After 21 years of doing genealogy, today I stumbled upon the will of my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Polly Brown! It is ironic that it is in her death records that we learn the most about her life. Receipts to her creditors tell us what she was buying from the local businesses, one of which was "Hewitt Brothers", a business still standing today, shown here on Google Maps. This was a view from 2009. Much of the building, including the silos and towers, have since been removed, but this is one of the places Mary shopped regularly. Receipts show her purchasing coal and potatoes from Hewitt Bros. in 1916 and 1917.
Her bills at the local general store included lists of items she purchased on a regular basis: flour, sugar, oil, coffee, lard, beans, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla, butter, soup, tea, milk, margarine, pork, cod fish, rice, vinegar, canned tomatoes and crackers.
On page 20, we learn interesting details about Charles and Mary's son, Charles L. Leonard. Previously, I shared some clippings about his disappearance in 1888. He returned to his family before 1891, but from Mary's estate papers we learn that he left again afterwards. Because he was an heir named in Mary's will, attempts were made to locate him, without success. His son, Floyd, stated that the last he had heard of him, he was in Rochester and was going further west. The story sounds remarkably similar to that of Charles Russell Leonard's father, Russell Leonard, who left to buy land out west and never returned.
You can read through all the pages of Mary's will here and download or print it, if you'd like.