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The Last Will & Testament of John C. Sowers

See John's family record.

          I John C. Sowers of the town of Staunton & State of Virginia. Do make this my last will & testament with the sentiments of the deepest gratitude to Almighty God for his many blessings bestowed on me in this life. In the first place I direct that all my just debts & funeral expenses shall be paid out of my estate.

          To my beloved wife Mary L. Sowers I give the dwelling house we now occupy with the lot adjoining & all its appurtenances with the garden, stables & c. adjoining the meadow formerly owned by Jacob Peck dec'd, also thirty acres of my wood land purchased from Moses McCue to be laid off from the residue of the tract in one parcel as she may select also such of my household & kitchen furniture as she may wish to retain the inventory of that portion to be made out by her and delivered to my Executor & Executors also such of my slaves as she may select to keep as essential servants & their increase. I also give to her a riding carriage & two good horses with their harness and two cows out of such as I may have at the time of my death. All the above property shall be held & enjoyed by my dear wife for & during her natural life & at her death shall be disposed of as hereafter directed. I moreover direct that my executor shall set apart out of my Bank stock or other funds belonging to my estate an amount or equal to two thousand dollars the dividends or interest upon which shall be regularly collected as the same may fall due & be paid over punctually to my beloved wife semiannually or annually as the case may be during her natural life.

          All the residue of my property both real and personal except my slaves, I desire shall be sold the moveable property as soon as it conveniently can be after my death and the real property at as early a period as my Executor & Executors may think expedient without a sacrifice. The proceeds of sale together with all other funds belonging to or due to my estate and also my slaves in kind shall be disposed of as follows subject to the provisions herein after made for my granddaughter Mary Julia Baldwin. It is my desire that my five children: Alfred A. Sowers, Susan E. Heiskell, Julia A. Barclay, Peter J. Sowers and Caroline Sidney Crawford or the lawful issue of any of them taking per shares? who may die before me taking per shares? shall participate equally in my estate according to the advances which have been or shall be made hereafter to them respectively and those in arrears being made equal with those who have received larger advances before those so advanced receive anything. And to avoid any difficulty about the amount advanced to my said children respectively. I hereby direct that in such settlement the advances made by me to my son Alfred A. Sowers at seven thousand one hundred five dollars thirty seven & half cents. To my daughter Susan E. Heiskell shall be charged at seven thousand one hundred fourteen dollars five & half cents. To my daughter Julia A. Barclay at three thousand nine hundred forty one dollars ninety nine & half cent. To my son Peter J. Sowers at three thousand one hundred & fifty one dollars. To my daughter Caroline Sidney Crawford at three thousand three hundred dollars. Their charges are all to be taken as conclusive & shall be subject to no question or dispute. In making the disposition of my slaves who are not retained by my wife my Executor & Executors is directed to have them valued and to allot them as equally as may be amongst my said Children and as perfect equality is not practicable upon division in kind. Equality is to be produced by a primary equivalent out of my estate to those whose lots shall be under the proper value and in case of any difficulty about the division the slaves are to be divided unto five parcels & the share of each child is to be determined by lots or in such other manner as may be most agreeable to all concerned.

          At the death of my beloved wife I direct that all the property above directer to her life (except the slaves) shall be sold on such terms as my Executor shall deem most expedient and the proceeds of sale together with the Bank stock & State stock or other funds of Ten thousand dollars set apart as above directed for her use during her life shall be equally divided amongst my said five children the issue of such of them as may be dead taking per shares? in the manner indicated in aforesaid part of this will in reference to my other property.

          The Slaves retained by my wife & their increase shall also be divided in kind amongst my said children or their issue of such as may be dead taking per shares? in the manner the other slaves are above directed to be divided.

          My daughter Mary the wife of William G. Jackson having departed this life without issue to prevent all misunderstanding I think it proper to state that having advanced my said daughter in her life time the sum of Three thousand five hundred & seventy five dollars it is not my will or intention that my said son in law should receive any other portion of my estate.

          My daughter Margaret S. Heiskell formerly Margaret S. Baldwin having also departed this life having one daughter Mary Julia Baldwin and I having already made considerable advances to her mother. I do make the following provision for my said granddaughter Mary Julia Baldwin which shall be in full discharge of all claim against my estate in addition to the advances here to after made to her mother. It is my intention to raise and educate my said granddaughter at my own expense if my life shall be spared long enough for that purpose but in the event of my death before it is accomplished I direct that she shall be maintained and educated in the best manner out of my estate until she retains the age of eighteen she has already twelve hundred dollars in Valley Bank stock and I bequeath to her the sum of Two thousand eight hundred dollars of my estate in addition there to be paid to her or her guardian as soon as it conveniently be done after my death on the express condition that my estate shall not be charged with any dividends. I may now during my life time on her Valley Bank stock this interest. I do not intend shall be paid in as much as that very Bank stock was through me to her mother & then to her Daughter Mary Julia Baldwin.

