Tag Archives: John May

1814 Will of Thomas Lewis – Nelson County

I think we need a little background on Thomas Lewis.  He was a son of John Lewis and Elizabeth Brown, born in Loudoun County, Virginia, about 1772.  His siblings were John Lewis, who moved to Hancock County, Kentucky; Daniel and Vincent Lewis who settled near Bloomfield in Nelson County, as did Thomas; and a sister Rebecca Lewis, not sure where she lived.  Daniel and Vincent Lewis are named as Thomas’ executors, and each receive ¼ of his estate.  Brother John died in 1813, and his children received ¼ part.  Sister Rebecca is given 1/8 of the estate, as is her daughter, Thomas’ niece, Rebecca Machan.  I can find no marriage for Rebecca Lewis, but that must be her married name.

Thomas was considered the chief business advisor for his family.  His death was a tragedy for his family in many ways.  From approximately mid-1819 to the first years of the 1820’s Kentucky was in an economic panic.  The great acres of land that Thomas left his family were possibly a curse rather than a blessing, since during this time the value of land was less to nothing, and yet property taxes still had to be paid.

Thomas Lewis married Ann Langley, the widow of John May.  At her death he received half of her husband’s estate, the other half going to her two children, John Langley and Mary May.  Thomas did not have children.  My Captain John Hancock Linton is an uncle of Thomas Lewis.

Thomas Lewis’ Will

Will Book A, Pages 129-131, Nelson County, Kentucky

I, Thomas Lewis, late of the town of Petersburg and State of Virginia, now in the State of Kentucky, being in good health and sound mind, do make this my last will and testament in manner following.  To wit, I hereby give and devise the whole of my estate (both personal and mixt rights and credits to me in anywise belonging, held either in my name or in the name of others for my use and benefit) unto my brothers Vincent Lewis and Daniel Lewis, their heirs, executors, etc., in trust for the following purposes.  First to pay all my just debts and secondly (after retaining to themselves a reasonable compensation for their trouble in settling my business) to divide the balance into eight equal parts and to retain in their hands two eighth parts for the use and benefit of the said Vincent Lewis and his heirs forever.  Two other eighth parts for the use and benefit of the said Daniel Lewis and his heirs forever, one eighth part for the use and benefit of my niece, Rebecca Machan; one eighth part for the use and benefit of my sister Rebecca Lewis and her heirs forever; and the other two eighth parts for the use and benefit of the children of my brother John, deceased; provided however if my said trustees should think proper they may within three years after they shall have qualified and undertaken said trust, put out one thousand dollars upon good security upon interest for the use and benefit of my said niece, Rebecca Macham or retain the same in their own hands, paying interest thereon each and every year to the said Rebecca or to some other person for her maintenance in place of the said eighth part of my estate, for and during her natural life and then to pay on the said one eighth or one thousand dollars (which ever they shall first elect to pay) to such of the relations of the said Rebecca Machan as they may think proper, provided it be not to them, the said Vincent and Daniel, or either of them or either of their descendants, and provided also that if my father shall by his will, give the plantation upon which he lives to my sister Rebecca, then in lieu of the one eighth of my estate, my trustee shall pay her the sum of five hundred dollars only, with interest.  Thereupon from two years after they shall have qualified to act or if my father should give her any part of said plantation less than the whole, then my said trustees may either pay to her the one eighth part of my estate or one thousand dollars within three years after

They shall qualify to act as aforesaid at their option, and as to the two eighths part devised in the first for the use and benefit of the children of my deceased brother, John, my desire is that the same shall be considered as a part of my said brother’s estate and to go to his children precisely as directed by his last will and testament.  And his executrix and trustee, heirs, etc., to have the same power over it as the other part of the said decedent’s estate.  It is my will and desire that my said trustees do settle the business of my estate as soon as practicable with convenience to themselves and in order to enable them to do so they are hereby authorized to enter into compromises for the adjustment of titles to all my lands and land clams where the same shall in any manner be disputed to enter into arbitration respecting the same and finally to do and act with the said lands as well as with all part or parts of my estate, rights and credits as if the property was their own and they were acting for themselves.  And in order to ascertain the amount of my said estate as soon as possible I would advise them to sell my lands and land claims from time to time, whenever in the opinion they can get what they are or shall be worth and upon such credits as they may think best and most to the advantage of my said estate and from time to time divide the proceeds of the said lands as well as of the slaves and other property, first deducting a reasonable compensation for their trouble, and all expenses attending the business from time to time.  And I hereby further empower my said trustees to make sale of all my slaves in the State of Virginia if they should think proper to do so hereby appointing my said brothers Vincent and Daniel, Executors of this my last will and testament, and hereby declaring all others by me at any time heretofore made wills void.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand seal this twenty-seventh day of April in the year of our Lord Christ, 1814.

Thomas Lewis

At a County Court held for Nelson County on the 20th day of December 1819

The above writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Thomas Lewis, deceased, being exhibited in Court and proved by the oaths of Vincent Davis, Richard Rudd and

General James Cox, all of this county, to be wholly in the handwriting of the said deceased and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of Vincent Lewis and Daniel Lewis, the executors therein named, they having given bond with Vincent Davis, Hezekiah Murphy, Thomas Duncan and James Allan, their securities in the penalty of $10000, conditioned as prescribed by law, and having taken the oath of the law in such case directs, it is ordered that a certificate of probate of said will be granted them.

