AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum
Re-post Peter SMITH will, Caswell cty NC
Re-posted here from post at genealogy.com with permission from the author:
In 1909, my great-grandfather William Monroe McGhee made a copy of his great-great grandfather Smith's 1793 will. The will, by Peter Smith of Caswell Co NC, was copied in 1992 by John P. "Jack" McGhee, my father's brother.
Jack McGhee is the younger son of Virgil Floyd McGhee (1897-1974) and Mary Muriel Thompson (1896-1992.) Virgil and Mary's elder son William James McGhee (1917-1987) married Lucille Andreano ad had two children: James V. (initial only) and Eloise M. McGhee.
The line of descent from Peter Smith is:
Peter Smith (1793 will)
James V. McGhee (1948 -)
Eloise M. McGhee (1951 -)
John (died age 16-17, car wreck)
WILL OF PETER SMITH -- 1793, Caswell Co NC
In the name of God, Amen:
I, Peter Smith of Caswell County, State of North Carolina, for divers good causes and considerations me hereunto moving, have made, constituted and appointed this my last will and testament, in following manner --
Item first -- I give to my daughter Elizabeth, her heirs, etc., a certain negro woman named Jane, a horse, saddle, bridle and feather bed, etc., now in her and her husband's possession.
Next, I give to my daughter Martha a horse, saddle, bridle, feather bed and furniture --
Next, I give to my son Jesse, a negro boy named Lewis --
Next, I give to my son Moses, a negro boy named Edmond --
Next I give to my son Aaron, a negro girl named Fanny --
And I will that all my other property and estate, consisting of land, negroes, stock, household furniture, etc., be equally divided between the rest of sons [sic] to-wit: James, William, Prestley W., George, John B., Elias and Elijah, except my negro man Anthony, who although not absolutely free, I will that he have liberty to have his own free choice, from time to time, to serve which of my children he shall choose and not be confined to one particular, but if ill treated by one, to have free liberty to go to another as hs shall think fit, and not be sold to any other person --
In testimony whereof, I have set my hand and seal this 18th day of April, Seventeen Hundred and Ninety-Three, 1793, and I appoint John Windsor, Richard Hornbuckle and my son William M. Smith executors of this my last will and testament.
Signed -- Peter Smith, SEAL
Attest: [no first name given] Rice,
. . . . . . [1909 transcriber's note]:
Transcriber's note, May 2003: Tucked in a box of my parent's World War II letters, I found this document sent me in 1992 by my uncle Jack McGhee. I have reproduced it from Jack's copy, which included William Monroe's 1909 note. Items in square brackets [ ] are my additions. Jack's document contained the dashes ( -- ) which I have included; I hope they don't represent missing text. I hope this will be of use and interest to other researchers, and I would welcome any missing details. Eloise M. McGhee, May 2, 2003.
Final note: Shortly after I began this family research, I realized that at some point I would have to face the fact that some of my ancestors were slaveholders. This document is the first hard evidence I have found that someone whose blood flows in my veins held people enslaved and willed them like chattel. This reality grieves me deeply, and I ask all who read this to join with me in praying that true peace, true freedom, and true respect will flow into this world and heal the wounds of oppresion.