Old Wills

1794 Will of William Hayden – Washington County

It was a dark and stormy morning – yes, yes it was. Thunder, lightning and rain in torrents. Internet connection wasn’t there. So this post is late today!

Today I share with you the will and codicil of William Hayden from Washington County Will Book A, pages 21-24.  It is one of the earliest of Washington County’s wills.  The corners of the will book are a bit ragged, so a few words of the will is missing.

William Hayden was part of the Maryland to Kentucky group that came to Kentucky in 1785-1790.  He and brother Basil, were from St. Mary’s County, Maryland, sons of George Hayden, 1718-1754, and his first wife.  After the death of this first wife George Hayden married a woman by the name of Charity.  When George died in 1754, in addition to William and Basil, who were 18 and 12 respectively, were children Charles, 8; George, 7; Mary, 6; and Frances, 4 – the last four, children of George and Charity.

 George Hayden’s parents were William and Elizabeth Hayden.  William died in 1733, Elizabeth lived another 28 years, dying in 1761 (after son George).  George’s sons, William and Basil, received land called Shankes Resque, containing one hundred and two acres, from their grandmother.

William Hayden married Elizabeth Thompson in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, in 1764.  Together they had nine children – Charles, Ann, Bennett, Henry, Wilford, Mary “Mollie”, George, Thomas and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth Thompson Hayden died in 1788.  The Catholic settlement on the Rolling Fork River, at the small town now known as Calvary, dates from 1788, and as is mentioned in The Centenary of Catholicity In Kentucky, it is possible that some families may have arrived a year or two earlier.  If so, Elizabeth may have been one of the first to be buried there.  It is also possible she died in Maryland before the family left for Kentucky. 

Know all men by these presents that we, William Hayden and Richard James Rapier, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Virginia in the sum of fifty pounds current money, to be paid unto our Commonwealth aforesaid, to which payment well and truly to be made. We bind ourselves, our heirs and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 25 day of January 1790. Where there is a marriage suddenly intended to be solemnized between the above bound William Hayden and Mildred Hager. The condition of this present obligation is such that if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said marriage, then the above obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue. William Hayden, Richard James Rapier. Bottom: January 23, 1790. Sir, please to grant Mr. William Hayden license for Miss Mildred Hager. They shall stand good against me. William Hilton, Mildred Hilton

On January 25, 1790, William Haydon married Mildred Hager in Nelson County, Kentucky.  Mildred was also called Melleta (as in William’s will).  Was this a nickname?  Or a middle name?  Her father was likely dead and her stepfather and mother signed the note. She and William had two sons, William Jr. and Robert.

Children listed in William Hayden’s will were William, Robert, Elizabeth, Molly, Thomas, George and deceased daughter Ann.  His four older sons – Charles, Bennett, Henry and Wilford – are not mentioned.  It is quite likely he provided for them at the time of their marriage.

Will of William Hayden

Washington County Will Book A, Pages 21-24

In the name of God, amen.  I, William Hayden, of Washington County and district of Kentucky, being of sound and perfect mind and memory, blessed be God, do this 24th day of March in the year of our Lord 1794, make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say, first I will and bequeath my body to its parent Earth and my soul to God, its first great giver, and after my lawful debts are paid out of my worldly real and personal estate, I will and bequeath as follows.

I will and bequeath to my loving wife Melleta Hayden, the plantation on road ? during her widowhood.  In case I should die before her.  In case she should marry, the thirds of the same during her natural life, remainder to my sons William and Robert, their heirs and assigns.  Equally to be divided between them both with all said plantation and appurtenances.  My will and desire is that the plantation I now live on in Pottinger’s Creek and the money arising from the . . . interest for the use and benefit of (William) . . .

And Robert equally to be divided.  I will and bequeath my Negro wench Rose to my loving wife during her natural life, remainder, and her offspring to my aforesaid two sons William and Robert.  I will and bequeath a Negro wench called Agnes to my daughter Elizabeth, her heirs and assigns forever.  I will and bequeath a Negro wench named Charity to my daughter Molly, her heirs and assigns forever, and in case one should die, the survivor to heir the other, i. e., Molly and Betsy.

