The Will of Henry Williams

Will of Henry Williams, written 1785 Caswell Co., NC

In the name of God Amen; I Henry Williams of the county of Caswell and state of North Carolina being in perfect health, thanks be to almightly God for his mercies but taking into consideration the shortness and uncertaintly of this Transitory life, and that this is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to va_y) First and principally I commend my soul onto almightly God my Creator assuredly Believing that I shall receive full pardon and free remission of all my sins; and be saved by the precious Death and merits of my saviour and Redeemer Christ Jesus; Item: my desire first and last is that all my lawful Debts be paid off; ……..

1st – To my Eldest son Daniel Williams three hundred and forty acres of land taken off the North side of the Track of land I purchased from John Henslee, two negros, Jacob and Amee…One feather bed and furniture one grey horse two cows and Calves; And two Ewes(?) and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and his heirs forever.

2nd – To my son Joseph Williams, the other three hundred acres of land that I purchased of said Henslee; and also two hundred and sixteen acres adjacent thereto lying on the waters of Toms Creek; and one Negro Boy named James, one Negro Girl named Dinah (?) one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds one Feather bed and furniture Two cows and calves Two Ewes and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and heirs forever;

3rd – To my son Nathan Williams a track of land I purchased of Thomas Hart containing three hundred and firfty acres, Negroes Tom and Pheobe, one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds. One feather bed and furniture, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs and other Household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and his heirs for ever;

4th – To my son Henry Williams the track of land where I now live called McMeirs (?) old track at my wifes death or intermarriage, and also one hundred and twenty seven acres of land lying between where I now live and the land purchased from John Henslee; One Negro girl named Charlotte and one hundred pounds to purchase him a negro fellow, one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds, one feather bed furniture two cows and calves two ewes and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to him and his heir forever;

5th – I also give the remainder of my lands lying on the waters of country line creek to be equally divided between my four sons to support their other lands with timber;

6th – Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Nancy Rice one mare and saddle one feather bed and furniture two cows and calves two ewes and lambs half dozen pewter plates, two pewter bassons, one pewter dish and iron pot, one iron skillet to her and heirs forever; I also lend to my Daughter Nancy Rice one Negro woman named Rachel and one Negro Boy named Bob during her natural life at her death they and their Increase to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully be begotten in wedlock.

7th – Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Elisabeth Williams one mare named Bounce, a womans saddle, one feather bed and furniture, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs and other household furniture and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice to her and her heirs forever; I also lend to my dauther Elisabeth, one negro woman named Sampson and fifty pounds during her natural life and at her death to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

8th – I give and bequeath to my daughter Sussanne Rice one bed and furniture, one mare and saddle half dozen pewter plates two pewter Bass___ one pewter dish, one iron pott, one iron skillet all which she has already received. And also two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs to her and her heirs forever. I aslo lend to my dauther Sussana Rice, one Negro girl named Rose, and one negro boy named Simon, during her natural life and at her death to be equally divided and their increase among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock; ___

9th – I give and bequeath to my daughter Ursaly Duke Peoples one feather bed and furniture, one woman’s saddle half dozen pewter plates, two pewter bassons, one pewter dish, one iron skillet all which she has already received. I likewise give her a mare colt that come out of Bounce and one iron pott, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs to her and her heirs forever. I also lend to my daughter Ursaly Duke Peoples one negro Boy named Peter and one Negro girl named Jane during her natural life and at her death they and their increase to be equally diveded among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

10th – I give to my daughter Salley Brooks one feather bed and furniture to her and her heirs forever; I also lend to my daughter Salley Brooks ___ (Writing is squished and unclear and crossed out. I can read Sarah Peters? and more about Salley Brooks)

…During her natural life and at her death to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

11th I give to my daughter Jane Williams one horse and saddle to the value of twenty pounds, one feather bed and furniture, two cows and calves, two ewes and lambs and other household furniture equal with Nancy Rice. I also lend to my dauther Jane Williams one negro man named Will, and one negro girl named named Ester during her natural life and at her death they and their increase to be equally divided among the heirs of her body lawfully begotten in wedlock;

12th – I lend to my well beloved wife Elizabeth Williams my manner plantation and all my slaves that is not mentioned in my former legacies and four work horses and all the remaining part of my stock of cattle. Hogs and sheep and two beds and furniture and the remaining part kitchen furniture during her widowhood to maintain and school the children upon. But if she should intermarry, I appoint that all my estate be taken out of her hands. Except five negros (to Witt), Frank, Sall, Fanny, Sarah, little Hannah, and one feather bed and furniture and all the stock of every kind, and all the kitchen furniture which I lend her during her natural life and at her decease to be equally divided between my sons and daughters or their heirs and my Grand Daughter Mary Slade and all the rest of my estate be it of what kind or quality so ever I appoint that it be sold and the money arrising there from to be equally divided among my sons and daughters and my grand daughter Mary Slade or their heirs; I also appoint that if my daughter Elisabeth should live longer than her mothers widowhood that at her Intermarriage my daughter Elisabeth and her Estate, I leave to be conducted by my son in law William Rice and if she should die without heir that then all her estate except her negro I leave to William Rice and her negro I leave to be equally divided with the other part of my estate that is divided…..

Lastly I appoint my wife, and my son in law William Rice and my son Daniel Williams at the arival of Twenty one years of age whole and sole executors and Executrix of this my last will and testament to be performed in witness where of I do hereunto set my hand and seal this Twelfth Day of April one thousand seven Hundred and Eighty Five.

Signed, sealed, published, and Declared

in presents of

John Henslee (Jurat)                                      Henry Williams

William Brown (Jurat)

Thomas Rice

Executors Elisabeth Williams William Rice

Qualified ______ ______

This will was proven in open court in January 1786, Caswell County, NC, by the oath of John Hensley and William Brown.

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2 Responses

  1. Do you have any info on Elizabeth Williams- My ggggrandmother was Elizabeth Williams- she was born in NC around 1784- she shows up in the 1850 census- she first married John Hosford and they had one son, John died within a few years and their son, Isaac Russell Hosford, in the 1850 census she is living with him and her current husband, Moses Wright in Montgomery County, Ga. I am trying to find the correct Elizabeth Williams, there are so many- thanks, Kitte Hosford Carter kitte@mrrecruiter.com

    • Hi Kitte, thanks for writing. You have a tough name to work with as Elizabeth Williams is very common. In fact I have several possibilities for your Elizabeth just in Granville and Caswell Counties, NC alone. My advice would be to track the migration of her family and friends – Who did she associate with or live near in Montgomery Co., GA? Can you trace her friends back to NC and if so, to what county? Good luck!

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