Friday, July 12, 2013

Friend of Friends Friday - Will of John Barker, Sr., Iredell Co., NC, 1808

When John Barker, Sr., wrote his will in 1808, he bequeathed a number of slaves to his children; however, he set one woman, Hannah, free. A transcription of his will and a digital image of the document is given below. The references to slaves are shown in red text.

“In the name of God, Amen:
I John Barker, Senr. of the State of North Carolina Iredell County, being weak of Body but of sound & perfect mind & Memory, thanks be to God for the same, calling to mind the mortality of body know that is appointed for all men once to die hoping that the Great General resurrection to be raised to life Eternal, through the [?} & mediation o four blessed Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ & do hereby make & ordain this my last will & Testament. First of all I do recommend my Soul into the hands of ^Almighty God that gave it me and my Body to Earth, to be decently buried after a Christian manner at the discretion of my Executors herein after mentioned, and as touching my worldly Estate it hath been pleased God to bless me with in this life, I give & dismiss and dispose of the same in the folloowing manner & form.
First I give & bequeath to my Son Burale Barker, all that I have procest him with & five Shillings beside[?] extraordinary. Second I give to my Daughter Susannah Cheetham one Negro Woman ^named Jude with all her increase to her & her heirs forever. To my Daughter Mary white all that I have procest her with & 5/. besides. 3d to my Daughter Elizabeth Foot I give two Negroes, a Negro Woman by the name of Fortune & Phib, to her & her heirs forever. Fourth, to my Son Howell Barker I give three by name of Jack, Easther & Ben, to him & his his [sic] forever. Fifth, one Negro woman by the name of Hannah, I set her, at liberty, only ^left in the care of my Son Henchea.
Sixth, I give to my son Henchea, whom I appoint & constitute to my Sole Executor, Administrator, of this my last Will & Testatment or Estate. Seventh, four Negroes by the name of George, Rodger, Tobe & Raciel, & the two Wommens increase. These I give to my Son Henchea Barker, to him & his heirs forever, & I also give my son Henchea Barker all my goods & chattles & household furniture as also my Stock of all kinds as Horses, Cattle, Hoggs & Sheep & to him & his heirs forever, & I hereby disallow & revoke all other form or forms, Will or Wills, Testament or Testaments by me made, declared this & no other to be my last Will and Testament or Testamentory. Whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 2d day of April 1808.
Signed, sealed & delivered
in the presence of us
Daniel Parham          }                                   Jno Barker {seal}
Thos Millsaps, jurat }
John Griffith, jurat   }”

[Source: Iredell County, North Carolina, Wills, 1:42, John Barker, Sr.; digital image,, "North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1970, Iredell, Wills, 1790-1819, Vol. 01," ( : accessed 30 June 2013).]

© 2013 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friend of Friends Friday - Will of William Ireland, Iredell County, North Carolina, 1796

One of the earliest wills recorded in Iredell County, North Carolina, is that of William Ireland who signed his will on 26 April 1796. In an interesting provision he bequeaths one of his slaves and that slave's wife and children to the "Pennsylvania Society for the abolishing of Slavery and the relief of free Negroes held in bondage." The Pennsylvania Abolition Society was originally founded in 1775; more information can be found here.

Here is a transcription of William Ireland's will with those provisions related to his slaves highlighted in red. Digital images of the source documents follow the transcription.