I will and bequeath my sorrel horse to my loving wife, Melleta Hayden.  I will a mare and colt by the name of Titus to my son William.  I will and bequeath to each of my deceased daughter, Anny’s children, a three year old heifer.  All other my accounts, good and chattels to the use and benefit of my two sons William and Robert, but in case that my daughters Molly and Betsy and my sons William and Robert should die before they come to age to will or any of them, I will that my sons Thomas and George share their remainder after my first heirs.  My will is that there be a high mass offered for me at the anniversary of my death and twelve low Masses as soon as convenient, to be paid out of what is owing to me of my brother Basil in whiskey.  I constitute and appoint my loving wife, Melleta Hadyen and Hatton Hilton and my brother Basil Hayden, executors of this my last will and testament.

                                                                                                           William Hayden

In presence of Basil Hayden, Jr., Philip Lee, Luke Mudd

Made, published and signed this 24 day of March 1794.


I will and bequeath moreover to my aforesaid wife, Melleta Hayden, seventy-five bushels of corn in the hands of Basil Hayden, Sr., likewise the two beds in his house and one for her use the other for the use of sons William and Robert.  I will a featherbed and furniture to my daughter Molly, also to my daughter Elizabeth one featherbed and furniture, and in case one of my said daughters should die remainder to the other, remainder to my sons, George and Thomas.  I will and bequeath all the provision about the house to my wife, Melleta, for the use of the now family.  Witness my hand and seal this 24th day of March 1794 as above.

William Hayden

Signed, published, made in the presence of us,

Luke Mudd, Basil Hayden, Jr., Robert Hayden

At a county court held for Washington County the fifth day of June 1794

This last will and the codicil thereon endorsed was proved by the oaths of Basil Hayden, Jr., and Luke Mudd, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be certified.  And at a county court held for the said County the third day of ? 1794.  The same was exhibited in court and ordered to be recorded, on oath of Mildred Hayden, Executrix

Hilton, Executor, therein named who made oath and executed and acknowledged bond as the law directs, a certificate is granted them for obtaining probate thereof in due form.

5 replies »

  1. There was a Basil Haydon in Nelson County who reportedly swore he “would never put a foot on God’s green earth” if the slaves were freed. Sure enough, he conducted business of his farm from a window in the parlor. Rumor has it that his workers had the last laugh–
    they would bring the worst cattle by for his inspection, so he didn’t expect a good result from sales, and they
    could pocket the difference.

  2. June 21, 2022 Dear Kentucky Kindred Genealogist, I am a member of Estero Island Chapter, NSDAR, in Fort Myers, Florida, and a native of Louisville, Kentucky.  All of my father’s family were Catholic and settled around Washington County or Marion, Kentucky.  They originally settled in Maryland, mostly St. Mary’s County.    Yesterday, I was very excited to read your post “1794 Will of William Hayden-Washington County.” But apparently, that’s a different William Hayden.  Connie Lizak is my registrar and after I found the documentation for my Revolutionary War Patriot, William Hayden, I received an AIR letter (Additional Information Required.)   I am hoping you can help me verify that Sarah Yates is the daughter of Ann Hayden and Zachariah Yates.  We need to find Ann Hayden’s and Zachariah Yates marriage records or marriage bonds or a will that would prove that Sarah Yates is the daughter of Ann Hayden.   Zachariah Yates is already her proven father, but I need to prove Ann Hayden is her mother.   William Hayden is already a proven Patriot.  Ann Hayden is his proven daughter, but I need to prove that Sarah Yates is the daughter of Ann Hayden. – William Hayden 1743-1817 5th great-grandfather – Ann Hayden 1776-1830 Daughter of William Hayden – Sarah Yates 1799-1848 Daughter of Ann Hayden – Rose Ann Fields 1824-1880 Daughter of Sarah Yates – Matilda Frances Gootee 1850-1893 Daughter of Rose Ann Fields – Ambrose Garrett Smith 1877-1935 Son of Matilda Frances Gootee – Earl Ambrose Smith 1918-1965 Son of Ambrose Garrett Smith – Donna Sue Smith You are the daughter of Earl Ambrose Smith –

    If you can be of any assistance, I would so appreciate it. Donna Smith Jonesdonnasuejones@comcast.net 

  3. William James Hayden

    BIRTH 1737 • St Marys, St Mary’s, Maryland, United States

    DEATH 10 APR 1794 • Washington County, Kentucky, USA

    My 5th great-grandfather

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