Old Wills

Will of Richard Turpin – 1789

This is a most interesting will in many ways.  One of the few wills to label the writer as a soldier, Turpin being of the Illinois Regiment.  Turpin owes land in at least three states – North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia – which he leaves to his three brothers. 

His will was proven by the oath of one of the witnesses, but also of the oath of William Clark, who wrote the will for him.  William Clark – of Lewis and Clark fame – moved to Kentucky, with his parents and siblings in 1785, and four years later William enlisted in the Northwest Indian War.  Evidently Richard Turpin must have been a fellow soldier, and they probably knew each other before the war.

There is no year listed on the will, but the next will lists the year 1789.

Will of Richard Turpin, Jefferson County, Kentucky, Will Book 1, 178?, Pages 11-12

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Richard Turpin, Soldier, in the Illinois Regiment, being sick and weak of body, but of sound and perfect sense and memory, thanks be to God for it, and calling to mind the uncertainty of this earthly life, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament.

First, desiring that all my just debts may be paid, and as to the temporal estate that it hath pleased God to bestow upon me, I give and bequeath and dispose of in the following manner.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my beloved brother Henry Turpin all the estate, both real and personal, which I possess appurtenant to me in North Carolina and also in South Carolina, to him and his heirs forever.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my beloved brothers Thomas Turpin and Jeremiah Turpin, the residue of my estate whatever in Virginia or elsewhere, except in North Carolina and South Carolina, desiring that it may be sold and the money arising to be equally divided between my two last brothers, to wit, Thomas Turpin and Jeremiah Turpin.

And I do hereby appoint Henry Turpin, Thomas Turpin and Jeremiah Turpin, the three brothers above mentioned, to execute this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I do hereunto set my hand, seal, this fifth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and eighty ____.

Richard Turpin

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of

George Shepherd, Peter Shepherd

At a Court held for Jefferson County, March 3rd,

The within last Will and Testament of Richard Turpin, deceased, was proven by the oath of George Shepherd, one of the subscribing witnesses and being also proved by the oath of William Clark (who wrote the same) was ordered to be recorded.

Teste.  William Johnston, Jr.


3 replies »

  1. This a great will. Thinking there were Turpins at that time in Middle TN…then remembered that area was NC at the time. Love Lewis & Clark history! I need to find my work press log in info.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Richard Turpin was a son of Thomas Turpin Sr. who can be found in Amelia and Prince Edward counties, Virginia on the great branch of Sandy River and Saylor Creek. Richard’s mother was Thomas Turpin Sr.’s first wife who is believed to be Ann Ligon. Thomas sold his VA land in Nov 1769 and moved his family to Bute and later Franklin counties, NC where they resided until 1778. By 1779 the family was in Mercer and later Garrard counties KY. Thomas Sr. left a will dated 20 Nov 1796 in Garrard Co., My and died 27 Nov 1796.

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