Tag Archives: Old Wills

1794 Will of Thomas Burbridge of Scott County

The first will in Scott County Will Book A is that of Thomas Burbridge.  Evidently Thomas is not married as he gives all his estate to his brothers and sisters – and they are all named!  His sisters are listed by their married name, and then most of their husbands are listed as executors along with Thomas’ two brothers, Lunsfield and George.  What a find for those researching this family!

Will Book A, Pages 1-2, Scott County, Kentucky

I, Thomas Burbridge, of Scott County, and low of body, but of sound and disposing memory, do ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following.  I give my soul to God that gave it and my body to be buried in a Christian-like manner at the direction of my Executors.

Item.  I will that all my just debts and funeral charges be first paid and discharged by my executors herein after named.

Item.  I give and bequeath all my estate, both real and personal, to be equally divided amongst all my brothers and sisters that are now living and the heirs of their bodies forever.  Namely, Lunsfield Burbridge, George Burbridge, Mildred Robinson, Sarah Elley, Frances Smith, Elizabeth Branham and Mary Bullitt.  Lastly, I constitute and ordain my brother, Lunsfield Burbridge, my brother George Burbridge, my brother-in-law Henry Elley, my brother-in-law Robert Smith, my brother-in-law Benjamin Robinson, my brother-in-law Taviner Branham, executors of this my last will and testament, this 27th day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four.

Thomas Burbridge

Test.  Edward Elley, Matthew Gale Sr., William Wood, Thomas Elley, Henry Elley

Scott County, January Court 1795

This will was this day presented in Court by Lunsfield Burbridge, George Burbridge and Henry Elley, three of the executors in named and proved by the oaths of Edward Elley, Thomas Elley and Henry Elley, three of the witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and executors the oath and gave bond as law.

Know all men by these presents that we, Lunsfield Burbridge, George Burbridge, Henry Elley, Benjamin Robinson, Thomas Branham and Daniel Sinclair are held and firmly bound unto John McHatton, John Payne, Toliver Craig, Gentlemen Justices of Scott County in the sum of five thousand pounds current money to be paid to the aid justices or their successors, the payment whereof well and truly to be made.  We bind ourselves and each of us our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 26th day of January 1796.

The condition of the above obligation is such that if the above Lunsfield Burbridge and executors of the last will and testament of Thomas Burbridge, deceased to made or cause to be

made a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods, chattles and credits of said deceased which have or shall come to the hands possession or knowledge of them, the said executors, or any other person or persons for them and the same so made do exhibit unto the said county court of Scott at such time as they shall be thereunto required by the said Court and the said goods, chattles and credit do administer accordingly to law by rendering a just and free account of their acting and therein pay the legacies in the said will mentioned as far as the goods, chattles and credits will thereunto extend and the law shall charge them the above obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

Lunsfield Burbridge, George Burbridge, Henry Elley, Benjamin Robinson, Daniel Sinclair, Thomas Burbridge

In open court test.  John Hawkins

1782 Will of Zephaniah Blackford of Jefferson County

So many interesting things about this will!  Fort Nelson became Louisville, Kentucky.  In 1781 Colonel George Rogers Clark was stationed there where he led expeditions against the Shawnee Indians.  Zephaniah Blackford evidently knew him well enough to purchase land from him.  

Since no wife is mentioned, Zephaniah Blackford was not married, so he chose the daughters of his brother Reuben to receive his legacies, as well as his brothers and sisters.  The mention of his nursery on Fish Creek, and the number of apple trees he gives make me want to call him an early Johnny Appleseed!  Fish Creek is off Nolan River, now located in Mammoth Cave National Park, in Edmonson County. 

Zephaniah must have been a religious man, setting aside $200 for the use of the Baptist Society to preach the gospel ‘where none but darkness to be found.’

