Tag Archives: Old Wills

1846 Will of William A. Jones – Livingston County

William A. Jones is the fourth great-grandfather of my husband.  Unfortunately, I do not know the name of his first wife.  Ritchey descends from his son Thomas who married Rachel Margaret Walker.

This is a fantastic will because it names all the children – and tells us the wife, Mariah Jones, is a second wife.  Why didn’t everyone be so thoughtful?

Livingston County Will Book B, Page 117

In the name of God, amen.  I, William A. Jones, of the County of Livingston and State of Kentucky, being sick and weak in body, but of sound mind and disposing memory, for which I thank God, and calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with, I give and bequeath the same manner following, that is to say I give –

1st.  I desire that so much of my perishable property to be immediately sold after my decease and out of the money arising therefrom all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

2nd.  After the payment of my debts and funeral expenses, I give to my wife, Mariah Jones, the balance of my perishable property after the above named debts being paid and the tract of land I now live on I give to my wife during her natural life or remains my widow, and at her death or marriage the said tract of land to be equally divided between David Jones and Patsy Allen and Sarah Jones, James Jones and Isaac Jones, Edmond Jones and Elizabeth Jones, all of the above being the children I have by my last wife.

3rd.  I give to Thomas Jones and Jesse Jones and Joshua Jones and Fanny Gazaway and William W. Jones and Olive Barr, six hundred acres of land lying in Trigg County in this state, near the mouth of Little River.

And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Thomas Jones and my son David Jones executors of this, my last will and testament.  I do not request my executors to give security, hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the 27th day of December in the year 1846.

William A. Jones

Signed, sealed and published and declared as the last will and testament of the above-named William A. Jones, in presence of us.  Witness, Jesse Wills, Jonathan McCandless, Elisha Biggs.

Kentucky, Livingston County

I, James S. Dallam, Clerk of the Court for the County aforesaid, hereby certify that the foregoing last will and testament of William A. Jones was on this day produced in open court and proven by the oaths of Jonathan McCandless and Elisha Biggs, two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

Thereupon I have truly recorded the same and this certificate in my said office.  Given under my hand this 1st day of February 1850.

James S. Dallam

William A. Jones, born June 17, 1784, died December 29, 1847.  Landrum Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky.

Bequest In Will Becomes Ryder’s Cemetery In Lebanon

This old will has a gem of a piece of information.  In it Augustus Ryder gives money to buy land for a cemetery and its upkeep.  But it is also the first will written in the new Will Book 1 after the Marion County Courthouse burned when General John Hunt Morgan came to town July 5, 1863.  The original will was included in those books that became ashes on that date.  In many counties that suffered the loss of a courthouse it was very common for copies of wills, and other records, to be brought in and added to the new books to have those records on file.

On my first reading I thought perhaps Augustus Ryder was a soldier of the Civil War, who intended to take care of his sister Julia (she is the only family member named in the will) and use the rest of his estate for the betterment of the community – a new cemetery.  Augustus Ryder was civic minded, but I don’t believe he served during the war.  He was a German immigrant, born in 1812.  I can’t say when he came to this country, but in the 1850 census he is living in Marion County with John and Sally Yowell, aged 40, born in Germany and listed as a merchant.  John Yowell was a bookkeeper, aged 53, his wife, 57.  In 1860 Augustus is 47, a bookkeeper, living with Michael S. Ray.

My great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Crow Coulter Alford is buried in Ryder’s Cemetery.   The cemetery is located on a hill on Highway 68, Main Street, in Lebanon, halfway between Sulphur Spring Road and Woodlawn Avenue.


Will Book 1, Page 1, Marion County, Kentucky

I, Augustus Ryder, of Marion County, Kentucky, do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament.

1st.  It is my will that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

2nd. I will and bequeath to my sister Julia Ryder three thousand dollars and also my gold watch.

3rd. I will all the balance of my estate to be laid out in the purchase, enforcement and ornament of suitable cemetery grounds in the vicinity of Lebanon, for a funeral place for all denominations, Catholic and Protestant.

4th.  I appoint John Shuck and Thomas C. Woods, Executors, of this my last will and testament, this 30th day of November 1862.

  1. Ryder

Attest. James M. Fogle, N. J. Ray

The above is the substance and as near the form as I can remember of A. Ryder’s will drawn by me.