          If either of my sons above mentioned should marry and die before me leaving a wife and child or children to survive them then the proceeds of the share of my estate designed for such son shall be applied to the support of the widow and children. But in case the said widow shall marry again then her interest in said share shall cease and determine and the whole shall ensue to be benefit of such children to be kept together and distributed to said children as they shall respectively become of age or marry and in case of the death of any of them before attaining full age or being married their share to go to the survivor or survivors.

          I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved wife Mary S. Sowers Executor and my son in law Hugh John Crawford Executor of this my last will and testament it is my request and desire the court should not require of them security only to receive their own bonds for their performance of their duties. Whatever part my beloved wife may think proper to take in the Executorial duties. I am satisfied she will be content to act without compensation therefore & therefore direct that the whole compensation for the executorial duties shall incur to my said executor. Then proceed as in the will as it now stands & order to settle all questions about commission & I give to him the said Hugh John Crawford the sum of five hundred dollars out of my estate & for all the trouble he may be out.

John C. Sowers (seal)

Codicil to my foregoing will

          I have the greatest respect for the integrity, talents & moral worth of my son in law Doctor James T. Barclay. But there are considerations which induce me to make the following dispositions in regard to the share of my estate above given to my Daughter Julia A. Barclay. I do hereby vest the same in as trustees who shall hold the same during her life for her sole and separate use & benefit free from the debts management & control of her said husband & the rents profits interest or income thereof to be paid over by them to her for her sole & separate use as aforesaid & at her death then her said share to pass to and become the property of her children then living & the descents of such as may be then dead per shares? & in default of such children or descendants then to such person or persons as she in her lifetime by her deeds or last will & testament in writing may direct & appoint & in default of such appointment then to her said husband if living & if dead to her the said Julia's right heirs & representatives. But the said trustee shall have full power & authority during the life of the said Julia A. Barclay in their discretion to sell assign and convey all or any part of said share whether real or personal provided the proceeds thereby obtained shall be invested in other property funds upon the same trust as aforesaid.

          In witness that the said foregoing altogether written with my own hand this will as well as the codicil is my last will and testament. I have hereunto subscribed my name on the 4th day of April in the 1843.

John C. Sowers

In the County Court of Augusta September 26th 1843.

          This writing purporting to be the last will & testament of John C. Sowers dec'd with a Codicil thereto was produced in Court by Hugh John Crawford one of the executor therein named and there being no subscribing witnesses to said will and Codicil Samuel Clark and William Kinney were swore and severally disposed that they are well acquainted with the Testators hand writing and verity believe the said writing and the name thereto subscribed to be wholly written by the Testators own hand whereupon the said writing to wit the said will and testament of the said John C. Sowers deceased.

Teste:  
Jefferson Kinney (Clk)

In the County Court aforesaid October 23, 1843

          This last will and testament of John C. Sowers dec'd with the Codicil annex was again produced in Court and on the motion of Hugh John Crawford one of the executors named in said will who made oath thereto according to law and entered in to and acknowledge his bond in the penalty of one hundred & fifty thousand dollars conditioned as the law direct which bond is ordered to be recorded certificate is granted the said Hugh John Crawford for obtaining a probate of the said will in due from liberty being reserved to Mary L. Sowers Executor named in the said will to join in the probate when he shall think fit. It appearing to the Court that the testator hath left viable estate more than sufficient to pay all his debts and by his will hath directed that his executors and executor should not be obligated to give security no security is therefore required. The Court seeing no cause from its own knowledge or the suggestion of Creditors or legatees to suspect the executor or executors of fraud that the personal estate as well as the real estate by the said will directs to be sold will be sufficient & discharge all the debts.

Teste:  
Jefferson Kinney (Clk)

In the County Court aforesaid October 25th 1843

          This last will and testament and Codicil there to annexed of John C. Sowers dec'd was again produced in Court and on the motion of Mary L. Sowers an Executor named in said will who made oath thereto according to law and enter unto and acknowledge her bond in the penalty of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs which bond is ordered to be recorded certificate is granted the said Mary L. Sowers for joining in the probate of the said will in due form. It appearing to the Court that the Testator hath left viable estate more than sufficient to pay all his debts and by his will hath directed that his executor and executors should not be obligated to give security no security is therefore required the Court seeing no cause from its own knowledge or the suggestion of Creditors or legatees to suspect the executrix or executors of fraud and that the personal estate as well as the real estate by the said will devised to be sold will be sufficient to discharge all the debts of the Testator.

Teste:  
Jefferson Kinney (Clk)

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