Old Wills

1848 Will of Dr. James Reid – Garrard County

Dr. James Reid was born in Amherst County, Virginia, April 12, 1787, and died in Garrard County, Kentucky, October 26, 1848.  He married Betsy Murrel January 28, 1815, bondsman John W. Reid, at James Murrel’s home, guardian of Betsy. 

I found two notices of James Reid in the newspapers of the day.  In The Kentucky Reporter from Lexington, January 10, 1827, there is a list from the Lancaster, Garrard County, post office, of persons having letters that had not been picked up, Dr. James Reid being one of them.

The Olive Branch and Danville Advertiser, January 19, 1826, gives an ad by James Reid and N. G. Woods selling a racehorse.

Printer was raised by Mr. Eben Best, and sold to us at three years old; was got by Brooks & Best’s Big Printer, who was got by Old Printer, the celebrated running horse who in his day run with more unparalleled success than any other horse in Kentucky.  Printer’s dam was of the Quicksilver, Fearnought, and Medley strain.  For further particulars see handbills.

                                                                        James Reid, N. G. Woods

December 29, 1825

Little tidbits from newspapers give us a more human look at an ancestor.  But, a will or marriage record give more particulars in their information.  James and Elizabeth had five children – George M., Susan, Mary, James and Arabella – named in the will.  There could have been other children that died at a young age.

Elizabeth survived her husband by 23 years, long enough to raise the two youngest children and welcome grandchildren.

Dr. Jas. Reid, born April 12, 1787, died October 26, 1848. E. D. Reid, wife of Dr. Jas. Reid, born October 17, 1794, died August 8, 1871. Old Paint Lick Cemetery, Garrard County, Kentucky.

Will of James Reid

Garrard County Probate Records, Vol M, Pages 1-3

I, James Reid, of Garrard County and state of Kentucky, being in feeble health, but as I believe of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking any and all others heretofore made by me, in the manner and form following.  To wit:

Firstly.  I desire that so much of my personal estate shall be sold as will be sufficient to paying just debts and other necessary and legal expenses, the same to be set apart by my wife, Elizabeth Reid, and sold by her in any manner she may thing proper.

Second.  I give and bequeath unto my wife, Elizabeth Reid, so much of my personal property of every kind, and so many of my slaves, as she may desire and think proper to keep during her natural life, and she is to choose and select the same, at her discretion.

Thirdly.  I desire that such of my slaves as my wife does not desire to keep and retain in her immediate possession, shall be hired out for a certain number of years, at the discretion of my executor and executrix, hereafter named, the funds arising from the same yearly to be put out on interest until a sufficient sum shall be accumulated to purchase my wife a small farm, which I desire  to  be appropriated to that use, and she has the privilege to purchase the same where she choose, and to purchase one of such size as she may thing proper, and to pay from the same out of the funds accumulated by the hire as aforesaid.  I desire my wife to consult and advise with the trustees hereinafter mentioned in the purchase of a farm, and also that they assist her in the same, and that the mutual concurrence of her and these be obtained thereon.

Fourthly.  After the slaves before named shall have been hired out the length of time before designated, it is my desire that such of them as my wife does not desire to keep for her own use, during her natural life, shall be equally divided between my children (to wit), George M. Reid, Susan Woods, Mary Montgomery, James Reid and Anabella Reid, and also any and all other property belonging to my estate not kept by my wife, to be sold by her at her discretion and the proceeds thereof equally divided amongst my children aforesaid provided; that I have advanced to Susan Woods in property and otherwise about the sum of twelve hundred and fifty dollars, to Mary Montgomery about the sum of six hundred and fifty dollars, to George M. Reid, about four hundred dollars.  Now my remaining children are first to have an amount of property, money or slaves sufficient to make them equal to the ones who have received the greatest amount from me, by way of advancement, and likewise those who have received less than the one who has received most is to be made equal thirds, before the equal distribution of my property, amongst all my children, shall be made – and at the death of my wife the land purchased for her as aforesaid, and all the slaves she retains in her possession, together

with their increase, to be equally divided amongst my aforesaid children – but it is provided and distinctly understood that the legal right and title to my slaves, as they descend and come into the possession of my children is not vested in them, but the same shall be vested in William D. Mitchell and Rice G. Woods whom I hereby appoint as trustee for my said children, to hold said slaves in trust for my children for their use and benefit during their natural lives, and such slaves as my come to the possession of each of my children, together with their increase, shall after the death of said children, descend to the natural heirs of their body.  And if any of my children shall die without issue, the slaves devised by this will, which may descend and come to him, her or their possession, shall be equally divided amongst my surviving children, but under the same restrictions, and the legal title to be vested as aforesaid.  And I wish it distinctly understood that none of my slaves are to be sold, under any protest whatsoever, but the legal title to them is vested in the trustees aforesaid, for the use and benefit of my children during their natural lives and then to descend to their natural heirs.  I desire my wife to keep them during her life or so long as they may live, and to retain or use such amounts of any funds arising from my estate as she may think necessary for their support.  My wife also has the liberty to use any funds of my estate for the education and maintenance of my children who are now at home with me, James and Arabella, and they are not to be chargeable with the same in the division of my estate nor otherwise – this provision is to extend to my son James until he becomes 21 years of age and to my daughter Arabella so long as she remains with her mother, and said James and Arabella are each to have a horse and not to be chargeable with the same.

I desire my executors and trustees to put an estimate upon such property as may be given to my children to equalize them with those who have received advancements.  In case of the death or removal from the state of either of the trustees herein mentioned, I desire my executor to appoint another in his place, and the same to be recorded in the clerk’s office of the Garrard County Court.  In the hire of the slaves before mentioned I desire my executors to hand over the yearly proceeds there of to Rice G. Woods and William D. Mitchell, the trustees before named, whom I desire to loan and appropriate in the manner aforesaid; and the receipt of either of said trustees to release my executrix from any liability in that I can.

Lastly, I constitute and appoint my wife, Elizabeth Reid, Executrix and Ethelbert D. Kennedy, Executor, of this my last will and testament and desire that no security be required of my wife so far as she is concerned for the performance of the same.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 25 day of September 1848.

                                                                             James Reid

Signed and acknowledged in present of Davie Wylie, George Gates, Harry Wylie

State of Kentucky, Garrard County

I, Alexander McKee, Clerk of the Garrard County Court, do certify that his will of James Reid, deceased, was produced to court at the November County Court 1848 and proved to be such by the oaths of George Gates, Harry Wylie, subscribing witnesses thereto, and approved and ordered to be recorded, whereupon the same is truly admitted to record.  Alexander McKee, Clerk, Garrard County Court

1 reply »

  1. Do you think he might be the son of Alexander Reid II (1752-circa 1836) and Lucy Ann Barnett (circa 1760-between 1820-1830)? I believe they married circa 1777. They were in Amherst County, Virginia in 1783 and Garrard County, Kentucky in 1800.
    Kathleen Gramsgibbs, descendant of these folks

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