Old Wills

1838 Will of John Gibson – Gallatin County

John Gibson was born March 2, 1775, in Bedford County, Virginia, died June 25, 1838, in Gallatin County, Kentucky.  John was the son of John Gibson, November 28, 1748, Frederick County, Virginia – c. 1837, and Mary Stevenson, 1755, Virginia – 1810.  John married Nancy Hampton March 22, 1803, in Pendleton County, Kentucky. 

Nancy Hampton, August 12, 1784, Pendleton County, Virginia, April 6, 1854, Gallatin County, Kentucky, was the daughter of Thomas Preston Hampton, Jr., a Revolutionary War veteran, June 20, 1752, Pittsylvania County, Virginia – July 10, 1832, Gallatin County, Kentucky, and Elizabeth Smith, June 20, 1754, Loudoun County, Virginia – 1836, Grant County, Kentucky. 

John and Nancy had nine children – all named in the following will.  John’s will is extensive, listing exactly what he wanted after his death.  Several sons-in-law are mentioned, and the daughters are listed with their married names.  Several of the children moved to Sangamon County, Illinois.

Will of John Gibson

Gallatin County Will Book E, Pages 17-19

In the name of God, Amen.  I, John Gibson, of Gallatin County and State of Kentucky, being of sound mind but laboring under great bodily weakness, do make and ordain this my last will and testament.  My soul I recommend to the mercy of Almighty God, trusting for its salvation in the atonement which his son as had of every truly repentant sinner.  My body I wish decently buried and all funeral expenses discharged, my personal and real property I dispose of in the following manner.

The plantation on which I now reside, consisting of three hundred twelve and a half acres of land, I leave in the possession and under the entire control of my beloved wife, Nancy, until my youngest daughter, Margaret, arrives at the age of twenty-one years.  My wife is then to have one third of the said plantation laid off and delivered to my said daughter Margaret, which she is to hold in fee simple.  The remaining two thirds are to remain in possession and under the control of my wife until my youngest son, Samuel, arrives at the age of twenty-one, when my wife is to lay off and deliver to him one-half of the two thirds in her possession, which he is to hold in fee simple, the other third of the land is to remain in possession and under the control of my wife during her life, and at her decease to be equally divided between my two youngest children, Margaret and Samuel.  My wife is to board, clothe and school my two youngest children while they remain infants and unmarried at her sole and entire expense.  

I will and bequeath to my beloved wife one black boy named Albert, one black girl named Minerva, one black man named Levi, and one black woman, his wife, named Sally.  These two last mentioned slaves I recommend to my wife at some future period, should they behave themselves, kindly to emancipate the them, of this measure I leave however with my wife.  I also will and bequeath to my wife three black children named James, Adeline and Preston, with the condition however that at her death, or sooner if she thinks proper, she gives to my youngest daughter, Margaret, one of them and to my youngest son Samuel, one.

I have now made the provisions I intend for my two youngest children and in the following disposal of the residue of my estate they are to have no concern or interest.  I will and bequeath to each of my sons, John Gibson and Perry Gibson, one hundred and sixty acres of land lying near Springfield in Sangamon County in the State of Illinois.  John is to have choice of these two tracts of land.  I will and bequeath to my son-in-law, David McGinnis, one eighty-acre lot of timberlands lying on Lick Creek between the other two tracts of land just devised to John and Perry Gibson.  With a view to carry my wife into execution, it is necessary that I annex to each of the names of my seven oldest children the amount which I have already given them.  This includes the property above devised to John and Perry Gibson and David McGinnis.

