and Testament of William Graham
copied from Tennessee county history series : Claiborne County / by Edgar A. Holt
I, William, Graham, of the County of Claiborne in the State of Tennessee, do make and publish this as my last will and testament hereby revoking and making null and void all other wills by me at any time made.
1st, I direct that my funeral expenses and all my debts be paid as soon after my death as is possible out of any monies that I may die possessed of or that may first come to the hands of my executors.
2nd, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Margaret Graham, the following named property to have, hold, and enjoy the same to her only use and benefit and behalf forever to dispose of as she may think proper-vis: The southwest half of the home tract of land being the tract whereon I now live dividing the said tract in two equal parts, beginning at a point upon the Straight Creek road and running westwardly to Huddleston's line so as to include the Spring where Francis Graham now lives-with the appertinances thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining-The boundaries of the home tract of land above refered to are described as follows: Beginning where the Kentucky road crosses Russels Creek thence across the Upper Blue hole to the top of the bank of the ravine leading in to it thence along the edge of said bank until a due west line will strike the east end of Austin's north west line thence with said line to Huddleston's field, thence with Austin's line northeast to Marcum's corner thence northwest to Barron Creek Road thence along said road to Cocke and Jack's line, thence with it and the line of the Town of Tazewell to Russels Creek and the place of beginning. I further give and bequeath unto my said wife to dispose of in her own right as she may think proper and to her own use and benefit as many of the farm horses, mules, and together with gearing and farming uten-sils as she may claim or want-also as many milch cows as she may choose to keep out of my stock of cattle, — together with all or as much as she may want of the household and kitchen furniture. I further give and bequeath unto my aforesaid wife One hundred dollars annually during her natural life to be paid to her Quarterly by my Executors. Also I give her ten shares of my stocks in the Union Bank of Tennessee to dispose of as she may think proper. The following described property I give and bequeath unto my aforesaid wife Margaret for and during her natural life-vis: The northeast half of the home tract of land as above described with the buildings, hereditrements and appertanances thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining, also following named negroes, to-wit: Stephen, Eliza, Cynthia, and James. Also my Library of books, etc.
3rd, I direct that my slaves, namely, Phil and Lewis be set free
at my death. I further direct that at the death of my aforesaid wife Margaret
that Eliza, Cynthia, above named, and their increase if there should be any, and also James, above named, be all of them set free. I
hereby enjoin it particularly upon my executors hereafter to be named, that they
will as soon as possible after my death and the death of my wife, comply with
the requisitions of the laws of this state in relation to the Emancipation of
Slaves and carry that part of my will in to execution by freeing the aforesaid
negroes in the manner pointed out by law.
4th, I direct that my executors pay to the negro slave Stephen
above named the sum of thirty dollars per annum during his natural life, my
motive for making this last and forth bequest is that although Stephen is bound
to serve his mistress during his natural life, if he should be the longest liver
yet he is old and a cripple and after her death will probably not be able to
make a living and a support for himself without some assistance, and I am not
willing that he should be a charge upon any other person. I further direct that
should said Phil or Lewis become crippled or from any other misfortune be
unable to make a living and a support for themselves, that my executors allow
them or either of them as the case may be a comfortable support out of my Estate
about which my said Executors may exercise their own discretion as to the
amount to be allowed them or either of them.
5th, I give and bequeath unto my nephew William Houston that
part of my farm lying west of Barron Creek Road agreeable to the lines thereof
also and half of my far meadow including the lower end provided he, the said William
Houston, will take upon himself the burden and trouble of executing my will as
one of the Executors thereof. Bounded as follows: Beginning on Stewart's line
near two sugar trees where the fence crosses the branch thence a direct course
to the fence as to divide the Spring equally thence down the fence to a point
near the bores in the straight creek road thence down the road to the Kentucky road
thence along the Kentucky Road to Hugh Graham's line and to Stewart's line
thence along Stewart's line to the beginning with the appertanances
and to hold the same to himself and his heirs and assigns forever.
7th, I give and bequeath unto my sister Jane McNealance for and during her natural life and after her
death to the heirs of her body forever the following described tract or parcle of land being the same place on which she and the family
now live -beginning at a point in the Strait Creek Road near the said road
thence along the line up the fence and through the aforesaid Spring to
Stewart's line thence along Stewart's line to the upper corner thence along Stewart's
and Hall's line to Harper's road and a line with the same to the Strait Creek
road thence along said road to the beginning with the appertanances
thereto belonging or in any way appertaining forever.
