Old Wills

Jacob Van Meter, Sr. – American Patriot, Soldier, Kentucky Pioneer

Jacob Van Meter, Sr., 1723-1798.  American patriot, soldier, Kentucky pioneer.  Ensign 12th Virginia Regiment in French & Indian War.  Captain, Illinois Regiment, Virginia State Troops in American Revolution and served on Committee of Observation at Pittsburg.  Commanded a company in George Rogers Clark’s expeditions to take Northwest Territory.  Led band of 100 persons from Virginia to Kentucky, down the Ohio River in 1779-1780.  Built one of the first forts in Kentucky and helped establish the first permanent settlement between the Falls of the Ohio and Green River at Elizabethtown.  Prominent in founding Hardin County, one of the organizers of Severns Valley Baptist Church, 1781, oldest church west of Allegheny Mountains.  Captain Jacob Van Meter Chapter D.A.R. named in his honor.  His wife, Letitia Stroud Van Meter, 1725-1799, married in Virginia 1741.  Their remains moved from their family cemetery 1965.

Here lizes the body of Jacob Vanmatr died in the 76 yare of his age November the 16, 1798. Elizabethtown City Cemetery, Hardin County, Kentucky.

Will of Jacob Van Meter, Sr.

Hardin County Will Book A, Pages 80-83

In the name of God, amen.  I, Jacob Vanmeter, being infirm in health but of sound and perfect mind, calling to mind the mortality of the body and that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, and first of all I give and recommend my soul to the hand of Almighty God that gave it, and my body to be buried in a decent and Christian manner at the discretion of my executor.  Nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive again by the might God that gave it, and as touching such worldly affairs wherewith it pleased God to bless me with, I give and dispose of in the following manner.

(That is to say) I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Letty Vanmeter all and singular my household furniture, to enjoy and dispose of at her discretion, and at her death, if any part thereof should be remaining, I make no doubt but as she has divided her affections amongst her children, but she will equally divide the residue of her legacy with them as she think they severally stand in need.

I also allow my said wife Letty, the following privileges to be enjoyed by her at her discretion during her natural life time (viz.) the dwelling house and garden adjoining the same which I now occupy, also one young mare called Poll, with her saddle and bridle for her proper use and behoof together with one-half the orchard and meadow and cleared farming land, of which she is to have the benefit of one-half of the production and she is to support and ? in labor and materials in keeping the said farm in repair and producing the said production and I do further allow her to have one-half of the benefits of the grist mill during her life and to be at an equal expense, together with all buildings and appurtenances belonging to said farm in keeping

the same in repair.  Also I give and bequeath unto my wife Letty one equal third part of all the remainder of my personal estate during her life, after all my just debts are paid and after her death the remaining part of her third to be distributed amongst my children as she may think most expedient.  I also allow my wife Letty the full benefit of all my Negroes during her life (to wit) Daniel, Mark Isaac and Delilah, but if either or any of them before mentioned should arrive to the age of thirty years old before the death of my wife, each or either of them shall be wholly set free from servitude, without serving any person whatsoever, and if my wife should depart this life before the arrival to the age of thirty, it is my will that they then be set free from servitude.

Also it is my will that the other two/thirds of my personal estate I allow to be equally divided amongst my children, such as has not received their legacy before my death, and if any of my legatees should be dead, be it understood that their heirs shall receive it.

I also leave to my son Jacob the plantation on which I now live, with whatsoever land I may obtain adjoining the said plantation, except the part which I have given to  my son John Vanmeter, which will appear from agreement line to be bounded as followeth, to begin at the lower end of a plank fence above the mill dam and to run across the whole of the three surveys on the same direction of the upper line, which is to be for his use and his heirs forever.  The residue of my plantation and whatever lands shall be remaining together with all and singular appurtenances, together with one-half the grist mill, and after the death of my wife Letty, the whole of the mill to be for the use and behoof of my son Jacob and his

heirs forever, by his paying unto the other legatees after the death of my wife, one half of the valuation of the mill, the same to be valued by persons chosen by the legatees, that is to say the value of building the same.

Also, the residue of my land I leave and bequeath unto my sons Isaac and John, to be equally divided in quantity and quality, except one hundred and fifty acres unto Samuel Haycraft, as a compensation for a location of land of four hundred acres, the said 150 acres to be laid off for said Haycraft upon the lower end of a five hundred acre survey on any if the same shall be procured from other claims, if not where the legatees shall agree, also the same number of acres that my son John has surveyed to him off of my plantation tract as before mentioned, to be laid off for the use of my son Jacob and his heirs forever, the whole of the residue of my lands that shall be procured after the foregoing exceptions to be equally divided between my sons Isaac and John and their heirs forever, exceptions what land is taken and laid off for my son Jacob on Caney is to be reducted from the lands to be divided for my son John before a dividend takes place between the legatees.  Also, it is my will that my son Abraham’s heirs to receive three pounds each for their use and behoof, to wit, Catherine, Sarah, Letty and Elizabeth.  Also, that my daughter Peggy receive five pounds and also twelve pounds, exclusive of the division for a compensation. 

I do also appoint my son, Jacob Vanmeter, and Samuel Haycraft and my son Isaac to be my sole Executors, to see to the proper distribution of this my last will and testament, and I do hereby revoke all others and ratify

and confirm this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 11th day of November 1798.

                                              Jacob Vanmeter

Signed in presence of Teste

Robert Mosby, Christopher Jackson, Molley Ann Flodd

Hardin County December Court 1798

The foregoing will was proved by the oath of Molley Ann Flodd and was ordered today for further proof.

Teste.  John Powell

Hardin County said July Court 1799

The foregoing will was proved by the oaths of Robert Mosley and Christophe Jackson, subscribing witnesses thereto and was ordered to be recorded, the same being before proved by the oath of another witness thereto.

Test.  John Powell

2 replies »

  1. Thank you for this bio. He is my husband’s 6th grandfather through his mother who was born a Van Meter. The variance of spelling is interesting in that in the same document, it was spelled Van Matre and Van Metre; and on his tombstone it was spelled Van Matr, a spelling which I have never seen. Wonder if the person doing the script just did not know how to spell? In the old country, the spelling was Van Meteren. Greetings from Florida!

    • Thank you for this wonderful document. My wife’s 6th great grandmother was Jacob’s daughter Mary. She lost her husband David Henton (Hinton) to drowning in the Ohio River on the van Meter’s expedition to Kentucky, and the “Widow Hinton” continued onward with her 2 very young children. She eventually married Major Wm Chenowith who had recently arrived in the area with a land grant.

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