Location: Greenup, Kentucky, United States
James Lawson of Greenup Co., KY Will dated 20 Mar 1834.
“In the name of God amen. I James Lawson of Green County and State of Kentucky being in good health of body and of sound & disposing mind & memory (praised by God for the same) and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs whilst I have strength & capacity so to do, do make & publish this my last will & testament, hereby revoking & making void all former will by me at any time heretofore made. And first & principally I commit my soul into the hands of my Creator who give it. And as to such worldly estate wherewith it had pleased God in intrust me I dispose of the same as followers. Imprimis. It is my will that all my just debts & the charges of my funeral be paid & discharged by my executors hereinafter named and appointed.
2nd I give to my beloved wife Phebe one third of my personal estate, to include one horse, saddle & bridle at their value, also such other articles as she may select, to be taken at their value until she shall receive her third of my personal estate; it is also my will that she shall have the use of my servant woman Charlotte during the life of my wife, and that my wife shall have all the property that she brought with her when we were married & that is now in our possession without any charge being made against her for it.
3d That the remainder of my personal estate be sold and the proceeds applied to the payment of my debts & the discharge of the specific legacies hereinafter mentioned.
4th. It is my wish that the farm on which I live be rented out after my death & that one third of the proceeds thereof shall be paid to my wife Phoebe annually, and that my executors continue to rent my farm during the natural life of my wife and apply one third of the same to her use if she should outlive me & the remainder of the rent or profit arising from the rent of my said farm to be applied to the payment of the legacies hereinafter mentioned. And I do hereby authorise & empower my executors hereinafter named(at the death of my said wife, or such of them as shall take upon himself or themselves the burthen of the executorship to sell & convey in fee simple all my real estate of every description or such terms and in such manner as to them shall seem most advisable & to appropriate the proceeds first to the payment of such legacies as may not have been paid by my personal estate, & the rent of my land until the death of my wife in case she should outlive me, & the remainder in the manner hereinafter to be specified & declared.
As my negro slave Tom hath generally served me with great diligence I give to the same Tom his wearing apparel. And it is my will that at my decease he be and hereby is manumitted and set free. And it also is my will that my female slave Charlotte whom I have given to my wife to serve her during her life, shall be at the death of my wife and hereby is manumitted and set free, and I wish it distinctly understood as my desire that they serve no longer than herein stated.
And that the legacies herein mentioned are to be paid out of the proceeds of my other personal estate & my real estate. I hereby give & bequeath to my son Thomas Lawson the sum of fifty cents to be paid to him provided for a receipt for two hundred & five dollars which I hold of his for that portion advanced him. I give & bequeath to my son William J. Lawson the sum of fifty cents and a receipt for five hundred dollars as part of his share of my estate. I give & bequeath to my daughter Charity Bartley the sum of fifty cents and a receipt for one hundred twenty eight dollars as part of her share of my estate. I give & bequeath to my daughter Mary Boyd fifty cents and a receipt which I hold for two hundred & thirty-six dollars as a part of her share of my estate. I give & bequeath to my daughter Nancy Dunn the sum of fifty cents and a receipt for two hundred & thirty-five dollars for a part of her share of my estate. I give & bequeath to my daughter Patience Smith fifty cents & a receipt for one hundred dollars part of my estate received by her. I give & bequeath to my daughter Ily Hill fifty cents & a receipt for one hundred & thirty two dollars. I give & bequeath to my son John Lawson fifty cents & a receipt from him for $160. I give & bequeath to my daughter Lucy McConnell the sum of two hundred dollars and a receipt for one hundred dollars. I give & bequeath to my daughter Jane Metz the sum of two hundred dollars & a receipt for one hundred dollars. I give and bequeath to each of my Grandsons whose names are James and who are alive at my death the sum of Fifty dollars to be paid them when they arrive at the age on twenty one years. And I hereby nominate, constitute & appoint my son-in-law McConnell-1552|Jno. McConnell & my friends Clement H. Waring & Robert D. Stockton jointly & severally to be executors of this my last will & testament & so that in case of the death of one or more of them the survivors or survivor of them shall be executors as sole executor of this my said will. And I give such survivors or survivor all the power & direction I have given my said executors. For the better understanding of the legacies heretofore named a given, it is my will & intention to give each of my children such receipts as they here heretofore given me for property or money advanced, together with the amount—as given to each in another part of this my will & that the several legacies therein named are to be paid by my executors in proportion to their several amounts first from the sale of my personal estate and after my death should my wife out live me out of the rent of my farm after paying her one third of the same during her life—and after her death and the sale of my real estate as herein before provided for by my executors should the said several legacies still not be paid the remainder is to be paid out the proceeds of said real estate.
The sum of $50—given to each of my grandchildren whose name is James, is to be paid out of the sale of my land & should there be any who are not 21 years of age when the same is collected it is my wish that the amount may be placed in safe hands at interest until they shall arrive at age.
Should my wife refuse to take under this my last will & testament, it is my wish that my executor sell the personal estate as above provided & rent out my real estate during her life. And that at her death they make sale of the whole for the purposes herein declared. In case my wife should die before me it is my wish that such property as she brought with her when we were married go to her heirs. And that my executors herein named or the survivor or survivors of them or such as shall take upon them the executorship of this my will shall proceed to dispose of my estate of every description real, personal or mixed & apply the proceeds as above disposed of until the legacies named shall be satisfied.
