Wills of William and Nancy Townsend Walker of Benton County, Tennessee

I’ve just added the wills of my 5th great-grandparents, William W. Walker (abt. 1780-abt. 1840) and his wife Nancy Townsend Walker (1785-abt. 1850) to my tree.

William and Nancy were both born in Virginia, probably in or near Frederick county. This is at the northern tip of the state around Winchester, right on the Great Wagon Road that brought settlers south and west to Tennessee.

The Walkers first settled in Overton county, then along with several related families, moved westward to Benton county in the 1830s. I need to research this move further, but it seems likely that it had something to do with the forced removal of the Chickasaw Indians to Oklahoma via the Trail of Tears at around the same time.

William Walker made his will in 1836, but lived until at least 1840. I have not been able to find the original will, but have found an (imperfect) transcription of it.

20 July 1836

By the will of God I William Walker Senr. do write this my last will and testament. Concerning my soul and Mortality that my body shall lie in the dust until the the day of the Resurrection and request to be decently Buried and all my just debts to be paid and the Lord doth endow me as to my worldly estate

I give and bequeath until my Beloved wife Nancy Walker the place I now live upon all my stock good and chattles her lifetime and maintain and school my six children till of age

Also I give and bequeath to my son Joseph Walker my place on Cypress that Ricky W Rowe now lives on.

Also to my son Stephen Walker my place on Sandy that John Garrett now lives upon.

Also to my two sons John and George W. H. Walker the place that I now live upon.

At my wife’s death all the rest of my property to all my children to be equally divided, I choose Joseph Townsend my father in law and Ricky Rowe as my administrators.

William W Walker

Charles Moore
Williams Moore

William’s wife Nancy Townsend Walker lived until at least 1850. Her will, made in 1846, names seven daughters and an enslaved woman named Lucinda, who, unfortunately was destined to be sold “with her increase” after Nancy’s death.

State of Tennessee
Benton County
28 Nov 1846

By the will of God I Nancy Walker write this my last will and Testament considering my soul and Mortality that my body shall lie in the dust till the day of the Resurrection and request to be decently buried

and what the Lord doth leave me with as to my wordly Estate I give and bequeath to my seven daughters my negro girl Lucinda and her increase at my death to be sold and Equally divided with Susannah Garrett, Sarah Rowe, Mary Lynch, Nancy Garrett, Elizabeth Hicks, Martha Hicks, and Jane Poe

and I choose Ricky W Rowe as my executor

witness my hand

Nancy X Walker (her mark)

John McAuly
Charles Moore

Townsend, Nancy (Walker) 28 Nov 1846 will
From Benton County: Miscellaneous Records vol-1-2 at Family Search 

The Susannah Garrett named above is my 4th great-grandmother, married to Stephen Garrett. Below is their daughter, Mary Ann Garrett Cole. She had to put up with a lot. First, her husband, Calvin Cole, was kidnapped into the Confederate Army by Nathan Bedford Forrest. A few years after he returned home, she was left a widow with ten children.

Mary Ann was certainly no looker, but it appears that she may have been quite tall and lanky, as were many of my Cole relatives, including the women. Maybe that is her legacy. (I take after the other side of the family!)

Mary Ann Garrett
Mary Ann Garrett Cole (1834-aft 1880)


2 thoughts on “Wills of William and Nancy Townsend Walker of Benton County, Tennessee

  1. I have enjoyed reading through your postings tremendously! What a lot of work you have done. We are related through Colonel Jonathan Latimer and Lucretia Griswold. I descend from Daniel Rogers and the Latimer’s daughter Hannah Griswold. Until recently, I had no idea where the Rogers family was before East Tennessee, so a New England connection was amazing to me.
    Both sides of my family have those Southern roots and some slave owners and mixed race children they sold…appalling. In fact, my DNA bears out my research on that subject. A 3rd and 4th great grandmother and daughter were both born of white slave owning men. I show up with .02 percent African and a more surprising .02 percent Native American, which I found in my Walker line…who knows maybe we are connected through Walker as well!


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