The land purchased of Captain George Rogers Clark on the mouth of the Kanawha is now located in West Virginia.  Fort Jefferson was constructed upon instructions by then Governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, he putting Clark in charge.  After the fort was built a small settlement by the name of Clarkville had some settlers make it their home, but the Indian raids caused the fort and settlement to be a disaster.  It was to have been built at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, today near the town of Wickliffe, Kentucky, in Ballard County.

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Zephaniah Blackford, Conductor of Military Store in the Interior Department, now residing at Fort Nelson, being of sound and disposing mind and memory and understanding and considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof, I do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner following.  First and principally I resign my soul to God Almighty, and hope for salvation thro the merits of my blessed redeemer Christ.  As to my temporal estate I dispose thereof as follows.  I do name and constitute my brother, Reuben Blackford, to be my sole executor.  I will that all my just debts and funeral charges must first and immediately be paid.

Imprimis.  I give my Birth Right and all my property of whatever kind in East Jersey unto my brother and sisters that may be in that provenance at my decease be equally divided between them in quantity and quality to them.

Item.  I give unto my brother, Reuben Blackford, my wearing apparel and surveying instruments and all my bills and receipts from the state of Virginia and also here my settlement and presumption at Fish Creek and the six hundred acres of land I have up the Kanawha that was bought of John Savage, and two town lots I bought of Captain George R. Clark at the mouth of Big Kanawha and all rights to two town lots and appurtenances that was Jacob Shillings at Clark Ville, Fort Jefferson, to him and his heirs and assigns for him or them to sell or dispose with at phases, my just debts to be paid out of the same and two hundred dollars for burial and likewise for the use of a Baptist Society that may for future years be used in the Illinois Country and in support of the Gospel where none but darkness to be found, if demanded five years from the present date.

Item.  I give unto my niece Hannah Ruth, daughter of brother Reuben Blackford, it is my desire to use her as if she were my own daughter, I give unto her my land that is known by the falls of Blackford Manor on the Wabash River two leagues at Vincennes consisting of fourteen hundred and forty acres and appurtenances and land as entered in that office by the name of Levi Blackford, William Blackford, Oliver Blackford, George Blackford,

Richard Blackford, Moses Blackford, Isaac Blackford and Henry Blackford, to remain her and her heirs of blood forever.  I give unto her five hundred apple trees to plant on the above land out of my nursery at Fish Creek of the second choice, she to take possession of all the lands at eighteen years of age.

Item.  I give unto my niece, Phoeby, the second daughter to my brother Reuben Blackford, as a token of my friendship to her, land opposite to the town of St. Vincennes over the Wabash, containing three hundred and sixty acres of land entered in that office by my name and forty acres of this being what I bought of John Cardinne, to remain her and her heirs of blood forever.  I give unto her five hundred apple trees for the use of the said land out of my nursery aforesaid, the third choice, she may take possession at the age of eighteen years.

Item.  I give unto my niece Elizabeth, the third daughter of my brother, Reuben Blackford, as a token of my friendship to her, my land I bought of Randall White and one lot of my father, John Blackford, entered in that office, the whole containing three hundred and twenty acres of land to her and her heirs of blood forever.  I give her five hundred apple trees, of the fourth choice.  She may take possession of the premises at eighteen years of age.

Item.  I give unto my friend, Yates Conwell, as a token of the friendship I always had for him, seven hundred apple trees of my nursery at Fish Creek, the first and best choice of the said nursery.

I do deny all wills, testaments, legacies, before this time and this only do I maintain to be my sole will and last testament.  Perhaps I may add one or more codicils to this hereafter, but the rest and residue of my real and personal estate whatsoever after payments of my debts, funeral charges and legacies, I give to my brother, Reuben Blackford, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever.  In witness where of I hereunto set my hand and seal the 12th day of May in the year of our Lord 1782.  Amen.

Zephaniah Blackford

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Zephaniah Blackford, for his last will and testament in the presence of us who have hereunto set our names, as witnesses, in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other.

Buckner Pittman, William Pritchet, George Shepherd


Jefferson County, April Court 1784

The last will and testament of Zephaniah Blackford, deceased, was proven by the oath of William Pritchet, one of the subscribing witnesses and being also proven by the oath of George Walls to be the handwriting of said decedent, was admitted to record.

