Will of William Dickson

Transcribed by Susan Burns




Will of William Dickson

Duplin County, North Carolina

Found in Will Book A, p. 109-117


Transcribed from the 1933 Revised Edition of THE DICKSON LETTERS, compiled and edited by James Ozborn Carr, Esq. of the Wilmington North Carolina Bar (Formerly Duplin County)




In the name of God Amen. I William Dickson of the County of Duplin in the State of North Carolina, being at this time in perfect Health and of sound disposing mind and Memory. Thanks be to God therefore. But being arrived to an advanced age and knowing that by the course of Nature my latter end is near approaching, have thought the present time the most proper and Convenient to settle my Temporal affairs, and to make such arrangments in my family Concerns, and such distribution of my Property as I wish and intend shall stand good, and remain Permanent after my decease, being a matter I have for sometime past naturaly deliberated upon.

 As my Children are all grown up and settled for themselves, and have received portions of my Property from me, tho not all of equal value; it is my sincere wish and hope, that Each and every of them will be contented and Satisfied, with such portions as they have heretofore received, from me, together with such addition as I shall now make to them and their children in this my last will.

 And as Sundry of my Children have Recently departed this life, and have kept issue, by them legally begotten: I now hereby give and bequeath to the Children of my Sons who have departed this life, such Portions of my Estate as I have heretofore devised and bequeathed to my said Sons in their lifetime as follows to wit.

 I give and Bequeath to my Grand Daughter, Cornelia Ann Dickson, daughter of my son William Dickson, late of the State of Tennessee, deceased, My negro boy named Swann, to her: And in case my said Grand Daughter Cornelia Ann shall die before she shall marry, or attain to the age of twenty one years, then to her next sister Indiana to her; And in Case she shall died unmarried, and under the age of twenty one years, then to her youngest sister Florida to her &c.

 And as by a former Will I had devised and Bequeathed to my son James Dickson 400 acres of Piney land on Persimmon Swamp in Duplin County, and also my Negro man named Spencer. And the said James Dickson being since deceased, and having left legal issue: three infant daughters, to wit: Maria, Eliza and Patsey; I now devise that the said property heretofore bequeathed or devised to the said James Dickson be disposed of as follows, to wit: The 400 acres of land since the decease of the said James I have sold for the sum of $400.00 which as soon as due and collected, to be laid out on Interest for the use of the said James’s three daughters, Maria, Eliza and Patsey. And the said Negro man Spencer, to be sold by my Executors at their discretion after my decease as soon as may be convenient, and the money arising from the sale of the said Spencer, to be laid out on interest for the use of the said Maria, Eliza and Patsey and may at any time at the discretion of my Executors herein after named, with the consent of Elenor Dickson, the mother of the said Maria, Eliza and Patsey, be appropriated to the Purchase of young slaves for the use of the said Maria, Eliza and Patsey and the said slaves or monies to be Equally divided between them as they attain to the age of twenty one years or marry which may first happen, to them, their heirs, and assigns forever:

 deceased, and having left legal issue, two Infant Daughters to wit: Patsey and Eliza; I now will and bequeath to the said Patsey and Eliza, my said Manor Plantation, and all my lands, thereto adjoining and belonging as herein bounded and described and containing in the whole by estimation seven hundred and thirty acres be it more or less, to be equally divided between them the said Patsey Dickson and Eliza Dickson when either of them shall attain to the age of twenty one years or marry, whichever may first happen; the land to be divided under the discretion of the County Court, in such manner as may be most to the advantage of each division, and each division separately valued, and the division which may be of least value to be made equal to the other by adding money, or other undivided property thereto; and the parties to draw lotts for their part, unless they be both of full age and agree otherwise themselves; and in case that either the said Patsey, or Eliza shall die before she shall attain to the age of twenty one years or marry, then the survivor to have the whole of the said lands &c.

 It is also my will that my Executors herein after named do as soon as may be convenient after my decease, Rent out the plantation for the use of the said Patsey and Eliza, until they are legally Entitled to demand the same, and that my said Executors, at their discretion shall have the said Plantation kept in Repair, and Prohibit those who Farm the same from Cutting or wasting any Timber on the said lands than what may be necessary for repairing Houses, fences, firewood &c. And that none of the Cleared land shall be Cultivated more than one year in two, unless they manure it.

 It is also my will that my aforesaid Negro Slaves, Cato, old Ned and old Cesar shall be sold at the discretion of my Executors for the use of the said Patsey Dickson and Eliza Dickson, and the monies arriving from those sales to be kept on Interest until the division of the lands shall take place, and then applied in making the said division of the lands equal, if necessary, or otherwise divided equally between the said Patsey and Eliza.