John Shuck

State of Kentucky, County of Marion

I, James M. Fuller, Clerk of Marion County Court, certify that the above and personal substances of the will of A. Ryder, deceased, was on August 10, 1863, presented to Marion County Court and proven by the oath of James M. Fogle, and N. S. Ray, subscribing witnesses thereto, to be the substance of the original will of Augustus Ryder, deceased, which was received in the County Clerk’s office and burned on July 5, 1863, which fact also attested by the oath of John Shuck.

Thereupon it is ordered that said substance of will marked in order form A is received as the last will and testament of Augustus Ryder, deceased.

Whereupon the same and this certificate are truly received in my office this August 31st, 1863.

James M. Fuller, Clerk

1824 Will of George Scott – Daviess County

Daviess County, Kentucky – Will Book A

Pages 3-4

Know all men by these presents that I, George Scott, of Daviess County, Kentucky, this day have made my last will.  Respecting the distribution of my small portion of my earthly property in the manner as followeth.

To wit.  First my lawful debts to be paid and secondly I will to my daughter, Sarah Mullican, son Elisha and son William, son Asa, son George, son Elijah, daughter Jenna, daughter Matilda and grandson Milburn, one dollar each.  Also I will my interest in a judgement obtained in the General Court at Frankfort against Hicks & Campbell Richmond for thirty-three and some other hundred dollars unto the above named Sarah, Elisha, William, George, also Elijah, Jenna and Matilda and whereas there is some sales made on Judgement they are equally interested in them as if sales had been made in Judgement.

I also will to son Elijah 75 dollars in stock property valued at commonwealth paper.  To my daughter Matilda a young mare.  I will the plantation on which I now live to son Abner and James B. Scott.  I will that my daughter Polly shall have one hundred and fifty dollars instead of the land to be counted out of my estate afterward, all and singular of property belonging to me I will to Polly Scott, Abner and James B. Scott, both Negroes, horses, cattle, hogs, sheep and household plunder and all these to my three youngest children, but that there should be no mistake I will that my wife Susannah be carefully maintained out of the property willed to her children and that the property afore mentioned be left with her and her children during her lifetime or until her children come of age except such as to discharge debts or to purchase necessary or that appears to be a surplus for to be disposed of as occasion may see fit.

I hereby appoint Warner Crow as trustee over my estate to assist until the children come of age or otherwise to buy, sell, direct, collect debts, to pay off and to act as he thinks just according to the afore mentioned will for on behalf of my wife and her children.

In witness I have set forth my hand and seal this 1st day of November 1824.

George Scott

G. Calhoun, Samuel Calhoun


At a County Court began and held for the County of Daviess at the Court House in Owensboro on Monday the 13th day of June 1825, this will was exhibited in Court and duly proved to be the act and deed of the within named George Scott, by the oaths of George and Samuel Calhoun, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and Warner Crow, the executor therein named made oath to said will and executed bond agreeable to law and a certificate for obtaining a probate thereof in due form was granted the said executor which will is duly recorded in said Court.

Attest. George Hanley, Clerk Daviess County Court

State of Kentucky, Daviess County Court, June Term 1867(?)

The above containing the above foregoing will having been destroyed it is now ordered that the same be re-recorded.  Witness my hand this 10th day of June 1867.

Thomas C. Jones, Clerk

Will and Inventory of William Stewart Who Fell at the Battle of Blue Licks

It is quite possible that William Stewart was one of the victims of the Battle of Blue Licks.  He was listed as one of the privates killed, as well as one of his witnesses, Francis McBride.  Clough Overton, another witness, was a captain for this mission, and he, too, died August 19, 1782.  As mentioned in the court records below, only one of the three subscribing witnesses was alive to prove this will.

From the inventory of William Stewart, we can tell he is a single man, no mention of dishes, furniture or other household inventory.  He does not seem to be your average Kentuckian with his wardrobe.  He must have been a man of means, with the number of waistcoats, buckles, handkerchief, stockings, linen shirts, clothes brush, geographical book, etc., that are mentioned.

Terribly sad that he died at such a young age.

Lincoln County, Kentucky (while still part of Virginia)

Will Book 1, Pages 13-14

Appraisement Bill of the Estate of William Stewart, deceased.  Pounds, shillings, pence.

