Friday, January 7, 2011

A Friend of Friends Friday: African American Slaves Named in the 1852 Will of WILLIAM FRANCIS MOSELEY of Hickory Shade Plantation, Buckingham Co VA

My great X3 grandfather WILLIAM FRANCIS MOSELEY was born May 10, 1774 and died 1852, and lived most of his life in Buckingham Co VA on a plantation called "Hickory Shade".  He was married twice, 1st to MARY "POLLY" SAUNDERS, and after her death, to a widow, SARAH BROWN WILSON.

I knew that WILLIAM was a slave owner, and that his descendants, including my great great grandparents, continued to hold slaves until emancipation at the end of the Civil war (unlike many of my other southern ancestors, who gave up the practice early on). But I did not know exactly how many slaves he held until I discovered a copy of his will, written 1846, probated 1852. I have to say that I was completely shocked.


In the name of God Amen: I , WILLIAM MOSELEY, of the county of Buckingham do make this my last will and testament as follows to wit:
Item 1st: I direct that my executor hereafter named at a convenient time after my death sell all property both real and personal not herein disposed  of for the payment of debts and for division 
Item 2nd: I lend to my wife (2nd wife SARAH WILSON MOSELEY) for life one third of my home tract of land, and if she wishes it laid off, I request that it be so done as to include seventy five acres of that which I give (appears to be part of the will missing here??; continues with slave names):  CLARK, ELIZA JOHN, HENRY, LUTIE, LAWSON, ELISHA, MARTHA, PALSEY, SAM, LIVINIA and BETSEY, and PLEASANT;  and my smith tools, and to dispose of as she chooses my carriage and carriage horses.

Item 3rd:  I have heretofore given to my son GRANDERSON (Grandison Moseley):  land;  $700;  ELICK, CELIA, EDWARD, ROSE and POMPEY; $2350; and I now give him and his heirs, executor & etc, the following slaves, viz:  HARRIET, MAY, MARGARET & DAWSON.

Item 4th: I have heretofore lent to my son JAMES (James Saunders Moseley):   CHARLES, ROSE, PAMELIA, and EMALINE; $2100, and given to him and paid for his cash $2500.

Item 5th: I have heretofore given and paid for my son WILLIAM (never married) a negro man LEWIS and cash $2900.

Item 6th: I have heretofore given to my son JOHN (John Arthur "Jack" Moseley) the following: SPENCER, BETSEY, JIM, JUDY, GARLAND, MAY and TOM; $2800, and cash $1400.

Item 7th: I have heretofore given to my daughter LETICIA (Letitia Victoria Moseley) the following: GEORGE, FANNY, PAMELIA and child; $1800 land, $800, and loaned her WILL and/or MANDA, and $750.

(Item 8th missing? Items left to daughter Mary Magdalene "Polly" Moseley?)

Item 9th: I have loaned to my daughter ELIZABETH (Elizabeth Trabue Moseley) the following: PHIL, CALY, SUCY, HENRY, SEAN, and NED;  and cash and land in Missouri $2900.

Item 10th: I lend my wife for life one third of my plantation, tools, household, and kitchen, furniture, stock of cows sheep & hogs at Home. But I am in hopes she will not divide, but work all together and aid my son GRANDERSON to educate my sons DANIEL and BEN (children by William's 2nd wife Sarah Wilson Moseley).

Item 11th: I give to my son GRANDERSON and JOHN the following property for the following uses & purposes, viz: A negro boy JIM, the land and negroes in Missouri in the possession of my son JAMES and the future increase of the females thereof in time for the benefit of my son JAMES during life and then to his children.  Also one hundred acres of my home tract of land adjoining the East John A Glover line, to be run by my son GRANDERSON as he chooses; my lot in the town of Maysville;  one hundred acres of Mary or Wilson  land (this might be referring to land inherited by first wife Mary Polly Saunders Moseley, and 2nd wife Sarah Wilson Moseley??); BEN; lumber; (illegible) & bedstead; books & etc now in his possession, in trust for the benefit of my son WILLIAM, for life and then to his children as he may designate by will or deed.