 And I further will and ordain that in Case the said Patsey Dickson and Eliza Dickson shall both die before they attain to the age of twenty one years or marry that then and in that case the land and the monies arising from the sale of Cato, old Ned and old Cesar shall descend to and be given to my Grandson William Dickson, the son of Joseph Dickson by Lucy his wife to him and assigns forever.

 And whereas my daughter Elizabeth Ward the wife of Edward Ward, Esq of Onslow County died, and left no issue of her own body, I now will and ordain that all the property which I then at the time of the marriage of the said Edward Ward to my said Daughter Elizabeth or at any time since gave and delivered to the said Edward Ward and Elizabeth shall Continue to the said Edward Ward, free from the claim or demand of any of my Heirs, or Executors, to him the said Edward Ward, his heirs or assigns forever.

 I give and bequeath to my son Joseph Dickson my Negroes Harry and Charles, and old Feba, which are now in his possession; I also give to my said son Joseph Dickson my Negrors Toby and Toney, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

 It is my will and desire that my negro women Doll and Silvia shall be sold at the discretion of my Executors, and the monies arising from such sales to be appropriated to the purchase of a young slave for my grandson William Gillespie, son of Joseph and Susanna Gillespie, to him and his Heirs and assigns forever.

 I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Frances Ann Crabb Daughter of William and Ann Lanier, my Negro woman Sidney and her little son she calls Jackson, with all her future increase, if any, To her the said Francis Ann Crabb, her Heirs and assigns forever.

 I give and bequeath to my Grandson William Dickson Lanier, son of Isaac and Mary Lanier my negro man Hamlet, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

 I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Clarrissa Lanier, Daughter of Isaac and Mary Lanier, my negro boy Derry to her and her Heirs and assigns forever.

 I give and bequeath to my Grandson William Dickson Pickett son of William R. Pickett and Francis his wife, my negro man Martin to him and his Heirs and assigns forever.

 And all the rest and residue of my Estate not herein particularly willed and bequeathed, consisting of my stock, of horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, household and Kitchen furniture, Plantation Tools, and Implements of Husbandry, and every other species or property whatsoever, with my crop of every kind, whether gathered in and housed, or standing out in the Plantation shall be sold by my Executors, on a credit of six months and when the proceeds of such sale &c together with all other monies due me, whether by bonds, Notes, accounts or otherwise, [shall be collected and all my just debts and funeral charges shall be paid] and a Reasonable Compensation to my Executors for their services in the execution this my will. It is my will and desire that then all the residue of the said monies arising from said sales and collections of debts &c shall be Equally divided amongst my four daughters, to- wit, Ann Lanier, Mary Lanier, Frances Pickett, and Susana Gillispie, share and share alike, to them their Heirs or legal representatives.

 And I further will and direct that if it should so happen that my decease should happen when the crop on the Plantation may be unfinished or ungathered, and not Housed, my will is that my Executors do Retain all, or so many of the negros &c at their discretion as may be necessary, until the whole of the crop be gathered in and housed, the stock collected, fed and sold, &c. Provided that such detention of the negroes shall not extend beyond the first day of January next after my decease; or if my decease shall happen to be in the Winter when crop &c is housed, the detention of the negroes shall not extend beyond three months after my decease.

 And lastly, I nominate Constitute and appoint my son Joseph Dickson and my worthy and loving friends David Wright & David Hooks, Executors of this my last will and Testament. And I do hereby Revoke, and Disanul all other or former wills by me heretofore made, declaring this and no other to be my last will and Testament. In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal the twentieth day of September A Dom. 1816.

 Signed, Sealed, Pronounced and Declared by the Testator to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us,

Wm. Dickson (SEAL)

 John Dickson

 D. L. Kenan

 Ann Dickson

Duplin County
4th February 1817

 Whereas, I, William Dickson did on the 20th day of September last, 1816 make, sign, and declare the above to be my last will and Testament, and therein did give and bequeath to my Grand Daugher Frances Ann Crabb the Daughter of William and Ann Lanier, my negro woman Sidney and her little son called Jackson &c. And whereas I have since been informed by letters, that my said Grand Daughter Frances Ann Crabb and her Infant Daughter are both dead, and there is now no remaining issue of the said Francis Ann to enjoy the property which I had bequeathed to her in my said will.

 I now make this Codicil to the said will declaring that particular Clauses in my said will as Respects my said Grand Daughter Frances Ann Crabb to be nul and void, and of no Effect. And in order to prevent any disputes or controversy which may arise amongst my heirs concerning the said negro slaves Sidney and her son Jackson, I hereby will and ordain as follows.

