John Graham’s Will

The fol­low­ing is a copy of John Graham’s (senior) will:

    In the name of God, Amen! The 29th day of July, A.D. 1771, I, John Gra­ham, being sick in body but of sound mind and mem­o­ry, thanks to God Almighty, and call­ing to remem­brance the uncer­tain estate of this tran­si­to­ry life, and that all flesh must yield to death, when it [18] pleaseth God to call, I do make, con­sti­tute and ordain and declare this to be my last will and tes­ta­ment in man­ner and form fol­low­ing, revok­ing and annulling by these present all for­mer wills and tes­ta­ments either writ­ten or by word of mouth; this to be my last and none oth­er. I first rec­om­mend my soul to God, my Sav­ior and Redeemer, and my body to the dust, to be decent­ly buried, at the dis­cre­tion of my execu­tors here­after named and appoint­ed, and as to my world­ly goods which God hath grant­ed to me, I leave and bequeath in the fol­low­ing man­ner; viz: To my old­est son, Lan­ty, I devise and leave my plan­ta­tion where­on I dwell, to him and his heirs for­ev­er, upon his allow­ing my beloved wife her liv­ing off it, with what stock she pleas­es to keep; also the said Lan­ty is to give six pounds to James Graham’s son, John; and six pounds to his broth­er John’s son, John; also to my daugh­ter, Anne, I leave thir­ty pounds, besides my roane horse and chest draw­ers; to my beloved wife, Eliz­a­beth Gra­ham, I leave 20 pounds, my bay mare, two cows, her choice of the flock, and all the house­hold plen­ish­ings; to Jane Lock­ridge I leave fif­teen pounds; to Rebec­ca, my Buck­els, and to her son, [19] John, one cow; also to Robert Gra­ham half the mill that belonged to me; to my two daugh­ters, Flo­rence and Bet­ty, ten pounds each; to my two sons, Robert and John Gra­ham, ten pounds each; to Rebec­ca, Lanty’s daugh­ter, I leave ten pounds; all the rest of the estate remain­ing to be enjoyed by my wife whilst unmar­ried, but if mar­ried to be divid­ed equal­ly between my daugh­ters, Flo­ra, Jane, Bet­ty and Anne, and if she nev­er mar­ries to be left by my said wife to her four daugh­ters here named, at her death. I also appoint my beloved wife and my son, Lan­ty Gra­ham, to be my Execu­tors. I here­by revoke all oth­er wills and tes­ta­ments, appoint­ing and mak­ing this my last, in the eleventh year of our Sov­er­eign Lord George, King of Great Britain, &c. And in the year of our Lord, God, 1771. Signed, sealed and pub­lished and pro­nounced in the pres­ence of
JOHN GRAHAM. [SEAL]
    JOSEPH ROBINSON.
    JOHN KINKEAD.
    JOHN ARMSTRONG.

At a court for Augus­ta coun­ty Novem­ber the 19th, 1771, this last will and tes­ta­ment of [20] John Gra­ham, Dec., was proved by the oath of John Kinkead and John Arm­strong, two of the wit­ness­es there­to, and ordered to be recorded.

And on motion of Lan­ty Gra­ham and Eliz­a­beth Gra­ham, the execu­tors there­in named, who made oath accord­ing to law, cer­tifi­cate is grant­ed them for obtain­ing a pro­bate there­of in due form, they hav­ing with secu­ri­ty entered into and acknowl­edged their bond accord­ing to law

Teste:                           WM. A. BURNETT, Clerk.

The writer’s great grand­moth­er lived until after the year 1779, for in that year he has an account of her and her son Lanty’s set­tle­ment of their execu­tor­ship with the court which showed that they had paid out L240, lls, 3d — $1200. This was the per­son­al prop­er­ty besides legacies.

In addi­tion to the bequeaths men­tioned in the fore­go­ing will, the records of Augus­ta coun­ty show that John Gra­ham, in the year 1763, deed­ed to each of his three sons, John, James and Robert, con­sid­er­able quan­ti­ties of land on the Calf Pas­ture Riv­er, and it is to be pre­sumed that he [21] shared a like por­tion of his estate to each of his daugh­ters, pri­or to and in addi­tion to that named in his will.

2 thoughts on “John Graham’s Will”

  1. For fol­low­ing geneal­o­gists: The last two para­graphs above are from David Gra­ham’s 1899 book. “His­to­ry of the Gra­ham Fam­i­ly. In the last para­graph, David Gra­ham claims John Gra­ham Sr. deed­ed land to his THREE sons. 1) he had four sons. Not men­tioned is eldest son Lancelot or “Lan­ty.” 2) In 1763, John Sr.‘s son James BOUGHT 150 acres from his father…it was­n’t deed­ed to him. 3) It is almost cer­tain his daugh­ters would not have been giv­en a por­tion of the land in the estate. 4) In 1771, John Sr. gave his son Lan­ty his estate, and his FOUR daugh­ters a cash stipend (not five). 5) A fifth woman, named Rebec­ca was giv­en sil­ver buck­les in John Sr.‘s will. Most geneal­o­gists claim Rebec­ca as John Sr.‘s fifth daugh­ter. Instead, she was most like­ly James’ first wife, and the moth­er of their son John. James had been away, prob­a­bly for many months, on an extend­ed hunt. He was part of the band of 40 men called “The Long Hunters” who between 1769–1774 had been led by James Knox and had gone on “Long Hunts” into Ken­tucky and Ten­nessee. John Sr. prob­a­bly assumed his son James had died or had been killed at the time he com­plet­ed his will. He nev­er men­tioned James in his will, but he did give John, the son of James, a cash gift, and gave John and his moth­er Rebec­ca a cow.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the details. When any author says “he willed to his x chil­dren,” we should assume the author is describ­ing the will, not the com­plete prog­e­ny of the per­son whose will is under con­sid­er­a­tion. There are many rea­sons why a child might not appear in the will, they could have pre­de­ceased the per­son, they could have already received what would be con­sid­ered an inher­i­tance, they could be inten­tion­al­ly passed over. The chil­dren list­ed in a will should nev­er be more than a start­ing point for under­stand­ing some­one’s issue.

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