Teste.  Will Johnston, Clerk Jefferson Court

Jefferson County Will Book 1, Pages 3-4

Will of Richard Turpin – 1789

This is a most interesting will in many ways.  One of the few wills to label the writer as a soldier, Turpin being of the Illinois Regiment.  Turpin owes land in at least three states – North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia – which he leaves to his three brothers. 

His will was proven by the oath of one of the witnesses, but also of the oath of William Clark, who wrote the will for him.  William Clark – of Lewis and Clark fame – moved to Kentucky, with his parents and siblings in 1785, and four years later William enlisted in the Northwest Indian War.  Evidently Richard Turpin must have been a fellow soldier, and they probably knew each other before the war.

There is no year listed on the will, but the next will lists the year 1789.

Will of Richard Turpin, Jefferson County, Kentucky, Will Book 1, 178?, Pages 11-12

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Richard Turpin, Soldier, in the Illinois Regiment, being sick and weak of body, but of sound and perfect sense and memory, thanks be to God for it, and calling to mind the uncertainty of this earthly life, do make and declare this my last Will and Testament.

First, desiring that all my just debts may be paid, and as to the temporal estate that it hath pleased God to bestow upon me, I give and bequeath and dispose of in the following manner.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my beloved brother Henry Turpin all the estate, both real and personal, which I possess appurtenant to me in North Carolina and also in South Carolina, to him and his heirs forever.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my beloved brothers Thomas Turpin and Jeremiah Turpin, the residue of my estate whatever in Virginia or elsewhere, except in North Carolina and South Carolina, desiring that it may be sold and the money arising to be equally divided between my two last brothers, to wit, Thomas Turpin and Jeremiah Turpin.

And I do hereby appoint Henry Turpin, Thomas Turpin and Jeremiah Turpin, the three brothers above mentioned, to execute this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I do hereunto set my hand, seal, this fifth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and eighty ____.

Richard Turpin

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of

George Shepherd, Peter Shepherd

At a Court held for Jefferson County, March 3rd,

The within last Will and Testament of Richard Turpin, deceased, was proven by the oath of George Shepherd, one of the subscribing witnesses and being also proved by the oath of William Clark (who wrote the same) was ordered to be recorded.

Teste.  William Johnston, Jr.


Will of Ann Duncan of Jessamine County

Ann, wife of James B. Duncan, died March 20, 1849, aged 48 years. ‘god shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’

I’m always excited to see the will of a woman back in the early days!  From her gravestone, located in the Duncan family cemetery in Nicholasville, we know that Ann was the wife of James B. Duncan.  At the time of her death in 1849, Ann has three children, Charles, Julia who married a Brown, and Margaret Ann, unmarried.  Notice there is no date on the will – an unusual fact.  I love the descriptions of silver table spoons, tea spoons, tongs, dessert spoons, etc.  This gives an idea of the type of life this family led.  When Ann Duncan talks about securing these items ‘with the property’ I suppose she means they must be handed down as family heirlooms, and not sold.

Feeling myself daily declining and believing that my end is near I wish to make some distribution of the little worldly goods I possess.  After my just debts are paid I give to my second daughter, Margaret Ann Duncan, a piece of land containing about fifty acres, lying in Mason County, four miles from Maysville on the Flemingsburgh Turnpike, and also the hire of my old man Billy while she remains single.  She is to have the whole benefit, but if she marry, then it is to be divided in three equal parts and entailed on their posterity made secure so that they cannot spend it.  I also wish that at my death a division of my bed clothing and furniture.  I have already given to Charles Duncan and Julia Brown a share of each, therefore I wish Margaret Ann to have the largest share in this last division.  I also give her my bed stead, my dressing bureau and a pair of poster tables that are now in my house.  I give Charles Duncan a half dozen silver table spoons, a half dozen silver tea spoons, they are to be secured with the property so that he cannot spend them.  I give Julia Brown my silver cream spoon, she now has a half dozen silver table spoons of mine in her possession.  I wish them also to be secured with the balance.  I give Margaret Ann Duncan, my daughter, a half dozen silver dessert spoons, a half dozen silver

