Nathan Harris I was my 7th great-grandfather. He was born about 1712 and died about 1793 in Greensville County, Virginia. Like his son, Nathan II, he was very specific in his wishes.
The will does not list all of his children: he had three additional children that have been documented in various sources, for a total of at least 12, or 14 according to some researchers.
Nathan anticipates trouble regarding the estate, instructing his grandson, Thomas Camp Harris, to be content with his share and refrain from engaging in lawsuits against his aunt, Anna Patrick. If he disobeys his grandfather, however, it is the two inherited “negroes,” Archer and Woodley, who will pay the price, by being “returned to the common mass of the estate” and sold.
I had previously posted a version of this that I found online, however, it was from a transcription. I’ve recently found the original will, which has some information that was missing from the transcription that I used.
Wife Catherine, sons Walton, Nathan, Howell, Isaac, Hubbard, David (decd); daughters Jane Williams, Elizabeth Allen, Anna Patrick; grandchildren, Elizabeth Hoard, Harris Coleman, Catherine Coleman, Polly Hargrove, John Coleman, Thomas Camp Harris, Peter Harris, John Harris; sons in law Daniel Coleman, John Patrick.
Negroes Sharper, Sarah, Doll, Cyrus, Will, Peggy, Bob, Archer, Woodley, Cuff, Boson, Sue, Lucy, Rhoda,
Exrs Howell Harris,. Hubbard Harris, William Vaughn
Greensville County, Virginia, Will Book 1 1781-1806 p 236-238
In the name of God, Amen, I, Nathan Harris of the county of Greenville in the State of Virginia being at present in a tolerable state of good health and enjoying the blessings of my usual understanding and recollection have thought proper, as to what worldly goods it hath pleased God to bestow on me to dispose in the following manner, viz.,
First it is my Will and Desire that my executors hereafter mentioned should out of my estate liquidate and pay all my just debts.
Secondly, I Give and Bequeath to my sons Walton, Nathan, and Howell Harris ten shillings each to them and their heirs.
Thirdly, I Give and Bequeath to my son Isaac Harris after the death of his mother Catherine Harris, one negroe man named Sharper to him and his heirs forever.
Fourthly, I Give and Bequeath to my grandchildren Elizabeth Hoard, Harris Coleman, Catherine Coleman, Polly Hargrove, and John Coleman all the claim right and title I have to a negroe named Sarah and all her increase it being the Negro woman of which my son in law Daniel Coleman was in possession of at the time of his death to them and their heirs forever.
Fifthly, I Give and Bequeath to my daughter Jane Williams one negroe woman named Doll, and her increase it being the Negro woman she is in possession of to her and her heirs forever.
Sixthly, I Give and Bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Allen all the claim, right and title I have to a negroe boy named Cyrus which I have given her possession of to her and her heirs or assigns forever.
Seventhly, I Give and Bequeath to my daughter Anna and John Patrick two negroes named Will and Peggy of which they are in possession and I believe has my Bill of Sale for them to them.
Eighthly, I Give and Bequeath to my son Hubbard Harris one negroe man named Bob, also my still, one feather bed and furniture, two cows, and Calves to him and his heirs forever.
Ninthly, I give and bequeath to my Grandson Thomas Camp Harris two negroes named Archer and Woodley (that is to say) provided he should arrive to the age of twenty-one years or should my said grandson Thomas Camp Harris intermarry under the age of the twenty one years and die leaving lawful issue that then his heirs shall forever enjoy the aforesaid negroes, provided nevertheless that the aforesaid Thomas Camp Harris is hereby debarred from commencing or causing to be commenced any suit at law or equity against Anna Patrick or John Patrick, husband to Anna Patrick for to recover Will, a Negro man herein before bequeathed to said Anna and John Patrick under forfeiture of the two Negroes herein bequeathed to him, namely Archer and Woodley, now shall my said grandson Thomas Camp Harris die without leaving lawful issue before he arrives to the age of twenty one years or should commence a suit or cause by any means (forever hereafter) a suit to be commenced against John Patrick and Anna, his wife as above mentioned, the said Negroes, Archer and Woodley, shall return to the common mass of my estate and sold by my executors and the money be equally divided among all my then surviving children.
Tenthly it is my express Will and Desire that the two Negroes Archer and Woodley heretofore bequeathed to my grandson Thomas Camp Harris should be hired out annually at the discretion of my executors and the money arising therefrom to be applied to schooling, boarding and clothing my said grandson as they my executors hereafter named may think necessary for him to receive and the overplus if any, put into rest until arrives at age.
Eventually, I Give and Bequeath to my two grandsons, orphans of David Harris, Deceased, namely Peter and John Harris, all the claim, right, and title I have to a Negro called Cuff, of which David Harris was possessed of at the time of his death to them and their heirs and assigns forever provided they should arrive at the age of twenty one years or leave legitimate issue, otherwise, for him to return to the common mass of my estate, and be sold by my executors and the money arising therefrom to be equally divided among all my then surviving children.
Twelfthly, I Give and Bequeath to my wife Catherine Harris three Negroes named Boson, Sue, and Lucy, also one bed and furniture and I lend to her during her natural life, Sharper, a Negro man heretofore bequeathed to Isaac Harris also her mare and saddle she usually rides. I also lend to her during her natural life one negroe girl named Rhoda.
Thirteenthly, it will my Will and Desire that after the aforementioned legacies are dispensed with or rather taken and paid out of my estate that all the residue and remainder of my Estate of every denomination whatsoever shall be sold by my Executors and all the money arising therefrom shall be equally divided among all my children then living.
Fourteenthly and lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint Howell Harris, Hubbard Harris, and William Vaughn, Esq., of Brunswick my whole and sole executors of this my last Will and Testament.
In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of April, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Three.
Nathan X Harris
Signed, Sealed & Delivered }
in presence of us . . .
Cecily Roper, Boling Bottom, Rebeka Bottom
At Greensville County October Court 1793, This Will was proved according to Law by the Oaths of Boling Bottom and Rebeka Bottom witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded, and on the Motion of Howell Harris and of the Executors therein named who made Oath thereto according to Law and together with Braxton Robinson and Daniel Walton his securities entered into and acknowledged their Bond in the penalty of one thousand Pounds conditioned as the Law directs. Certificate is granted him for obtaining a Probate thereof in due form. Liberty being reserved for the other Executors therein named to join in the said Probate when they may think fit.
Test: P. Pelham, C.G.C.