Old Wills

1840 Will of Ben Proctor – Logan County

Today we go to Logan County in southwestern Kentucky.  Logan was once part of Lincoln County, which extended from central Kentucky to the border of Tennessee across to the Chickasaw lands which became the Jackson Purchase in 1818.  Ben Proctor, the son of John Proctor, was born November 9, 1779, and died September 23, 1851.  The 1850 census of Logan County tells us Ben was born in Virginia. 

Ben Proctor had three brothers that also lived in Logan County, in the Bibb’s Chapel area – Hezekiah, Thomas and John.  In Men Whom I Remember Logan County, Kentucky, by George D. Blakey (1809-1886), is found the following:

‘In making mention of the name of Major Thomas Proctor as the son-in-law of Capt. Haden, revives fond and precious memories of a band of noble brothers – Hezekiah, Thomas, Benjamin and John Proctor. Hezekiah was quite an old man when I first knew him sixty years ago. He lived a few miles down on that classic stream which watered so fertile a valley of land. His brother Thomas lived near him. The sons of the former were Charles, George and James, S., and daughter Nancy, who married G. W. Hoy, of Simpson County, all of whom, like their noble sire, sustained good reports and died leaving unblemished reputations, for those who might come after them.

‘Major Thomas Proctor, as many will remember, was a large, portly , fine looking gentleman, whose countenance indicated that his conscience was void of offense, and indeed what I say of him may be said of them all – for sure I am that no one who knew either of the four Proctors above named or either of their worthy sons, can be made believe that either of them was capable of wronging any man. They regarded it a luxury to befriend a man or woman and a crime to do one an injury. They were plain, honest, industrious and unobtrusive men, all substantial farmers. And indeed in those early days to speak of one of them or to utter the name of Proctor was but the reminder of an honest man. These remarks are intended to apply to the four old men and their sons, and I hope are applicable to subsequent generations. Major Thomas Proctor I believe had no sons. His daughter Aurora married William Hoy of Mississippi, and the Major in returning from a visit many years since, died near Clarksville. His daughter, Sally, married William Ewing, another married Dr. B. F. Ray – all have passed away from earthly things, except fond recollections.

‘Ben Proctor – for I always call him Ben, from the fact that some 60 years ago I was in the office of the Weekly Messenger when he came in with a manuscript circular against some one who was a candidate. Mr. Rhea observing that his signature was Ben asked him if he should put in Benjamin. “No,” said he, “my name is Ben just as I have written it.” He was a plain strong-minded man, of far more than ordinary intellect. His sons, Charles, William and Thomas, have detracted nothing from the high reputation of their noble sire. John Proctor was also a substantial farmer on Red River; was a Magistrate in his District.’

On December 3, 1802, in Logan County, Ben married Nancy Sloss, the daughter of John Sloss and Agnes Lockhart, born June 27, 1786, and died February 3, 1834. Ben and Nancy had the following children:

  1. Mary “Polly” Proctor, born January 9, 1805, died September 28, 1853, married James G. Dickey March 4, 1822.
  2. Charles Proctor, born December 25, 1806, died February 10, 1874, married Lucy Jane Watson September 12, 1844.
  3. Thomas Lockhart Sloss Proctor, born November 24, 1808, died December 13, 1881.
  4. John S. Proctor, born January 27, 1811, died April 15, 1895, married Polly Ann Watson August 25, 1835.
  5. William Proctor, born March 12, 1813, died April 22, 1874.
  6. James Proctor, born January 12, 1816, died February 22, 1839, before his father’s will was written.
  7. Nancy Proctor, born March 23, 1817, died December 02, 1891, married Joseph B. Haden, April 1, 1836.
  8. Eusebia Neville Proctor, born November 19, 1820, died November 6, 1890.
  9. Benjamin Ellis Proctor, born April 13, 1823, died December 1, 1855, married Martha Dixon James September 10, 1846.
  10. Sarah E. Proctor, born November 20, 1925, died August 23, 1852, married John E. Hollins March 4, 1846.
  11. Marinda C. Proctor, born 1828, died 1856, married Reuben Rogers September 2, 1850.

After the death of Nancy, Ben Proctor married Susan D. Viers January 26, 1835.

Ben Proctor has an interesting will.  It was written eleven years before his death and includes four codicils and one agreement throughout the intervening years. 

