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

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.

    • 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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