This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small,
and this week’s challenge is “Where there’s a will.”
I find it interesting that in the case of wills left by men, they always contain land, money, and sometimes slaves. When we see a will left by a woman, it contains things more intimate in nature – books, sheets, dishes. The following are wills left by my 6th great-grandparents, James Rodgers Sr (1734 MA – 1794 TN) and his wife, Margaret Woods Rodgers (1746 VA – 1811 TN). I highlighted the items so you don’t have to read the whole things. 🙂
Will of James Rodgers
In the Name of God, Amen. I, James Rodgers Junr. of Green County and Western Territory south of the Ohio, being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, calling unto 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 into the hand of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the Earth, to be buried in a decent Christian manner at the discretion of my Executors. And as touching such wordly estate wherewith it hath pleased God in bless me in this life, I give and dispose of the same in the following manner, Viz, after defraying funeral expenses and discharging all just debts, I will bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife Margaret, a Negro girl named Esther, one sorrel mare seven or eight years old with saddle and bridle, two cows, one bed and beddings, wit the third of all my movable property, to her, her heirs and assignees forever. I likewise will that she shall have the use of the Plantation I now live on during her widowhood, for the support of her and her children, with all necessary farming utensils.
Item. I likewise will and bequeath to my son Joseph one hundred and fifty acres of land to be cut of the upper end of my Plantation with five pounds of Virginia currency to be paid in cash.
Item. I will and bequeath to my son John, and my son Samuel, the plantation I now live on in the following manner, and my son John to have upper end joining my son Joseph, and my son Samuel the lower end, to be divided equally betwixt them in quantity and quality, not withstanding should my son John, or my son Samuel, or either of them, come of age during my wife’s widowhood, that they then shall have liberty of improving the woodland belonging to their part as they think proper.
Item. I will and bequeath to my son James and Thomas, the sum of fifty pounds Virginia currency each, to be paid by my sons John and Samuel two years after full possession of their land each paying an equal part.
Item. I will and bequeath to my daughter Sarah one sorrel mare three or four years old with saddle and bridle.
Item. I will and bequeath to my daughter Margaret the sum of fifteen pounds Virginia currency to purchase a horse at her discretion with her saddle and bridle.
Item. I will and bequeath to my daughter Jean, one Negro girl named Hannah, to be her property during said Jean’s life and at her death my executors to sell said Negro and after paying the person who had the care of her during her life, what they think sufficient for their trouble, that then the remainder to be divided equally amongst my Legatees. I likewise constitute and appoint my loving wife Margaret my executrix and my Trusty Friends David Fleming and Samuel Froesure my executors to this my Last Will and Testament and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and dismal all and every other former Testaments, Wills, Legacies, Bequeasts and Executors by me, in any ways before named, willed and bequeathed; Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have herein to set my hand and seal this fifth day of July, in this year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.
Will of Margaret Rodgers
Margaret Rodgers dec’d (Min. 6 P. 155)
Tuesday 29th January 1811. This execution of the last will and testament of Margaret Rodgers dec’d was duly proven by the oath of Jacob Kilo and Margaret Campbell, late Margaret Rodgers Jr., their subscribing witnesses, and ordered to be recorded and is as follows. In the name of God Amen.
I Margaret Rodgers Senior of the County of Green and State of Tennessee, being weak and indisposed in body, but of sound, mind and judgemen, do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament. First I will that my funeral expenses be paid by me executors hereafter named and that all lawful debts be paid. Likewise I will and bequeath to my three daughter (viz) Sarah, Margaret, and Jane all four sheets and table linen, to be equally divided between them. Likewise I will and bequeath to my two daughters Sarah and Margaret, my two dishes and puter plates to be equally divided between them. Likewise, I will and bequeath to my daughter Margaret on three year old heifer spotted red and white, and one young sow. Likewise, I will and bequeath to my daughter Jane one new twilled feather bed, two good sheets, three good blankets, one rug, one red, blue and white coverlid, one calico and a linen quilt, one bolster, two pillows with proper cases and bedstead. And likewise all my new seven hundred linen. Also one hundred and fifty dollars to be let to intrust for her use, and if she the said Jane should decease before said money is for her lawful maintenance, then and in that case the money all or in part (as the case may be) shall be divided equally amongst the rest of my heirs. Also one good hog one cow and calf, one set of bed hanglings. It is likewise my earnest request that my daughter, Sarah Kelly, shall keep and nurse my said daughter Jane and it is my will that said Sarah get all the said Jane’s clothes, bed and furniture at her decease. I likewise bequeath to my daughter Margaret, one blue and white coverlid. Likewise I wil and bequeath my fowls of all kinds to my son John Rodgers’ wife, Jane, my daughters Sarah and Margaret. Likewise I will and bequeath one margin Bible to my son James Rodgers. Likewise I give to my daughter Margaret one pocket Bible. Likewise I will and bequeath to my sons Thomas John and Samuel Rodgers and likewise my daughter Sarah each one school Bible. The rest of my estate to be sold and divided equally amongst all my heirs. Likewise or ordain and appoint my son John Rodgers and William Kelly executors of this my last will and testament. Witness my hand and seal this first day of September one thousand eight hundred and nine.
Signed and acknowledged in presence of
Jacob (his mark) Kilo
Margaret (her mark) Rodgers
Coddicil to this will. Whereas my son Samuel Rodgers hath some time past purchased a horse from me for which he was to pay me the sum of twenty pounds Virginia currency and have never paid the same, this is therefore to will that the said twenty pounds be added to the dividend of my estate and be reducted out of his part.