Stephen Lee 1791 Will

Stephen Lee’s will, written and recorded in Mason County, Virginia (soon to be Kentucky!), is one of the earliest on record – found on pages 8-10 of the first will book.  It is interesting that he gave one of his daughters a different legacy from the other six children – probably a story behind that, and one we will most likely never know. 

Scan051In the name of God, Amen. I, Stephen Lee, of the County of Mason, and Commonwealth of Virginia, being sick in body but of sound and perfect memory, and calling to mind the uncertainty of life, do make, constitute and ordain this my last will and testament in the manner and form following.

In the first place I will and devise that all my just debts be paid by my executors hereinafter mentioned,

Scan050and the remainder of my estate of every kind, after my just debts being paid, I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Anne Lee, during her natural life, and at her decease to be divided among my four sons and two daughters, namely Stephen Lee, Edward Lee, Henry Lee, Peter Lee, Susannah Sashbrooke and Jenny Mason, each of my children so named, to have an equal portion. They first paying to my daughter Lucy Bridwell the sum of thirty pounds of Virginia currency and tis my further will and desire that when my estate is divided that my several sons and daughters should possess as their part of their portion the following Negroes at their valuation, that my son Stephen Lee have one Negro man named Archie. My son Edward Lee to have one Negro man named Charles. My son Henry Lee one Negro man named Bristol. My son Peter Lee one Negro woman named Amy. My daughter Susannah Sashbrooke one Negro woman named Dinah, and my daughter Jenny Mason one negro girl named Celia, and tis my further will and desire that in case either of my sons herein before mentioned should die without heirs, that then the portion of such child so dying without heirs be divided equally among my surviving sons and daughters, as before mentioned or their heirs and I further will and desire that my beloved wife Anne Lee, before my estate is divided as above shall have the power to give at her own discretion to my son Edward Lee one feather bed and furniture and to my son Peter Lee one feather bed and furniture in case my said beloved wife Anne shall think proper so to do, and I do hereby constitute and confirm this to be my last will and testament and do revoke every other will or wills, either written or verbal and do constitute and appoint

Scan052my sons Stephen Lee, Edward Lee, Henry Lee and Peter Lee, executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of May 1791.

Stephen Lee

Witnesses present – Alexander Orr, Samuel Arrowsmith, Henry Ritter, Ezekiel Arrowsmith

At a court held for Mason County the 20th day of July 1791 –

The last will and testament of Stephen Lee, deceased, was proved by the oaths of Samuel Arrowsmith, Henry Ritter and Ezekiel Arrowsmith, sworn to by Henry Lee and Edward Lee, executors therein named and ordered to be recorded.       Thomas Matthews, Junior

John and Rachel Elizabeth Davis Buried at Old Paint Lick Cemetery

Old Paint Lick Cemetery in Garrard County is full of very old graves and many newer ones.  John and Rachel Elizabeth Davis both died in 1925 – she May 31st and he on August 9th.  Perhaps after being together for so many years he felt bereft without her!  They have a beautiful and unusual stone – it has a photo of the couple contained in an oval frame!  What a great remembrance for not only their children, but later generations!

IMG_3755John Davis, May 30, 1852 – August 9, 1925.  Rachel Elizabeth Davis, March 26, 1851 – May 31, 1925.  Old Paint Lick Cemetery, Garrard County, Kentucky.

IMG_3756Of the few photos I have seen on gravestones, this one has survived well – and for almost 100 years!  Many are not completely sealed and moisture gets behind the plastic or glass, making it foggy and the photo is not easily seen. 

1817 Marriage Bond of William Linton and Eliza Lyon Moran

William Linton and Eliza Lyon Moran are my 3rd great-grandparents.  William was a son of Captain John Hancock Linton and Nancy Mason.  Eliza was the daughter of William Moran and Mary Barber.  They were born in Loudoun County, Virginia, and as young adults came to Washington County, Kentucky, where they married.  They are buried in the old Linton Cemetery.


That we, William Linton and William Moran, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky, in the Just and full sum of Fifty Pounds, current money, the payment of which well and truly to be made to the said Commonwealth, we bind ourselves, our heirs, Jointly and severally firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 5th day of April 1817.  The Condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a Marriage shortly intended between the above bound William Linton and Miss Eliza Lyon Moran, daughter of the above bound William Moran, for which a License has issued, now if there be no lawful cause to obstruct said Marriage, then the above obligation to be void else to remain in full force and virtue in law.