  • One stone horse 35 0 0
  • One roan mare 18 0 0
  • One black horse 18 0 0
  • Three coats 10 0 0
  • Three waistcoats 2 10 0
  • One great coat 2 10 0
  • Three blankets 2 10 0
  • One pair of breeches 0 15 0
  • One pair of drawers 0 6 0
  • One pair of overalls 0 6 0
  • Four linen shirts 2 0 0
  • Four socks 0 12 0
  • One handkerchief 0 1 6
  • Eight pair of stockings 2 3 0
  • Two pair of shoes 2 0 0
  • One clothes brush 0 1 0
  • One pair of saddle bags 0 15 0
  • One geographical book 0 10 0
  • One pair of silver knee buckles 0 10 0
  • One pocket book 0 6 0
  • One saddle and ? 4 0 0
  • One pair of half hand gloves 0 1 0
  • One pair of cloth leggings 0 4 0
  • Thirty-five buttons 0 3 0
  • Sixteen horn buttons 0 0 9
  • Two old gloves 0 1 6
  • One comb 0 2 6
  • One roll of blackball 0 1 0
  • One fill of oker 0 0 6
  • One half pound of gunpowder 0 3 0
  • One pair of leather breeches 0 10 0
  • One pounds of soap 0 0 6
  • One razor 0 1 0
  • One set of Frisons 0 1 6
  • One pair of horse shoes 0 0 6
  • One set of plough irons 2 0 0
  • Two papers of ink powder 0 2 0
  • One box of wafers 0 0 6
  • Part of a beaver trap 0 2 0
  • One pair of harness and part of chain truss 0 2 0
  • One watch 2 0 0

At a Court held for Lincoln County 19th March 1783

This inventory and appraisement was returned to Court and ordered to be recorded.

Teste. William May, Clerk, Lincoln County

Lincoln County, Kentucky (while still part of Virginia)

Will Book 1, Pages 19-20

The Will of William Stewart

In the name of God, amen.  The twenty-fifth day of August 1781.  I, William Stewart of Lincoln County and Commonwealth of Virginia, yeoman, being of perfect health, mind and memory, thanks be give to God therefore, calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is, today, principally and first of all I give and bequeath my soul into the hands of almighty God that gave it and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the direction of my executors, nothing doubting but at the resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

Imprimis.  I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved father two certain tracts of land on the north side of Kentucky containing two thousand four hundred acres, one tract known by the name of the Trough Spring on the head of Glen’s Creek, the other adjoining as will more fully appear by the records in the surveyor’s office.

Imprimis.  I give unto my beloved brother, Robert Stewart, the sum of five pounds lawful money of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to be paid out of my estate.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved sisters Hanna and Mary all and singular my estate not already bequeathed to be equally divided between them, the said Hanna and Mary, and I do hereby constitute and appoint James Hunter, John Smith and William McBride, Executors, of this my last will and testament and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disapprove all and every other former testaments, wills, legacies and bequests and Executors by me in any will before named, willed and bequeathed.  Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Signed, sealed and declared by the said William Stewart as his last will and testament in presence of us the subscribers – N.B. the word Executors underlined before signing.

William Stewart

Clough Overton, Ebenezer Miller, Francis McBride

At a Court held for Lincoln County 21st January 1783.

This instrument of writing was submitted in Court as the last will and testament of William Stewart, deceased, and proved by the oath of Ebenezer Miller, the only surviving witness and ordered to recorded.

Teste.  William May, Clerk, Lincoln County

1751 Will of Charles Yates – Charles County, Maryland

I believe this may be part of my Yates family that came from Maryland.

Charles County, Maryland

Will Book 1752-1767, Pages 1-2

Charles Yates Will

In the name of God, amen.  I, Charles Yates, of Charles County and state of Maryland, being in good health of body and of sound and disposing mind and memory, calling to remembrance the uncertainty of this life, think it meet and proper to settle my worldly affairs and to dispose of such worldly goods as it hath pleased God to give me.  After recommending my soul to the merits of its dear redeemer, Jesus Christ, and my body to the Earth there to be decently buried, I do make, ordain, constitute and appoint this my last will and testament in manner and form following.

Imprimis.  I give and bequeath unto my loving son, Charles Yates, one Negro girl named Sue and one feather bed and furniture, more than what I have before given him.

