We shall travel back to Virginia, County of Loudoun, for our post today. Our time frame is 1791. I am very happy to share with you a copy of the original will of Benjamin Mason, my 5th great-grandfather. His daughter, Ann Mason, married Captain John Hancock Linton. Ritchey and I had this copy made the last time we were in Loudoun County, several years ago.
This is the original will, with Benjamin Mason’s signature. He didn’t pen the will – you can see the difference between ‘Mason’ in his signature, and ‘Mason’ throughout the will. If you look closely, especially the last page, you can see that his will has been folded – another sign that the will is not the one written in the county clerk’s book. Edward B. Edwards, one of the witnesses, was my 4th great-grandfather. He married Captain John and Ann’s daughter, Nancy. The couple moved with her parents to Washington County, Kentucky, in 1818.
Several of Benjamin and Elizabeth Berkeley Mason’s children came to Nelson County, Kentucky, adjacent to Washington County, in the 1790’s, about twenty years before the Linton’s moved to the state.
The first portion of Benjamin Mason’s will refers to his wife, Ann. She is to be given 30 pounds current money if she stays with the family for one year. According to this statement she is a second wife, not the mother of his children. If she leaves before one year, she is to receive ten pounds. Many have thought Ann Berkeley, daughter of William Berkeley and Elizabeth Hancock, to be the wife of Benjamin Mason and the mother of his children. This is not true. Benjamin married Elizabeth Berkeley, daughter of William Berkeley and Elizabeth Hancock, and with her had their children. It is possible Benjamin Mason married the younger sister, Ann, after wife Elizabeth died.
According to the will of William Berkeley, daughter Elizabeth Mason is given one Negro woman by the name of Sarah. And her husband, Benjamin Mason, was one of the witnesses to his will. This will was written in 1761 and probated in 1762. Granddaughter Ann Linton is given ten pounds. I think this definitely tells us the name of Benjamin Mason’s wife as Elizabeth Berkeley.
As children are generally listed in wills according to their birth, we will use this to decipher placement:
- George Mason, eldest son, was given one Negro man named Jere, in addition to 1/5 the price of the plantation when sold.
- Burgess Mason received three parts out of five of the price of his father’s plantation when it was sold. This is a substantial amount of inheritance.
- John Mason received a Negro man named Harry, and ‘no more of my estate’.
- Ann Linton was given a Negro woman named Ally, and her increase, and one fifth part of the plantation.
- Margaret Carter was given slaves Hannah, Amy and Jasper.
- William Woolverton Mason was given one Negro man named David, and one fifth potion of the moveable estate sold when Caty Linton Mason turned 15 years. He was named his father’s executor.
- Elizabeth Gist was given one Negro woman named Loll, and one fifth portion of the moveable estate.
- Mary Mason was given fifty pounds current money out of the ‘moveable estate when sold’, and one fifth portion of the rest of the moveable estate.
- Margaret Mason was given one Negro girl named Bess, and one fifth portion of the moveable estate.
- Caty Linton Mason was given on Negro boy named James, and one fifth portion of the moveable estate.
According to his will, Benjamin Mason wanted his plantation kept until youngest child, Caty Linton Mason, arrived at the age of fifteen years.
Categories: Old Wills