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


  1. This is a great find. Words used in the Wills and Testimony, during the 1800 have flowed like a song that moved your emotions with enormous respect. “In the name of God” Today, those same words would be considered offensive to some.

    Of particular interest to me are the words “my mulatto boy” I question whether this mulatto boy was his son, or only his property. Of course one would have to examine the records and etc. to make the distinction. However, I suspect that Lewis was his son, both because of his description and because he wanted “my mulatto boy” to remain with this family into adulthood. Thank you for sharing this document.

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I found it interesting that it was not until Lewis had reached the age of 35 that he was to be granted his freedom. The last part about making application to the legislature was interesting as well, and it is something to follow up.