David Campbell, son of David and Elizabeth Dickey Campbell, was born on August 24, 1796. He lived upon the family homestead in West Windham and married Mary Marden. Tragically, Marden died at the age of 36 on February 3, 1837. Whether for practicality, or simply the need for companionship, David did not wait long before remarrying. Just several months after the passing of his first wife, David married the sister of his deceased wife, Mehitable, on September 14, 1837. Shortly after marrying Mehitable, David wrote a will bequeathing his entire estate to her. David died of consumption on June 5, 1839. Below is the last will and testament as written by David Campbell:
First, David left all of his, "personal estate of every name and nature that is to say all of my horned cattle and swine and horse and sheep together will all of my farming utensils". Farming was not only a valuable source of income for many early Windham farmers, but also a necessity. The sheep would provide wool for clothing, and the pigs would have eventually found their way to the dinner table. Also, Mehitable was willed all of the, "household furniture wearing apperil [sic]", with the provision that such items were not to be appraised upon David's passing. Along with the material possessions, David left his wife, "the use occupancy and income of all [his] real estate which was deeded to [him] by [his] father David Campbell"; ten acres of woodland that did not adjoin the farm were excluded. However, there was the provision that Mehitable's occupancy of the homestead would last only until the couple's youngest child turned fourteen years old; there was also the contingency that Mehitable must take care of all the children until they are fourteen years of age.
David did not leave his mother out of the will, ensuring that she will benefit from the sale of twenty cords of wood a year for every year that Mehitable lives on the property. He also added a provision that the executor of his estate provide Mehitable with a $50 stipend per year until the youngest child reaches the age of fourteen. When the youngest child did reach the age of fourteen, the rest of the real estate holdings were to be liquidated and $100 be donated to a missionary society.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.