Even though the probate file of Catherine Collins, widow of Thomas Collins, of Appoquinimink Hundred, New Castle, DE, didn’t contain the Staats link I was looking for, it did yield an interesting look into Revolutionary America. While we all know about “patriots” and “tories”, I’ve seldom run across it in my research. Of course, these are documents of the people, not politicians, so they are not referred to as such. In this case, it is just a woman’s son and a family divided.
An excerpt from the will of Catherine Collins, dated 20 Jan 1782:
“ It is my will and pleasure that if my son George Collins now absent with the Brittons ever returning and being clared [sic] by the Law of the United States for gowing [sic] with the Brittons then it is my will and pleasure…If said George Collins dieng [sic] without heirs lawfully begotin [sic] or never returning then it is my will that all my maden [sic] land and movable estate remain in the hands of my son John Collins…”
There is so much left unsaid in this simple bequest, that it really touched something in me, and in doing so, made the American Revolution just a little bit more personal. Thank you, Mrs. Collins.
 Delaware, New Castle County Register of Wills. RG 2545.01, Catherine Collins (1783-1786); Microfilm; Delaware Public Archives, Dover.