The Last Will & Testament of William Sowers
See William's family record.
I William Sowers of the county of Clarke & State of Virginia being of sound and disposing mind & memory, do hereby make my last Will & Testament in manner and form following hereby revoking all others or former Wills by me heretofore made.
1st I direct my executors hereafter named to pay all my just debts & all other just charges against my Estate.
2nd I give and devise to my beloved Wife for and during her natural life the following piece or parcel of land with the improvements thereon, Vis Beginning at a stone corner with Col. Morgan thence eastwardly with the line of Morgan thence southwardly to a Stone corner with John Burchell in a line with Morgan, thence Eastwardly with the line of Burchell to a Stone in the woods near a pair of bars, thence Northwardly with the fence as it now stands, including the fence to the gate leading into the woods, thence unto the road the same general course continued so as to strike on the East side of the Western land fence and thence by that fence including it to the gate leading into the graveyard field, thence westwardly with the fence as it now stands to a stone corner with Morgan & thence westwardly still with the line of Morgan to the gate on the top of the hill, which leads unto Morgan's field thence with the line of Morgan to the Beginning point & containing two hundred acres more or less; if my wife desires it to be direct what my executors hereafter named shall lay out & give to her a right of way from the gate leading unto the grave yard field; along or near to the present lane out to the Berryville Turnpike road. I also give to my said wife during her natural life all my household and kitchen furniture of every sort. I also give to my said wife absolutely all the meat in the smoke house and all the Poultry of every kind at my death. I also give to said wife absolutely to her & heirs & assigns the two negro girls Charity and Lucy and any increase which they may have from the date here of. And I also give to my said wife during her natural life one third of the remaining slaves of my estate hereby giving her the right after said slaves shall have been appraised or valued to select of her choice so many as will make her full one third in value; and I also to my said wife during her natural life my riding carriage & harness and two horses to be selected and chosen by her from my stock of horses and colts.
3rd I direct my Executors hereinafter named to sell at public or private sale all the rest and residue of the real estate of which I may died seized and entitled upon the following terms Viz: One fourth in cash residue in five equal annual payments bearing interest from day of sale, Interest to be paid annually the deferred payments to be secured by Deed of Trust on the said Estate. I also direct that all the rest and residue of my personal property except slaves be sold upon the usual terms of credit.
4th I direct my Executors hereinafter named to pay to each of my children who may not have recieved the same as will appear from my books, the sum of one hundred & twenty five dollars each, in order to make such of my children equal with those who have recieved property that amount and for which I have made no charge against them.
5th After all my children shall have been placed on an equal footing, by having one hundred and seventy five dollars each, then, and as soon after, my death as can be conveniently done, I direct that all my estate which at that time can be divided and distributed, including and taking into such division and distribution all the advancements hereafter mentioned & referred to--shall be divided & distributed as followeth One twelfth part thereof to my son Robert Sowers, to my son Daniel H. Sowers one 12th part, thereof to my daughter Lucy wife of Carter Sheppard one 12th part thereof subject to the trust hereafter declared, to my daughter Martha Burchell one 12th part thereof subject to the trust hereafter declared, to my daughter Catherine Reid wife of Alfred Reid one 12th part thereof subject to the trust hereafter declared, to my son Wm. B. C. Sowers & his family one 12th part thereof subject to the trust hereafter declared, to my son Albert Sowers one 12th part thereof, to my daughter Amanda wife of Jonathan Keene one 12th part thereof subject to the trust hereafter declared, to my son George Sowers one 12th part thereof, to my son Richard Sowers one 12th part thereeof, to my son Franklin Sowers one 12th part thereof and to my daughter Mary Matilda Sowers one other 12th part thereof subject to the trust hereafter declared.
6th I herein and hereby charge all my children with all advancements heretofore made by me to them on which may be hereafter made by me to them, respectively as to which my books will show and to which books reference is here had and by which each of them shall be bound accordingly to the charges then made & stated against each, paid advancements with interest from my death shall be brought into the division and distribution of my estate as aforesaid and if in such division and distribution there should not be slaves sufficient to give all one or more slaves then said slaves to be divided as far as they will go, making up to those who get more in money.
7th After the death of my beloved wife I direct my executors hereinafter named to sell at public or private sale all the real and personal estate, herein before devised and given to her for life except the slaves & their increase such sales to be made upon the usual credits and will secured, as to the land by Deed of Trust. The proceed of sales arising from said real and personal estate together with the slaves and their increase to be divided and distributed equally among my children hereinbefore named & their issue & but subject to the same Trusts & limitation as to each of said children before named as is hereafter declared.
8th I herein and hereby appoint Col. Benjamin Morgan, F. J. Kerfoot and P. McCormick the survivor or survivors of them Trustee or Trustees as the case may be for and on behalf of my daughters herein before named Lucy, Martha, Catherine, Amanda & Mary Matilda and my son Wm. B. C. Sowers & family. In Trust to take and hold the shares of each of my said children upon the following uses & trusts to that is to say, 1st to use and expend the principal so far as absolutely necessary as well as the interest or income for the benefit of my said Daughters & their issue and of my said son Wm. B. C. Sowers & his wife & issue so as to give them respectively a comfortable support for and during the lives of my said Daughters & Son after the death of the Daughters respectively anything left of principal and interest to be divided among their issue respectively according to Laws and after the deaths of my said son & wife & anything left of principal and interest to be divided among the issue of my said son according to Law.
9th Should any of my children die without issue living at their deaths respectively, the share of such child under this will shall pass into my estate & pass to my other children & their issue subject to the trusts, limitations & conditions hereinbefore expressed as to the survivors.
10th No debt contracted by the husbands of my Daughters or by my said son shall be charged upon & bind their respective share or interests in my Estate, unless sanctioned by and approved of by their trustee and in every such case it must be shown that it was for their benefit and their issue at this time.
11th Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint Franklin J. Kerfoot and Province McCormick Executors of this my last Will and testament and in testimony that the same embraced by and written upon the three foregoing sheets of paper is my true Will I do now set my hand & affix my seal this 3rd day of September 1858.
In Circuit Court May Term 1866 on 17 May 1866
Franklin J. Kerfoot & Province McCormick named as Executors in a paper writing reporting to be a copy of the last Will and Testament of William Sowers, deceased, offered the same for Probate, with a copy of the Decree of the Circuit Court of this County in a suit in Chancery depending in said Court of said F. J. Kerfoot and Province McCormick VS Daniel H. Sowers and others, alleging that the original Will was destroyed by fire after the death of said William Sowers and it was proved by the testimony of Samuel J. C. Moore and Joseph F. Ryan witnesses thereto, that the said William Sowers acknowledged a writing signed by him before them to be his Will and that they attested the said Will at his request and subscribed their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the Testator and of each other and that at the time of said Will was acknowledged, the said Testator was of sound mind and disposing memory and it was proved by P. McCormick and D. C.? McGuire that said writing is a true copy of the said original Will so attested by said S. J. C. Moore and Joseph F. Ryan and it was proved by the testimony of said P. McCormick that said original was destroyed by fire, after the death of said William Sowers deceased. The Court admits to the said paper writing to Probate as the true last Will and Testament of William Sowers deceased and orders the same to be recorded as such and thereupon said F. J. Kerfoot & P. McCormick Executors thereof entered into a Bond in the penalty of sixty thousand Dollars conditions according to Law and with Daniel H. Sowers, John Louthan, Thomas E. Gold, William Taylor and Benjamin Morgan their securities in said Bond who justified as to their sufficiency and the said Executors took the oath prescribed by Law.
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