1812 Will of Henry Rhoads of Muhlenberg County

Henry Rhoads, known as the ‘Godfather of Muhlenberg County,’ was born in Germany in 1739.  He and three of his brothers came to America about 1757, and settled in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  In 1760 he married Elizabeth Stoner of Maryland.  He fought for his adopted country under the leadership of General Muhlenberg.  After the war, he and his brothers decided to move to Kentucky.  They stopped first at Bardstown, where they left their wives and children, and headed further west to build a town.  They selected a place at the falls of the Green River and began Rhoadsville.  When the land they lived on was in dispute, and after losing their court case, they moved into Logan County, in what is now Muhlenberg County.  Here the Rhoads brothers raised their families and lived fruitful lives.

When you read the will you notice a wife is mentioned, Barbara.  She is evidently a second wife as to mentioning all the property she brought with her to the marriage, agreeable to contract.  I do find it odd that he gave her the family Bible.

In a later blog there will be more information on this family, who married into the Linton family.

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Henry Rhoads, of the County of Muhlenberg and State of Kentucky, begin weak in body but of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament.

First.  I recommend my soul to the Almighty God and as touching my worldly effects wherewith he has blessed me, I give and dispose of them in the following manner.

1st.  I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Barbara Rhoads all the property she brought with her after we were married, agreeable to contract and one cow, a large heifer and one iron pot, and the common cupboard and chest, my large Bible and the law post-bed bedstead, one large and one small wheel, including all the furniture we have got since we were married.  I also give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Barbary, all that is allowed to her agreeable to the courts of a bond on my son Daniel Rhoads, bearing date August 23, 1810.

Second.  I give and bequeath all my debts, dues and demands, and all the property I own in this world, except what is especially mentioned in this my last will, to my children, namely, my sons, Jacob Rhoads, Daniel Rhoads, Henry Rhoads, Solomon Rhoads

and David Rhoads, Susannah Nighmyoir, Caty Jackson, Elizabeth Vanmeter, and Hannah Jackson, all my daughters, to be equally divided among them at the discretion of my executors at my decease.

Lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint my brothers Daniel Rhoads and Solomon Rhoads and David Rhoads, as executors of this my last will and testament, hereby ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills by me made, as witness and seal, this the 13th day of April in the year of our Lord, 1812, and in the presence of us.

Henry Rhoads

Test.  J. W. Connell, William Sumner

Muhlenberg County, August County Court – 1813

The within instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Henry Rhoads, Sr., deceased, was exhibited into court and acknowledged by the said Rhoads (in his lifetime) to be his act and deed and ordered to be recorded.

Attest.  Charles Wing, C.M.C.

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