MYSTERY: Was Mary
Skeen, the wife of Peter, Mary (Fitzsimmons), as shown undocumented on
many Skeen family charts? The use of this maiden name for
Mary Skeen appears to have originated based on the following
(1) Peter Skeen was the administrator of the estate of Philip
Fitzsimmon’s widow, Mary Fitzsimmons, who died in 1800, by
then also the widow of Wm. Toy.
(2) Philip Fitzsimmons, of Worcester Twp. named a
sister Mary in his 1770 will.
A closer look at the will and estate papers of Philip Fitzsimmons.
(1770-1807), and the estate records of Mary Fitzsimmons Toy
(1800-1802), however, leave room for doubt about the assumption
that Mary’s maiden name was Fitzsimmons. There is no question
that there was a connection between Peter and/or Mary Skeen to Mary,
widow of Philip Fitzsimmons and Wm. Toy. However, the stipulations
of the will of Philip Fitzsimmons for his widow, six sisters, and minor
dau., Ann, preclude his having a daughter Mary. The married names
of his sisters are given in none of the records, and Mary Skeen’s age
opens the possibility that she was a daughter of one of the sisters, with
a different maiden name. For these reasons we have shown her as
Mary ( ).
(Phila. Co. Will Book M:50; History of Worcester,
556 pgs., unindexed, owned by Barbara Wentz; PA. AR.,
Vol. VIII7 “Marriage Records of the Swedes
Church (Gloria Dei), Philadelphia, PA”; O'Brien, Michael J, Irish
Settlers In America, Genealogylibrary.com; Phila. Co. Will
Book O:499, written and proved 1770; PA.
AR., Third Series, Vol. XIV, Tax Lists, Worcester Twp.;
PA. AR., Vol. IX 7 , “Marriage Records
of Second Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, 1774; Phila. Co.
Docket Book 10:210. Before court 12 Sep 1774: Petition for Guardian, LDS Film
#0021845; Mont. Co. Estate Files of Mary Toy, RW17015,
OC19267; Meier 28, First Vol., pp.
18, 24.; “Neighborhood News and Notices” from
HSMC Bulletin V: 333: Sept. 7, 1807, settlement of estate of
Clues for solving the Mystery:
1. Possibilities for Mary Skeen’s identity:
As Mary Skeen was
born in 1752, she would have been about 25 years younger than
Philip Fitzsimmons, so it is possible she was his niece, and her maiden
name not Fitzsimmons. A family tie could have also been with
Philip’s wife Mary Fitzsimmons. Philip first appears
1759-1761 as a Tavern owner and land holder in Providence Twp. and as
a witness of Frederick Smith’s will in 1759, Wife of Frederick, Mary
and Henry Pawling of Providence Esq. Execs.; Other wits. Christian
Recoup and Peter Bunn. He was “of Providence” in 1763
when he buys land in Worcester Twp. He moves to Worcester but keeps at
least part of his land in Providence. Was he the Philip who m.
Mary Goldsmith in 1750? And/or the Philip on the 1754 tax list of
Maiden Creek Twp., Berks Co.? [Some marriages recorded as done in
Philadelphia were actually done at St. Gabriel’s, Berks
Co.] Was his brother-in-law Samuel Lewis a deceased
sister’s husband, a brother of Philip’s wife, Mary, or married to his wife’s
SEE FAMILY OF SAMUEL RICHARDSON
[Family of Joseph Richardson.]
(Phila. Co. Will Book M:50; Worcester
Historical Society, A History of Worcester Township, Boyertown Publ.
Co, Boyertown, PA, 1976 1978, 556 pgs., unindexed, owned by Barbara
Wentz; PA. AR. Vol. VIII 7
“Marriage Records of Old Swede’s Church (Gloria Dei),
Philadelphia, PA”; O'Brien, Michael J, Irish Settlers In
2. The will of Philip
Included a desire to be buried in
the Catholic Cemetery in Philadelphia. and wife Mary, and Joseph
Cauffman of Phila. to be executors; legatees were wife Mary... a
minor daughter, Ann... his six sisters Bridget, Rose,
Catherine, Mary, Elinor and Ann [all of whom were married, but
whose ages and married names are unknown]... Rev. Robert Harding
minister of the Catholic Church of Phila. ... and a brother-in-law, Samuel
-The wording of the stipulations for the legacy of his wife and dau, if they
should die include his sisters and preclude his having other children.
- Dau. Ann to have ½ of estate when age 20 (or earlier if married), unless
his widow remarries in which case Ann gets 2/3 of the estate.
- Sisters to get 60 pounds, and more in case of death of widow and
- Brother in law Samuel Lewis to get 9 pounds annually for 3
Co. Will Book O:499, written and proved 1770.)
3. Mary Fitzimmons, widow of
Mary Fitzsimmons continues to live on Philip’s 100 acres in Worcester
(PA. AR., Third Series, Vol.
1774- Mary Fitzsimmons m. William
Toy; and Ann Fitzsimmons, “infant dau. of Philip
Fitzsimmons upwards of 14”, chooses Henry Pawling Esq. as her
(PA. AR., Vol. IX
7 , “Marriage Records of Second Presbyterian Church,
Philadelphia, 1774; Phila. Co. Court Docket Book 10:210. Before court Sept.
12, 1774: “Petition for Guardian”, LDS Film #0021845.)