Item.  I give and bequeath to my loving son Francis Yates, one Negro man called Seymore, one Negro woman known by the names of Cates Mole and one Negro girl named Phia, and one feather bed bolster, two pillows, rugs, blankets and one pair of sheets and bedstead.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my loving son Theophilus Yates one negro man named Tom, one Negro woman known by the name of Lydia Mole and one Negro girl named Judith and one featherbed bolster, pillows, rugs, blankets and pair of sheets and bedstead.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my loving son Robert Yates over and above what I have already given him fifteen shillings sterling to buy him a ring.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my three daughters Elizabeth Gwinn, Jane Bruce and Rebecca Barber over and above what I have already given them and each of them fifteen shillings to buy each of them a ring, like money with my son Robert.

Item.  I give and bequeath unto my grandson Benjamin Gwinn, son of Joseph and Elizabeth Gwinn, five thousand pounds of tobacco to buy him a Negro with.

Item.  Al the rest and residue of my personal estate I will and devise to be and remain on my now dwelling plantation for the use and support of my loving wife Jane during her natural life, and at her death such residue and the then increase to be equally divided amongst my three sons first named in this will, Charles, Francis

and Theophilus.

Item.  I also will and devise my now dwelling plantation, together with all the lands adjoining thereto which I now hold and possess unto my loving wife for and during her natural life without any molestation or interruption of my proper heir.

Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint my loving son Charles Yates sole Executor of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other former will or wills by me heretofore made and executed.  In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 20th day of December 1751.  Signed, sealed and published in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed as witnesses at the request of the testator.  John Harris, Robert Yates, William Bruce

Charles Yates

Amend to the foregoing will was the following note.  Charles County.  To wit, the 1st of June 1752.  Robert Yates and William Bruce, being duly and solemnly sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God, do depose and say that they saw Charles Yates, the testator, sign and seal the foregoing  will and heard him publish and declare the same to be his last will and testament, that at the time of his doing he was to the best of their apprehension of sound and disposing mind and memory and that they, with John Harris, the other subscribing witness, subscribed their names as witnesses to the same will in the presence of the testator and at his request which probate was taken. In the presence of Charles Yates, heir at law to the deceased, who did not object thereto and at the same time Jane Yates, widow and relict of said deceased, signified by note from under hand that she would not accept of the legacy left her in said will and in leave thereof would take what the law allows widows in such cases.

Test.  Daniel Jenifer, Deputy Clerk of Charles County

Bourbon County Will of Thomas Champ

It appears this will was hastily written.  There is no flowery beginning about death being certain or mention of sound mind.  There is mention of Thomas Champ’s mother, Sarah, but although his wife is mentioned she is not named.  Four sons are listed, but no daughters.  Did he have daughters, or perhaps they received no legacy?

Will of Thomas Champ, Bourbon County, Kentucky, Will Book J, Pages 82-83

This my last will and testament made the twenty-fifth day of June 1832.  To all whom it may come ?  I leave to my eldest son, Robert, one hundred and twenty-seven and a half acres of land willed to him heretofore by his grandfather.

I also will to my son Thomas the plantation where my mother, Sarah Champ, now resides, at her death.  Those two pieces of land to be valued by two disinterested persons appointed by the County Court.

I also will to my wife one third of plantation and house where she now resides, all during her lifetime.  The balance of the property lands and Negroes to be

equally divided amongst my four sons, Robert, Thomas, George and Henry, after the price of Robert and Thomas’ land heretofore mentioned is deducted out of said remainder.

I also will all my just debts to be paid out of my personal estate.  I also wish my wife to finish the house in decent manner.

I wish to have George Hughes and George Redmon appointed executors to my estate.

To which I hereunto fix my hand and seal this 25 day of June eighteen hundred and thirty-two.

Thomas Champ

Teste. B. H. Hall, James H. Gentry

Commonwealth of Kentucky and County of Bourbon

I, Thomas P. Smith, Clerk of the County Court of said county, do certify that his last will and testament of Thomas Champ, deceased, was proven in open court by the oath of James H. Gentry, a subscribing witness thereto and sworn to by George Hughes and George Redmon, the Executors therein named and presented to be recorded.  Whereupon the same, with this certificate has been duly recorded in my office.  Given under my hand this third day of September 1832.

