, do hereby acknowledge that I have on the day of the date of these presents received of George Sprenkle, appointed trustee for my use, the sum of three pounds lawful money of Pennsylvania in specie according to the scale of depreciation, in full for my dividend share and portion of in and to the estate of the said deceased as well real as personal which had been and remained in the hands of the said George Sprenkle trustee aforesd. I hereby for myself and my heirs executors and administrators, acquit release and forever discharge the said George Sprenkle his heirs executors and administrators by these presents of and from all claims and demands whatsoever touching my said dividend share of the said estate, which remained in his hands as aforesaid. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the second day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety three.” Signed: Jacob (his mark) Drorbach. Witness: Jno. Morris, J. Morris Jr.

On reverse: “I do certify the foregoing to be a true copy taken from and compared with the original this 5th day of July A. D. 1808.” Signed: Jno. Morris.

John Morris, one of the witnesses to the foregoing document, appeared in York County court on 6 July 1808 to depose that “he was personally present and did see Jacob Drorebach make his mark unto and seal and deliver the original release (of which this is a true copy), that this deponent signed his name viz J. Morris Jr. thereto as a witness, and that he also saw Jno. Morris the other witness (who is now deceased) sign his name thereto as a witness at the same time.”

William Barber, county clerk of York County, certifies the deposition on 6 July 1808.

Exhibit D: Mathias Throarbach Release to Heirs of Michael Throarbach

5 December 1772: “Mathias Throarbach of Codorus Township in the County of York and Province of Pennsylvania, yeoman, one of the sons and heirs at law of Michael Throarbach late of the County of York and Province of Pennsylvania aforesaid deceased (who died intestate) sendeth greeting. Whereas Jacob Throarbach, William Throarbach and Nicholas Throarbach three of the sons and heirs at law of the said deceased, Jacob Rief and Anna Elizabeth his wife, one of the daughters of the said deceased, Jacob Lingenfelter and Mary Elizabeth his wife, another of the daughters of the said deceased, and Mary Catharine Throarbach also one of the daughters of the said deceased, by their indenture & under their hand and seal duly executed bearing even(?) date herewith, for the consideration therein mentioned did grant, bargain, sell, release and convey all that messuage plantation and tract of land situate in the township aforesaid containing one hundred & twenty five acres… adjoining the land of John Helman, Johan George Meyer and others, being the same whereof the said Michael Throarbach the father died owner (sic) and seised (sic) as in and by the said indenture may more fully appear. Now know ye that I the said Mathias Throarbach as well in consideration of the bargain and sale of the above described tract of land as in consideration of the sum of five shillings lawful money of Pennsylvania to me in hand well and truly paid… have remised, released and forever quit claimed and by these presents do fully clearly & absolutely remise, release & forever quit claim and confirm unto Jacob Throarbach, William Throarbach, Nicholas Throarbach, Jacob Rief and Anna Elizabeth his wife, Jacob Lingenfelter and Mary Elizabeth his wife, Mary Catharine Throarbach, and unto the legal heirs and representatives of Adam Throarbach deceased who is also one of the sons of the said Michael Throarbach the father deceased, all my rights, title, interest, property claim and demand of into or out of all the other real and personal estate whatsoever whereof the said Michael Throarbach the father died owner and seized (the plantation and tract of land to me granted as aforesaid only excepted) to be by and between them divided share and share alike to have and to hold all such & demand of in to or our of all the real and personal estate (except as before is excepted) whereof the said Michael Throarbach the father died owner and seized unto the said Jacob Throarbach, William Throarbach, Nicholas Throarbach, Jacob Rief and Anna Elizabeth his wife, Jacob Lingenfelter and Mary Elizabeth his wife, Mary Catharine Throarbach, and the legal heirs and representatives of the said Adam Throarbach (the son) and to their heirs and assigns to the only proper use and behoof of the said Jacob Throarbach, William Throarbach, Nicholas Throarbach, Jacob Rief and Anna Elizabeth his wife, Jacob Lingenfelter and Mary Elizabeth his wife, Mary Catharine Throarbach, and the legal heirs and representatives of the said Adam Throarbach (the son deceased) and to their heirs and assigns forever, to be by and between them divided share and share alike only one equal share thereof to their heirs and representatives of the said Adam Throarbach the son deceased. In testimony whereof I have hereunder set my hand and seal this fifth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy two. Signed: Mathias (his mark) Throarbach. Witness: John Spangler, Henry Miller.

Despite the repetition, the bottom line is that the other heirs of Michael Throarbach had deeded their interests in a 125 acre parcel to Mathias and, in exchange, Mathias now renounces all his claims to the other real estate and personal property of his father.

Estate Accounting:   Estate of Michael Troarbagh, by William Troarbagh and Jacob Rief, administrators

See image.

Estate Accounting: Estate of Adam Droreback by William Droreback and Nicholas Droreback, executors

See image.

5 March 1770 Will of Adam Drorbach (copy)

Will of Adam Drorback.   Copy certified on 5 November 1807 by Jacob Barritz(?) Registrar for the probate of wills, etc. for the County of York.

A piece of paper in the case file reads: Rec’d Nov. 5th 1807 of Mr. Philip Hull Three Dollars Pen. for a copy of the Last Will & Testament of Adam Drohrback dec’d copy of the administration account & for a copy the administration acct. of the estate of Michael Droreback dec’d. J. Barritz.

The case must have been initiated earlier, perhaps in a different court, as William Traughber must have requested these documents before November 1807.

Loose Paper

The following loose paper is in the case file. Jacob Troarbaugh had been in Rockbridge County since 1805 when he first appeared on tax lists, but Nicholas Troarbach had left Rockingham by 1787 and the state by 1805. Either the clerk misunderstood or Jacob was uniformed about his uncle’s whereabouts.

Jacob Troarbaugh – otherwise called Jacob Drorebach vs. William Troarbaugh otherwise called William Drorebach & Nicholas Troarbaugh otherwise called Nicholas Drorebach – Pltf lives in Rockge – Defts in Rockin

  1. Rockingham County, Virginia Chancery Court Case #117 []