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Will of Sherrod Bryant (1781-1854)

I was researching 2 brothers from Miichigan and found that their spouses were 3rd cousins of each both descendants of Sherrod Bryant. I had not heard of Sherrod Bryant but some his descendants made their way to Cass County, MI so there are quite a few trees at He was supposedly the wealthiest FPOC in TN and the largest black slaveholder with about 20 slaves. (I found it a little unsettling looking at slave records for a black slaveowner and for the first time where I being more interested in the slaveowning family than the slaves) I decided to post this transcription because I was amazed how far we've advanced in being able to find information online. Familysearch has images of the will, inventory and accounts all accessable online for free. Sherrod and family are listed in the 1820, 1830 , 1840 and 1850 census's. Henrietta b. 1806 who is listed with Sherrod in the 1850 census is clearly not the mother of the oldest sons Henderson, Silas and William but there is not clues here as to who their mother was in the will. One account in the book the "African American History of Nashville" states that Henderson's mother was a white woman from Virginia to whom Sherrod Bryant was bound to as an indentured servant but that conflicts with the stories that Bryant was a former slave who came to Nashville from Granville, NC.

Keep in mind that this was a quick and dirty transcription and you should refer to the original documents at

Sherrod Bryant dec’d Will Recorded December 13, 1854

I, Sherrod Bryant of Davidson County and State of Tennessee, do make the following as my last Will and Testament.
1st I will and bequeath to my four sons by last wife John, Lorenzo, Larzell and Dallas my home and place embracing the two tracts of land purchased by me from Martha Brooks and John C. and Parthena Carter containing about two hundred acres more or less equally divided between them, at the time John a minor to the age of 21 if he chooses to do so.
2nd I will and bequeath the tract of land I own in Rutherford County to be equally divided between my three sons Henderson, Silas and William in such manner that Henderson may have all improvements he has put on the place free of charge in the division and have choice of lots of land presuming he will take the land which he has put improvements.
3rd I will and bequeath to my son Robertson Bryant the tract of land in Davidson County purchased by me from William Donelson.
4th I will and bequeath to my daughters Phebe, Catherine, Sarah, Ailsey, Mary and Nancy Elizabeth the two tracts of land purchased by me from Mary Simmens and Benjamin Rogers, in case either of the named girls should die before they marry or arrive at 21 years of age, their portion shall be inherited by the living sister(s) above named. The above tracts contain about 102 acres to be equally divided assuming?? quantity and quality.
5th. I will and bequeath that my home and lot in the City of Nashville be sold by my Executor in such credit as they may think best and the proceeds equally divided amongst my children.
6th I will and bequeath that my land on the Lebanin?? and Nashville Turnpike (purchased of Dr. John Gray) shall be sold in such credit as my Executor may think best and the proceeds equally divided amongst all my children.
7th I will and bequeath that my Executor shall be distribute all the residue of my estate, after paying all just claims against it, equally amongst all of my children (sons and daughters) except that I will that each of my former children shall receive from my estate an amount equal to the amount received by each of my last wife’s children from the property given to their mother and themselves and then if there is anything left, all my children shall have it equally to be divided in such a manner as my Executor may think best at the time.
8th I charge my son Silas Bryant with an advancement of money paid for him amounting to two hundred and seventy eight dollars for which I hold his note in which I charge no interest.
9th The most of my children when old enough have a home and bed, it is my wish that my Executor shall give to each of my young children as have not received anything of the kind such property as will make them equal with those who have received before making general distribution.
I hereby appoint my son Henderson Bryant as my executor without giving any security, this my last Will and Testament. Witness my hand and seal the 23rd day of August 1853

S. Bryant {seal}
James Buchanan, Addison Buchanan October 5, 1853

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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