James Downey, Sr., was evidently a resident of Mercer County, but in the area that would be Anderson County in 1827, when the county was formed. Marriage records from Mercer County confirm the marriage of his children. William Morris married Martha Downey October 15, 1804. James Downey, Jr., married Mary Riley July 30, 1805. Joel Downey married Sally T. Adams December 22, 1807. John Downey married Nancy Wingate December 20, 1824. Nancy Downey married David Owts (possibly Oats) April 5, 1825. Since James, Sr., made his will less than two months after Nancy’s marriage, he evidently had his opinion of his new son-in-law, leaving land strictly for the personal use of his daughter, ‘free from the control of her husband’, and naming son James as trustee for his sister.
Will Book A, Pages 1-2, Anderson County, Kentucky
In the name of God, Amen. I, James Downey, Senior., of the County of Mercer and State of Kentucky, being of sound mind and memory, and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die, do make and ordain this writing to be my last will and testament. It is my will that my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid, and that my executor make sale of one cow, upon reasonable credit, and the money arising from such sale shall be equally divided between my sons Joseph A. Downey, John Downey, James Downey, Jr., and my daughter, Martha Morris, which is to be in full of all I intend for them.
Second. It is my will and desire that my wife, Martha Downey, shall enjoy the peaceable and uninterrupted possession of my land, houses, stock and household furniture, to dispose of as she thinks properly, as long as she lives, except my daughter Nancy Owts is to have her horse, bed and furniture and clothes, and at the decease of my said wife Martha, it is my will and desire that all that part of my tract of land which lies on the northeast side of Fox Creek, where I now live and the one eighth of an acre, including a spring I use water site of, on the south side of the said creek, to be laid off in a square, making the said creek the base line, shall be, and the same is hereby vested in my son James, as trustee for my said daughter Nancy and her heirs, to be applied solely to her use and benefit, free from the control of her husband. But it is to be understood, that my said daughter Nancy, with the consent of her said trustee, may sell the said tract of land and the proceed thereof shall be laid out in such way as my said son James may direct, to the sole use of my said daughter, and her heirs forever. And in case my said son James should die, the County Court of Mercer, in their discretion, may appoint another trustee, who shall have all the power vested in my said son, James. Also, my daughter Nancy, at the decease
Of her mother, is to have all my stock and personal property to her and her heirs forever, that is to say, such of it as remains undisposed of by my said wife, who is to have the same at her absolute disposal as long as she lives.
Third. The balance of my land on the southwest side of Fox Creek, shall after the decease of my wife, Martha, it is my will that the same shall go to my son Joel and his heirs forever.
Fourth. It is my will that my son James shall be my sole executor of this my last will and testament, who is to see the same faithfully carried into execution.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 31st day of May 1825.
Signed, sealed and acknowledged before Robert B. McAfee, Susan J. Boyce, Sally C. McAfee
Anderson County Court – September Term 1827
I, Nelson C. Johnson, Clerk of the County Court for the County aforesaid, do certify, that his last will and testament of James Downey, Senior., deceased, was this day produced in open court, and proven by the oaths of Robert B. McAfee and Sally C. McAfee, two of the subscribing witnesses to said will, and ordered by the court to be recorded. Whereupon, the said will, together with the foregoing certificate hath been duly admitted to record in my office. Given under my hand this 3rd day of September 1827.
N. C. Johnson, Clerk