 I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Maria Lanier the daughter of William and Ann Lanier, my negro woman slave Sidney, with all her future increase from this date to her the said Maria Lanier her heirs and assigns forever.

 I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Susanna Lanier, the daughter of William and Ann Lanier, my negro boy slave called Jackson, to her the said Susana Lanier, her Heirs and assigns forever.

 And I hereby declare this Codicil to be a part of my last will and Testament and to have the same force and effect as the other clauses therein.

 Signed, sealed, pronounced and declared by the said William Dickson, the Testator, to be a part of the foregoing Will In presence of us. July Term 1820

 D. Wright

 Ann Dickson

Wm. Dickson (SEAL)

 Ann Pearsall




 State of

 North Carolina

July Term 1820

 Duplin County

 Then was the annexed will and Codicil proved in open Court by the oathes of Jno Dickson & David Wright & at the same term D Wright and David Hooks qualified as exrts. Thereto. Ordered that letters issue.

Test James Pearsall CC

 State of North Carolina Duplin County

April the 20th, 1820.

 This day at the request of Col. William Dickson and agreeable to his Directions I have made the following as a Memorandum of Sundry articles not mentioned in his will together with instructions not given in the will and powers granted my Executors &c. and I do bequeath as follows (to-wit) and do authorize my Executors to deliver over the articles herein after mentioned to the persons therein directed immediately after my decease and they qualified.

 To Ann Dickson all such articles of clothing, bed clothing and all other such other articles she has made since she came here and all such as I have made her presents of and a bed in addition to one given her by Deed of Gift. I now give to her and wish them not Inventory’d all such articles as she brought here when she came to be delivered to her such as she claims &c.

 To Mildred Dickson I give 3 Volumes of Jarrets Sermons. To my grandson William Dickson son of Joseph Dickson I give four volumes of Josephuss History containing the antiquities and Wars of Jews, two volumes of Miltons Poetical works & Solmons Geography; And to my son Joseph Dickson I give all moneys heretofore lent or recd. By him from me and all other articles whatsoever free without any Claim from me my Executors, or Administrators and assigns. To Joseph Gillespie I give what moneys that is due me for Toby’s Coopering for him and have _____ _____ or claim against him for the same or any other article he may have Rec’d from me.

 And as I have left in my will the lands I sold to Col. David Hooks on Persimmon to the children of my son James Dickson all the moneys the Sd. Col. David Hooks owes me for said land as above stated, to be delivered as soon as collected to Elanor Dickson Guardian to said children for their use.

 And as I have given my negro man Spencer in my will heretofore made to the children of my son James Dickson I now give my executors full power to sell him at private or public sale as they may think best so as not to sell out of the neighborhood or two far from his wife and children and the amount of the same to be collected by my Executors and apply’d to the use of my said Grandchildren as they and their Guardian may think best – I have also bequeathed.

 I have also in my will heretofore made directed my Executors to sell my negro man Cato, my negro woman Doll & my negro woman Sidney for purpose therein directed. I now give them full power to sell them by private or publick sale as they may think best so that they may not be separated two far from their connections. And for the tender care and affection together with the services rendered me & for which he made not charge when I got my leg broke and had it taken off I now give to my friend William Meazel one board pattern for a coat which bought for myself some time past and is not made and a waistcoat already made and a black cassmere pantaloons that is cut out the overalls will only answer to work in in this shop and the trimmings for the coat & 2˝ yds. of white homespun for a pair of drawers. These articles I wish him to accept of and ware them in token of my respect.

 To Catherine A. Dickson, my daughter in law I give her her choice of all my books, and as many as she thinks proper to expect of that is not heretofore given away and the twenty dollars, I lent her I give to her daughter Patsey Dickson & have no Acct. against for anything Else she has ever rec’d. from me.

 This testament of writing is not Intended to effect in any manner my will formerly made or any clause of it further than is declared therein to which I have hereunto affixed my hand and seal.

 Test, D. Wright

Wm. Dickson (SEAL)

 State of North Carolina

 Duplin County

 I, R. V. Wells, Clerk of the Superior Court of the aforesaid County and State, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the Last Will and Testament of William Dickson, the Codicil thereto and Order of Probate, as taken from the original Will which Will is recorded in Record of Wills, Book A, pages 109 to 117.

 Witness my hand and official seal this the 15th day of May, 1833

R.V. Wells
Clerk Superior Court

 Notes from transcriber Susan Burns: Attached is the transcription of the Last Will & Testament of William Dickson, author of The Dickson Letters. I transcribed it from the pages of that book with one exception: Paragraph 17 (I think) I inserted a sentence, in brackets, found in the transcription of this Will I found somewhere in the past that I made no record of.

This will is not to be copied and posted on any other site!


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