Old Wills

1857 Will of Adam Beatty – Including Emancipation of Slaves – Mason County

Adam Beatty was born in Frederick County, Maryland, May 10, 1777, to Col. William Beatty, Jr., and Mary Dorothy Grosch.  Adam Beatty came to Kentucky, and about 1803 married Sarah Green.  The couple had five sons – William Rochester, John Charlton, Henry Oscar, Ormond and Adam. 

Beatty was a close friend of Henry Clay.  There are many letters exchanged between them.  Adam Beatty was elected to the Kentucky Legislature in 1809 and served as Circuit Judge from 1811-1824. He died June 9, 1858.

Adam Beatty, born May 10, 1777, died June 9, 1858. Maysville Cemetery, Mason County, Kentucky.

Adam Beatty’s will is lengthy, with many bequests to his wife, her sisters, his children and grandchildren.  But one of the most interesting parts of the will is the codicil where he emancipates his thirteen slaves.  Judge Beatty was a member of the American Colonization Society which was started in 1816 to promote the manumission of Negro slaves and their settlement in West Africa, specifically in the country of Liberia.  The other choice for his slaves was to move to a free state, where they would not be taken back into slavery. 

Will of Adam Beatty

Mason County Probate Book R, Pages 288-293

I, Adam Beatty, of Mason County, Kentucky, do make and declare this, together with the annexed codicil of the same, all in my own handwriting, to be my last will and testament.

1.  It is my will that my Executrix, hereinafter named, shall pay all of my just debts.

2.  I devise to my wife, Sarah, the use of the plantation, on which I reside, during her natural life; and also the dividends on the stock which I own in the Farmer’s Bank of Kentucky (thirty shares) for the same time, the said dividends to be drawn for and appropriated as she may please, so long as she may live.

3.  I devise to each of my wife’s sisters – Harriet Artus, Matilda Green and Cordelia Green, five share of bank stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky.  In case of the death of Matilda or Cordelia Green, the interest of the deceased shall survive to the survivor, and Harriet Artus, and in case of the death of both of them, their interest shall survive to Mrs. Harriet Artus, or in case of her death, equally to all her grandchildren then living.

I devise to each of my six grandchildren, sons and daughters of my deceased sons, William Rochester and John Charlton, fifteen hundred dollars each, to be paid to them in the order of their ages and after they arrive respectively

at the age of twenty-one.  The said payments to be made out of the assets of my estate as fast as they can be realized or converted into cash.

1 – Out of debts due to me by notes, judgements or otherwise.

2 – Funds arising from sale of farm productions of all kinds, stock of all kinds on the plantation, at my decease, also farming utensils.

3 – Dividends on 27 shares of Lexington Turnpike Road stock and also on Northern Bank stock not herein before devised, to wit, eighteen shares.

4 – Half section of land in the state of Illinois for which I hold patents from U.S., to wit, south half of section 17, township 14, south range 3.

5 – Lots in Perrysburgh, Ohio, as follows No. out lot No. 173 containing 1 ¾ acres.  For these lots I have U.S. patents or deeds filed in desk.  My Executrix is authorized to make sale and legal conveyances for any sale of the foregoing lands and lots.

6 – If sufficient funds cannot be raised out of the foregoing assets to pay the specified legacies to the six grandchildren named, I authorize my Executrix to sell my stock in the Lexington Turnpike Road Company and 18 shares of stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky, or so much thereof as may be necessary.

4.  I devise to my eldest surviving son, Henry Oscar Beatty, Niles National Bond Register containing ____ bound volumes.

5.  I devise to my son Ormond Beatty, Reeve’s Cyclopedia, containing 83 volumes.

6.  I devise to my youngest son, Adam, my cabinet of curiosities, and a full set of the Western Journal and Civilian, published by Tarver & Risk, St. Louis, which contains a number of articles from my pen.  I also devise to him as many of my other books (to be selected by him) as will make a devise of books equal to that of his brother Oscar.  J. G. Hickman to make the estimate.

7.  I devise to my wife the family Bible, with gold edges, and any other books she may choose to select from my library.

8.  I devise the residue of my books, to be equally divided to my nephew J. G. Hickman, and my grandson William (son of William R. Beatty) and authorize my nephew J. G. Hickman to make the division.

