Our Folk – Resource Materials
The Last Will and Testament
of James Norwood
Flemmingsburg, KY, Book H; pg 286
Know all men by these presents that I, James Norwood of the county of Flemming and State of Kentucky, do make this my Last Will and Testament as follows:
First it is my will that any just debts and funeral expenses be paid by any executors here after named out of my personal estate.
2. I will and bequeath to my wife, Sarah Norwood, all my land and premises on which I now reside and all any household and kitchen furniture together with all my stock on the farm and farming utensils for and during the life time of my wife.
I also give to my wife a negro woman named Betsey, for and during the life time of my wife. The negro Betsey will be twenty-one years of age about the thirteenth of November month*, but if my wife should die before the said negro Betsey shall arrive at the age of thirty-five years then the said negro Betsey is to be hired out from year to year by any executors until the said negro shall arrive to the age of thirty-five, at which time it is my will that the said Betsey shall be free.
And I also give and bequeath to my said wife during her life three negro boys. Westly, about 17 years of age the 30th day of November month*. Moses, about 15 years of age the 30th day of November month*. And, Bill, 13 years of age the 30th day of November month*. The said negro boys are each to serve my said wife until they respectively arrive at the age of twenty-five years and as they arrive at the age of twenty-five years they are to be hired out by my executors from year to year until they arrive at the age of thirty-five at which time they are to be free.
It is my will that my negro boy named Aaron now in the service of my son-in-law, John Turner and Nancy, his wife, shall be delivered up to any executors here after named who are to hire the said boy Aaron from year to year until the said boy Aaron shall arrive at the age of thirty-five years at which time the said negro Aaron is to be free. He is 19 years of age the 30th of November month*. I also give and bequeath to my wife my negro man Abram and my negro woman Milly to serve my wife during her life and at her death it is my will that the said negros Abram and Milly are to be under the care and management of my executors who are to take care of them during the lives of the said Abram and Milly and are to entitled to the services of the said slaves Abram and Milly during their lives, but are not to sell them but to keep them as slaves.
It is my will that at the death of my wife the land and premises here by devised to my wife, containing three hundred acres, more or less, I give to my two sons James Norwood, Jr., and Alfred Norwood, if they are willing to take the same at the price of seven thousand dollars payable in a reasonable time after the death of their mother but if the said James and Alfred shall fail and refuse to take the land and pay the aforesaid sum of seven thousand dollars as foresaid then it is my will that the land and premises shall be sold to the highest bidder on a reasonable credit and upon the payment of the purchase money my executors or the survivors of them are hereby authorized to convey the same to the purchaser or purchasers.
I will and bequeath to my daughter Amanda Norwood, a horse worth from seventy to seventy-five to be raised of the stock on the farm. I will and bequeath to my granddaughter Mary, the daughter of my deceased son Philip Norwood, four-hundred dollars which together with what I have herefore advanced to my son Philip Norwood is to be in full of all claims on my estate. The said $400 is to be paid to my said granddaughter Mary by my executors out of the proceeds of the land when sold.
I give and bequeath to Mary Jones, wife of John Jones, the sum of four-hundred dollars to be paid to her by any executors out of the proceeds of the sale of the land, I hereafter directed to be sold which sum of $400 is to be in full of all claims of my estate.
And whereas I have made advances in money to my children I do now charge them as follows: To my son William Norwood I have advanced the sum of five-hundred dollars, to my son Matthew Norwood, one-thousand dollars, to Elizabeth Mills four hundred-fifty dollars, to George Norwood thirteen-hundred dollars, Fleming Norwood twelve-hundred dollars, Nancy Turner, wife of John Turner, four-hundred dollars, Eliza Hood, wife of James R. Hood, five hundred dollars, James Norwood, Jr. eleven-hundred and fifty dollars, Amanda Norwood one-thousand dollars, Alfred Norwood, one-thousand dollars, and to John Norwood twelve-hundred dollars which several sums are charged as part of their portions of my estate.
It is my will that the estate by this will, devised to my wife during her life and to be sold at her death, when sold by my executors is to be divided between my following named children after deducting the advances made to them. William Norwood, Matthew Norwood, Elizabeth Wells, wife of Richard Wells - deceased, George Norwood, Fleming Norwood, Nancy Turner, wife of John Turner, Eliza Hood, wife of James R. Hood, James Norwood, Jr., Amanda Norwood, Alfred Norwood and John Norwood.
I direct that no appraisement or sale be made of my estate during the life of my wife and that at her death the personal estate is to be sold and the proceeds be divided between my afore said eleven children or their heirs. And whereas my son-in-law John Turner and Nancy his wife have in there possession a negro boy according to the directions of this will, than and in that case the said Nancy Turner is not to receive anything under this will. But if the said Turner and wife shall surrender the said negro to my executors then this clause is to be of no effect.
Lastly I nominate and appoint my two sons James Norwood, Jr., and Alfred Norwood executors of this my Last Will and Testament. And I further direct that it is my will if either or any slaves which are to be free by this shall run away and shall be caught out of the state at anytime during the time I have directed, that they shall serve they shall be sold by my executors for life as slaves. In where of the said James Norwood, hereunto set his hand and seal the 18th day of June, 1847.
A court held for Fleming County on the 23rd day of August, 1847, this instrument of writing purporting to be the Last Will and Testament of James Norwood. This day produced in court and proven by the oaths of S. D. Stockton and John Fitch, subscribing there to, to be the will of said James Norwood and the said will ordered to be recorded which is done.
W. T. Dudley
*The word in the original will is unclear, I only assume that it is "month", that seems to make the most sense.
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