Old Wills

1809 Will of William Maxwell

Note that the will below was written in Livingston County. Caldwell County was taken from Livingston County January 31, 1809, twelve days before the division. William and Mary Maxwell had four children – daughter Mary who was married to a Mr. Lackey, and three single children – Jean, William and Elizabeth. No other information was found on William Maxwell or his family.

Will of William Maxwell

Caldwell County Will Book A, Pages 2-3

State of Kentucky, Livingston County.  In the name of God, amen.  I, William Maxwell, of Livingston County, being in sound memory of mind and calling to mind the uncertainty of this mortal life, do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following.

And first and principally I commend my soul to the hands of almighty God, trusting that through his infinite mercy and goodness and the blessedness of my suffering Redeemer interceding for me at the throne of Grace, I shall receive everlasting life and salvation.  My body I give to the earth to be decently interred at the discretion of my executors hereafter named.  I will and desire that all my just debts be paid.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my wife, Mary Maxwell, a Negro woman named Fanny, also a horse called the Grey horse, also a cow called the black cow, together with her calf, also her bed and bedding to her and her heirs forever.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto three of my children (viz.) Jean Maxwell, William Maxwell and Elizabeth Maxwell, the land whereon I now live, a Negro man named Sam, together with the rest of my moveable property. To be equally, fairly and justly divided between them, but as a deed to the land will come in the name of my son William, if he should choose to keep the land to himself.

My will and desire is that the Negro Sam, and the other moveable property be equally divided between my two daughters Jean and Elizabeth, except the horse now in his possession, that I will and desire that he keep, and that he gives to my wife Mary Maxwell a woman’s saddle, but if the land, the Negro Sam and the other moveable property be equally divided between the three above named, then it is my will and desire that the expense of the saddle lay equally on the three and my two daughters and son above named having each of them a bed and furniture, which is called theirs.  I will and desire that each shall have such bed and furniture as is called theirs and agreeable to the above form, division and allotment.  I give and bequeath my estate to my heirs above named to them and their heirs forever.  My daughter Mary Lackey I have given a child’s part, and my will and desire is that

she shall have no more of my estate.  Lastly, I constitute, nominate and appoint my wife Mary Maxwell and my son William Maxwell my executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making null and void all other will or wills by me heretofore made.  In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal this 19th day of January in the year of our Lord 1809.

William Maxwell

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the testator as his last will and testament in presence of us – John Davidson, David Davidson, Alexander B. Davidson

Having omitted it in its proper place I here insert that it is my will and desire that my son William have all my farming and mechanic tools and that my two daughters, Jean and Elizabeth, have each a woman’s saddle out of the estate before it is divided.

Caldwell County – June Term 1809

I, John H. Phelps, Clerk of said court do certify that the last will and testament of William Maxwell, deceased, was this day produced in open court and proven by the oaths of John Davidson and Alexander Davidson, two subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded, and that a true copy stands of record in my office.  Given under my hand this 6th day of June 1809.

1 reply »

  1. Thank you for posting this Last Will and Testament. I wonder what happened to Negro Woman Fanny and Negro Man Sam. I hope some researcher can connect to Fanny or Sam. I wonder how was Sam going to be divided equally. Do you have any probate records? I can’t imagine what it was like to be bought, sold and passed around like “moveable property”. May they rest in peace.

Any thoughts?

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