                                                  William Linton

                                                 William Moran

Witness, John Hughes, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. P. Vincent of Kating Hall

Scan045 1Such a wonderful photo from the album – I don’t know where to start!  Mr. Vincent has marvelous mutton chops!  And look at his black velvet coat – small lapels and buttoned at the top – with the waistcoat in full view – is an 1880’s fashion – also the decorate cravat he wears.

Mrs. Vincent is beautifully dressed in a dark satin material, with many layers of ruffles at the hem.  Her tiny waist is shown off by wearing hoops under her dress, and the simple hair style and bodice of the dress would suggest an 1860’s look.

Scan046The photo is a carte-de-visite, an older one with no gold edging, which would date it to the 1860’s.  The only information on back is J. W. Gilmor, Photographer, 29 Head Street, Colchester, in a faint green color – and the name of the couple and where they live.  I could find no information on Kating Hall.  What do you think?

John Cunningham, Sr. Biography

Scan032 1When I posted the biography of John Cunningham a week or so ago, I thought it was this gentleman, but fortunately realized my mistake before I added this photo!  Both father and son are interesting!  This Mr. Cunningham owned a horse named Woodpecker.  Did a little research and found he was chestnut stallion, sired by Herod through Miss Ramsden.  Isn’t the internet wonderful?  You can even find bloodlines of thoroughbred horses!  Genealogy for horses!

from The History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, by Perrin, 1882

Bourbon County

John Cunningham, deceased, whose portrait appears in this work, may be truthfully said to have been one of the representative men of Bourbon County. He was born June 15, 1795, in Hardy County, Virginia. His parents were Robert and Mary Robinson Cunningham, both of whom were natives of the Old Dominion. Robert was born September 15, 1775. Robert was a son of John Cunningham, a native of Ireland, who immigrated to Virginia prior to the Revolution. Robert was a participant in the Whisky Rebellion of 1794, and served as major; his sword is yet in the hands of grandchildren here in Clintonville. He came to Kentucky in 1796, embarking at Wheeling in a flat boat, and settled on Strode’s Creek, in Clark County. To him were born John, Belinda, Jesse, Abner, Lucinda, Isaac, Jemima, Maria and Mary. John and Abner settled in Bourbon County; Jesse, Isaac and Maria settled in Clark County; Maria became the wife of Andrew Hume; Elizabeth, wife of John Flourney, of Scott County; Mary, of George Carlysle, of Woodford County; Isaac became the father of twenty-three children, but one of the number came to maturity, Rebecca, who married Isaac Vanmeter, of Clark County. John Cunningham, the subject of these lines, was married December 27, 1817, to Mary Bean, a native of this state. She was born September 22, 1796, on Strode’s Creek, in Clark County. She is the daughter of John Bean, and Eva, daughter of Dr. Peter Sensine, a native of Ireland. Mr. Cunningham removed to Bourbon County in 1818, where he spent the greater portion of his life. He was truly a representative man of his time. His early advantages for acquiring an education were very meager, but he made the best of his advantages and studied, and read much. Being a close and steady thinker, a liberal patron of good books, and the public journals, he became at length a well-informed man of the locality. He engaged successfully in farming; was a large land-holder at the time of his death; was very methodical and exact in his farming operations, building fence of the most durable character, stone being his choice, of which he has left many monuments in this line. He did much to encourage the breeding and growth of fine stock – horses seemed his favorite class. He gave especial attention to them, and owned the noted horse “Woodpecker”. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812, and was a warm and ardent admirer of Henry Clay. From 1833 to 1850 he served as Justice of the Peace; in 1853 he began handling short horns, and continued in this interest up to the time of his death. In 1833 he was chosen to represent his county in the legislature, re-elected in 1839, and to the Senate in 1851, ‘2, ‘3 and ‘4. In all matters that pertained to the good of the Commonwealth, John Cunningham ever bore a prominent part; he largely encouraged the building of railroads and pikes; he was free-hearted and unselfish in his aims and purposes, and labored for the good of his county and country generally, and at his death he was mourned as one beloved by all; he passed away peacefully, August 17, 1864. His wife yet survives him on the homestead, upon which lives John and Naomi; Robert and Lewis on farms adjoining.

Joseph Stephens Obituary

IMG_2831Joseph Stephens died April 2, 1885, aged 87 years.  Paris Cemetery, Bourbon County, Kentucky.