Eliza McGinnis   $860.00

Ann Hampton    $600.00

Preston Gibson $1,000.00

James Gibson    $600.00

Nancy Swope     $650.00

John Gibson       $1,000.00

Perry Gibson      $840.00

The following slaves named David, Jack, Harrison and Eliza I will and bequeath

to my children Ann Hampton, John Gibson, Nancy Swope and Perry Gibson.  It is my will that on the day of the sale of my personal property my seven oldest children shall annex a value upon each of these slaves and if they cannot agree, then to call in a disinterested neighbor who shall decide the question.  The children to whom they are bequeathed are each to receive one at that valuation.  The values of each Negro is then to be added to the amount of the child who gets the Negro, the whole then of what the seven children have received is to be added up and divided by seven which will show how much each child ought to receive to make their share equal, which is my intention.  Those who have more than their share must execute their note for the overplus to those who have received less than their shares, payable at some future day and they may mutually agree with eight per cent interest.  If the four children cannot agree among themselves which Negro each shall have, then it is my will that the child who had received the least sum shall have the most valuable Negro and the one who has received the next smallest sum shall receive the next most valuable Negro and the child who has received the next smallest sum shall receive the next most valuable Negro and the fourth Negro shall belong to the other child.

I will and bequeath one third of my interest in a lot and house in Warsaw to my wife Nancy Gibson, the remaining two thirds to my seven oldest children to be equally divided among them.  I wish my wife and executors to manage or dispose of the property to the best advantage.

My interest which is the one half of five eighty acre lots of land in McCracken County in the State of Kentucky, I will and bequeath equally to Preston Gibson, James Perry Gibson, David McGinnis, Henry A. Hampton and Samuel O. Swope.  The owner of the other half of this land is my son John.

My interest in the estate of my deceased father-in-law I will and bequeath one-third to my wife and the remaining two-thirds to my seven oldest children, to be equally divided among them.  It is my will that the property which I have bequeathed to my son Perry shall remain in the possession and under the control of his mother until he arrives at the age of twenty-one years.  She is to pay him no compensation for the use of this property nor to charge him anything for keeping it.

It is my will that my wife select one third of all the personal property on the plantation for her own use, the remaining two-thirds to be sold on a credit of twelve months.  This sale I wish to take place sometime in September next or early in the following month.  My children in Illinois must be informed of the day and it is my wish that they attend.  It is my will that my just debts be discharged and all my contracts faithfully performed.  Any money which may then be left, as well as the money arriving from the sale of my personal property, and any other money which may be due me, I dispose of in the following manner.  One third to my wife and the remaining two thirds to be equally divided among my seven oldest children.  My wife Nancy Gibson I appoint executrix and my sons-in-law, Harry Hampton and Samuel O. Swope, executors of this my last will and testament March 5, 1838.

                                                John Gibson

Witness, Samuel Oglesby, William McHerly

Codicil to my will made on the 5th of March 1838.  My wife, Nancy Gibson, is to have no part of the money arising from the sale of my personal property.  This money is to be equally divided among my seven oldest children.  In addition to what I have left my wife in the will I bequeath to her one hundred dollars in money.

Since making my will of March 5th 1838, the Negro boy Harrison has died and it is now my will that the Negro boy James be substitute in his place.

Since making my will of March 5th 1838, my Negro woman Sally has born to her a female child, this child I bequeath to my wife Nancy Gibson, which will enable her to comply with all the requisitions of my will, notwithstanding the death of the Negro boy Preston and the making of a different disposition in the codicil of the boy James, from that in the will.  I bequeathed to my son-in-law David McGinnis in the will a tract of land I have since deeded to him, this land which complies with that part of my will.  I appoint my son John Gibson an additional executor of my last will and testament.  May 21, 1838

                              John Gibson

Witnesses Samuel Oglesby, James Gibson

Commonwealth of Kentucky, Gallatin County Court

July Term 1838, of John Gibson account

The last will and testament, together with a codicil attached, were presented in Court, proven by the oath of Samuel Oglesby, subscribing witness thereto, to be the last will of the said John Gibson, deceased and ordered to be recorded, which is accordingly done in my office.  Given under my hand this 11th day of July 1838.  J. M. Robinson, GCC

2 replies »

  1. Thank you Phyliss for all you do so we can read these old obituaries and wills.
    It was sad to read this one willing slave children to his family like cattle. Promising a child to his wife . How could they do this with no regard about how that mother felt to know her child had been given away like a piece of farm machinery.

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