Many wills in the 18th and 19th centuries included an inventory listing all the possessions of the deceased in order to calculate the value of his or her estate for payment of estate taxes. Estate inventories can tell us a lot about the life of the deceased, including how wealthy or poor they were, what work they did, how they and their family lived, and more. Wills and inventories are found in the Surrogate Court of every county in the State. John L. Hardenbergh was one of the founders of Auburn, New York. This inventory is from the Cayuga County Currogate's court, Auburn, New York.
How does personal property help to tell a person's story?
Check for Understanding
Using evidence from the document, write a historical narrative of John Hardenbergh's life.