Test. Ben Grayson, County Clerk

Will of John Swan – 1780 – Lincoln County

This will of John Swan, written July 12, 1780, while Kentucky was a county of Virginia, gives us quite a bit of information about his family.  He has three sons, John, Joel and Thomas; two daughters, Elizabeth and Lettice; and his wife (who is not named) is big with child.  John Swan bequeaths 1,600 acres of land to his children, several slaves and 3,000 pounds.  His wife has all the money except this 3,000 pounds, so he must have been rather wealthy!  Another interest to me is that he had three women witness his will.  Enjoy!

Will Book 1, Pages 11-12, Lincoln County, Kentucky

swan-will-1In the name of God, amen.  I, John Swan, of Kentucky County, being sound in body and perfect memory, blessed be God, on this day it being the 12th of July in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty, make this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say first I give and bequeath to my son John the choice of three hundred acres out of nine laying on the North fork of Elkhorn with the mill seat, mill stones and mill irons.  Also I give and bequeath to my son Joel the next choice of three hundred acres of nine hundred

swan-will-2acres.  Also I give to my son Thomas three hundred acres which make up the nine hundred acres of land, and two hundred acres I give and bequeath to my son or daughter that my wife is big with if born, and if not born the two hundred acres to be equally divided among the three boys.  Also I give to my daughter Elizabeth two hundred and fifty acres of land that John May leases out to the house, laying on Salt River waters and one Negro girl Hanner, also I give to my daughter Lettice two hundred and fifty acres of land that John May leases out to the halves, lying on the waters of Salt River and one Negro girl Judy.  Also I give to my wife one Negro woman named Beth, and her rising generation to my boys shall be equally divided and all my creatures I give to my wife to raise my children, and my money I give all to my wife but three thousand pounds to my three sons above mentioned.  I make, ordain my wife, Richard Swan, Jacob Vanmeter, Executrix and Executors of this my will in trust for the intent and purpose in this my will contained, and make my loving friends overseers of this my will to take care and ensure the same, performed according to my intent and meaning, in witness whereof I, the said John Swan, as witness I set my hand and sign, sealed and delivered in the presence of you all by me.

John Swan

Mary M. Hinton

Rebekah Rowlings

Margaret Haycraft

At a Court held for Lincoln County the 18th of February 1783

This instrument of writing was exhibited in Court as the last will and testament of John Swan, deceased, and proved by the oaths of Mary Hinton and Margaret Haycraft and ordered to be recorded.

Teste. William May Clerk

Will of John May

Logan County Wills – Found in Guardian Book B 1834-1856

John May – pages 24-26

I, John May, of the County of Logan and state of Kentucky, being weak in body but of sound mind and memory, knowing the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, do think properly to publish and declare this my last will and testament in writing.  I give my soul to God, the disposer and giver of all goods, and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my executor.  As touching my worldly goods I give and bestow in the following manner.

Item 1:  I give and bequeath to my three sisters – Martha, Elizabeth and Sally May – after my just debts first paid, thirty acres of land on the Whippoorwill, it being the same I purchased of Abner Farthing, together with all my stock of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs, household and kitchen furniture, farming utensils, to them and their heirs forever, to be held mutually between them or sold and divided equally among them at their discretion.

My will and desire is, and I do further give my said three sisters, Martha, Elizabeth and Sally, the land, the plantation whereon I now live for in and during their natural lives and single or unmarried state and in the event either should marry the two single shall have it and in the event of the two marry it shall pass and go to the one single and at their deaths the last mentioned land shall pass and go as herein after directed – my will and desire is and I do further give my said three sisters, Martha, Elizabeth and Sally, my Negro boy Jack until the said boy shall arrive to the years of age of twenty-five years, or until Adomanir (?) 1849, at which time my will and desire is my executors emancipate him and he go free.

Item:  My will and desire is and I do hereby give and bequeath after the death of my sisters Martha, Elizabeth and Sally, the land and plantation whereon I now live the same I purchased of H. H. Hunter, to my brother, Coleman May, to him and his heirs forever.  I do hereby nominate and appoint my two sisters, Elizabeth May and Sally May, executors and that no security be required of them by Logan County Court as executors to this my last will and testament.  I do hereby publish and declare this writing my last will, hereby revoking all others.  In witness of the same I have subscribed my name in the presence of David Daniel Mason and James W. Mobley, this 24th day of April 1837.      John May

Acknowledged before us – David D. Mason and J. W. Mobley

May Term 1839 – At a county court held for Logan County at the court house in Russellville on the 27th day of May 1839, the within last will and testament of John May, deceased, was produced in open court and proven by the oaths of David D. Mason and James W. Mobley, two subscribing witnesses thereto, to be the last will and testament of said John May.  Whereupon the same, together with certificate, hath been duly admitted to record in my office.  Given under my hand the date above.  M. B. Morton, Clerk of Logan County, Kentucky.