Old Wills

1863 Will ‘Letter’ of Andrew Hayden – Marion County

Will of Andrew Hayden

Marion County Will Book 1, Page 80

Manchester, Tennessee

August 12th, 1863

Dear Mother,

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I seat aside this pleasant morning to answer your kind and welcome letter that I have just received.  I was glad to hear from you and all the rest of the people, and to learn that you was all doing so well.  Mrs. Mill also informed you that I am in good health.  Hoping these few lines to find you all in the enjoyment of good health.  Well, mother, I don’t know as I have anything to write to you this time that will interest you at all.  The health of our soldiers is very good and seem to be in good spirits.  A heap of them thinks it will not be long until peace is made, but I am afraid that it will be a long time.  Mother, you was saying something about the land.  I want you to live on my share of it until I get back, if it will do you any good, but there is such a little of it, it will not do you much good.  If I never get back, I want you to have all that is coming to me, but I don’t think I will be long until I will get back to the old stamping ground.  Well, mother, I believe I have not anything more this time, so I will close my short letter by requesting you to give my respects to all.  Write soon – nothing more.

I remain your affectionate son,

Andrew Hayden

State of Kentucky, Marion County

At a County Court held in and for said county January 14th, 1865, a paper purporting to be the last will of Andrew Hayden was produced to court and proven according to law by the oaths of S. E. Perkins, James L. Hayden and John T. Milburn, and the same was ordered to be recorded as the will of Andrew Hayden.  I have recorded the same and this certificate this January 17th, 1865.  M. Clerk

This was the first time I have seen a letter used as a will.  But it makes perfect sense since Andrew Hayden was a young twenty-years when he enlisted in the Union Army on October 12, 1861, in Lebanon, county seat for Marion County, as part of Company B, 10th Regiment of the Kentucky Infantry.  His description was given as 5’ 8” tall, light complexion, brown eyes and light hair.  He was born in Marion County, and was a farmer.  I’m sure he thought he would make it home in a year or so.

With a bit of research I found that Andrew was the son of John and Mary Hayden.  The family is listed in the 1850 census of the county, with children Sarah E., 11; Cecily Ann, 9; Andrew, 7; James L., 4; and Athenatius, 11/12.  By 1860 the father has died and Mary is listed with four children.  Perhaps Cecily was married by this date.  James L. Hayden was one of the men who swore oath to prove the letter was in Andrew Hayden’s handwriting for probate.

Andrew Hayden died August 22, 1864, of dysentery while in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He died in Hospital No. 2.  The inventory of his effects listed one hat, one blouse, one pair of cotton drawers, two flannel shirts, one pair of shoes, two pair of socks, one blanket, one knapsack, one gun and accoutrements and one canteen.

Andrew was buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery, section F, #1963.

Did Andrew visit his mother before he died?  I suppose we will never know.

Any thoughts?

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