8th, I give and bequeath unto James Fulkerson and Frances his
wife their heirs, etc. forever the northeastern half of my home tract of land
as herinbefore described to take the same after the
death of my aforesaid wife Margaret with the appertenances
thereto belonging or in any way appertaining. My wife aforesaid having a life
time Estate in the said premises I also give and bequeath to said James
Fulkerson and Francis his wife a tract of land containing twentyfour
acres lying upon Walden's Ridge adjoining the Hurst place with the appertenances etc. to them and their heirs forever, also my
library books-together with all my household and kitchen furniture of every
kind and description, whatever except such part as my aforesaid wife may choose
to claim in her own right for her benefit exclusively agreeable to the bequest
of her hereinbefore stated. The books and furniture to remain in the possession
and enjoyment of my aforesaid wife during her natural life, the said James Fulkerson
and Frances his wife is to take the bequest to them subject to a lien of three
hundred dollars to be paid to Hugh Houston or his heirs in three annal instalments the first hundred dollars to be paid in
twelve months from the time said James Fulkerson and his wife Frances shall
take the possession of the farm and premises herein bequeathed to them. I here
in further direct that my negro man Stephen have the privilege and enjoy the
possession of the house in which he now lives, and a part of the barn field for
a truck patch and to be free from the call of every person to render labour or services of any kind.
9th, I give and bequeath to any regular Old School Presbyterian
Minister of the Gospel who will live and reside on the land and preach
regularly to the Congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Tazewell the use
and occupation of the following described tract or parcel of land to-wit: The farm
on which Wanakoff now lives, bounded as follows: By Harper
and the Old Garrisson Roads and Stewart's and Hall's
lines and a line from the upper part of the road near where Bullards
road joins it thence a direct line to the Straight Creek Road thence with said
road to the line of the tract of land herein bequeathed to Jane McNealance, etc., etc. The better to carry into effect my
will in the foregoing bequest, I here by Vest the
Legal title to the foregoing described tract of land in my Executors here after
to be named to hold the same in trust for the uses above named viz: For the
benefit of any regular Old school Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel, but
should any one take possession of said farm or tract
of land for the purposes above stated, and afterwards fail or neglect to preach
regularly to the congregation at the Presbyterian Church in Tazewell, he is to
be turned off by the trustees hereafter to be named and some other of like
persuasion placed in possession who will in a Christian like manner comply with
requisitions of said bequest. My executors who are also made trustees in this
case are hereby impowered to Convey said tract of land to any incorporated Body
or the Elders of said Church in Trust nevertheless for the purposes aforesaid-as
said Trustees may think proper and expedient. But if no Minister of the Gospel
as aforesaid will come and reside upon said land for the purposes aforesaid-it
shall be the duty of said Trustees to rent or lease out said land and the
monies arising there from to be applied to paying a Salary to some Presbyterian
Preacher of the Gospel as above stated to preach at the Presbyterian Church in Tazewell.
10th, I give and bequeath to my sister Mary Wier the Wallace farm lying between the line of the last
above described tract the Old Garrisson road,
Stewart's line to his beginning thence with his beginning line reversed to
where it strikes a west line of my house tract thence along it eastwardly to
the East bank of the ravine to the Blue hole and thence along the line crossing
the blue hole to the beginning with the same unto herself, her heirs and assigns
11th, I give and bequeath unto my nephew Thomas Wier the Dunn tract of land bounded as follows to-wit: by a
straight line extended westwardly with the course of
the fence built by Townsley in the spring of 1 84 1 ,
across the end of the Hurst field to the outside line thence eastwardly the same
course to the back line to include all the land lying south of said line-to
have and to hold the same with the appertenances
thereto belonging or in any way appertaining to himself, his heirs and assigns
12th, I give and bequeath unto my Brother John Grahamthe ballence of the Hurst tract of land not herein before bequeathed and described by . . . and boundaries . . . with the appertinances thereto belonging and in any way appertaining to himself and his heirs forever.
13th, I give and bequeath unto Maria Graham the house and lot on which she now lives Bounded as follows: By Hall's line, Russel's creek, the Kentucky road and Hugh Graham's line, with the appertinances thereto belonging or in any way appertaining to have and to hold unto herself, her heirs and assigns forever. I further give and bequeath unto said Maria Graham, her heir and assigns, two shares in the Northern Bank of Kentucky.
14th, I give and bequeath unto Francis Graham fifty dollars to
relieve him of debt. I further direct that if no Minister of the Gospel should
come to occupy the place whereon said Wanakoff now
lives, or until the same is leased or rented out by Trustees agreeable to a
former part of this will, I desire that the said Francis Graham be permitted to
occupy said place free from the payment of rent.
15th, I give and bequeath 10 shares of my Stocks in the Memphis
Bank of Tennessee to the old School Foreign Missionary Society.