1779 - next extant list of Worcester Twp. : Mary Toy, widow
1788- Mary Toy, executor of Philip, sells to Samuel Baird [Bard?],
[Recorded 1789 as sold by assignee of Joseph Cauffman and Mary Toy, executors “Beginning stone in
great Road...by Arnold Zimmerman. . .Stephen Boyers. . .John Adolph Mayer. .
.Adam Vanfossen. . .by great road.]
(Mont. Co. Sheriff’s Deed A-41, estate file of Mary
Toy; History of Worcester Township (ibid #1 above)
4. Estate Files of Mary Toy,
Montgomery County Archives, Norristown PA, Research of Barbara
Wentz, 5 May, 2004
RW17015 : 1800 Mary Toy,
Providence Peter Skeen, Administrator
OC19267: This file contains
not only the records of Mary Toy, but also some records
of Philip Fitzsimmons as they relate to her as late executor of his
Oct. 4th, Inventory: Mary
Toy, late of Providence, dated 6 Sep 1800, by Elisha Evans and
James Skeen, [brother of Peter].
1800 - Dec. 6th Vendue Held,
Peter Skeen, Administrator, purchasers: [list of only familiar names
included] Samuel Bard... Wm. Fitzgerald [wife “Eleanor” also a sister of
Elizabeth Skeen?- wife of Joseph Skeen m. John Fitzgerald], James Skeen Jr
[son of Peter]... John and Jacob Fronefeldt... Samuel Roberts...
Peter Skeen... Valentine Shambaugh [Von Fossen/Skeen cousin]... Andrew
Casselbury... Ann Newberry... Elihu Trowbridge
[husband of Mary and Peter Skeen’s dau. Margaret- yellow silk gown, 3
petticoats, gold ring and silver spoon]... Fred Turner [bought 11
1802 - Estate Settlement: Account
of Peter Skeen, administrator of Mary Toy- Allowances to: Joseph
Glover...Joseph Henry...Peter Turner for grave....William
Fitzgerald...Henry Roosen Esq....Fred Baker...A. Webb...Derrick
Casselberry...Elisha Evans...Owen Evans...Wm. Smith...Peter Skeen
for funeral expenses...James Morgan Esq....Saml Skeen, crying
Vendue...By cash paid Sarah Lewis pr settlement...By cash paid
Ann Turner, her acct. for attendance during illness [this is probably
Mary Toy’s sister in law Ann or her dau. Ann?]...Peter Turner for
Barn...Ann Wills per Rect....Seth Capman...A. Webb.
5. [Not in Estate Papers]
1803 - Feb. 18, Joseph Cauffman, Ex,
to the Estate of Philip Fitzsimmons, dec., is selling a Plantation in
Providence, 4 miles above Norristown, on the Reading road, containing
a log House, Barn, and Well.
1803 - Dec. 30,
Jonathan Meredith cautions people from buying the property of Philip
Fitzsimmons, dec. being offered by Joseph Cauffman, because the premises
have been mortgaged by Mary Toy, dec., in her lifetime, to Jonathan Meredith
of the City of Phila. which has never been satisfied.
First Vol., pp. 18, 24.)
6. Estate File of Mary Toy
1805 - 14 May - Petition of Peter
Skeen: That your petitioner administered the Estate of Mary Toy, dec.
Petitioner has some time past settled his accounts as Adm., which have been
confirmed by OC. Since which time real estate has been sold by Joseph
Caufman, as surviving Exr. Of Philip Fitzsimmons which sale or
part is said to belong to Estate of Mary Toy. Pet. requests to be
released from his Adm in order that Register may appoint [Jonathan]
Meredith or some other principal creditor of said Mary Toy who may have it
in their Power to recover the said money from said Caufman for payment of
their debts. Signed Peter Skeen.
1805 - 20 May
- David Meredith, Administrator: We, David Meredith, Jonathan
Meredith, William Meredith, all of Phila., bound to Pa for $600,
Whereas Mary Toy, late Providence, died intestate and Adm. Granted to Peter
Skeen, who entered upon Adm. by OC May Term 1805, leaving divers of
the Goods, Chattels & Credits of said Mary Toy, unadministered.
Conditions of obligation of David Meredith, Adm. Of Mary Toy, left
unadministered by said Peter Skeen. . .make an inventory of Mary Toy,
dec. left unadministered by Peter Skeen. . .that have or shall come to his
hands, possession, or knowledge before 1 Dec next. All three
signed in presence of J. Meredith ?? & Robert Morrison
7. Estate of Phillip Fitzsimmons is settled.
1807 - Sept. 7: Subscribers hereby give
notice to the Sisters of the late Philip Fitzsimmons of Worcester
township. . . that a sum of money having been received by Joseph
Cauffman, Ex. of . . . said Fitzsimmons, the devisees will be paid such
proportions thereof as they are respectively entitled to, upon application to
Margaret Cauffman, Ann Teresa Cauffman, Mark Wilcox, Executors of Joseph
and Notices” from HSMC Bulletin Vol. 5, No. 4, p.333.)
(1) Date of above is 37 years after will of Philip Fitzsimmons
(2) The will of Joseph Cauffman Merchant of
Philadelpia was proved Feb. 13, 1807.
(Mont. Co. Will Book 2:65.)
(3) The estate records of both Phillip Fitzsimmons and Joseph Cauffman in
Philadelphia Archives have been checked by Rita Gerardine and neither of them
mention the names of the heirs of Mary Toy. An accounting in
the file of Joseph Cauffman says only, “...paid to the heirs of Mary
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