Old Wills

1845 Will of Thomas Townsend – Logan County

The following is the very lengthy will of Thomas Townsend, born December 28, 1782, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, the son of Benedictus Townsend, 1722-1796, and Anaphileda Watson, 1729-1818.  Thomas married Elizabeth Davidson Ewing, August 27, 1805, in Logan County.  The couple had seven children, all listed in their father’s will, even though eldest son Dr. Robert Jefferson Townsend is mentioned in a codicil as having died July 23, 1849, of cholera.

Thomas Townsend Will

Logan County Will Book H, Pages 130-133

I, Thomas Townsend, Sr., of the County of Logan and State of Kentucky, do constitute and publish this as my last will and testament.

First.  I recommend my soul to God and request that my body shall be decently buried by my executors.

Secondly.  I desire that all my just debts be first paid after which I desire that all the estate I may own or possess at my death, real, personal or mixed, be divided as follows.  My wife Betsey D. Townsend is to have one sixth thereof during her life and one sixth thereof in fee simple, but with the power only of disposing of the same as she may think proper among any of her children or grandchildren.  The residue of all my estate that I may own or possess at my death, including the remainder in the one sixth left to my wife for life, which shall not be consumed by her life time shall be equally divided among all my children that may be living, at death giving to the children of my children the portion of their deceased parent, if any of my children shall die leaving a child or children before my death.  It is further my wish that my wife shall have the privilege if she desires to leave her portion in my estate giving as aforesaid alluded.  So as to embrace the dwelling house, out houses and as much timber as may be necessary to keep it up.  And if the portion alluded to her shall not be deemed sufficient by disinterested men chosen by her and my eldest son for comfortable and independent support as well as the support of my child or children, grandchild or children that she may desire to live with her an additional quantity that may be sufficient shall be allotted to her during her life, without deducting from the portion bequeathed to her in my personal estate or slaves.  It is also my wish that my wife shall have the choice of such slaves in her portion as she may choose to want and the division of my estate in other respects it is my desire, shall be made by disinterested men chosen by my wife and oldest son Robert.  It is clearly understood that advancement which I have made or may make to any of my children in my lifetime, the value of the sums estimated at the time when made is to be deducted from the portion intended for the child so advanced and when I have not fixed the value myself by some memorandum in writing, the value is to be by the disinterested men chosen, as it is my desire to produce entire equality among my children in the division of my estate.  It is further my will that the one sixth part allotted to my wife during her life, at her death is to be divided as before directed, among all my children and the children of those that may be dead.  I further bequeath to my granddaughter Victoria E. Beauchamp and her heirs forever a certain Negro girl named Eveline, her further increase, also one bed bedstead and furniture and one horse saddle and bridle,

is not to be brought into the division of my estate as before detailed.  It is further my will and desire that my son Presley E. Townsend shall take the care and control of my unfortunate son, Albert B. Townsend, and maintain him during his life, also the care, management and control of his estate for which services he is to have a reasonable compensation out of his estate, to be selected by wife and oldest son as aforesaid.  But it is my will and desire and is hereby expressly understood that all advancements heretofore made or which may be made to my daughters, all of which have and will be made upon loan, as well as the portion which shall fall to each of them in the division of my estate, also the portion given to my granddaughter Victoria, shall be vested in my son, Robert J. Townsend and Presley E. Townsend and my wife and survivors of them as trustees to have and to hold each of said portions in trust for the sole and separate use of my said daughters and granddaughters free from the control or disposition of their now husbands or any husbands which any of them may hereafter marry, but subject to be disposed of by either of my said daughters or granddaughter by will or otherwise if married by the written assent of said trustees or a majority of them or a majority of the successors and not otherwise, but if married and of full age without such ?  It is further to be understood that the loans of property made or to be made to any of my daughters is to be made to any of my daughters is to be valued and treated as advancements in the division of my estate that is the same is to be valued and set apart to each at its value when loaned.  It is further my will that my wife and two sons, Robert J. and Presley E. Townsend, or such of them as may be living at my death and may choose to qualify and shall be and act as my executrix and executors and it is my wish and desire that they shall counsel and advise with E. M. Ewing, both as executors and trustees as aforesaid and in all things be directed by his advice and instruction. And if any difficulty should arise in the const? of this will or in the distribution of the estate under it, it is my request that my children shall not go to law about it, but that the said matter shall be submitted to the award and final determination of said E. M. Ewing, and such other attorney or judge of law as may be chosen by my executors.  It is further my will that my wife shall have for her life, in addition to the portion before bequeathed to her, such of the household and kitchen furniture and utensils, including, beds, bed steads and furniture and table furniture and all other furniture necessary for comfortable house keeping such as she may desire to retain, including the pottery of all kinds and lead  victuals on hand sufficient for the support of the family for one year, also leather or anything else which she and my two sons Robert J. and P. E. Townsend may select and set apart to my said wife.  She is also to have for life such of my wagons, carts, gear, horses, oxen, farming utensils, cows, sheep, hogs or other articles upon the farm necessary to carry on the same and for her comfortable support and living to be selected and set apart to and for her use by herself and my aforesaid two sons or the majority of them.  In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 7th day of August 1845, the witnesses attesting the same in my presence.

Thomas Townsend

Witnesses – G. P. Ewing, George W. Ewing, E. M. Ewing, James B. Spencer

P.S. Whereas my wife has, out of her own means, loaned to Conrad and Judkins upwards of five hundred dollars, it is my will that she collects and apply the same to her own absolute use as it belongs to her, in witness whereof I add the same to my aforesaid will the date above.