16th, I give and bequeath 10 shares of my Stock in the Memphis
Bank of Tennessee to the Trustees of the Old School home Missionary Society.
17th, I give and bequeath five shares of my stock in the Memphis
Bank of Tennessee to the Bible Society.
18th, I give and bequeath five shares of my stock in the Memphis
Bank of Tennessee to the foreign tract Society.
19th, I give and bequeath to the Trustees of Washington College
in the County of Washington, East Tennessee, ten shares of my stock in the
Memphis bank of Tennessee for the use and benefit of said College provided it
should remain old School but on change to new school to refund the money or
transfer the stocks back to my Executors here after to be named.
20th, I give and bequeath ten shares of my stock in the Memphis
Bank of Tennessee to the old School Dokes [Doake's] Theological Seminary when it goes into full and successful
operation in Greene County, Tennessee-should said institution not go into
operation for five (5) years then the ten shares of stock bequeathed to said
institution is hereby given and bequeathed to the Washington College, if it
should be in successful operation under the Old School restriction. Should said
Washington College not be in successful operation as aforesaid under the Old
School restrictions then and in that case five of the shares aforesaid of Stock
in the Memphis Bank is hereby bequeathed to the Trustees of Speedwell Academy
in the County of Claiborne, and the other five shares is hereby bequeathed to
the Common School fund of Claiborne County to be appropriated for the benefit
of Common School in the County of Claiborne aforesaid.
21st, I give and bequeath unto the Trustees of Speedwell Academy
in the County of Claiborne and their Successors five shares of my stock in the
Memphis Bank of Tennessee for the use and benefit of said academy together with
the lot of Ground for an Academy lying between Kentucky road, Maria Graham's
lot and Hall's lines, with the appertinances to them
and their successors forever for the use and purpose aforesaid.
22nd, I give and bequeath unto the Common School fund of
Claiborne County the remaining five shares of my stock in the Memphis Bank of
Tennessee for the use of Common Schools in the County of Claiborne. Also I hereby bequeath a sufficient quantity of the ground
described in the gift to the Trustees of Speedwell Academy the County of Claiborne
to build a Common house upon for the use of Common Schools aforesaid.
23rd, I give and bequeath to my sister Jane McNealance the dividend on five shares of my stock in the
Union Bank of Tennessee— and at her death the said five shares of Stock in the
Union Bank is to be equally divided among the children of said Jane McNealance together with the farm upon which they live as
herein before bequeathed.
24th, I give and bequeath unto my Brother John Graham the
dividend on three shares of my stock in the Union Bank of Tennessee to be paid him by my executors in suitable articles of
merchandise for the use of his family (no money) and at his death the said
three shares of Union Bank Stock to be equally divided amongst his children.
25th, I give and bequeath unto William G. Eaton one hundred
dollars to be paid him by my executors three years after
26th, I give and bequeath unto my Brother Hugh Graham five
shares of my stock in the Union Bank of Tennessee.
27th, I give and bequeath unto my nephew William G. Patterson
the remaining two shares of Stock in the Union Bank of Tennessee.
28th, I give and bequeath unto my sister Mary Wier the dividend on five shares of my stock in the
Northern Bank of Kentucky, and at her death I give and bequeath the five shares
of Stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky aforesaid to the children of said
Mary Wier to be equally divided among them. I further
direct that the tract of land herein before described and bequeathed to said
Mary Wier at her death be sold and the money arising
from said sale be equally divided amongst her children.
30th, I give and bequeath unto my sister Nancy Patterson the
dividend on five shares of my stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky to be paid
to her by my executors and at her death I direct that said five shares of Bank
Stock be equally divided amongst the children of said Nancy Patterson.
31st, I direct that my executors pay to each of my slaves herein
directed to be set free the sum of ten dollars as soon as they are emansipated to enable them to leave this State and go to a
32nd, I direct that should my money on hand and available debts
be not sufficient with remaining dividends to meet my bequests recourse must be
had to my Stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky and my Executors are hereby
impowered and directed to sell as much of said Stock as may be necessary to
make up any deficiency of funds to meet all of my bequests. But should my
money, debts and remaining dividends be sufficient to
meet all my bequests and pay all my debts, then the remaining Stock in the
Northern Bank of Kentucky and the dividends to be a fund to meet any contingency
for and during the natural life of my aforesaid wife Margaret Graham. I further
direct that her funeral expenses be paid by my executors after the death of my
wife all expences and claims having been paid. Then
twenty shares of my Stock in said Northern Bank of Kentucky together with the
dividends due thereon are to be equally divided amongst any nephews and nieces
in proportions to their necessities or wants as my Executors may Judge prudent and
right, about which they are to exercise their own discretion.
