Old Wills

1826 Will of John Murphy – Garrard County

John Murphy is my 3rd great-grandfather, born in Virginia about 1755, the son of John Murphy and Nancy Jane Ransome.  John married Mary Polly Yarbrough July 19, 1796, in Lincoln County, Kentucky.  Mary was born 1781 in Halifax County, Virginia, the daughter of Randolph Yarbrough and Mary Bailey.  At the time of their marriage John was 41 and Mary was about 15.  It seems a wide stretch of ages.  John could have been in his mid-thirties, but still quite a gap.

Know all men by these presents that we, John Murphy and Randolph Yarbrough, are held and firmly bound to James Garrard, Esq., Governor of Kentucky, in the sum of fifty pounds current money, to the payment whereof to be made to the said Governor and his successors, we bind ourselves, our heirs and firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 19th day of July 1796. A Condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized between the above bound John Murphy and Polly Yarbrough, for which a license has issued. Now if there be no lawful reason to obstruct that marriage then this obligation to be void or else to remain in full force. John Murphy, Randolph Yarbrough. Sealed and delivered in presence of Willis Green.

There are no 1800 census records for Kentucky – or Virginia for that matter.  Both were located in Washington City on August 24, 1814, when the British burnt the Capitol, Library of Congress, Senate and Supreme Court buildings.  In the 1810 Garrard County Census John and Mary had been married for 14 years.  There were 2 males under 10, and 1 male 45 and over.  The two boys were James and John, as mentioned in the will.  John Murphy was 55 years old at this time.  There were 4 females under 10, 1 aged 10-15, and 1, wife Mary, 26-44.  In my records I have daughters named Lucy (my 2nd great-grandmother), who was 3, Jane and Elizabeth.  Evidently there were more.

In 1820 there were 3 sons, infant to 14, 2 sons 14-25 (James and John), 1 male 45 and up – John, 65 years of age.  Two daughters up to the age of 14, two daughters 14-25 and wife Mary 26-44.

In the 1830 census Polly Murphy lives by herself, aged between 50 and 60.

John Murphy must have known he was dying.  His will was written January 16, 1826, and probated the next month. 

Will of John Murphy

Garrard County Will Book F, Pages 110-111

Know all men by these presents that I, John Murphy, of the State of Kentucky and County of Garrard, being weak in body but perfect in mind and memory, doth first commit my body to the grave and my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it. 

I do secondly leave my land and everything I possess to my beloved wife, Mary Murphy, during her lifetime for to raise my young and helpless children on until they come or arrive to lawful age, and then they are to have an equal portion to the rest already married.  And my son John is to live on the land and assist his mother in taking care of the children and my son James is to also assist his mother in taking care of my children, and John Murphy and James Murphy are to be satisfied and paid for their trouble in confirmation I have hereunto caused my

hand and seal to be affixed this sixteenth January in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty-six.

John Murphy

Attest.  Luke Chrisman, James Layne, James Hammock

February Term 1826

This will was produced to court and proven by the oaths of Luke Chrisman and James Hammock, the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and the same is done accordingly.

Test.  James H. Letcher

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