I can’t say why, but John Proctor’s share of his father’s estate was given to his brother Charles’ for the ‘express use of my son John’s wife Polly Ann Proctor, and her present children and any others she may hereafter have by my said son John Proctor.’  A similar term of the will of my fourth great-grandfather Captain John Linton was the same for his son William Linton – my ancestor.  William was a little too free with drink and money.  Could the same be said for John Proctor?  It could be any number of reasons.

Will of Benjamin Proctor

Logan County Will Book H, Pages 147-150

In the name of God, amen.  I, Ben Proctor, of the county of Logan and state of Kentucky, being of sound mind, do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following.  Viz.

Item 1st.  It is my will and desire that all my just debts may be paid so soon after my death as may be by my executors to be hereafter mentioned.

Item 2nd.  I give and bequeath to my wife Susan D. Proctor during her life my Negro man Paddy and my woman Nelly and her two children, one horse saddle and bridle (her choice), two cows and calves, a sufficient quantity of hogs, two head of sheep and such farming utensils as may be necessary, two beds, bedsteads and their furniture, all the table and tea ware, table and chairs and as much kitchen furniture as may be necessary.  I also give my said wife three hundred acres of land including my house and improvements upon the condition she lives on it, the land, being known by my family as my old tract.  It is also conditioned that my son Benjamin Proctor may have the privilege setting on a part of the said tract of 300 acres, as not to interfere with the present improvements.

Item.  To my daughter Polly who intermarried with James G. Dickey, I leave five dollars.  I add no more having already given her as much as I believe her full share of my property.

Item.  To my son Benjamin I give and bequeath to him and his heirs the three hundred acres of land willed to my wife after her death – also one Negro boy known by the name of Leroy, one horse, saddle and bridle, the horse to be worth one hundred dollars, one bed, bedstead and furniture, two cows and calves, ten head of sheep, one plow and gun, two (turn over).

Item.  All the balance of my land together with all and every species of property I may have consisting of slaves, stocks, bonds, debts, it is my will and desire may be equally divided among my following children, that is to say my sons

Charles, Thomas and John, Nancy, who intermarried with Joseph B. Haden, William, Eusebia N. and Sarah and Marinda and before a division is made my son William, my daughter Eusebia N., Sarah and Marinda are to have as much as my son Charles, Thomas, John and Nancy Haden has had, then the balance to be equally divided between the said eight children Charles, Thomas, John, Nancy Haydon, William Eusebia N., Sarah and Marinda.  It is also my desire that after the death of my wife all the property that I have willed to her may be equally (except the land) divided between my said children Charles, Thomas, John, Nancy Haden, William, Eusebia N., Benjamin, Sarah and Marinda.

Item.  I hereby appoint my son Charles, my son Thomas and my son William Proctor, Executors of this my will, wishing the eldest may qualify if in this county and if not the second and so on to the third, believing that one executor is better security from either of my executors as above appointed.  In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 4th day of September 1840.

Ben Proctor

Signed, sealed and acknowledged in presence of Gabriel Lewis, F. W. Lewis

Note to my will – my sons Thomas, Charles, John and Nancy Haden, not having been equally apportioned it is my will that out of my estate before a division is made that they may be made equal then the remainder of my children, that is William, Eusebia N., Sarah and Marinda, to be made equal to the first four named and after that the balance of my property to be divided as directed in my said will.  Signed the time of signing my will.

Ben Proctor

Attest F. W. Lewis, Gabriel Lewis

This is intended as a codicil to the above will, made this 14th day of March 1844.  Whereas since the writing the above my son Charles Proctor and myself having erected a saw mill on part of the land devised to my wife and after her death to my son Benjamin, I, in consequence thereof, give and bequeath to my son Charles, his heirs, about ten acres of said land as aforesaid, devised ‘Beginning at a post oak marked as a corner and near the corner of the fence and running north, until it stretches the old line thence going back to the first station and running eastward to a hickory, standing about two rods south of the well dug by my son Charles, thence due east until it strikes the old line of the survey, left to my son Benjamin’s and

it is my intention to do my son Benjamin justice, it is my will and desire that he may take choice of as much land as there may be in the bounds of the land devised to his brother, Charles or any other land that I may hold.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date affixed to this codicil.

