Dated 7 September 1850
Updated March 23, 2016
In the Name of God, Amen! I, John GILLIAM of the County of Powhatan, of State of Virginia as hereby constitute and ordain this instrument my last will and Testament revoking all others which I may have heretofore made and written.
I as hereby direct, and it is my will and desire that my Executor herein after named shall first proceed to pay all my just debts and for that purpose, provision be made either keeping the estate together for a term of a year and in the mean time borrowing money on the credit of the Estate in order to meet the payment of the whole or such portion of the debt that cannot be postponed or selling such portion of the perishable property as may seem most advisable having our eyes to the interest of all concerned and at the same time affording support to my dearly beloved wife and such of my daughters as may be unmarried at the time of my demise. And that whatever may then remain of my estate both real and personal I leave unto my dearly beloved wife during her lifetime, at the same time giving to each of my daughters as may be unmarried a comfortable and liberal support. And after the demise of my said wife it is my will and desire that the tract of land on which I now live, called Maidens Adventure, and my other land which I may hereafter purchase as appurtenant thereto shall be sold by my executor. And at the same time, all my household furniture with any other pieces of perishable property that may be remaining at the demise of my said wife, should she survive me and the proceeds divided amongst my children as herein after directed, that all the parties interested shall be consulted by any Executor. He shall proceed to sell the land and other property as to the time of credit to be given and the price to be set upon it, to sell it either privately or publicly as may be deemed best for the interest of all concerned.
I will and bequeath to my son Richard J. GILLIAM in trust during his natural life the tract of land on which he now lives comprising those several tracts which I purchased at different times. One of the estate of Wm. Pleasants sold under a decree of the Court of Powhatan County, and one of Dr. Saml Pleasants and one other of Frances J. Smith reference to the records of the Clerk’s Office of the County Court of Powhatan will fully explain—To hold and enjoy the profits arising from the same. But at all times subject to the control of the Trustee herein named and in the event of the said Richard J. GILLIAM departing this life before his wife, that, then, and in that case, she shall enjoy a life estate in the said tract of land subject in the like manner to the control of the trustee and out of the proceeds or profits arising there from as far as they will enable her to support and educate the children which the said Richard J. GILLIAM may have living at his demise. And at the death of the said Richard J. GILLIAM and his wife, that the said tract of lands shall be sold and the money equally divided amongst the children of the said Richard J. GILLIAM.
I do hereby with the trustee herein after named with full power and authority provided the said Richard J. GILLIAM at any time may desire it to sell the said tract of land and reinvest the money in other land located either in this state or any other state in the United States wherever the said Richard J. GILLIAM may prefer. And after his death should that event happen previously to that of his wife in that case where she may direct retaining to herself all the benefit herein given her and I as hereby bequeath further to the said Richard J. GILLIAM and his heirs forever the several Negroes which he now has in possession and which he derived from me several years ago. And I do hereby further bequeath to him the said Richard J. GILLIAM in Trust at the demise of myself and wife, my Mulatto man, Albert, and his wife, Ann, a Mulatto woman, with her present and future increase together with my Carpenter and Blacksmith tools to be subject to the management and control of the Trustee should he, the trustee, deem it necessary.
I have heretofore conveyed in Trust to Francis H. James and his wife, Elizabeth who is my daughter a number of Negroes, the precise number or character I do not now recollect, but reference to the clerk’s office of the County of Powhatan will fully show and at various times given and paid for by him, money to a large amount, all of which, I consider, fully equal to what would be the equal share of my said daughter, Elizabeth, on a division of my Negroes, hence I make no provision for her in this my last will and Testament in this respect.
I consider what I have heretofore given my son, Richard J. GILLIAM, in the way of Negroes and the further provision in that respect herein made, to be fully equivalent to what would be his equal share of the division of my Negroes.
At the demise of myself and wife, I as hereby will and direct that the money arising from the sale of my land and other sources herein before referred to, shall be divided amongst my children in the following manner, to wit. I consider my daughter, Elizabeth James, to be the most needy of any of my children, and having a large family of children to support and educate; I have concluded to give to her one thousand dollars as a specific legacy, in trust to be paid over by my Trustee and to be of him appropriated as herein after directed and then whatever amount of money may remain in the hand of my Executor after paying all my debts and the expenses attending to settlement of the affairs of my estate shall be equally divided amongst my seven children: that is, to say, my son, Richard J. GILLIAM, Mary L. Pemberton, Martha C. Overton, Elizabeth James, Sarah A. Lawson, Susan E. GILLIAM and Lucy Ann GILLIAM.
