Family Stories

Will of Benjamin Brown

Loudoun County, Virginia, Will Book 1793-1797

pp. 255-257

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Benjamin Brown, of Loudoun County and Commonwealth of Virginia, being weak of body but of perfect memory and sound mind thanks be unto the Almighty for the same, and calling to remembrance mind the uncertainty of this life, do make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following:  Imprimis.  I do desire that my body be decently buried at the discretion of my executors hereafter named and that they pay all my just debts.  My will and desire is that my well-beloved wife, Winifred Brown, have the use of all my slaves during her natural life, then at her decease, be forever liberated and fully discharged from the callings, claim or demand of my heirs or from all and every person or persons whatsoever.  The Negroes names are Primous, Harry, Betty and her two children, Michael and Bob, Lender and her sons, John and Silvey.  and I give and bequeath to my friend, William Middleton, one sorrel mare by the name of Tarter, also my new place on Calver Branch as granted me by Mr. Fairfax, containing one hundred and fifty acres of land according to a survey made by George Minor, also my new saddle forever.

I give and bequeath to my well-beloved wife, Winifred Brown, all my horses which I have not heretofore willed and all my horned cattle, sheep and hogs, also all my household and kitchen furniture, one wagon and gear, also the plantation whereon I now live with all the plantation utensils and all the residue of my property during her natural life; and if she should marry and have children at her decease I will and bequeath the whole of them forever, but if my wife, Winifred, has no child at her decease I give and bequeath to Mary Fox, widow of William Fox, deceased,  twenty pounds, I also give to Catherine, daughter to the aforementioned Mary Fox, twenty pounds, my new desk, one of my best feather beds and furniture and one large two leaf walnut table.  And all the remainder or residue of my property.  I do give and bequeath equally to be divided between John Owens and William Middleton, if they are living at the decease of my wife, Winifred, if not I give to the aforesaid Mary Fox if she is then living the whole, if not to her the said Mary Fox’s children forever.

I do hereby appoint William Middleton and John Owens executors of this my last Will and Testament and in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 14th day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five.  Sealed and acknowledged in the presence of John Moss, Jr., Presley Self, John West and William Stanhope.

                                                   Benjamin Brown

A codicil to the above will:  Whereas I have purchased a Negro boy of a certain Richards of Alexandria, named Will, since I made my above Will, I do therefore give and bequeath the said Will to my wife during her natural life and to the heirs of her body forever.  And in failure of such heir or heirs to be disposed of and descend to the persons whom my property is willed in the above Testament.  Given under my hand and seal this eighth day of July one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six.

Sealed and delivered in the presence of John West, William Stanhope, Mary Douglas

                                                  Benjamin Brown, N.B. The Testator desired John West to sign his name to the above codicil.

At a court held for Loudoun County October 10th, 1796.

This will was presented in court by William Middleton and John Owens and continued to the December court next for probate.  At another court held for said county on the 9th day of January 1797, the same was proved by the oaths of John Moss and Presley Self, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto.  And the codicil thereto annexed was proved by the oath of Mary Douglas, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

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