My transcription of William Turner’s will and the inquisition into his death from the originals in Halifax County, Virginia, Will Book 7, pages 463-465. The will was written in 1795 and was in probate in 1808.
I am also posting the division of the estate of William’s apparent daughter Nancy Turner in Person County, NC, in 1830-1833 for comparison of the names.
On the whole, the script of the will and inquisition is very legible. The clerk used no punctuation at all. I have added some. He also failed to divide the long text of the will into any paragraphs, but I have separated the items. I made no attempt to reproduce long esses or thorns and can’t remember whether they were used. The dashes are words I couldn’t make out. The dots are my ellipses for repeated phrases.
In the name of God Amen. I William Turner of Halifax County and state of Virginia......(the usual sort of preamble)
Item. I give, leave and bequeath to my son Moses two hundred acres of land whereon he now lives, it being the same he had surveyed to him by Isaac Oates that he is now possest with, also one dark bay horse, bridle and saddle, one cow and calf, one sow and pigs and three head of sheep, and one feather bed and furniture and some puter which he has been and is now possest with, to be at the will and disposal of him and his heirs forever.
Item. I give......to my son John two hundred acres of land which he hath been possest with and hath sold. Also one dark bay mare and saddle, feather bed and furniture which he hath been and is now possest with, to be at the will......
Item. I give to my son Barnett one hundred acres of land whereon he now lives which he has had surveyed to him by Isaac Oates that he is possest with also one sorrel horse and saddle one feather bed and furniture one sow and pigs and some pewter which he hath been and is now possest with, to be at the will.......
Item. I give......to my son James one black stud(? steed?) which is now dead, one hundred acres of land bounded? and is to be laid off this running? adjoining my son Barnett’s line, Thomas Stanfield’s line, James Link’s line, Ruth Parrott’s line (in case it should want? as much) and thence to Barnett’s line d? again to the beginning. Also feather bed and furniture which he hath been and is now possest with, to be at the will....... Observe the black stud(? steed?) left him he had in his possession when he died.
Item. I give.......to my son Joseph part of the remainder of my land whereon I now live, lying on the east side of Lawson’s Creek and bounded as followeth: Beginning on Barnett’s corner on the east side said creek near the old ---------- and running a straight line to Martin Turner’s gum? corner thence on said line to -------- thence down my old line to Ruth Parrott’s line, thence on her line to where my son James’s line will start from. Also one young sorrel mare colt and a saddle which he is possest with, one bed and furniture to be at the will.......
Item. I give.......to my son William at the death of my beloved wife Sarah the remainder of my land and plantation whereon I now live with all the premises belonging thereto. Also the colt which my sorrel mare is with fold? it lives and does well, if otherways another tolerable good horse saddle and bridle to be found him out of my estate and feather bed and furniture, one cow and calf, one sow and pigs, the colt’s or horse’s bridle and saddle that is to be found him he is to have when he comes to lawful age and all his above mentioned part to be at the will.......
Item. If either of my sons under age should die without heir or before they come to age it is my will and desire that all their whole part of my estate left them shall fall back and return back into the remainder of my estate and be divided as will be hereafter mentioned.
Item. I give......to my son-in-law John Bartlett one cow and calf and woman’s saddle, one feather bed and furniture and one sow and pigs which he hath been and is now possesst with to be at the will.......
Item. I give.......to my daughter Caty one feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf one sow and pigs and some peuter to be at the will.......Observe: the part I have above left my daughter Caty she has been and is now possesst with.
Item. I give......to my daughter Mildred one feather bed and furniture one sow and pigs which she hath been and is now possesst with. Also one woman’s saddle which she hath hath (sic---wvt) also had to be at the will.......
Item. I give.......to my daughter Nancy one woman’s saddle which she hath been possesst with also a feather bed and furniture and one negro girl Lacy? to be at the will.......Observe: the part left to my daughter Nancy in case she should die without marrying or heir it is my will and desire that it should fall back and return into the remainder of my estate.
Item. I give.......to my daughter Susanna one feather bed and furniture, one saddle and in case my loving wife can spare it I also give her a cow and calf to be at the will.......