33rd, I give and bequeath my remaining twenty shares of my
stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky to Washington College, East Tennessee
and Dokes [Doake's]
Theological Seminary each ten shares-provided each are in successful operation
— Or if any one of said institutions are in successful operation then and in
that case the twenty shares of Bank Stock aforesaid is to go to whichever of
said institutions is in successful operation at the time aforesaid. But if neither
of said institutions are in successful operation then and in that event the
said twenty shares of Bank Stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky to be divided
amongst my nephews and nieces by my executors in the manner above stated
agreeable to their wants and necessities.
34th, I direct that my executors sell upon a credit all my stock
of horses, mules, cattle, etc., etc., except such as my wife aforesaid may wish
to keep and appropriate to her own use. Also such
farming Utentcals as my wife may not want for her own
use. Settle all my accounts, pay of all my debts and collect what may be due
owning me as soon as possible. The ballance due upon
Thomas L. Davis's note is to be deducted from his share of my estate which he
may be entitled to by virtue of a devise in my will.
35th, I direct that my executors-and they are hereby impowered
to transfer any Bank Stock herein devised so as to carry
the provision of my will into complete effect. And they are hereby authorized
and impowered to appoint and make an attorney to transfer said Stock as to my
said executors may be most convenient. I hereby recommend to my executors to
nominate and appoint Robert Patterson of the City of Philadelphia to make such
transfers of Stock as it may be inconvenient for my executors to make
36th, I hereby bequeath unto my wife Margaret Graham ten shares
of my stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky together with one yoke of oxen and
the ox waggon. In lieu of and instead of the
Southwest half of the home tract of land which I had in the foregoing part of
this will bequeathed to her, in her own right, to dispose of as She might think
propper. I vest in her now a lifetime estate in said
tract of land, and after the death of my aforesaid wife that part of the home
tract of land as well as the north east half of said tract with the appertinances thereto belonging to be vested in said James
Fulkerson and Frances his wife, their heirs and assigns forever. The Bank Stock
herein bequeathed to my wife together with the oxen and waggon
is to be at her entire disposal and for her own use and benefit and should there
be a crop of grain growing on said home tract of land at the time of my death
it is to be for the sole use and benefit of my said wife.
37th. Whereas in Consequence of the last bequest to my wife Margaret
of ten shares of Stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky there will be only ten
shares left for the Washington College and Dokes
Theological Seminary, I hereby direct that five shares of said Bank Stock go to
each of said Institutions upon the restrictions and conditions that the ten
shares of said Stock was [bequeathed] to them.
39th. And lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my Brother
Hugh Graham and my nephew William Houston my executors, without giving
security, with full power and authority to do everything necessary to carry in
to complete effect every clause and bequest in this my will, in testimony whereof
I have here unto set my hand and seal this 22nd day of January in the year of
our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and forty-one.
N.B. The last line in the 5th bequest which is somewhat crowded was written previous to Signing. In the 3rd bequest the Words "and the death of my wife" and the words "Francis Graham" in the 14th bequest, and the words "which may be entitled to" in the 24th bequest, were all interlined previous to signing. The words "In the Town of Tazewell" in the 13th bequest and the words "my brother" in the 14th bequest, and the word "hogs" in the 34th bequest, were stricken out previous to signing and publishing, etc., etc.
Signed and published in our presents and we were called to witness the same this 22nd January 1841
Thomas J. Johnson
William Graham (Seal)
Both the Grahams and Benjamin Sewell, a leading merchant and landowner, were money lenders. Because of the absence of chartered banking facilities in many frontier communities, people were dependent on loans from private individuals. Sewell conducted a profitable private loan business in Tazewell, as indicated by the extensive lists of debtors attached to his will. For the benefit of his executors, he divided the lists into those debts "considered good" and those "considered doubtful and bad." Following Sewell's death, an inventory list of his personal estate included such items as straw bonnets, razor straps, "4 papers of fever and ague powders," "5 vials of wormseed oil," "4% Doz. Worm Destroyer," tanners' tools, ladies', men's, and children's saddles, and other items that a frontier merchant might have in his store. The variety of coins listed included gold eagles and sovereigns, "Beehler pieces" and a "silver double Thaler."
Sewell's will shows him to be a man with definite ideas about his widow's possible remarriage and his sons' education for the ministry. The will, which was written on September 2, 1846, includes two codicils dated March 23, 1847, and April 1, 1847.
The final witnesses signed on February 9, 1848. Taken from the handwritten copy, the text follows the original as closely as possible. Sewell rarely used any punctuation.