WILL OF ROGER JOHNS
as transcribed by Linda Rowe, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 25 February 1998
The cover note to David Salisbury:
Here's what I have so far. I've retained irregular spelling, Latin terms, etc. There are a few blanks I'm still working on. Let me know what you think or if you have questions, Linda Rowe
In the name of God Amen
I Roger Johnes beinge very sicke & weake in body but in perfect sense & memory blessed bee to god doe make & ordayne this my last will & testamt. In manner & forme followinge (vizt) First I bequeath my soule to god that gave it And my body to the ground from whence it was taken to bee Interred with solemne & decent buryall in sure & certayne haope of Resurrection to Enternall life through the blessed merritts of Christ Jesus my only Redeemer.
Item I give & bequeath unto my servant Elizabeth
her whole type wch. She had to serve & all my goods and chattells I
stand nowe possessed of; she payeinge and satisfyinge all my Debts which
I doe stand Debted. And to receive all wch. I have oweinge unto mee (wch.
Are these heere Expressed.)
Credr. In Tobac. Sequitr.
Crddr: in tobaco li tobaco Debtor in Tobaco
Richard Allinge by bill wth. Caske 1050: To Mr. Scarburgh 0300
Item Walter Wllyams per bill 0900 to mr Stringer 0250 p bill
Item the Batchellor att 0400 to Mr. Jns. By bill 0260
Sanders Maddox 0060 to Jacob by bill 0060
To Jeffery Minshall 0100
To Mr Rutter for Rent 0025
Item more to him 0040
" to Mr. Paler by bill 0040
Item I give & bequeath unto my godsonne Willyam Andrews one Cowe
Item I give & bequeath unto my Loveinge friend James Barnabye the three Hundred Acres of Land att Occahannocke & my Little [goade?] & my little brass Stillyards.
Lasyly I ordayne & appoynte my Loveinge friend James Barnabye of the my Last will and Testamt. Desireinge him to helpe & assist Elizabeth int he performance of this my Last will for the confirmation whereof I hereunto sett my hand this 7th of Septembr. 1651.
Witness in prsence Rober Johnes
Memorand That this xxxth daye of March 1652. The last will & Testamt. Of Roger Johnes late of Northampton County decd was proved (apperta Curia) & Sacramt
Jacob Barnaby & Jeffery Minshall
Teste me Edm: Matthews Cl Cur
Att a County Court holden att Northampton 28th of June 1654
This day Elizabeth (nowe the wife of Randll. Hutchinsson the Relict & Executrix of Rogers Johns Blacksmyth late of N[o]rth[amp]ton County decd) presented to the Court an Accott of the Estate of her late husband Roger Johns wch accotts were by order of Court referred to the Examinacon of Mr. Wm Westenhowse & Mr. Jno Reynolds Chirurgions, And they did fynd (as appeareth by report under their hands) that the sd Elizabeth Hutchinson hath paid beyond Assetts the sume and quant of five hundred Eighty Nyne pownds of tobac. It is therefore thought fitt & ordered that the sd Elizabeth Hutchinson (Executrix of Roger Johns decd) shall have her [ ] upon the sd Roger Johns his Estate.
Elizabeth Hutchinson her Accott, Of Mr. Roger Johns his Estate
Dated June 28 1654
Goods Appraysed of Mr. Roger Johns his Estate
Three Cowes, three Calves vallued att 1500
Item one Featherbedd & Boulster 0300
Item one Flocke bedd & Cattayle Boulster 0150
Item Three Iron Kettles 0060
Item Towe Iron Potts 0035
Item 4 pewtr dishes 0030
It. One chest, one Trunke 0020
It. His weareinge Apparell 0200
Recd in Debts 1050
Tobaco paid to the Credditors 3335
Paid more than Recd 0589
To Mr Jno Cornillus
To Mr. Jno Rutter 0044
To Richard Jacob 0060
To Mr. Jno James 0059 1/2
To Mr. Charlton 0070
To Wm. Gaskonis 0020
To Sanders Eddisson 0060
To Nicholas Wadd [ ] 0700
To Capt Wm Stone 0420
To Docr. George Hacke 0560
More to Mr Rutter 0300
To Mr. Mathews 0400
To Mr James Burnaby for a Legacy; one Gun;
one pr of brass Stillyards; and three hundred
Acr of Land at Occahannocke. 3924 1/2
Recordatr. Decimo Die mensie Junis 1652
Subj: Hold the presses!!!
Date: 98-04-25 14:54:50 EDT
From: email@example.com (Michael Elwood Pollock)
To: RJohns24@aol.com (RJohns24)
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Aor7capt@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings, I have just had an opportunity to examine the copy of Roger Johns' will that I was sent some time ago, and having done so, I feel obliged to alter my previous positions regarding Richard Johns of King William County as a son of Roger Johns of Northampton.
