Thursday, August 14, 2008

John Lett of Brunswick County, will dated 1786

Brunswick County, Virginia Will Book #5, page 191:
"In the name of God amen I John Lett of the County of Brunswick and Parish of Meherrin being very sick and weak but of perfect sound and disposing mind and memory and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament in the following manner. My soul I give to God who gave it being hoping through the merits of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and with regard to the worldly goods it hath pleased God to bestow on me I dispose of in the manner following. Imprimis it is my desire that all my just debts be paid and that my body be decently interred according to the discretion of my executors. Item I leave unto my loving wife Jean Lett during her life or widowhood the following slaves: Harry, Charles, fellows Phillis, Amy, Nan and Hannah and after my wife's death it is my desire that they may be divided as follows. Item I give unto my son in law Edward Winfield, Amy and Hannah and to his heirs and assigns forever. Item I give unto my daughter in law Mary Jordan, Charles and Phillis and to her heirs and assigns forever. Item I give unto my daughter in law Martha Walker, Harry and Nan and to her heirs and assigns forever. Item I give and bequeath unto my sister Frankie Lett two Negroes named Violett & Judah and to her heirs and assigns forever. Those two Negroes to remain on the plantation until the present crops finished. Item I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Jean Lett all of my stock of cattle, horses, hogs, sheep also all the plantation materials, also all the household and kitchen furniture of what kind or make so ever to her own disposal also the crop at present on the ground. I do constitute and appoint my friends Henry Walker and John Jordan executors of this my last will & testament declaring this to be my last and revoking and annulling all those by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty fifth day of September Domini Anno Domi one thousand seven hundred and eighty six. John Lett. Signed, sealed, published and declared in the presence (of) Allen Love, Benjamin Walker.

Brunswick County court the 22nd day of January 1787. This will was proved by the oath of Benjamin Walker a witness thereto, who also swore that he saw Allen Love the other witness thereto, who is since dead subscribe his name as such in the presence of the testator and ordered to be recorded And on the motion of Henry Walker one of the executors therein named who made oath thereto according to law. Certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form. Ex. Teste."

Brunswick County, Virginia Will Book #5, page 200:
On March 7, 1787 an inventory and appraisal of John's estate was submitted to the court by Benjamin Harrison, Jr., Zachariah Floyed and Charles Collier. Its total value was given as 543 pounds, 10 shillings and 3 pence. Included in his estate were the Negroes mentioned in his will as well as a desk, a looking glass, a gun, several household and kitchen items, two horses, twenty-two head of cattle, other animals including sheep and hogs, two saddles, a parcel of books, wearing apparel including shoe and knee buckles and many planation tools including two slays with harnesses and one cart.

Brunswick County, Virginia Will Book #5, page 251:
On July 28, 1788 Henry Walker, executor returned into court an accounts current for John's estate which was prepared by John Sturdivant, George Malone and Charles Collier. The estate paid debts to the following: Robert Lanier, Edward Burchett, William Lindsey, Thomas Malone, Edward Walker, Zachariah Floyed, Nathaniel Wray, Benjamin Ivy, Sr., the Sheriff of Brunswick County, Robert Turnbull, Robert Watson, the granary and the Brunswick County court for proving his will. John's estate was also required to pay for various items purchased such as shoe thread, four bushels of salt, seven yards of linen, four gallons of rum, fish, a coffin, twenty-five pounds of flour, sugar and also several debts for finishing his current tobacco crop. It seems that John may have been a merchant due to the large amount of bulk items he had purchased. He also owed money for carrying tobacco across a bridge. After all expenses were paid they totaled 71 pounds, 4 shillings and 7 1/2 pence. The estate was also owed or had equity totaling 81 pounds, 6 shilling and 11 3/4 pence from Petersburg tobacco, potato plantings, two pairs of leather shoes, cash owed by John Wardrop, cash on hand, tobacco on hand and other such articles. In all the estate was ahead 10 pounds, 2 shillings and 4 1/4 pence after it was settled.

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