Why would a will written in 1802 and recorded in 1803 name and bequeath slaves but no property?

0 votes
118 views
Mary Ann Hicks, wife of Alexander Hicks, leaves in her will slaves to each of her two son-in-laws and daughters.  She does not mention any land holdings.  The will was written in Wilson County, Tennessee in July 1802 and recorded in July 1803.  Why would she have slaves but no land to distribute?  I have not been able to locate a will for Alexander Hicks.
WikiTree profile: Mary Ann HIcks
in Genealogy Help by Barbara Clark G2G Rookie (230 points)

5 Answers

+4 votes
Maybe women couldn't own land?
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+3 votes

Here is the index to Wilson County Deeds for 1793 to 1805 (the first preserved volume of deeds). It appears that neither Alexander nor Mary bought or sold land in Wilson County during this time period - given their ages they may have instead resided on land owned by their sons-in-law. Indeed, as shown in this deed (left-hand side), son-in-law Philip Koonce in 1798 bought 174.5 acres from an Andrew Casselman

by Anonymous Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (81.9k points)
Thank you.  Both Phillip Koonce and Alex Hicks signed the petition in 1779 to create Wilson County from Sumner County which made me think the petitioners were land holders.  

They were in Jones County, North Carolina in 1788.
+2 votes
Another possibility is that she had been left the slaves in her own name, but the other family assets were in the name of her husband or were being held by guardians for benefit of their children.
by Stu Bloom G2G6 Mach 6 (66.5k points)
+2 votes
Widows at this time seldom had land.  It was almost always distributed to sons by deed of gift before death, or through the will of the father, with a provision to care for the widow until her death.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (329k points)
+2 votes

The Will is hard to read but on the end it say's and the rest of my property be given them this could include land Will of Mary Ann Hicks

by Ron Thompson G2G6 Mach 1 (12.3k points)

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