Old Wills

George Grundy’s Will, Charles Grundy’s Will and Grundy’s Tavern – Washington County

This will of George Grundy was found in the first will book of Jefferson County, on the first two pages.  He lived in the area that would become Washington County in 1792.  In 1784, when his will was written, Kentucky was divided into three very large counties – Jefferson, Fayette and Lincoln.

From George Grundy’s will we find the following children listed:  Robert, Gardum, Samuel, Charles, Felix and Polly.  These are underage children who would receive their inheritance from their mother Elizabeth at the proper age.  The two eldest sons, John and George, were listed as executors of their father’s will, along with their mother.  One daughter, Nancy, was married at the date of her father’s will, and is not mentioned; but she is listed in her mother’s will.

Son Charles wrote his will in Washington County October 6, 1793, just before leaving for an expedition against the Indians, where he was killed.  His will is included in this post.

Elizabeth Grundy, lived to the great age of 92.  She did not marry again, but raised her children, ran Grundy Tavern in Springfield and left many descendants to mourn her passing.  Her will is also in the Washington County will books, but the copy I have is almost unreadable.  Next time I am in the county will get a better copy and share the information with you at that time.

From the Washington County, Kentucky Bicentennial History 1792-1992 we find the following:

George and Elizabeth (Beckham) Grundy left Redstone Fort, Pennsylvania in the ‘hard winter’ of 1779-1780 with their children and their worldly goods on a flatboat for Limestone from whence they pushed on to what would become Washington County.  George and his son, surveyor John, entered large tracts of land on the Beech Fork and Cartwright’s Creek; however, George died but four years after migrating to the new land.  Elizabeth had observed from her trek to the new country that along the narrow and rough forest trails it seemed all of life was traveling to the West.  Grundy Tavern was established in 1785 when Elizabeth obtained a tavern license from Nelson County.  At the time Bardstown had not completed its jail and this indomitable woman obtained a contract whereby, until May 1786, she was paid various sums for housing and boarding prisoners.  Her tavern was a bustling landmark eight years before there was a Springfield.  It stood on the estate of General Walton.  Election days, muster days and court sessions were occasions of special activity; consequently, she prospered.  It was in 1795 when the town was platted that the trustees issued a deed for Elizabeth Grundy’s Lots 3, 4 and 5; and her son, Felix, began his law practice in a one-room brick office east of the tavern, now the site of Kelly Drug Store.

Tradition holds that the tavern on West main Street offered for sale in 1863, was indeed the famed Grundy Tavern.  It was advertised as ‘consisting of the brick house containing four Commodious Rooms, a Kitchen, Smoke House, Corncrib, a stable and a garden.’  Of these four rooms, one was a bar room, the second a dining room and the other two were chambers.  Many are the tales in extant journals of the amenities provided.  When a traveler had given his horse to a servant, he went to the well in the yard where another servant poured water from a gourd over his hands.  Sometimes a dozen guests used the same towel.  Bath facilities were non-existent but, every backyard had its ‘necessary house’ and in Springfield the trustees ordered that each be cleaned and limed in the spring.  The chambers had from four to six double beds.  When a guest asked for accommodations he was charged for a night’s lodging and not for a room, or even a bed – a great leveler of society with a rowdy, a backwoodsman, a yeoman and a gentleman in the same room.  Rates were fixed by local law; for one shilling three pence a guest was served ‘wheat bread and chicken fixins’ which included ham, veal cutlets, sausages, savory vegetables, pickles and preserves.  When the matriarch, Elizabeth Grundy, died in 1824 at age ninety-one she knew her county and town were democratic in fact and aristocratic in inclination, similar to the residents of today.  Also, she could ask in the goals attained by her four sons, namely, to acquire broad acres, to establish a proud family and to become statesmen.

Will of George Grundy

Jefferson County Will Book 1, Pages 1-2

In the name of God, amen, I, George Grundy, Senior, of the County and Commonwealth of Virginia, being weak in body but of a sound and disposing mind and memory, do constitute this my will and testament, in manner and form following, to wit.

Imprimis.  I do bequeath to my beloved wife, Elizabeth M. Grundy (after paying my funeral charges and what debts I may owe at time of my decease), all the goods and chattels that I may die possessed of, also all debts or monies that may be owing or due to me, for and during her widowhood, provided she pay to each of my following children upon their coming of age and to wit, Robert Grundy, Gardum Grundy, Samuel Grundy, Charles Grundy, Felix Grundy and Polly Grundy, but provided said beloved wife should marry, then it is my will that she shall have but a child’s part, and it is further my will and desire in that in case of her death or marriage that all the estate I die possessed of either real or personal shall be equally divided amongst the survivors of my children named above, but providing any of my children now alive should die leaving no heirs at the death or marriage of my said loving wife, Elizabeth Grundy, then for the child or children to have the part the deceased would be entitled to and it is part of my will and desire that my loving wife, Elizabeth Grundy shall have the privilege to live on any land I may die possessed of what use she may think proper of the same as long as she continues a widow and no longer.  And it is my will and desire that my herein after named executors may have the said authority to dispose of any lands I may die possessed of and I do hereby constitute, nominate and approve my loving wife, Elizabeth Grundy, and my loving sons, John Grundy and George Grundy, Jr., my executrix and executors to this my last will and testament, but provided my said wife should marry, then for her power as executrix is to dissolve and power to devolve to my said two sons, John and George, and I do by these presents revoke all other wills heretofore made by me as my last

will.  As witness my hand and seal this 11th day of September 1783.

George Grundy

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us – Richard Lee, William Owens, William Allen, Charles Linnet, Andrew Scott, Matthew Cullen, Elizabeth Owens

Jefferson County                   April Court 1784

The last will and testament of George Grundy, deceased, was proven by the oath of William Owens and William Allen, two of the subscribing witnesses and admitted to record, the testimony of Elizabeth Owens being also furnished.

William Johnston, Clerk Jefferson County

Will of Charles Grundy

Washington County Will Book A, Page 20

Will of Charles Grundy

Washington County Will Book A, Page 20

I, Charles Grundy, being in perfect health, mind and memory, and setting out on an expedition against the Indians and knowing the uncertainty of life, I do ordain this my last will and testament.  I give to my beloved mother, Elizabeth Grundy, all debts and demands except one cow and calf to Esther Grundy.  I likewise give to my mother, Elizabeth Grundy, all the money and property now in my possession.  I give my clothes to my brother, Felix Grundy, provided he pays Gardum Grundy for a saddle and gun I now have to take on the campaign.  I do appoint Thomas Turnam and Elizabeth Grundy my executor and executrix.  As witness my hand this 6th day of October, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three.

C. Grundy

Teste.  Edward Jenkins, Overton Cosby, Samuel Allen, Polly Grundy

At a county court held for Washington County the third day of April 1794

This will was proved by the oaths of

Overton Crosby and Polly Grundy, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.  On the motion of Thomas Turnham, executor, and Elizabeth Grundy, Executrix, wherein named, who made oath and executed and acknowledged bond as the law directs, a certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.


1 reply »

  1. George Grundy was my great-great-great-great grandfather. I descent from him through his son John, one of his executors. George was a vigorous and resourceful man. For genealogical purposes, I only wish that we knew who his parents were and the circumstances of his birth.

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