Family Stories

Will of Thomas Masters – Stafford County, Virginia

I find this will interesting for several reasons.  It is very long and detailed, spelling out what Thomas Masters wants to leave his wife and two sons, but also specifically when the sons should receive their inheritance.  He gives a legacy of cattle and a horse to Elizabeth Farlon, an orphan living with him – and bestows that upon her when she marries – which is during his lifetime.  And most interesting is the fact that the will was written in 1717 and the gentleman didn’t die for 20 years!  Except for the codicil  about giving the care of younger son Gerard to oldest son Thomas if his mother should remarry and the stepfather ‘proves harsh or severe’, and the notation that Elizabeth Farlon has married and received her legacy, there is no change in 20 years!

Stafford County, Virginia, Will Book M

pp. 233-235

In the name of God.  Amen.  I, Thomas Masters, of the Parish of Overwharton and County of Stafford, planter, being sick, but of sound memory, thanks be to God, do make this my Last Will and Testament.  Viz.  I give my soul to God and my body I commit to the grave.  Item.  I give to my dear and loving son, Thomas Masters, one new feather bed and bolster, 1 rug, a pair of blankets and one pair of sheets, my long gun and a new suit of clothes which I lately bought of Captain John Winne, which I will to be kept safe and well aired for him till he shall grow of age and big enough for them to be worn by him.  Item.  I give to my dear and loving son, Gerard Masters, one feather bed and bolster, 1 pair of blankets and 1 pair of sheets and my little gun.  Item.  I give two feather beds and furniture for them to my dear and loving wife, Mary Masters.  Item.  I give all the rest of my estate, whether real or personal to my dear and loving wife, Mary Masters, and my dear and loving sons, Thomas and Gerard Masters, to be equally divided betwixt them after my just debts and funeral charges are paid.  My will and meaning is that my two sons, Thomas and Gerard, be at liberty to work and do for themselves and free from their said mother when they shall arrive at the full age of 16 years, that the several legacies left them by this my last will shall be delivered to them when they shall arrive at the full age of 18 years to each his particular legacy at his respective age and be fully possessed thereof, my will and meaning further is that if either of my sons die before they arrive at the said age of 18 years then that the other son shall enjoy all the estate and legacies left to the said deceased brother, when he shall arrive at the said age.  Item.  I give to Elizabeth Farlon, an orphan girl now at my house, two cows, one named Mulberry, the other named Lilly, one two-year old heifer and a yearling to be delivered to her when she shall be free from my said wife.  Finally I appoint my dear and loving wife, Mary Masters, my whole and sole executrix of this my Last Will and Testament.  My will is that my said estate be not brought to an appraisement, but be equally divided betwixt my wife and children by two good and honest men, to be mutually chosen betwixt both parties and also I hereby beg and entreat my good friend, the Rev. Alexander Scott, Clerk to the Coadjutor, to advise and counsel and persuade my said executrix how to execute and perform this said will according to true intent and meaning thereof and further I hereby fully authorize and empower the said Alexander Scott to see the executrix does not in any way consume, make away, imbecile, the said estate and legacies left to my children and in case he believes the same to be in danger of being wasted or imbeciled or any other way made away with either part or in whole that then he demand of her new and sufficient securities and in case of refusal to move them out of the said executrix’s hands and to settle them more securely.  In witness of I have set my hand and seal this 27th day of February in the year 1717.

                                                            Thomas Masters

In the presence of Mary Young, Henry Young, Dix Ward

A codicil to the will aforesaid.  Item.  I give to my son Thomas Masters as aforesaid when he shall arrive to the full age of 17 years and be free from his said mothers as in the said will is expressed the care and management of his brother, Gerard, if so be his said mother marries another man before that time and the said man prove harsh or severe to the same Gerard, if also it be so that the said Thomas my son lives and keeps house in the meantime by himself my will is that his said brother, Gerard, may be then free from his said mother and her then husband in case he proves harsh or severe to him and his along with the said Thomas and be under his care and management till he shall arrive to the age of 16 years and then as in the will is expressed to be free and at liberty to act and do for himself and likewise that he at the full age of 18 years delivered him and in case of his decease before he arrive to that age, then that the said legacies pass to and be enjoyed by his said brother, Thomas, as likewise in the said will is mentioned.  Item.  My will is that the legacy left in the will to Elizabeth Farlon be null and from henceforth void because she, since writing said will, has been married and is now gone from me and received what I designed to bestow on her already and full satisfaction to the legacy is paid to her by myself in my own lifetime.  In witness where I set my hand and seal this 2nd day of April, 1720.

                                                     Thomas Masters

In the presence of Mary Young, Cornelius Canan

At a court continued and held for Stafford County, May 11, 1737

This will was presented by Mary Masters, the executrix and Alexander Scott, Clerk, on oath declared that he wrote the same by the deceased directions and believes that the same was executed and the said executrix, with her securities, acknowledged their bond which is admitted to record.

1 reply »

  1. What do you know about Thomas Masters? I have a 3x great grandfather born in 1824 named Thomas Masters (plus his surname) and so was his cousin who was born around 1865 with a different surname. I can’t help but think he must have been a wonderful role model.

Leave a Reply