Item. I give.......to my daughter Rachel one feather bed and furniture, one woman’s saddle and in case my loving wife can spare it one cow and calf to be at the will........
Item. I give.......to my loving wife Sarah all the remainder of my whole estate real, personal and movable, debts due it, during the natural life to be at the disposal of her during her natural life and at her death to be equally divided amongst my then living children, allowing my deceased daughter Lucy Bartlett a (sic---wvt) equal part with the rest of my children and her part of it to be equally divided between her living children and to be at the will and disposal of them and their heirs forever.
Item. It is also my will and desire that if any or either of my children die before my loving wife that their part of my estate then to be divided shall be equally divided between their then living children (if any) if not to fall back into my estate to be divided as above mentioned.
Item. Also if Rachel or Susannah die their (sic---wvt) before marrying or without heir their part of my estate now left them fall back into the remainder of my estate and be divided as above mentioned, as it is my will and desire that they or any the rest of my children who or that is under age or single or should die so that their parts shall fall back into the estate given my loving wife and be divided as directed.
Item. I do hereby appoint, constitute, make and ordain my friend Thomas Watkins and my son Moses Turner and my son-in-law James Smith whole and sole executors of this my last will and testament, denying, refusing, disannulling, revoking and disavowing all other will or wills heretofore made or written by me, owning, construing? confessing, appointing, constituting and ordaining this and only this to be my last will and testament, in witness whereof I have set my hand and affixed my seal this fifth day of October 1795.
William (X) Turner (his mark) (Legal Seal)
Signed and sealed in the presence of Epmatur (?) Winders, Jesse Poyner, Nathan Buckley, Daniel Poyner, Stephen Mason, Robert Poynor
PS. Observe that I know the above and written last will and testament is interlined before assigned in two places the words of the first is “heir or before” the words of the second is “and should die so” and then being read and the interlining being made known I do hereby agree and acknowledge it shall stand good. In witness my hand and seal the same day, time and date? state? above expresst.
William (X) Turner (his mark) LS
Teste Epandng Winders Jesse Poyner, Nathan Buckley, William (X) Turner, David Poyner, Stephen Mason, Robert Pornor
At a court held in Halifax County the 25th day of April 1808 the within written last will and testament of William Turner decd was exhibited in court and proved by the oaths of three witnesses thereto subscribed and ordered to be recorded and on the petition of Thomas Watkins, one of the executors therein named who made oath thereto according to law.
Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate thereof in due form, he giving security whereupon he, together with James Warren, William Stanfield, and Robert Poynor his securities, entered into and acknowld their hand in the penalty of five thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs for that purpose.
Duly recorded Teste John Wimbish CHC
Teste Samuel Williams DCHC
Halifax Will Book 7, page 471
Halifax County, to wit
Inquisition ----------- taken at the house of William Turner sen decd late of the county aforesaid on the twenty-second day of April 1808 and in the 32nd year of the Commonwealth. Before me John Vaughan one of the Commonwealth justices of the peace for the county aforesaid in the absence of the coroner of the said county. Upon the view of the body of William Turner Sen decd late of the county aforesaid then and there lying dead and upon the oath of Lea (Led?) Haralson, Charles Guthrie the good and lawful men of the county aforesaid, who, being sworn and charged to inquire on the part of the Commonwealth when where how and after what manner the said William Turner Sen came to his death, do say upon their oath that no marks of violence were found on his body nor any other part; that the said William Turner was drowned in the -------------- of his own will; that it was either an act of God or that he laid violent hands on himself and was drowned as aforesaid; that no person was either guilty or accessary to the murder aforesaid that came to the knowledge of the jurors. In witness thereof I the said justice as well as the jurors aforesaid have to this Inquisition set their hands and affixed their seals the date and year aforesaid.
John Vaughan, Lea Haralson, John Stanfield, Charles Guthrie, John Chambers, Robert Poyner, Ephraim Stanfield, William Stanfield, William Chambers, John Scott, David Poyner, Thos White, Joseph Stanfield
At a court of Halifax County held the 30th day of April 1808
The within inquisition -------------- as? (was?) taken as the law directs upon the body of William Turner was returned to court and ordered to be recorded.
Truly recorded Teste John Wimbish CHC
Teste Samuel Williams DCHC