The letter of probate of Roger's will CLEARLY identifies the Elizabeth who was called "servant" in the will as Roger's wife. The reason this may have been missed was that she was identified as "relict', which is an archaic synonym for widow. As I read through the actual will, I thought that, exception for calling her "servant", it read as if Elizabeth was his wife. In light of what I now know as a result of reading the will and letter of probate, I can resolve the contradiction. Roger married his servant woman Elizabeth _____ while she was still his servant. This was possible because as her master, Roger would have had the authority to grant her permission to marry as he would have to have done had she married anyone else. A servant given permission to marry by his/her master was still obliged to finish the term of the indenture, so Roger forgave her remaining time of servitude, presumably to prevent either his "heir-at-law" from arguing that Roger's failure to do so abrogated her right to any other bequest made to her by Roger's will or any creditor from claiming that servitude as payment of a debt by also arguing that Roger's failure to forgive Elizabeth's servitude made her a part of his estate.
Under this scenario, Roger and Elizabeth would probably have married in 1650 or 1651. Thus it is quite conceivable that Elizabeth gave birth to a child fathered by Roger after his death, though that assumes the marriage was not strictly a gesture of appreciation by Roger to Elizabeth for her caring for him in his final days made "necessary" by the fact she had been his servant and thus could have had her right to inherit any of Roger's estate challenged by either his family or a creditor. I looked for any acknowledgment in Virginia Wills and Administrations, 1632-1800 and in Wills and Administrations of Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800 of a will/administration/settlement for Elizabeth or her subsequent husband, Robert Hutchinson, in the hope that such a record might acknowledge a Richard Johns, but found none. Several volumes of court orders for Accomack County have been published by Heritage Books, and should be checked for any reference to a Richard Johns/Jones (I do find references in the Accomack wills to a Richard Jones, but in a context that makes it unlikely he could have been a son of Roger), but my guess is that a search of the Northampton records would be more promising. For example, while it is not a certainty, if Elizabeth did have issue by Roger, there should have been record of either her subsequent husband or a disinterested 3rd party being appointed guardian of the child, with the latter more likely since her subsequent husband would have become the de facto owner of Roger Johns' entire estate upon his marriage to Elizabeth if there was no heir and no marriage contract since Roger's will did not disinherit Elizabeth if she were to remarry.
I trust that I will be forgiven for having jumped to
conclusions before I knew all the facts contrary to my own advise.
Subj: Re: Rogers Will
Date: 98-04-22 13:05:22 EDT
From: email@example.com (Michael Elwood Pollock)
CC: RJohns24@aol.com (RJohns24), Aor7capt@aol.com
Greetings to all, The English will, or rather lawsuit, which mentions the Johns brothers is INTRIGUING. It establishes a strong basis for the assertion that Robert and John were brothers of Roger Johns of Northampton County even though Roger is not mentioned in the same. That brings me to my question--what is Karen's source for this "will"? It has been my experience that abstractors sometimes overlook items of potential significance by failing to appreciate the same, whether the same is a conscious or unconscious decision. I would think that an examination of the actual document and all related papers would be in order, but perhaps I get ahead of myself.
I recognize the source of Karen's(?) list of Johns wills in Goochland County as The Douglas Register, even though it was not identified as the same. The Sudith Johns listed in the same was actually Judith, and it is my theory that she was probably a widowed daughter-in-law of Robert Johns of King William County (I say probably because I have yet to find any record of the given name of her husband). The Phillip in that list was the patriarch of the rather extensive Johns family that still remained within Goochland County after it had shrunk to its current boundaries. I was convinced he was one of Ben's ancestors, but I have been unable to prove it. I have also been unable to establish whether there was a likely connection between Phillip and neither Judith or William of King William. As for the William C. Johns in that list, his will fails, as I recall, to acknowledge the same, but my research has established that he was a free black (at least with several of the children named in his will being identified as free blacks, the implication is that so, too, was he).
Karen's statement that the John and Robert mentioned in the Franckes v. Johns lawsuit were of King William County may be wishful thinking as King William County did not exist in 1640 and while there are always exceptions to the rule, I believe it is safe to say that West Point was probably the westernmost European settlement in the watershed of the York River in the 1630s, though I do not find anything in an admittedly brief survey, to establish that West Point even existed in the 1630s.
In attempting to see if I could find any evidence to support John and Robert Johns were in the area of King William County, I checked the index to Volume 1 of Cavaliers and Pioneers to see if I could find any of the names mentioned in the lawsuit. The fact that the lawsuit referred to several individuals only by their last name hampered my investigation, a further argument to look more closely at the actual papers of the suit.
Since I found no references to an Edward Abbes (even checking for alternate spellings using other vowels as the first letter of the name), I also found myself wondering whether the will mentioned in the lawsuit might not have been recorded in both Virginia (where it would appear to be no longer extant) and England (where it may still be found), as I would think it probable that Edward's wife Sarah never left England. If so, a search for that will would likely be in order.
By the way as I was considering alternate spellings, it occurred to me that the name may actually have been Aves (which I did find in C&P, Vol. 1, but not an Edward and far too late to presume any connection to Edward without first finding Edward's will). If the first letter was "e", then Epps becomes a plausible alternate, and with an "i", so, too, does Gibbs. I did not find an Edward with either of those surnames in C&P, Vol. 1
In the event that any who may receive this think that my speculations re alternate spellings of Abbes is a bit fanciful, there was a noted Russian playwright named Dennis Fonvizin, or that is the spelling typically used when the name is converted from the Cyrillic lettering of the Russian alphabet to the Latin letters we use. However, the man was descended from a German who emigrated to Russian during the reign of Peter the Great, and the original German spelling of the name is vonWiesen! Michael
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