Old Wills

1790 – First Will of A Woman In Mercer County

Rachel Canaday was the first woman whose will was recorded in Mercer County, Kentucky – in 1790!  Her will was written in 1789, and proved in court in April of the next year.  Since there are Canada’s still living in Mercer County they must be direct descendants of Rachel!  Jeremiah Laws, Rachel’s son, is listed first in her will, leaving us to believe he is the oldest child.  A daughter, Rachel Underwood, is also listed.  I believe her last name was Laws, since there was  Rachel Lewis (Laws) who married Joseph Underwood March 29, 1787, in the early Mercer County marriages – and would thus be listed with her married name in her mother’s will.  At some point the mother – Rachel Laws – married a Mr. Canaday, but that was probably before immigration to Kentucky since there are no marriage records listed in Mercer County.  Note the daughter was listed as Rachel Lewis in the marriage records – names were often misspelled, and the handwriting is always difficult to decipher!

Note that this will is on page 34 of the first will book for Mercer County, Kentucky – and our old friend, Thomas Allin is the County Clerk.

Scan110In the name of God, Amen.  I, Rachel Canaday, of Mercer County, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and in my proper senses, do hereby make this my last will and testament as followeth.

To wit.  My will and desire is that after all my lawful debts is paid and my funeral charges satisfied that my son Jeremiah Laws should have all my iron utensils for farming except one hat which I give to my son Samuel, and also I give to my son Jeremiah Laws what carpenters tools I have and my iron wedge.  And I also desire that my daughter Rachel Underwood shall have my side saddle.

And all the rest of my estate, within doors and without, I desire it shall be equally divided between my son Samuel Canaday and my daughter Elizabeth Canaday

Scan111This I desire to be my last will and testament, given under my hand and seal this 18th day of November 1789.

Rachel Canaday

I appoint my trusty friends Morias Hansbraugh and William Crow to execute this my last will and testament.

Teste, John Underwood, George Hansbrough, Moriah Hansbrough

At a court held for Mercer County at Harrodsburg, the 27th day of April, 1790

This last will and testament of Rachel Canaday, deceased, was exhibited into court and proved by the oaths of John Underwood and George Hansbrough, two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

Teste, Thomas Allin, C. C.

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