This is a will in which we discern great disagreements within the family. Unusual for 1860, Marcus L. Williams had divorced his first wife. She is unnamed, but the mother of his two older sons, Mordecai and James L. Mordecai evidently had money problems, handling it and keeping it, since within the will his father mentions large amounts of money he has had to pay for his son. James L. is given a third portion of this father’s land, as long as his mother tries to lay no claim on the property or estate of her first husband. So there are riffs in this family, and Marcus Williams is not happy with them. Then he mentions the two children by his second wife, as ‘never having done me any harm’. It is sad that a man, near death, must deal with this.
I did find this family in the 1860 census for Boyd County. Marcus was 46, a farmer, real estate worth $20,000, and personal estate $1,500, born in Kentucky. Second wife, Mary, is 20. Two little girls, Sarah B., 1; Mary E., 1/12. Just babies when their father died.
Boyd County Will Book 1, 1860-1899, Pages 5-7
Marcus L. Williams Will
I, Marcus L. Williams, of the County of Boyd and State of Kentucky, make this my last will and testament, revoking all others. First of all, I bequeath out of whatever estate I may have at my death, that all my just debts be paid.
Secondly, I bequeath to my wife, one third of all my real and personal estate during her natural life, that I may be possessed of or entitled thereto, she having been to me a kind,
Thirdly, I bequeath unto my son Mordecai, by my first wife, the sum of twenty-five dollars, to be paid out of any property I may have. In setting apart a small sum to him, I take into consideration large amounts of money I have permitted him to use, and he has used for which I have been compelled to pay; also, other considerations move me to this course.
Fourthly, I will and bequeath to my son, James L, out of my farm used land I own in Boyd County, so as to include the upper portion of my farm, which also includes Coal Lands and Clay Bank, bounded as follows – commencing three hundred yards above the mouth of the Spring Branch on the Ohio, thence a straight course to the bridge near the spring house, thence a straight line up the branch to the orchard field, thence so as to divide the orchard field that one third on the upper side shall be to said James L. Thence a line to be run from the said orchard field, divided as aforesaid, as to give to him one third of all my back lands, these lines of division to James, is to be run out by three commissioners by order of the proper court so that James’ land shall be on the upper side of the farm. This gift and bequest is upon the following conditions, that said James’ mother is to forever be . . . . toward me for any claim or claims whatever she may have against me. She, having been my wife, and provided that said James L. will never give or sell any part of the said lands to his brother Mordecai. In the event that he does not comply with the said condition, or the mother of James or Mordecai asserts a claim against me. As aforesaid, this bequest is to be void and the said James is bequeathed the sum of $25 to be paid in a manner as the bequest to Mordecai.
Fifthly, I will and bequeath unto my little children, Sarah Bell and Mary Ellen, who are very small, uneducated and never done me any harm, being children by my last wife, all the balance of my real and personal estate not otherwise disposed of, to be theirs forever. This bequest also includes the bequest to James L. in the event the same becomes void as expressed in the fourth provision of this my will. I further will that in the event that I should have any more children, it is my will they are permitted to come in as equal share owners with Sarah Bell and Mary Ellen.
Lastly, in order to carry out the provisions of this will I appoint and nominate William Williams, my brother, as Executor. In testimony thereof, I hereunto set my hand and seal – 26 Jun 1860.
M. L. Williams
Subscribed before Jake Rice, J. D. Ross
I, J. W. Riley, Clerk of the Boyd County Court and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the forgoing instrument of writing, the last will and testament of Marcus L. Williams, was this day produced in and for Court and proven by Jake Rice and J. W. Ross, subscribing witnesses to the same. Whereupon said will together with this certificate have been this day duly recorded by my office.
Given under my hand this 24 day of June 1861.
J. W. Riley, CBCC