tea spoons, a pair of silver sugar tongs, two salt shakers(?), one mustard spoon, one silver soup spoon, two silver butter knives, all to be secured as spoken of before.  I also give Margaret Ann, my daughter, my gold watch in consideration of her kindness and attention to me during my illness.  I had omitted to mention that I have four hundred and fifty dollars in the hands of Mr. Ely Anderson, living in Maysville, which will be due the second day of June; that I also give to Margaret Ann my daughter, and wish it secured with the rest.

Ann Duncan

Attest – J. Asline, William Duncan

State of Kentucky              Jessamine County April Court 1848

I, Daniel B. Price, Clerk of the County Court for the County of Jessamine, do certify that this writing was at the court aforesaid, produced and proven in open Court according to law by the oaths of William Duncan and J. Asline, the subscribing witnesses thereto, to be the last will and testament of Ann Duncan, deceased, and ordered to be recorded and a certificate of probate granted, whereupon the same together with this certificate has been duly entered of receipt in my office.

Attest.  Dan B. Price

Will Book G, Pages 415-416 – Jessamine County Clerk’s Office

Solomon Ryan – Dying of Consumption

Solomon Ryan names his illness in this 1829 will – something I have never seen before.  Ill with consumption he makes this will in preparation for his near death.  Solomon must have been a young man, having only one child and one on the way.  Interesting that he wanted his wife to have a marriage contract if she decided to remarry, to insure that the property he gave her would remain under her control.

Mercer County Will Book 9, Page 274.

After having lingered for some time with the consumption, for near eighteen months, I have thought proper to make my will as follows.

First.  I will my body to the grave and my soul to God.

Second.  I will all my personal estate to my beloved wife, Elizabeth, after my just debts are paid.

Third.  I wish my land to be equally divided between my wife and child or children.

Fourth.  If my child or children or either of them should die before they arrive at the age of twenty-one, or without issue at the time of their death, in that case their part of the land is to go to my beloved wife, she to have that as well as her own part to dispose of at her death as she thinks proper.

Fifth.  It is my will and desire that if my beloved wife should get married that she use this precaution to have a marriage contract so as to secure her own estate within her own control.

Sixth.  I wish my wife to be permitted to qualify as Executor without given security.

Seventh.  I further wish no sale to take place of my estate further than in my wife’s judgement shall be necessary.

Given under my hand and seal this tenth July 1829.

Solomon Ryan

Test.  Chr. Chinn, I. L. Sutfield, R. M. Sutfield

Mercer County Set, February’s County Court, 1830

The forgoing last will and testament of Solomon Ryan, deceased, was this day produced into court and proved by the oaths of Isaac and Richard Sutfield and Chr. Chinn, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

Att.  Thomas Allin

1826 Will of John Meaux and Emancipation of His Slaves

You will enjoy this will – most interesting!  John Meaux names two grandsons and two sons – no wife or daughters in this will.  But the biggest part of the will is given to the emancipation of sixty-one of his Negro slaves.  Not only does he give them their freedom, but some of his land and personal estate is sold, in part to give money to his former slaves, but he directs his Executors to purchase land in a free state for the Negroes.  His crop and plantation tools and utensils are to be given to the slaves.  John Meaux did give fourteen slaves to his son, but the majority he gave their freedom.  It would be interesting to know where land was purchased and where the slaves lived after they were free. 