Also, my land in Missouri, in possession of Mr MILLER (William Frederick Miller, husband of Elizabeth Moseley); PHIL, KATY, LUCY, HENRY LEANE, and FRED, now in Missouri; GRACE WATEMAN, and two or three hundred dollars to finish paying for said land and the further sum of three hundred dollars to be paid out of my sons' DANIEL & BEN's portion when my son GRANDERSON (thinks?) they can best do it, to be held out in property by my son GRANDERSON;  and the future increase of the females thereof in trust for the benefit of my daughter ELIZABETH for life and then to her children.

 Also one half of the balance of my home tract of land, one half of the balance of the Mary & Wilson land, one half of my Kinna (Kanawha VA)  land, kitchen, furniture, stock of cows, sheep & hogs at home; one half of my interest in a lot at Hardwicks and a horse colt, and the future increase of all the females thereof; and BOB, LYDIA, PETER, MARIA, and POLAND and their future increase in trust for the benefit of my son DANIEL for life and then to his child or children.  

Also one half that is the balance of my home tract lf land, the lines to be so run (as to include the dwelling and improvements by my son GRANDERSON, as well be convenient to each of them, the balance of the Wilson & Mary tract of land, one half  of my Kannana (Kanawha VA)  Land, one half of the property loaned to my wife for life, one third of my plantation tools, household, kitchen, furniture, stock of cows, sheep and hogs at home; one half of my interest in a lot at Hardwicks, and a young mare; POCAHANTAS, WASHINGTON, JANE, LUCY, MONROE & TYLER, ALICE, CARTER and the future increase of the female slaves thereof in trust for the benefit of my son BEN for life, then to his child or children.  

The rents and heirs of the property in this item to be applied by trustees or one of them for the uses and purposes in this item specified , and they or either of them may rent the land or rent the negroes for the purpose above, and they or either of them may sell andy of said property in this item or any part thereof, and invest the proceeds in other property, when so invested to be held as that which was sold was held, for the same purposes free from the control of the person for whose benefit it is left and free from the control of the husband of my daughter (Elizabeth Moseley Miller?), and in case liable to their debts now or thereafter.

Item 12th: I hereby authorize my son GRANDERSON at any time that he may think proper by deed to annul and set aside and vote (veto?) any or all of the trusts created in this will --and I also exonerate and discharge him and my son JOHN from all liablilites that they or either of them may incur in the execution of the trust in this will.

Item 13th:  All of my old negroes, that is ROBIN, POLLY and old HANNAH, which I give to my son DANIEL, and GEORGE, MILLY and old PHIL, which I give to my son BEN, are to occupy their present homes and be taken care of in their present situation, until the old negroes choose to change.

Item 14th: All my estate both real and personal after payment of my debts not herein disposed of, I wish to be equally divided between my children GRANDERSON, JAMES, WILLIAM, JOHN, LETICIA, POLLY and ELIZABETH for the uses and trusts as stated in Item 12, or to the child or children of such as may be dead.

Item 15: Should my son WILLAM die having no child or children or their representatives mentioned in the 14th item or the trustees to convey the same as the said WILLIAM may direct to either of my children or grandchildren.

Item 16: Should one or both of my sons DANIEL and BEN died under the age of 21 years leaving no child or children, then what is given for their use is to be equally divided between my children in the 14th item numerated, and if after the age of 21 years they or either of them should died leaving no child or children in that event what is given for their use is to be divided between my children enumerated in the 14th item or to such of children or grandchildren as he or they may designate by deed or will.

Item 17th: Should my wife decline the provision made for her in this will and resort to dower, then the Mary & Wilson land given to DANIEL and BEN to go to my children in the 14th item enumerated.

Item 18th: Should any of my negroes misbehave or act in such manner as good order cannot be had, I direct that my executor sell such and purchase others in their stead.

Item 19th : My executor with the consent of my wife may defer dividing my estate or that part of it employed in making a crop for two years or more and if kept together the last year my executor is to have of wheat for my wife, DANIEL and BEN, and furnish the plantation a year's supply of corn, if as much be made the last year.