Ben Proctor

Attest Gabriel Lewis, F. W. Lewis

This codicil made this 5th day of July 1844, I hereby revoke and make null and void all and every part of my will above as it regards my son John and that part and portion that he would have been entitled to by this my will I give and bequeath all that portion to my son Charles, for the express use of my son John’s wife, Polly Ann Proctor, and her present children and any others she may hereafter have by my said son John Proctor and it is my will and desire that the said Charles acting as trustee for my said daughter-in-law Polly Ann and her children shall at all times have the perfect control and management of the said property to be used for no other purpose but for the interest of the said Polly Ann and her children.  In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day and year above written.

Ben Proctor

Attest.  Gabriel Lewis, F. W. Lewis

A codicil to my last will and testament dated on the (blank) day of (blank) in the year of our Lord 18(blank), now in the hands of Gabriel Lewis.

I give to my beloved wife Susan D. Proctor, a certain Negro girl named Fanny to have and to hold during her natural life and after her death the said Negro Fanny to revert back to my heirs at law.  And I will and give to my daughter Eusebia N. Proctor a certain negro girl named Kitty, about three years old, to said Eusebia and her heirs forever.  The said Negroes, Fanny and Kitty, are not to be appraised with my other property or to go into the hands of my executor as these gifts and bequests are extra of the will, wishing and intending to give my said daughter Eusebia the Negro girl that much more than my other children.  Given under my hand and seal this 13th day of October 1846.

Ben Proctor

Attest Boas Roberts, R. H. Binton

Articles of agreement made and entered into between Benjamin Proctor of the County of Logan and State of Kentucky of the one part, and John S. Proctor, of the same county and state aforesaid, of the other part (witnesseth) that the

Said B. Proctor hath this day bargained and sold unto the said John S. Proctor a certain Negro boy named Daniel, for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred and fifty dollars, for which the said John S. Proctor is held and firmly bound to account to my heirs at law for the said sum of three hundred and fifty dollars on a settlement with them.  And it is also understood that the said John S. Proctor is to receive rent for the place which he has improved one year and after that the said B. Proctor to have and to hold the said place to do as he may think proper and the said John S. Proctor at the said B. Proctor’s death shall be allowed a reasonable compensation for his improvements on said place.  Witness our hands, seals this 10th October 1846.

Ben Proctor, John S. Proctor

Attest W. Green

Logan County, Kentucky, August the 1st 1851

I, Benjamin Proctor, do make this codicil to my will, that is to say the Negroes Paddy and Nelly that I have left to my wife for and during her life I now give and bequeath the said Negroes to her and her heirs forever, to do whatever she may choose.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Ben Proctor

Attest F. W. Lewis (the word August was written before signing), Gabriel Lewis, F. S. Allison

State of Kentucky

Logan County

I, James E. Wright, as clerk of the said Logan County Court, do certify that a county court held for said Logan County at the courthouse in Russellville on the 27th day of October 1851, the last will and testament and codicils thereto of Ben Proctor, deceased, and the agreement between John and said Ben Proctor, deceased, was produced in open court and said will, together with the first, second, third and fifth codicil thereto, was proven by the oaths of Gabriel and F. W. Lewis, subscribing witnesses thereto, to be the act and deed and will and testament and codicils thereto of said Ben Proctor, deceased, and on the same day the fourth codicil to said will was proved by the oath of R. H. Binton, a subscribing witness thereto to be the act and deed and a codicil to the last will and testament of said Ben Proctor, deceased, and on the same day the handwriting and signature of Boas Roberts (who was a subscribing witness to the fourth codicil of the said last will and testament of said Ben Proctor), was proven by the oaths of J. M. Beall and J. T. Clark and on the same day the said agreement between said

Ben and John Proctor was proven by the oaths of W. Green, a subscribing witness thereto to be the act and deed of said John and Ben Proctor, all of which was done in open court and according to law and ordered to be recorded.  Whereupon said will and codicils thereto and said agreement, together with this certificate hath been duly admitted to record in my office.  Given under my hand this the date above.    James E. Wright, Clerk, by Will Morton, Deputy Clerk

1 reply »

  1. Very interesting article. Thank you.
    Do you know who Ben’s parents were or anything about them?
    I’m also interested in any storyline about his brother William.

Any thoughts?

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