Will of John Meaux

Will Book 1, Pages 272-274, Mercer County, Kentucky

I John Meaux of Mercer County, Kentucky, do hereby make this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills by me made.  First, I will and direct that all the slaves of which I am possessed as the owner be and they are hereby forever emancipated and set free, being sixty one in number and now in my possession, and the increase of the females also hereafter to be born.  I wish the young Negroes to be bonded out to trades, at the direction of my Executors.  I give unto my two

grandsons, John W. Meaux and Richard Meaux, each two cows and two ewes, the whole of stock except what is otherwise devised; and all my crop and plantation tools and utensils I direct to be divided among my Negroes hereby emancipated in such way and proportions as my Executors shall think right.  I direct the land I purchased of Edwards and which I have not conveyed away to be sold, as soon as the title is settled, and also all my household and kitchen furniture to be sold and the proceeds to be applied by my Executors to the use of my slaves hereby emancipated in such way and portions as my Executors shall think proper.  I give unto my son, Nathaniel B. Meaux, the tract of land in Mercer and Franklin, near Lillards, on which I settled him and also all the stock and Negroes which I have put into his possession, being Miller, Pompey, Charlotte, Armistead, four of Charlotte’s children now with her, Nelly and her five children, Washington, and two ewes.  If I should leave any money on hand I direct it shall be laid out at the discretion of my Executors for the benefit of my Negroes.  I direct that my Executors, out of the personal estate proceeds of the land which is to be sold and money in hand, if any, and all of which is herein division, for the benefit of my Negroes, in the first instance paying all the expenses of having the slaves emancipated and a fair compensation to themselves for all their expense and trouble in attending to the due execution of my will I hereby nominate and appoint my sons John G. Meaux and Nathaniel B. Meaux, also my friend John B. Thompson, Executors of this my last will and empower them or either of them to do all things herein directed to be done.  Witness my hand and seal this 23rd day of October 1826.

John Meaux

Test – Lanty Holman, Richard Holman

In addition to the foregoing will I now put into the hand of my Executor John B. Thompson five hundred and twenty-nine dollars 50 cents to be used by him in defraying all expenses and charges necessary to the freedom of my Negroes and authorize him to lay out all money deposited with him after paying the expenses and charges and also the money arising from the sale of my estate before directed in this will, in lands in Indiana, Ohio or some other free state for the use and benefit of my slaves in such proportions to each family as in his discretion he may deem right and proper, witness my hand and seal this 9th June 1828.

John Meaux

Eleven pieces of gold in the foregoing money supposed to be $70.00.

Test. – Lanty Holman, Vance Wilson

State of Kentucky Court of Appeals January 7, 1830

The foregoing last will and testament of John Meaux, deceased, and the codicil attached thereto were produced in this court and fully proved by the subscribing witnesses thereto and admitted to record in the office of said County and ordered to be certified to the Mercer County Court for record also.  Test.  J. Swigert, Clerk

Mercer County February County Court 1830.

The foregoing last will and testament of John Meaux, deceased, was this day produced into Court which together with the certificates of the Clerk of the court of Appeals I have made of record.

Attest.  Thomas Allin, County Clerk

Clark County Will Books Index – Volume III P-Y and Volume IV A-Y

My Washington County Will Books Indexes went over well, and thought I would work on a set for another county – Clark County, Kentucky.  Most of my research, for my family, has been in Washington, Marion, Garrard and Nelson counties. It is always interesting to research in a new county, since there are always new names to discover.

In the two county will indexes I have worked with I notice county clerks are terrible at spelling the same name the same way twice!  And some of the handwriting is a bit difficult to decipher.  Guess they never thought people would be interested in what they wrote so many years later!

Volume III includes 1,226 names listed. This is an all-inclusive, alphabetical listing of those listed in the Clark County Will Books Index, Books 1-13 for the years 1793-1853. Included is the description of the entry (Will, Inventory, List of Sales, Administrative Settlement, Allot Dower, Executors Settlement, Division of Estate, Guardian Settlement, Appraisement, List of Slaves, Agreement, etc.), the will book and the page number. Last names beginning with P–Y – there were no names beginning with U, X and Z.

Volume IV, below, includes A-Y – for those of you who have many family members in Clark County.  You can use the search feature on your Kindle to find a particular name.

You can click on the books to purchase them through Amazon.