Old Wills

1842 Will of Harmon Greathouse – Nelson County

Harmon Greathouse is not in my direct line, but had descendants who married into the Lewis family of Hancock County, Kentucky. Harmon Greathouse was the third of that name. His grandfather was born in Heidelberg, Germany, about 1676, and died in Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, October 27, 1723. I do not know his spouse. Harmon Greathouse II was married to Mary Stull. I cannot say that he came to Nelson County, but we do know his son and namesake, Harmon Greathouse III was born in Frederick County, Maryland, and died in Nelson County, Kentucky, July 5, 1849.

Harmon Greathouse was a private in the Revolutionary War as is described in the following two sources:

Bulletin for Dedication of Harmon Greathouse’s Gravestone and Plaque, Monday, October 19, 1998:

He was the fourth son of Harmon Greathouse, Sr., a German immigrant, Harmon Greathouse served in the Sandusky, Ohio Expedition. His unit fought against the Indians in 1781 under Col. William Crawford and Capt. Charles Bilderback.

A lively battle was fought at a spot about five miles north of the old Sandusky Fort. Though about equal in numbers initially, Indian reinforcements soon gave the Indians a better than three-to-one advantage. Orders were given for the soldiers to retreat – every man for himself. Harmon Greathouse had a very fine filly and could have made his retreat without any difficulty. However, he came upon a fellow soldier who was a foot and lame. Knowing that this comrade-in-arms would be captured and scalped by the Indians, Greathouse dismounted and gave up his horse and a portion of his rations. He then bid the soldier farewell and continued his escape on foot.

Greathouse met up with ten members of his old company and together they marched day and night for about a week. With little rest and only buds and roots for subsistence, they eventually reached their settlement. Only about 60 of the original 400 soldiers reached home. Among them was the lame soldier who returned with Harmon Greathouse’s horse.”

Kentucky: A History of The State, By J.H. Battle, W.H. Perrin and G.C. Kniffin, Copyright 1885

Harmon Greathouse, was born in Pennsylvania. In an early day, he and his two brothers started for Kentucky in a flat boat, and one of his brothers was killed by Indians while making the journey. The second brother settled in Shelby County, and the third brother, Harmon, settled in Nelson County. In an early Indian raid was he was captured by Indians. He remained at prisoner some time, but finally escaping settled in Nelson County, Ky., where he resided until his death.

Harmon Greathouse married Mercy Bukey, March 5, 1789, in Ohio County, Virginia, the area later to be part of West Virginia. Mercy was the daughter of Col. John Bukey and Jemima Dunn. She was born March 19, 1768, in Ohio County, Virginia, and died February 25, 1841, eight years before her husband, in Nelson County, Kentucky.

In his will, Harmon Greathouse names his ten children. Two had predeceased him – Isaac Newton and Rudolphus – their heirs were given their portion, but were not named. The living children were Luther, Jonathan, William, John, Mary (married a Mr. Hall), Joseph F., Elizabeth (married a Mr. Bridwell) and Jemima (married a Mr. Porter).

Will of Harmon Greathouse

Nelson County Will Book 6, Page 275 (2 pages both listed as 275)

I, Harmon Greathouse, of Nelson County and State of Kentucky, being in old age and infirm in body, but of a sound mind and disposing memory, for which I have abundant reason to thank God.  And being desirous to dispose of all my worldly estate with which God hath been pleased to bless me, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills.

First.  I desire that all my just debts be paid.

Second.  I will and bequeath to my son, Joseph F. Greathouse, two feather beds with their furniture and one sugar tree bedstead in addition to what I have heretofore given him.  It is my will also that my servant woman, Patience, shall remain on my son Joseph’s farm where we now live and serve him as she has me and keep her household furniture.  If Joseph should die or move off before said Patience dies, she is to be at liberty to make choice of any one of my children to live with.  My wish is for her to be kindly treated as she has been a faithful servant.

Third.  I will and bequeath to my daughter, Elizabeth Bridwell, my servant girl Parisade, aged about seventeen years, and her increase.  Said girl is now in the possession of my said daughter Elizabeth.

Fourth.  I will and bequeath to my son Joseph F. Greathouse my servant girl Catherine (aged about fourteen years) and her increase in trust for my daughter Jemima Porter and her children.  Said girl Catherine is now in the possession of said Jemima Porter and said Catherine and her increase should she have any, I will to the said Joseph as aforesaid for the sole benefit for my daughter Jemima and her children and for no other purpose.

Sixth.  I will and bequeath the remainder of my estate, both real and personal, of what nature or kind soever it may be not heretofore particularly disposed of, to be equally divided among my several children, namely, Luther Greathouse, Jonathan Greathouse, (Isaac Greathouse heirs to draw one equal share), William Greathouse, John Greathouse, Polly Greathouse now Polly Hall, Rudolphus B. Greathouse’s heirs to draw one equal share, Elizabeth Greathouse now Elizabeth Bridwell and Jemima Greathouse, now Jemima Porter, which will make nine shares.  Said Jemima Porter’s share I will to my son Joseph F. Greathouse in trust for said Jemima and her children to paid over to them by the said Joseph as he may think their necessities may require.

Seventh.  It is my will that in the settling up of my estate that my daughter Elizabeth Bridwell be charged with one hundred dollars for the use of my Negro girl Charity which died in her possession.

Eighth.  Also that Jemima Porter be charged with one hundred dollars for the use of my Negro girl Eliza, which died in her possession. 

And lastly I do appoint my son Joseph F. Greathouse and Francis Belmear, Executors of this my last will and testament in testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this seventeenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-two.

                                     Harmon Greathouse

Teste.  P. B. Samuels, J. W. Samuels

At a county court held for Nelson County at the courthouse in Bardstown on the 14th day of January 1850

This last will and testament of Harmon Greathouse, deceased, was this day produced in court and proved by the oath of Preston B. Samuels, subscribing witness thereto, who also made oath that J. W. Samuels, that other subscribing witness to said will, subscribed his name to said will in his presence and at the request of testator, whereupon said will is ordered to be recorded.  Francis Bealmear, on of the executors appointed in said will came into court renounced his right to qualify as executor.

Attest.  Nathaniel Wickliffe, Clerk

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