9.  I devise to my wife such funds as I may have on hand or in deposit, in either of the banks at the time of my decease, to aid in paying the devise of $1500 to each of my six grandchildren, before set forth, and all farm produce on hand, and all other funds or property (except my slaves and Texas Railroad stock) to be applied to the same purpose.  And if there is any residue, she is to have the use thereof during her life, without interest. 

I own one thousand shares of Texas Railroad Stock, on which I have paid five dollars per share, that is $5,000, which is all the company have a right to call for.  I devise this stock to my son Ormond Beatty, in trust for himself, his two surviving brothers and my six grandchildren, to each of whom I have devised $1500 by this will.  My said trustee is hereby authorized to sell said Railroad Stock, whenever he may be requested to do so by his two brothers.  The proceeds of sale of said stock are to be divided in five

five equal parts shall be paid to each of his two surviving brothers, one part shall be retained for his own use; and the two remaining parts shall be divided into six shares, and one share paid to each of my six grandchildren, to each of whom I have devised specifically $1500 as above.  Out of said proceeds my said Trustee is to retain a reasonable percentage as a compensation for his attention to the security of this stock, paying taxes, selling, conveying, etc.  It is my will that all my slaves shall be disposed of by my Trustee Ormond Beatty as directed in a codicil, of the same date herewith, and all written in my own handwriting.  It is my earnest desire that all my slaves shall be freed in the mode prescribed – the codicil referred to and I hope, if any difficulty should arise – carrying out the provisions of the Codicil, that they will be removed by the common consent of my heirs.  I appoint my wife, Sarah Beatty, sole Executrix of this my last and only will and testament, and no security is to be required of her.  I devise to my three surviving sons, Henry Oscar, Ormond and Adam Beatty, to be equally divided between them, the plantation on which I now reside, containing about 325 acres, after the death of my wife, and devise to them any residence that may remain, of the assets or property set apart to pay the specific devise to my six grandchildren or any residuum of life devises if any.

In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 25th day of July 1857.

Adam Beatty

Codicil to the Will of Adam Beatty

It is my will and desire that my slaves shall be emancipated as herein provided.  I own thirteen slaves, twelve of whom are of one family, consisting of a grandmother, her children and grandchildren, and one Negro man, of a different connection.  The latter, I will to be free on the first of March next after my decease, on condition he will accept his freedom and leave the state of Kentucky for Liberia, or a non-slave-holding state.  If he elects to go to Liberia, he is to have an outfit of one hundred dollars, so much thereof, as may be necessary, shall be appropriated to pay to sending him and the balance to be paid to him on his arrival in Liberia.  The residue of my slaves, nine males and three females, are to remain on the plantation till the first of April, next after my decease, to finish breaking hemp and completing the delivery of the crop for the time being.

After, or upon the first of April, all my male slaves that shall then be of the age of ten years or upwards, shall be hired out by private contract for the term of three years, each for the purpose of raising a fund for an outfit to Liberia, and making such expense as may be necessary for sending them there and providing a support for the grandmother and such of the grandchildren as may be too young to support themselves.  The fund arising from the hire of my male slaves over ten years of age, as herein directed, is to be appropriated by my Trustee, Ormond Beatty, in such wise as will, in his judgement, best carry out my intentions as above explained and according to the further directions of this codicil.  I devise my three Negro women, Judah, Margaret,

and Ellen, and such of the Negro children who shall be under the age of ten years at the time the others are directed to be hired out, to my wife for the term of three years, from and after the period of hiring as aforesaid.  As a further consideration for taking care of and providing for the slaves, devised as aforesaid, I devise to my wife the use of the plantation on which I now reside, and also the proceeds of my Bank Stock in the Farmers Bank of Kentucky, during her life – being thirty shares, the dividends in which are to be drawn and appropriated at her own discretion.  I appoint my son Ormond Beatty my Trustee for the purpose of carrying out the directions of this codicil and request that he will make the necessary arrangements with the agent of the Colonization Society for sending all my slaves, or such of them as shall be willing to go, at as early a period as practicable after the expiration of the period of hiring aforesaid as may be.  My said Trustee is to have full authority to direct what proportion of said fund shall be paid over to the slaves, who are able to maintain themselves as an outfit and what proportion for the support of the grandmother and the children who are too young to support themselves and what proportion to pay expenses to the port of shipment.  As some of my slaves may refuse to go to Liberia, such are to be free, after the expiration of the period for which they are to be hired, upon condition of leaving the state of Kentucky, as required by the Constitution.  But these are to receive no part of the fund arising from the hiring.  If any of my slaves shall refuse to accept freedom, upon the terms herein stated, my said Trustee is to hire them out and reserve and retain the proceeds as a support for them in their old age, but may pay over a due proportion to any of them who shall at any time agree to go to Liberia or out of the state, my Trustee to have full authority to make said arrangement.  If any of my slaves, who do not wish to go to Liberia, desire to emigrate to a free state, my Trustee is authorized to give them a certificate of freedom, at any time after the expiration of the hiring aforesaid, upon condition they shall agree to leave the state of Kentucky permanently.  The outfit to those of full age who shall agree to go to Liberia, is to be paid upon their arrival in Liberia.  The provisions of this Codicil are to apply to children hereafter born as well as those now in being.