Item 20th: my smith JACK is to remain with my wife two years after my death, and to do the work of my son GRANDESON, DANIEL and BEN without charge at the end of two years, or at the death of my wife.  I give the said Jack to my son GRANDESON for his attention to my wife and two sons DANIEL and BEN.  

Item 21nd:  All negro children born after this time is (are) to go with their mothers.

Item 22nd: I hereby constitute and appoint my son GRANDESON  Executor, to this my last will and testament, and guardian for my sons DANIEL and BEN, dispensing with an inventory; and I request the County Court of Buckingham to permit him to qualify in both capacities without security.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 26th day of February, 1846.
Signed, sealed & acknowledged as the last will and testament of WILLIAM MOSELEY, in presence of W F Moseley, and N D Morris

Codicil:  I make this codicil to my last will and testament, to wit: my son DANIEL wants to go to work on the Kanawha land, and wants my grandson LANGDON to go with him.  I therefore give to my grandson LANGDON C MOSELEY, his heirs & forever one equal third part of my Kanawha land called "Pocahontas", hereby reducing the portion of my sons DANIEL and BEN of the Kanawha land to one third each, instead of one half as mentioned in the forgoing will, as witnessed my hand and seal above.  Signed WILLIAM MOSLEY; witnessed W F Moseley, N D Morris

Codicil:  I make this further codicil to the foregoing my last will & testament viz: I wish KOSEAN to be put in the place of ELIZA, child of LYDIA.  ELIZA, child of LYDIA to put in the place of SALLY.  JIM LUN to take the place of WASHINGTON, and WASHINGTON to take the place of LUN GILMORE.  CLARISSA and child ANN to take the place of GRACE; and WILLIAM and my smith JACK is taken from the son GRANDISON, and to be subject for debts and distribution under the 14th clause of the foregoing will as witnessed my hand and seal this 7th of July 1847. Signed WILLIAM MOSELEY, witnessed Th M Bondurant and W F Moseley. 

At Court held for Buckingham County the 9th day of February, 1852, this writing purporting to be the last will and testament of WILLIAM MOSELEY, deceased, with two codicils annexed was produced in Court and ths said will and codicils were proved by the oath of W F Moseley, and of the wintesses thereto and the said will and the first codicil was also proved by the oath of N D Morris, and the other witnesses thereto and at another court held  for the said county on the 8th day of March following the 2nd codicil to the said will was further proved by the oath of Thomas M Bondurant, the other witness thereto, and the said will and codicils were thereupon ordered to be recorded; and on the motion of GRANDERSON MOSELEY, the executor named in said will, who made oath thereto and to the codicils entered into acknowledged bond in the penalty of $30000 conditioned as the law directs (without security the testator decreeing that none should be required). 

ELIZABETH TRABUE MOSELEY, the daughter of WILLIAM FRANCIS MOSELEY, was my great great grandmother.  She married WILLIAM FREDERICK MILLER, a lawyer.  By 1844 they-- along with ELIZABETH's brother JAMES SAUNDERS MOSELEY-- had settled in what would become Spring Hill, Livingston Co Missouri.  According to this and other documents, both ELIZABETH and her brother JAMES took a number of slaves from Hickory Shade plantation with them to Livingston Co Missouri.  It is also clear that ELIZABETH's father did not approve of or trust her husband WILLIAM FREDERICK MILLER.  Probably with good cause.

WILLIAM FREDERICK MILLER fought with the the CSA and was captured at Pea Ridge, Arkansas March 1862 and subsequently imprisoned in Gratiot Prison in St Louis.  With the help of his lawyer son-in-law, JOHN A WILSON, he was released from prison in exchange for Union prisoners, but banished from his home in Missouri.  WILLIAM FREDERICK MILLER was returned to Virginia and remained in Richmond for the duration of the war, working as a clerk at the Confederate treasury (unverified by me).  His letters home show a particularly callous attitude towards his wife ELIZABETH, who, along with their children, was left alone to starve & scrape by back in Missouri.

Here is a link to transcribed Civil War Era letters for this family on my Betty's Boneyard website.

Have a great day!

Betty



© Betty Tartas  2011

1 comment:

Shina Willson said...

Very... Nicee... Blog.. I really appreciate it... Thanks..:-)