The only old Paris newspaper that I was aware of was The Bourbon News – have used it many times to find obituaries to go with gravestone photos I have taken. The on-line records are from 1895, and, of course, would not have an obituary from 1885. The following obituary was taken from The Kentuckian-Citizen, which was Bourbon County’s older and more widely known newspaper! I suppose it’s much like tiny Springfield, Kentucky, having two newspapers in the early years – The Springfield Sun and The News-Leader! Hurray for small towns and their multiple papers!

You can read more about Joseph Stephens, Sr., in an earlier blog – Stephens Family Buried at Paris Cemetery.

from The Kentuckian-Citizen, Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

April, 1885

Death of Joseph Stephens, Sr.

Uncle Joe Stephens is no more! He died at his residence in Paris on Wednesday night last, at 2 o’clock. Although he had been confined to the house for some time, he had kept his bed only a few days before his departure. He died at the good old age of 87 years. He came here from near Huddles Mills, in 1810, and learned silversmithing. After the death of his employer (Mr. Phillips) he succeeded him in business, on the square. In 1835 he went into the dry goods business with George Ballard, from Maryland. After this he was engaged in various ways for some years, until he, and his son, Charles Stephens, went into the grocery business, in which he continued for the rest of his life, being able to attend to business up to quite a recent date.

“Uncle Joe”, as nearly everyone called him, was universally respected and loved. He was one of the sincerest and most unpretentious men that ever lived. In Paris, where he lived for three quarters of a century, he was regarded a model of uprightness and Christian integrity. For more than 60 years he was a faithful member of the Baptist Church, over 50 years holding the office of deacon, in which he was blameless. He was also treasurer of the church for a number of years.

Mr. Stephens is now, perhaps, more of the history of Paris than any other man, and was often sought for information on this subject. He has gone from our midst and will be greatly missed by the entire community. His wife preceded him to the tomb ten or twelve years ago. His surviving children are Joseph Stephens, of Marietta, Ohio; Mrs. Clark, of Louisville, Charles Stephens, Miss Josie Stephens and Mrs. Varden, of Paris.

The funeral, conducted by the pastor, Rev. J. A. French, occurred at the Baptist Church yesterday, at 3 o’clock. There was a large concourse of sympathizing friends present in spite of the bad weather.

Edward B. Edwards 1816 Tax Receipt

Scan044This tax receipt for Edward Barbour Edwards, my 4th great-grandfather, was saved by my great-grandmother, Frances Barbour Linton, and several others in the family, for 200 years!  Grandmother Linton finished her life during the depression, a time in our country’s history when everything was saved to be used at some point.  She was also a genealogist, who used scraps of farm notebook paper on which to write her genealogy charts and family information.  I am so very thrilled that she, and those who came before her, saved these special pieces of information that are so vitally important to me – and other Edwards/Linton descendants!

How I would love to have met this woman!  She was so strong, so kind and passionate, and loving to all who knew her.  I have my mother’s stories that I go back and read over and over – although it is hardly necessary since they are written on my heart!

As you can see, this tax receipt is from Loudoun County, Virginia.  In the next few years Edward Edwards and his family will pull up stakes and move to Washington County, Kentucky, with his father-in-law, Captain John Hancock Linton, and the other children of the captain.  What a trip that must have been!  The wagons, the horses, the adults and children!  Edward’s wife, Nancy, was riding a horse during their trek across the Cumberland Gap – side-saddle, I am sure, as any lady at that time period would!  The horse was spooked by a wildcat and Nancy was thrown, breaking her leg.  A litter was made for her, and she made her way into Kentucky in this way – never walking again.  They reached Washington County in early November, 1818.

Edward and Nancy Edwards had eight children; the eldest child, Susan Clark Edwards, was my 3rd great-grandmother.  Two sons, John L. and Jonathan Joseph married, as well as another daughter, Martha, and all had families.  Mary Jane married, but did not have children, and the last three remained single – Catherine, Ben and Sarah.  But the aunts and uncles with no children loved their nieces and nephews and helped raise them!

Back to the tax receipt.  It reads, “Received this 23 day of March, 1816, from Edward B. Edwards, the sum of three dollars and eight cents for the District Tax of 1815 upon the property of said Edwards in the county of Loudoun in the Twenty-second Collection District in the state of Virginia.  Signed, John Littlejohn, Collector for the 22nd Collection District, in the state of Virginia.”

Being a tax collector for a school district for twenty-five years (part of my job as Finance Officer), I wonder percentage that would be?  Of course, land was not the price it is today, but we would all love a property tax of $3.08!



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