This week, I’ve been going through a box of legal papers: wills, leases, contracts, etc., belonging to many different people.  I came across an interesting folder this morning with two papers relating to the Dager family.

The first was an inventory of the estate of Jacob Dager, a farmer from Whitemarsh.  The inventory shows that he was a prosperous farmer when he died in 1809.  Here are his livestock and some of his farm implements:


And here are some of his household goods:


Inventories are always interesting, and they can tell us so much about a person’s life, but the next document was even more interesting.

This long document is what we today call a “prenuptial agreement.”  Margaret Dager, Jacob’s widow, was preparing to marry Henry Scheetz, also of Whitemarsh.  The print is small, but if you click on the image, you can see it larger.


The very long indenture (it covers three and one half large sheets of paper) provides for Henry Scheetz to collect the rents and proceeds from the property for one year after Margaret’s death (should she predecease him).

one year

The document goes on to say a lot more, and a man named Caspar Schlatter of Upper Dublin comes into it somehow, but the legalese was too much for this archivist.  I guess a pre-nup in the early nineteenth century could be as complicated as the ones signed by modern movie stars.