“In the Name of God: Amen.
I William Ireland of the county of Iredell, in the State of North_Carolina, being of sound and disposing Mind, make and ordain this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following (To Wit) after all my lawfull Debts and funeral Charges are paid; I give and bequeath the remainder of my Estate, both real and personal as underneath___ I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Sarah Ireland, the one half of all Profits arising from the Sale of Three Hundred Acres of Land from the Plantation I now live on, taken from the East End of said place to be separated from the remainder by a Line across said Track at equal distances from the old Corner of said Land; and also the One half of the Amount of the Sale of the Track or Entry of Land on the Elk Shoal Creek I purchased from Matthew Gaston both which parcels of Land I allow to be sold together with the Still and Still Vessels by my Executors as soon as Circumstances will admit after my Decease; together with the Right to hold and enjoy and to her only proper use and behoof forever, all the Profits arising or that may arise from the Cultivation or Possession of the remainder of all my Lands with their Improvement and Appurtenances in it's fullest Latitude without Hinderance or Molestation and that the said Profits so arising may be appropriated by her to her only proper use and behoof for ever with the right to dispose of, and bequeath by Will or otherwise at her Death to any Person to whom she may see fit, but her Right or Property in the same is not to be altered during her Natural Life. And also the whole of my household Furniture, Vessels of Cookery and Implements of Husbandry, including the clock, wearing Apparell, Books &c and also the Profits arising from the use of labour of all my Negroes, (Bob excepted) as long as she lives; likewise one half of all my live Stock of horned Cattle, Horses, Sheep and Hogs, ready Cash and outstanding Debts, all of which as above set forth she is to hold, and apply to her own use and her own disposal in any manner that, to her may seem meet, and that She be one of the Executors of this my last Will and Testament &c. I give and bequeath to my Brother's Son William Ireland, the Negro Boy Bob, reserving nonetheless, the use and labour of said Negro Bob for my Brother John Ireland as long as he lives, and then and not till then he is to become the property of said William &c. I give and bequeath to the Pennsylvania Society for the abolishing of Slavery and the relief of free Negroes held in bondage_ my Negro Boy named Ben and his Wife Poll and their Son Luke with all their increase till the decease of my Wife Sarah to be delivered to the Agent or legal Representative of said Society at any time when called for after the decease of my Wife, but not before that period, in order [th]at the said Negroes may have and enjoy the Benefits intended and designed by said Society &c.
I give and bequeath to my Brother John Ireland one Dividend or tenth part of the Profits arising from the Sale of the Land heretofore directed for Sale, and also that part of my personal Estate not heretofore bequeathed, which I allow to be sold at my decease, and also the like part or dividend of the remainder of my Lands, which I allow to be sold at my decease, and also the like part or dividend of the remainder of my Lands which I allow to be sold at the decease of my Wife and not before. I give to John Ireland's children, each of them, male and female one Dividend or tenth part of the Money arising from the Sale as above (To witt) to James Ireland, One part, to William Ireland one part, To James Alexander, Husband of Margaret Ireland One party, to Peter Fleming the Husband of Martha Ireland, one part, to David Ireland One Part, to Andrew Ireland, One part; to Elijah Mitchel, the Husband of Sarah Ireland, one part, to John Adams, the Husband of Nancy Ireland, one part, To David Pervinance the Husband of Mary Ireland one part, and that the same or each of them or their Heirs or Successors equally share and share alike, agreeable to the true intent and meaning of the above &c.
And I do hereby appoint and constitute my Two Friends, in whom I repose Confidence (to wit) Andrew Morrison and Thomas Morrison jointly with my Wife Sarah already nominated to be Executors of this my last Will and Testament.
Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament, I hereunto set my hand and seal in Testimony thereof this 26th Day of April in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred & Ninety Six
                                                                                                William Irlande {seal}
Signed and sealed
in the present of
James Morrison. Jurat
Henry Morrison. Jurat”

Source: Iredell County, North Carolina, Wills, 1:3, William Ireland; digital image,, "North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1970, Iredell, Wills, 1790-1819, Vol. 01," ( : accessed 22 June 2013)

© 2013 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friend of Friends Friday - 1817 Will of Elizabeth Cook, Surry County, North Carolina

When William Cook of Surry County, North Carolina, died in 1812, he bequeathed to his wife Elizabeth "his Molatto boy Lewis to be her own property forever." In her will, Elizabeth bequeathed Lewis to one of her sons with a provision for Lewis to be freed when he reached age 35. Following is a transcription and images of Elizabeth's will.

"In the name of God Amen I Elizabeth Cook of the County of Surry and State of North Carolina being weak in Body but of sound mind and memory Blessed be God for the Same_ and calling to mind my approaching mortality do this fourth day of april AD 1817 make and publish this my Last will and Testament in manner following: (viz) I give and bequeath until my Son Wilds [Miles?] Cook my molatto Boy lewis untill he shall arrive to the age of thirty five years old after that period my will and Desire is that the aforesaid Boy Lewis shall obtain his freedom and continue no longe[r] [?] and it is my will and Desire that my Said Son Wild [Miles?] Cook or Some other of my Children or some friend Should make application to the legislature for the purpose of haveing a law passed to Carry into effect this my will so far as Respects the freedom of said Boy. Witness my hand and Seal the Day and date above written. Signed and acknowledxged in the presance of ___

J Wright                                                                                    her
Henry Hampton Senr                                                  Elizabeth  X  Cook {seal}

State of North Carolina Surry County February term 1824. Thomas Wright one of the subscribing witness to the foregoing last Will & testament of Elizabeth Cook decd made oath that he saw the said Elizabeth Cook, sign publish & declare the same to be her last Will & testament, that she was of sound, disposing mind & memory, and at the same time he saw Henry Hampton Senr sign the same as a witness, and therupon it was ordered to be recorded.

                                                            Recorded accordingly  R J Williams C C"

Source: North Carolina, will, Elizabeth Cook, Surry County Wills, 1792-1827, Vol. 03, pg. 159, image 185; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 Jan 2013).

© 2013 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Capturing Memories

I've tried to get family members to write about their memories without much success. However, I have noticed over the last few months, several relatives have written in emails, Facebook posts or blog comments about their memories of another family member or an occasion. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to capture those fleeting tidbits so I can easily access  them when writing about family history.

I’ve decided to use a word processing document in which I can record the following information:

  1. Family member or event remembered
  2. Name of individual who made the comment
  3. Date
  4. Actual text of comment (copy and paste)
  5. Copy of photograph or other related documentation

Each time I come across a memory I can easily add it to the document. This should make it much easier to find those comments than trying to search through Facebook posts or email accounts.

If you have any suggestions about how to capture these kinds of memories, I invite you to share them in the comments section below.

Public domain image, via Wikimedia Commons.

© 2013 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wishing You a Glad New Year!

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

© 2013 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research