Jesse Willson first wrote his will in 1828 when he was still in good health. In it he named his wife Jane, and all of their children: Thomas Quartermous Willson, Hugh Logan Willson, Ephraim Knowles Willson, Sarah Wilson, James Howard Willson, William McClowen Willson, Rebeckah Jane Willson, Jesse Harrison Willson, Samuel Crow Willson, John Logan Hornbeck Willson, George Gordon Willson, Eliza Willson, Charles Dean Willson, and Mariah Willson. Thereafter, he continued to add to the will, finalizing it not long before his death in 1839.
A transcription of the will is provided below.
Bullitt County Will Book C, page 76-78
Jesse Willson Last Will and Testament
In the name of God, amen. I Jesse Willson of Bullitt County, State of Kentucky, am in good health, and sound in mind and memory, but as it is appointed for all men once to die and the time and place unknown to all, I desire to make the following arrangement or distribution of my property - although possessed of a small portion of this world's goods - in the following manner, towit:
In the first place, after I am dead, and my body decently but plainly buried, and all my just and legal debts are honestly & speedily paid, I give and bequeath to my loving wife Jane Willson all my property both real and personal during her natural life, except so much thereof as I shall heretofore name, that is to say, should sh so long remain a widow, but should she marry, then and in that case she is to have one third of all my property during her life, and the other two thirds to be equally divided amongst all my children, namely Thomas Quartermous Willson, Hugh Logan Willson, Ephraim Knowles Willson, Sarah Wilson, James Howard Willson, William McClowen Willson, Rebeckah Jane Willson, Jesse Harrison Willson, Samuel Crow Willson, John Logan Hornbeck Willson, George Gordon Willson, Eliza Willson, Charles Dean Willson, and Mariah Willson. And should we be blessed with more children before my death, or imputed to me after death, they are to have a equal portion with the rest of my children that I have named. It is to be remembered that my son Thomas Q. Willson has got of my estate one horse to the value of fifty dollars good money and one cow and calf worth ten dollars. The ten dollars he is to account for with his brothers and sisters when a final division shall take place - but I acknowledge to have got a young mare of him which came from his Grandfather Quartermous' estate and give for his bond when he went first to Shepherdsville and promised another in its place, therefore he is not to account for the horse. My son Hugh L. Willson is to account for fifty dollars in part for two low priced horses, the balance I think he has paid me for. My son Ephraim K. Willson also received a horse but has fully paid me for him. My daughter Sarah Willson got form me a new woman's saddle for which she is to pay twenty dollars on settlement. My son James has rec'd from me a mare but she died shortly after and is to to account for her. I give and bequeath to my son William M. Willson a sorrel horse a three year old this spring known by the name of Hiatoga, but not to account for him as he has paid me for him. My son James H. Willson is to pay ten dollars for two small steers he got from me to pay in part for a horse which he bought from James V. Robinson. These circumstances I name for a guid to my children on settlement - which none of them is to pay any thing until a final settlement shall take place. It is my wish and desire should any of my children marry or go to themselves, should have some articles towards housekeeping such as bedding or cattle or any other article that can be spared, but this request is optionary with my wife. the main object of leaving all in my wife's hands is that I have many children unprovided for, young, hath to raise & school which may cost considerable. I appoint my loving wife Jane Willson my executrix and my sons, Thomas Q. Willson, Hugh L. Willson, and my son Ephraim K. Willson my executors, or such of them as may live near me at my death.
This my last will and testament whereunto I have set my hand and affixed my seal this 23rd day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight. (signed) Jesse Willson
I also bequeath to my son Jesse H. Willson one black mare cold one year old this spring, he is to account for the same $20 on settlement as above mentioned. (signed) Jesse Willson
I also wish my old Black man Will to be free at the death of myself and my wife, under good behavior, provided he can give the necessary security that he will not become a public charge. (signed) Jesse Willson
Since writing the above will, my daughter Sarah Willson has intermarried with Samuel Rust and the mare above mentioned which I had bequeathed to my son Jesse H. Willson I have given to my daughter Sarah Rust by the consent of my son Jesse H. Willson; he is therefore not to account for the said mare, but my daughter Sarah Rust shall account for said mare at thirty dollars, the mare being of more value at the time she received her than when willed to my son Jesse H. Willson. Also I have given to my daughter Sarah Rust one bed and furniture, one cow, some hogs and sheep amounting to ninety dollars including the $20 for the saddle above mentioned. Samuel Rust has since departed this life, yet it is my will that my daughter Sarah Rust shall on a final settlement account for the ninety dollars as above stated. Also I have given unto my son Samuel Willson one young horse about two and a half years old when received to be accounted for at forty dollars. I have also given and bequeathed unto my son James H. Willson one young mare for which he shall account at thirty dollars. I also give and bequeath unto my daughter Rebecca Jane Willson my negro girl Ibby between eight and nine years of age to be accounted for by my daughter Rebecca Jane Willson at two hundred dollars. I am well aware that I have not a negro to give to each of my children, yet I have a reasonable expectation that I will be able to give each of them an equivalent. I am induced to give the above named negro girl Ibby to my daughter Rebecca Jane at the low price of two hundred dollars in consideration of the may services she has rendered in the family since she became of age. For all the property that I now give or have heretofore given my children, it is my will they shall account for the same on a final settlement without interest. As my property is small and my family numerous, my property will not therefore admit of being divided to advantage, it is therefore my will that my executors after the decease of myself and wife do sell the whole of my property both real and personal at public sale (excepting the property above bequeathed) giving timely notice and affording an opportunity to all my children to attend the sale if convenient. And after all my just debts shall have been paid, the shall make an equal division of the proceeds of said sale among all of my children, share and share alike. Whereunto I have set my hand and seal this tenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight. (signed Jesse Willson) Witness: John J. Norris, Permelia C. Gilmore, Sarah Rust
State of Kentucky, Bullitt County Sct I Noah C. Summers, Clerk of the County Court for said County, certify that this last will and testament of Jesse Willson dec'd was this 9th day of September 1839 produced in open court and duly proved by the oath of John J. Norris one of the subscribing witnesses thereto to be the true last will and testament of Jesse Willson, (except the codicil emancipating negro Will which was not proved) the other witness P. C. Gilmore being absent, her absence was accounted for agreeably to law. Whereupon said will as duly proved was (with the exception of said codicil emancipating negro Will) ordered to be recorded, and therefore the same is truly recorded in my office. Att. Noah C. Summers, Clk
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