One of the earliest records available about the Baldridge family is the will of John Baldrige, dated July 15, 1766, in Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. According to Martic Township records, "Baldrige" was the early spelling of the surname "Baldridge," and he owned property that was referred to in the will as a "plantation." The will also refers to John Baldrige's occupation as "yeoman," an early name for "farmer." Other research found that Rebecca, who is referred to as his wife in the will, was Rebecca Clark, and the executors of the will are shown as Michael Baldrige and Thomas Clark, his brother and brother-in-law, respectively. John apparently died soon after the will was written, since it was probated on July 31, 1766. A transcription of the will appears below.
IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN, this fifteenth day of July, 1766, Whereas I John Baldrige of Martick Township and County of Lancaster being very weak and sickly in body; but in perfect mind and memory; thanks be to God, Therefore calling into mind the Mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to Die.
Do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say principally and first of all, I give and Recommend my Soul unto the hands of God that give it; and for my body, I Recommend it to the Earth to be buried in a Christian and Decent manner at the Discretion of my executors, nothing Doubting but at the general Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God.
And as touching such Worldly wealth wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life, I give and bequeath and Dispose of the Same in the following manner and form as follows viz: Rebecca Baldrige.
Imprimis that is first of all I allow ordain and appoint (after my Debts are paid) ten pounds to be levied out of my estate and paid unto my well beloved wife.
Item I also allow ordain and appoint fifteen pounds to be levied out of my Estate and paid unto my well beloved son William Baldrige.
Item I allow and appoint thirty pounds of my estate to be Divided amongst my Children at the Discretion of my executors according as they see them Deserving.
Item I ordain appoint and allow the Remainder of my estate to be equally divided amongst my well beloved Wife and Children.
Item If it should please God to Remove any of my Children by Death; that are not come of age before or after the Dividing of my estate I allow order and appoint their part to be equally Divided between my Wife and Children.
Item I allow my plantation not to be sold while my wife continues a Widow, except my executors see it more proper to dispose of it before then.
Item I order allow and appoint that part of my father's estate left to me to be equally Divided betwixt my wife and children.
Item I Nominate Constitute ordain and appoint my well beloved Friends Michael Baldrige and Thomas Clark to be sole executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal, the Day and Year above written.
John Baldrige (Seal)
Signed, sealed, acknowledged, and declared
In the presence of us
Lancaster County SS
On the thirty first Day of July Anno Domini, 1766, before me the Subscriber personally appeared Ferguson McElwaine one of the Subscribing Witnesses to the within will and on his Corporal Oath did depose and say that he was present and saw and heard John Baldrige, the Testator within named Sign, Seal, Publish pronounce and declare the within Writing as and for his Last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound and good disposing Mind Memory and Understanding to the best of his Knowledge observation and belief.
Edwd Shippen R.
Lancaster County SS
On the thirty first day of July in the year of our Lord 1766 before me the Subscriber personally appeared James Howe one of the Subscribing Witnesses to the within Will, and on his Solemn Affirmation did declare and say that he was present and saw and heard John Baldrige, The Testator within named, Sign Seal Publish pronounce and declare the within Writing as and for his Last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound and good disposing Mind Memory and Understanding to the best of his Knowledge Observation and Belief.
Edwd Shippen R.
Be it remembered that on the thirty first Day of July Anno Domini, 1766, the Last Will and Testament of John Baldrige late of Martick Township in the County of Lancaster Yoeman deceased was proved in due form of Law and Letters Testamentary were granted to Michael Baldrige and Thomas Clark the Executors therein Named, they being first duly Qualifed well and truly to Administer the Estate of the said decedent and to exhibit a true and perfect inventory thereof unto the registers Office at Lancaster on or before the thirty first day of August next, and to render a true and just Account of their Administration of the said Estate when thereto lawfully required. Given under the Seal of Said Office by me
Edwd Shippen R.