Saturday, February 4, 2017

Wills - Way Back Then

Years ago, before typewriters, word processors and such, Wills, aka Last Will and Testaments, were written out by hand. It's interesting to me that the heirs, executors, executrices, and officials of the deceased had to list everything the deceased owned. That was called an inventory, just as we would say today.

The writing on these old documents is sometimes difficult to decipher but I love reading the items in the inventory. Here are a few from one written in 1737.

Let me get my magnifying glass...

  • Item: One small copper vissica containing ab. 12 gal. with worm and grubb (What?)
  • Item: One grinding stone. 
  • Item: Four brass pans one small brass bottle.
  • Item: Two bedstock and beddings
  • Item: One arm chair and six other black walnut chairs
  • Item: One long table with seven chairs
  • ______ wearing apparel with horse saddle & bridle (odd that these were listed together)
  • Item: One meal chess, dow (bread dough?) trough, salt box with old chest
  • Item: One bedstock with bedding with one warming pan
  • Item: One hatchel one pair of tow combs
  • Item: Five milk cows with five young calves
  • Item: To (two?) Sunday books, Three Welsh Bibles and two English Bibles, one Welsh concordance
  • Item: One looking glass and one prospective glass with two candlesticks
That's enough--my eyes can't handle it! There were quite a few items listed; this isn't nearly half of it. Here's a section of it. You can see that it is hard to read. This was the inventory of our Dillon ancestor, Morgan James, circa 1737.

He left his beloved wife with one milk cow of her choice! Seems to me she should have been given all of the milk cows! 

Here's a transcription of another ancestor's Will:

Will of Samuel Underwood

In the name of God Amen.

     I, Samuel Underwood, of the County of Orange in the Providence of North Carolina, being weak in body but of sound memory,  blessed be God, do this first day of the third month, commonly called March, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Three, do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testiment in manner following:  First, I allow my funeral charges and just debts to first be paid out of my Estate. I do give and bequeath unto my Beloved Wife, Anna Underwood, the third of my Estate and a horse called Pompy and her side saddle and a pot & kittle and two cows. I give to my son, Henry Underwood, five shillings Prov. I give to my son, Alex, five shillings. I give to my eldest daughter, Mary Cloud, five shillings. I give to my son, Samuel, twenty shillings. I give to my son, Benjamin, twenty shillings, I give to my son, James, five shillings. I give to my daughter, Anne, five shillings. I give to my daughter, Jane, a cow that I called hirs. I give to my daughter, Ruth, a mare colt. I order all the remainder part of my goods & chattels to be equally divided amongst my four youngest daughters: Jane, Sarah, Elizabeth & Ruth. I do constitute and appoint my Beloved Wife and my son, Alexander, my sole executors of this my Last Will and Testament in trust for the intent to and purposes in this my Will contained in witness whereof I, the said Samuel Underwood have to this my Last Will and Testament, Set my hand & Seal the Day and year above written--

Signed Sealed & Delivered by the Said Samuel Underwood as and for his Last Will and Testament. 

Have fun watching the Super Bowl tomorrow. I'll be watching the half-time show but plan to keep on keeping on with my research and writing.

Ta ta for now,


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