The following will is rather sad to read. The husband talks of being “sick and weak of body”, but yet has two daughters that are not yet named – he must be fairly young. Are these twin infants? Perhaps only a few days or weeks old? The will was written on April 17, 1797. Twelve days later John Sanders adds a codicil – his wife has died in this short time! Think of all those young children without their mother! And by June Court – a short six weeks – the father, too, has died. Eleven children under 21 years of age orphaned!
from Loudoun County, Virginia, Will Book 1793-1797
In the name of God, Amen. The 17th day of April, 1797, I, John Sanders, of Loudoun county, being sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, therefore, calling to 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 hands of Almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mightypower of God. And as to what worldly estate it hath pleased the Almighty God of his bounty to bless me with in this life, I give, demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.
First, I leave Mary, my dearly beloved wife, in full possession of my whole estate, real and personal. I will and bequeath unto my sons, James and John, all that tract of land that I lately purchased of John Bronaugh, lying in this county, said to contain five hundred acres, to be equally divided between them when they arrive at the age of twenty-one years old. The other tract of land purchased of Jonathan Price, containing one hundred and forty acres, as also the lease place on which I now reside, I wish to be sold after the death of my loving wife and to be equally divided among my daughters, viz., Sarah, Elizabeth, Barbary, Mary, Patience, Nancy, Bethaney and the two infants not yet named or among as many of them as shall live till the period of their mother’s death, or have issue to heir for them. And all and every other of my estate, either real or personal, my will is that it shall be equally divided at the death of my dearly beloved wife among all my sons and daughters before named, each of them sharing an equal part (except as before excepted of the lands otherwise devised) and it is my will and wish that as my children may marry or come at age they shall receive of my executors, or rather their mother, if convenient, at least one hundred and fifty pounds as a part of their share of my estate at the discretion of my executors. My will also is that all the children shall have proper schooling out of my estate or the profits of it and that the rents of the land devised to my sons, James and John, until they arrive at age, shall be considered as a part of my estate to be equally divided among the whole of my children. I give my executors a discretionary power to sell Negroes Aaron and Suck, or part of my stock as they may think proper at any time they see most convenient for the true performance of which I do constitute, make and ordain, Mary Sanders, my dearly beloved wife, and Presley Sanders and Aaron Sanders, my faithful and beloved brothers, executors to this my Last Will and Testament and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul, all and every other former testament, wills, legacies and bequeaths and executors by me any ways before named, willed or bequeathed, ratifying this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed, sealed, pronounced and declared by the said John Sanders as his Last Will and Testament in presence of Henry Sanders, Moses Sanders, William Brawner
April the 29th, 1797. Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God since I made the above will to take from us my dearly beloved wife, I have therefore thought it necessary this one and only alteration in my will, that is, that the land mentioned to be sold after the death of my wife shall not be sold under the term of ten years from this time. But that it may be after that term sold if it is thought proper to do so by my executors and as before mentioned, to be divided among my daughters connected with the above will as my Last Will and Testament. In witness to which I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day above .
Witnesses present, Henry Sanders, Moses Sanders, William Brawner
At a court held for Loudoun County, June the 12th 1797
This Last Will and Testament of John Sanders, deceased, together with the codicil thereto annexed was proved by the oath of Moses Sanders and William Brawner, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. And on the motion of Presley Sanders and Aaron Sanders, the executors therein named, who made oath thereto according to law, and together with Timothy Hixon and John Binns, their securities, entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of twenty thousand dollars, conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form. Teste Chas. Binns, Cl. Cur.