The remainder of the proceeds I will & bequeath to religious purposes, to wit. That if there should be any society for the purpose of assisting the Jews or any l… & profitable example apply it to their use, it is my wish that it should be so applied. But if it cannot be done then I wish the remainder after paying debts, legacies & etc. to be given by my said executors to the Birman Mission. And should my wife accept of the provisions of this will, It is my wish after her death that all that remains after paying debts & specific legacies & after freeing my two slaves shall be given first to the assistance of the Jews if practicable. If not then to the Birman Mission.
Should my wife die before me it is my wish that Charlotte shall be & she is hereby manumitted & set free at my death. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and published this my last will & testament this 20th day of March 1834. James Lawson Signed, sealed, and published by the said testator in our presence C.A. Garrett L.W.G. Nichols Robt. D. Stockton
“I James Lawson continuing of sound do make the following alterations and explanations of my last will & testament bearing date the 20th day of March 1834.
1. Instead of the legacy bequeathed to my daughter Ily Hill I give to her the sum of fifty dollars and the receipt in the will specified.
2. In addition to the fifty dollars given him by the will I give to my grandson James Lawson who is the son of my son Thomas Lawson now deceased the further sum of fifty dollars.
3. It is my intention that my wife shall only have so much of the property she brought with her as shall be in my possession at the time of my decease, not that my executors shall count to her for all she brought with her on our marriage and that the provision made for her by my said will is in lieu of dower and her distributable share of my estate.
4. I revoke so much of my will as appropriates any part of my estate to the benefit of the Jews, the Birman Mission or any other religious purpose, because those objects are so indefinite that the effort to carry my wishes in those respects into effect would create difficulty which would more than counterbalance any benefit to be derived from the bequests.
6. I do hereby revoke the appointment of executors made by my said will and do hereby nominate and appoint Romulus C. Culver and William R. Beatty executors of my said will & this codicil giving to them or such one of them as shall qualify, or to the survivors of them full powers to execute my will & this codicil.
Witness my hand & seal this 6th day of November 1835 James Lawson (seal) Witnesses: A.W.G. Nichols, W. R. Beatty, John F. Day
“I James Lawson still of sound mind make this further codicil and addition to my will. To wit.—-
1. I do hereby declare it to be my will that my negro woman, Charlotte, shall be free at the death of my wife to whom her services have been bequeathed.
2. In allotting to my wife one-third of my estate the value of Charlotte’s service bequeathed to her shall be accounted for and taken as part of the third of my estate given by my will, as shall also all the other property that I give her except that which she brought with her upon our marriage. That which she then brought with her and which shall remain at my death is given in addition to the third of my estate.
3. I direct my executors to pay Charlotte when liberated, to wit: at the death of my wife ten dollars for each year that she may serve my wife after my death.
4. I so far revoke my will as to declare that Tom, instead of being free at my death, shall continue a slave as long as Charlotte is required to serve to wit: until the death of my wife. He shall until that time be hired out by my executors, for the benefit of the whole estate.
December 7th 1838 James Lawson (seal) Witnesses: W.R. Beatty, Jon Culver
“I James Lawson make this further codicil to my will bearing date March 20th 1834
1—In addition to the property heretofore give my wife, I give and bequeath to her my gray mare known as my said wife’s riding mare. Also her saddle & bridle.
2—In lieu of the legacy of Mary Boyd a given in the original will I give and bequeath to her the sum of fifty dollars (her name now being Mary Coms), the said legacy to be paid by my executors at the same time and in the same manner that the other legacies are directed by the will to be paid.
3—I hereby revoke all former appointment of Executors and I do now hereby nominate and appoint my sons-in-law John McConnell and Joseph Hill my sole executors giving them or such one of them as shall take upon himself the burthen of executoring my will or the survivor of them all the powers vested in the executors heretofore appointed which are granted either by the will or the codicils.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this 30 day of July 1840 James Lawson (seal) Witnesses W.R. Beatty, R.M. Biggs, L.D. Ross
“I James Lawson make this further codicil to my will.
1—In addition to the property heretofore given my wife, my will is that my executors shall set apart for her so much of my household & kitchen furniture as will be necessary to enable her to keep house. This property so to be set apart to be her own.
2—I give the sum of fifty dollars to my son John to be paid him one year after my death, by my executors.
3—In addition to the executors heretofore appointed, I constitute my son-in-law William Coms also an executor.
4—It is my will that in addition to the other provisions of my will that my wife so long as she wishes to keep house shall have the use of my dwelling house and yard & garden.
Witness my hand & seal this 25th day of September 1841. James Lawson (seal) Attest: W.R. Beatty, John B. Foster (his mark), Edward M.M. Boyd”
Will proved on Monday the 6th day of January 1845 by the oath of John B. Foster one of the witnesses thereto.
[NOTE: Inventory, Sale Bill and Final Accounting follow immediately on pages 31-35 of the Will Book. No slaves are named or referred to in any of these documents.]
Greenup Co. Kentucky Wills Book 4, p. 27-35, Will & Codicils of James Lawson (FHL #343997, DGS4818893, image 408f).