The amount of money which may accrue to my daughter Elizabeth James in the division together with the above specific legacy of one thousand dollars, is hereby given to her in Trust and to be invested in land and Negroes or in land alone or any part of it in either as may seem most desirable to the interest of her family and the fee simple title to which to be forever accrued to herself and children.
The amount of money which may accrue to my son Richard J. GILLIAM in the above directed division is hereby given to him in Trust to be invested in land and Negroes or put into at interest by the Trustee as may seem best to comport with the interest of himself and family and finally it is my will and desire that the amount shall be placed or stand in the same category in relation to himself, wife and children, as I have willed and directed in regard to the land above bequeathed to him.
At the demise of myself and wife I do hereby will and direct that the Negroes which may then be remaining and bona fide belonging to my estate except what is herein devised in Trust to my son, Richard, shall be equally divided amongst my five daughters to wit, Mary L. Pemberton, Martha C. Overton, Sarah A. Lawson, Susan E. GILLIAM, and Lucy Ann GILLIAM to them and their heirs forever.
It is my will and desire and I do hereby direct that in the division of my Negroes that my faithful old servant Eden and Laura (who has been and still is equally faithful) who is her daughter and Abby, the daughter of Laura, shall be permitted to choose to which of my daughters they shall be allotted, the two latter, Laura and Abby, to be taken at their valuation, the former, Eden, not to be valued, nor anything to be allowed for her.
Lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint William Overton my son-in-law my sole Executor and trustee to carry into affect the provisions contained in the foregoing my last will and testament in settling up and fully arranging all the affairs of my estate according to the provision of the foregoing will and for his services in place of the usual or legal commission I do hereby direct that he be allowed the sum of one thousand dollars to be paid out of the aggregated sum previously to division.
In Testimony of all the provisions and stipulations contained in the foregoing my last will and testament I hereunto subscribe my name and affix my seal this 7th day of September 1850.
Sig: John GILLIAM
Codicil to my Last Will and Testament
Of date 7th day of September 1850
I have recently purchased of Daniel Stringer two hundred acres of land to be taken off and surveyed from that portion of the tract which said Stringer purchased of Bennett Goode lying on the north side of Michaux’s Ferry Road and adjoining my Maiden’s Adventure tract on the north and also the parcel of wood land lying east of the Maiden’s Adventure old road and on the north side of the said Michaux’s Ferry Road and being also a part of the tract which the said Stringer purchased of Bennett Goode and adjoining the land on the east commonly known as the land of Richard J. GILLIAM supposed to contain ten acres be the same more of less I have concluded and it is my Will that this latter piece of parcel of land when surveyed and conveyed to me by deed of Indenture (not being yet executed the purchase as yet being a written contract one copy of which is in my possession and one in the possession of Daniel Stringer) should this be done in my lifetime or to my representatives after my death in either event to be then considered and taken as part and parcel of the lands which I have given to my son Richard J. GILLIAM by my last Will and Testament and to be taken and considered as standing in every aspect in the same category to himself, wife and children as therein provided and in consideration of this bequest I do hereby take from the tract which I purchase of the Est. of Wm Pleasant and constitute a part of the tract devised to my son Richard J. GILLIAM by my Last Will and Testament all that portion which lies on the west side of the road leading out south from my front gate until it (the road) intersects the Maiden’s Adventure old road, the line to commence at the contract point of said gate thence running a straight line until it terminates in the center of the road leading out from said gate to its intersection with the said Maiden’s Adventure old road (I thought it best to have a straight line instead of pursuing the meanders of the road) supposed to contain ten acres. The object of this arrangement is that the land herein given to my son Richard makes his tract more compact and convenient in every respect and the parcel of land taken from his tract as described above and added to my Maiden’s Adventure tract makes it a desirable acquisition to whom my become the purchaser after my demise and may give to it additional value. I have come to the conclusion and it is my Will to authorize my son Richard J. GILLIAM should he think proper to do so dispose of all the property which I have given him per my Last Will and Testament by bequest at the demise of himself and wife amongst his several children as he may deem most advisable or to give my portion of it during his lifetime to such of them as my get married and can be conveniently parted with without _____ the remaining part of the family. But in making this provision it is not to be understood as in any wise abridging or impairing the restrictions and provisions under which I have placed the property in my last Will and Testament in other respects.