Thomas Townsend

Witnesses – Y. P. Ewing, E. M. Ewing, George W. Ewing


It is my will that my executors shall not be required to make a public sale of any of my property unless they concur in thinking it best to do so, but shall have full power to make private sales or a division among the legatees without sale at their discretion.  And it is further my will that as my daughter Jane P. Bowling has lived with me for many years and rendered for me valuable services, more that any of my other children, I desire she shall have six hundred dollars in cash or that value in good property she may choose out of my estate in addition to her equal share with the other children and in the forgoing will to be allotted to her.  Witness my hand seal this 11th day of May 1849.

Thomas Townsend

Teste.  Y. P. Ewing, George W. Ewing, E. M. Ewing


Whereas since the making of the foregoing will and codicil my son Robert J. Townsend has departed this life, leaving two infant sons named Columbus G. Townsend and Robert Presley Townsend, I do hereby give to his said two sons, but said property is to be vested in the hands of my son Presley E. Townsend for the exclusive use of said grandchildren, until they arrive at the age of twenty-one, and in the event that either of my said grandchildren shall die before he is twenty-one years old, or without issue, his portion is to go to the survivor, but if both should ide before they are of age and without issue, the portion so given them as aforesaid shall remit in the balance of my children, the grandchildren taking these parents part.  In testimony of which I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 26th day of September 1849.

Thomas Townsend

Test.  George W. Ewing, Nannie L. Ewing, J. W. Ludkins


Whereas I have in the foregoing original will I bequeathed to my granddaughter Victoria Beauchamp a Negro girl, Eveline, in lieu and place of said Eveline I bequeath a Negro girl and the said Eveline, if she lives, is to go and pass to my other legatees and my other property is bequeathed.  In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 3rd day of September 1850.

Thomas Townsend

Teste.  E. M. Ewing, James B. Spencer

Memorandum refund to in said will as kept by said Townsend

Memorandum of property given by Thomas Townsend, my son R. J. Townsend: 

                To Cash to attend the lectures                                                     $300.00

                To buy medicine                                                                                $  60.00

                To cash for by mark dollars                                                           $500.00

                To 1 horse value                                                                                $  30.00

                1 press worth 20 dollars, 1 bed stead 6.00

                1 goo bed and clothes and 1 individual clothing Cash        $500.00

                1 cow and calf 10 dollars                                                               $  10.00

1 note out on A. B. Townsend 326 dollars                                              $   326.00

Thomas Townsend

Property loaned to Eliza Ann Judkins:

                For 1 Negro Boy Ned and 1 girl Silvey                                       $   700.00

                1 gray mare valued 60                                                                    $     60.00

                2 beds and clothes and bedstead

20 dollars 10 dollars cow                                                               $     30.00

Thomas Townsend

Cash funded to buy in property and other purposes $300 furniture, kept myself to be deeded by myself, $22, also 53 acres land.

Thomas Townsend

Property loaned to my daughter Amanda Beauchamp

                1 Negro boy Green and 1 girl Bady child, valued $800      $   800.00

                1 her value 40 dollars                                                                     $     40.00

                1 20 dollars 1 bedstead                                                                  $     26.00

                For 2 beds and clothing, 2 oxen, 2 the place of a cow        $     10.00

Thomas Townsend

Property given to P. E. Townsend

                To 193 acres of land at pr acre on 10 dollars 1930              $1,930.00

                To Negro boy Edmond Value                                                        $   600.00

1 horse value 30 dollars                                                                 $     30.00

To possess 16 dollars, 1 bedstead 6, 2 beds and clothes

Thomas Townsend

Property given to my daughter Martha Gilbert

                Two Negroes Emeline and Nancy                                               $   875.00

                1 horse 60 dollars                                                                             $     60.00

                1 bureau 16 dollars, 18 ?                                                               $     24.00

                2 beds and bed clothing

Thomas Townsend          

State of Kentucky, Logan County

I, James E. Wright, as clerk of the said Logan County Court do certify that at a County Court held for said county at the courthouse in Russellville on the 26th day of May 1851, the forgoing last will and testament of Thomas Townsend, deceased, was produced in court and proven by the oaths of George W. Ewing, E. M. Ewing and James B. Spencer, subscribing witnesses thereto to be the act and deed and last will and testament of said Thomas Townsend, deceased, and writings purporting to be Codicils to said will were proven as follows, the first codicil was proven by the oaths of E. M. Ewing and George W. Ewing, subscribing witnesses thereto; the second codicil was proven in open court by the oaths of G. W. Ewing and E. M. Ewing, subscribing witnesses thereto; the third codicil by the oaths of Nannie L. Ewing and George W. Ewing, subscribing witnesses thereto; and the fourth codicil was proven in open court by the oaths of E. M. Ewing and James B. Spencer, subscribing witnesses to be the act and deed and first, second, third and fourth codicils to the last will and testament of said Thomas Townsend, deceased.  Whereupon said will and codicils were ordered to be recorded and the memorandum refund to in said will as kept by said Thomas Townsend, was produced in open court and proven by the oaths of E. M. Ewing, George W. Ewing and James B. Spencer to the be handwriting of said Townsend, deceased, and ordered to be recorded.  Thereupon said will and codicils and writing kept by said Townsend, deceased, hat been duly admitted to record in my office.  Given under my hand the date above, J. E. Wright, Clerk Logan County Court

1 reply »

  1. These old wills are always interesting to read, seeing how the will-maker decided how the estate was to be shared among his or her heirs, who they may have decided to leave out, and the inventory made of the estate. It’s always sad to see how the “negroes” were inventoried, assigned values and passed along to the heirs along with the land, household effects and livestock. I have a 5th great grandma who died in Kentucky and did that very thing.

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