Old Wills

1781 Will of Captain James Estill

In 1779, James Estill was a member of Captain John Holder’s Company which formed a part of the militia of the County of Kentucky, under the command of Colonel John Bowman.  Thus, James Estill was engaged in the Indian wars of 1781 and 1782, and was killed in battle March 22, 1782, near what is now Mount Sterling, Kentucky, during the Battle of Little Mountain.  This was a bloody battle in which both sides lost many men.  Captain James Estill was the last white man killed in battle, and his Indian attacker was shot after the captain fell.

This will was written shortly before Captain Estill left for battle.  It mentions the possibility of a child his wife might be carrying.  He was correct.  A daughter, Sarah, was born.  I can’t say if James saw this child, it is very likely he was killed before she was born.

The last will of James Estill, May 4 1781

First, I leave my wife Rachel the one half of all my moveable estate as her own property and all my slaves and the plantation whereon I now live, called and known by the name of the Locust Thicket.  The said tract containing one thousand acres, the whole of which is to be at her disposal and direction during her widowhood and either death or marriage, the same land and house to be equally divided amongst Benjamin, Wallace, James and Jonathan Estill, and if my wife should now be with child I allow an equal division amongst the whole tract of the land and slaves already mentioned, but also my part of all the other land now lying in a partnership between me and Samuel Estill, and the remainder of my personal estate, being one half their devise, to be equally shared amongst my children.

James Estill

Witnesses present – David Gass, Samuel Estill

At a Court held for Lincoln County 22 January 178_

This instrument of writing was exhibited in Court as the last will and testament of James Estill and proved by the oath of Samuel Estill one of the witnesses.  And a County Court held for the said county the 14 day of January 1800 the same was proved by the oath of David Gass, a witness thereto, and ordered to be recorded.

Teste.  Willis Green, Clerk

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