The following are the ages of children now under the age of ten years – Reuben born 3rd July 1850, Arthur born November 9th 1852, William 16th March 1855.

If my son Ormond shall not survive, I desire that my nephew, John G. Hickman, will act as my Trustee with the same power and authority as my son Ormond, in carrying out this Codicil.  And if neither shall survive me, I desire the County Court of Mason to appoint a Trustee to carry out the same or such other Court as may properly entertain jurisdiction of the subject.  As my Negro women Margaret and Ellen have husbands and may not be willing to go to Liberia unless their husbands accompany them and as they are owned by other persons, I vest my Trustee with authority to make an arrangement with the owners of Abraham and William, the husbands of said Margaret and Ellen, to emancipate them, in order that they may accompany the wives to Liberia.  And to enable my Trustee to raise the necessary

funds to accomplish this arrangement, I authorize my said Trustee, after the expiration of three years, during which I have directed my slaves to be hired out as above, to hire out my said Negro women, Margaret and Ellen, and all their children (those too young for hiring to be provided for in the contract of hire) for such a length of time as will raise a fund sufficient to secure the emancipation of their husbands, which shall be so applied, upon condition they shall agree to accompany their wives and children to Liberia.  If from death or other cause this arrangement shall not be carried out my said Trustee is to make an equitable division amongst the slaves from whose hire the fund has arisen, upon their emigrating to Liberia or to a free state.  Two of my slaves, Sam and Lewis, have wives, and, with their consent, after the expiration of the three years, during which they are to be hired out, as before directed, they or either of them may be hired out to raise a fund to secure the emancipation of their wives, in the same manner as directed in relation to the husbands of Ellen and Margaret.  I leave the election to each of them severally whether they will thus provide a fund to release their wives before going to Liberia or whether they prefer going to that country immediately after the expiration of their three years hire, and depend upon their industry, care and management there to provide the means of releasing their wives.  I desire that a distinct account shall be kept of the earnings of Sam and Lewis after the first three years hired as above provided and that each shall be entitled to have his own fund applied to the purposes aforesaid.  If from death or other cause the foregoing arrangement shall fail of being carried out my said Trustee is to make a fair distribution of that part of the fund which shall have accumulated among those having title thereto.  The interest of the accumulating fund, while in the hands of the Trustee, is to be appropriated to his own use as a small compensation for his trouble.  If Sam or Lewis should die, the accruing fund of the deceased shall accrue or survive to the survivor, or go to the wife of the deceased.  I own two slaves that have run away from me and are now perhaps in Canada, named Zephaniah and Henry.  I leave them free upon condition they shall never return to the state of Kentucky, a condition our constitution requires to be complied with to render their freedom perfect.

In witness that this codicil is to constitute a part of my will, executed, signed and sealed the same day herewith, to wit 25 July 1857, I hereunto set my hand and seal this 25th day of July 1857.

Adam Beatty

State of Kentucky, Mason County Court – June 14th 1858

This last will and testament of Adam Beatty, together with the codicil thereto annexed, was this day produced in court and proved to be entirely in the handwriting – will, codicil and signature – of the said Adam Beatty, deceased, by

the oaths of Charles Humphreys, William H. Wordsworth and Richard H. Stanton, allowed and ordered to be recorded.

Sarah Beatty, the Executrix, nominated by the last will and testament of Adam Beatty, deceased, came into court and agreed to undertake the execution thereof and thereupon she took the oath prescribed by law and without surety as requested by said will, entered into and acknowledged bond to the Commonwealth of Kentucky conditioned according to law.  It is therefore ordered that certificate of probate and letters testamentary of administration be and the same is granted to her in due form.

Attest.  Robert A. Cochran, Clerk

More information on this family will be in our next post.

Leave a Reply