Should I depart this life before my dearly beloved wife I have come to the conclusion should she continue to keep possession of the entire estate as she may do agreeable to the provisions made for her in my last Will and Testament that either William Overton, F. M. Lawson or my son Richard with their families as maybe agreed on shall live at my Mansion in common with my wife until her demise or until the final winding up of all the affairs of my estate in order the better to take care of the property and better management of the plantation operations, free of any charge for their board.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 18th day of September 1850.
Sig: John GILLIAM
This codicil (the second) to my Last Will and Testament which bears the date the 7th September 1850, I do hereby make to be taken as a part of my Will
Item I have had in my hands for many years a sum of money due to Miss Catherine James an amount of which will be found in my several books of account the account has been left exclusively to my keeping receiving and disbursing as the occasion required and as other _____ but my books either by note obligation or otherwise will be admissible in the settlement of the accounts of my executor. The interest has not been calculated for many years although it will be found to have been once calculated in one of my book of accounts. For the great length of time the said Catherine James has lived in common with my family. I make no charge for her support and should the money which may be due to her by me after my demise not be sufficient to support her the balance of her life then and in that case she is to be well supported out of my estate.
Item, I hereby direct that any monies or property which I may have advanced to any of my legatees prior to the 1st day of January last shall not be taken into account against them in the settlement of their legacies under my said Last Will and Testament or its codicils but such advances which appear on my books of account made since the first day of January last they shall be accountable for in the settlement of said legacies.
In testimony of all the forgoing provisions and stipulations contained in this my second codicil to my Will and Testament as above stated I hereunto subscribe my name and affix my seal this second day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty one.
Sig: John GILLIAM
Signed and sealed in the presence of (together and in the presence of the testator)
Wit: R. Booker, Jno F. Lay, Richard Anderson
This third codicil to my last Will and Testament bearing date the 7th of September 1850, I do hereby make and declare as a part of said Will and Testament and desire that it may be as taken.
Item whereas for causes operating in my mind when my said Will and Testament was made which do not now exist I desired it prudent to place the property of my description willed and bequeathed by said Will to my son Richard J. GILLIAM in trust for the benefit of my said son and his family as directed in said Will, my present purpose and intention is to give to my said son all the property then in said Will bequeathed to him in trust in fee simple and free from the trust conditions and restraints imposed by said Will and that he shall have and receive all the property placed in trust by said Will as aforesaid to do the whole thereof without any contract and as he may desire in like manner as if no trust conditions had been imposed by my said Will and for that purpose I do hereby revoke and declare null and void so much of my said Will as puts the property bequeathed to my said son under trust as aforesaid and I do hereby give and bequeath the whole of said property so bequeathed in trust absolutely and directly free of all contract whatsoever in fee simple to my said son Richard J. GILLIAM to be used and disposed of by him as to him may seem best.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this sixteenth day of June in the year our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty one
Sig: John GILLIAM
Signed and sealed in our presence
We being together at the time and the testator in our presence acknowledging it to be his hand and seal
Wit: E. Cunningham, Robert W. Nelson
At a court held for Powhatan county at the courthouse thereof on Wednesday the 2nd day of July 1851 the foregoing Last Will of Jno GILLIAM decd with their codicils annexed was presented in court and Richd Booker and Richd Anderson being duly sworn deposed that they are well acquainted with the hand writing of the decedent and that they verily believe that the said Will and the first codicil with the signatures thereto to be wholly in the hand writing of the said Jno GILLIAM decd. And the 2nd codicil was proved by the oaths of Richd Anderson and Richd Booker to of the subscribing witnesses to the same and the 3rd codicil was proved by the oaths of E. Cunningham and Ro. W. Nelson subscribing witnesses to the same and thereupon the said Will and Codicils were ordered to be recorded.
Wm S. Dance, C
- Powhatan County, VA, Will Book 14, p 131