Thomas P. Smith, Clerk

Will of Thomas Woolfolk of Ballard County

Thomas Woolfolk, originally from Virginia, married Nancy Jennings December 24, 1820, in Gallatin County, Kentucky.  He is noted as ‘Col.’; she is listed as the daughter of Jonathan Jennings.  In the 1850 Ballard County census Thomas is listed as 68, a farmer with $3500 worth of real estate, and was born in Virginia.  This census lists the other members of the family by initial only, but since we have Thomas’ will to go by we know their full names.  Wife Nancy is 48.  Children listed are Augustine, 25; John, 16; Frances Mosby, 23, a married daughter living with her parents; Susan Frances Mosby, an infant of nine months, granddaughter mentioned in Thomas’ will.  Daughter Ann Eliza, 26, is married to William Webb, 28, and together they are listed in their own household with their children:  Thomas, 9, who died October 1, 1852, of typhoid fever, according to the death records for that year; Catherine, 7, listed in her grandfather’s will; and Henry, 2.

Ballard County was formed from portions of Hickman and McCracken counties in 1842.  When I first read the following will I was heartily confused with a just quick scan of this will, because it was written in 1858, mentioned slaves in the bequests, but was listed in Will Book A, 1879-1924, pages 3-5.  With a little research I found that the Ballard County Courthouse was destroyed by fire on February 17, 1880, along with most of the early records.  Persons living in the county were most likely asked to bring in copies of records that went up in flames, adding these to the will book as they were brought in.

Will of Thomas Woolfolk

I, Thomas Woolfolk, of the County of Ballard and State of Kentucky, being of sound mind and disposing memory, calling to mind the certainty of death and the uncertainty of life, I therefore deem it expedient to make some disposition of the goods of this life that it has pleased God to give me, under these considerations, I do make this my last will and testament, revoking all others previously made by me, either verbal or written.

First.  I give my soul to God who gave it and recommend my body to be buried in a decent Christian like manner, nothing doubting upon the part of my executor.

Second.  I wish all of my debts paid.

Third.  I wish my beloved wife Nancy to have my home farm containing 200 acres and my three grown slaves, Cook and Killy and Sophia, to have the use of to use as she may think proper, during her natural life and after her death to return to my estate.  It is further my wish that

that all of my perishable property be appraised, and my wife Nancy shall be entitled to take one third of that at the appraisement.

Fourth.  It is my will that my daughter Ann Eliza Webb have the land which she now lives on, containing 250 acres.  I also give my daughter Ann Eliza Webb my Negro girl Minty.

Fifth.  I give to my granddaughter Catherine Webb 150 acres of land lying on the east side of the tract that I gave to Ann Eliza Webb and joining of Killgore, also one Negro girl named Fanny.

Sixth.  I give to my son Augustine Woolfolk the tract of land on which he lives or as has possession joining the land on the west of the tract that his house is on, containing 160 acres; also, a Negro boy named Charles.

Seventh.  I give to my daughter Frances Violet two promissory notes that I hold against Dr. J. D. Clardy, for eight hundred dollars, each one due the 25th day of December 1858, the other due the 25th day of December 1859; also, one Negro girl named Harih.

Eighth.  I give to my son John Woolfolk 150 acres of land lying west of the tract of land on which I now live one and joining of the land on which P. R. Jennings lives on, also one Negro boy named John William.

Ninth.  I give to my granddaughter Susan Frances Mosby 50 acres of land adjoining the 200 acres that I gave my wife on the west side to be laid off between that and the 190 acres that I gave to my son John.

Tenth.  I appoint my son Augustine Woolfolk my executor to this my last will and testament whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name this 9th day of October 1858.

Thomas Woolfolk

Attest.  G. W. Martin, John Paine, Glenn Jennings

I, J. Corbett, Clerk of the Ballard County Court, in the State of Kentucky, do certify that the foregoing last will and testament of Thomas Woolfolk, deceased, was presented in open court on the 22nd day of November 1858 and fully proven by the

Oaths of John Paine and Glenn Jennings, subscribing witnesses thereto to be the last will and testament of said testator, that he was of sound mind and memory at the time of signing and thereupon said will was established, filed and ordered to be recorded, whereupon the same, together with this certificate stands truly recorded.  Given under my hand this 25th day of November 1858.

  1. Corbett, Clerk

State of Kentucky, Ballard County

I, T. L. Glenn, Clerk of Ballard County Court, do certify that the foregoing copy of the will of Thomas Woolfolk was on the 27th day of May 1886 lodged in my office for record and the same with this certificate and that of J. Corbett, Ex. Clerk, has been duly recorded in my office.

Witness my hand this 27th day of May 1886.  T. L. Glenn, CBCC by Geo. R. Armistead, D. C.