On the one hand, I hit the mother lode when I started researching my paternal Rives line. These folks, unlike most others in my tree, had money and left a substantial paper trail. They were also from Virginia, which has better-preserved records than some other states. I can see I’m going to be working on this line for a while.
On the other hand, this branch of the family were probably the biggest slaveholders in my tree. I had no idea until recently, as I descend from a daughter, Susan Rives, who married Levi Reuben Thompson, one of a family of Methodist ministers. The Methodist church discouraged clergy from holding slaves, and she and her husband never held any as far as I can tell. I had never researched Susan’s family before.
William Hamner was my 7th great-grandfather and an Albemarle County, Virginia planter. Like all planters, he held many slaves. In his will, he leaves “one Negro woman, Hannah” to his daughter, Susanna Hamner Turner. Hannah appears once again in Susanna’s husband, Stephen Reuben Turner’s, will.
Will images found on Family Search. Download the PDF here.
Albemarle County, Virginia
Will Book 3
In the name of God, Amen, I, William Hamner of Albemarle County and St. Ann’s parish, being sick and weak, but sound in mind & memory and knowing that it is appointed for All Men once to die, do make this my last Will and testament as followeth.
Imprimis: when it shall please God to call me I bequeath my body to the dust from whence it was taken & my Soul to God my maker Beseeching his gracious acceptance of it thro’ Christ my Redeemer, and as to what worldly [goods] it hath pleased god to blefs me with I dispose of as followeth
Imprimis: I give and bequeath to my Son Jeremiah Hamner one Negroe woman Kate and her Children they & their increase to him & his heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Son Samuel Hamner Twenty Shillings Current Money of Virginia.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Son Turner Hamner two hundred & seventy two Acres of land being the place whereon he now lives also one Negroe woman Nan and her Children, they & their increase to him & his heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Son Henley Hamner four Negroes, Viz Jack, Sarah, Reubin, Toby, & their increase to him and his heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Son Richardson Hamner four hundred & fifty Acres of land part of the tract I now live on, one hundred and fifty Acres off which to be laid off to him joining the land of Nicholas Hamner and three hundred acres to be laid off so as not to take my dwelling house nor to go lower down than to join the land of the lower end of the Tract that I shall hereafter dispose of. I also bequeath to my son Richardson Hamner one Negroe woman Phillis & her children they & their increase to him and his heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Elizabeth Fitzpatrick twenty shillings current money of Virginia.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Molly Perry two hundred acres of Land being the land she now lives on to her and her heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Susanna Turner one Negroe woman Hannah & her children they and their increase to her and her heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Rebecca Turner one Negroe woman Dinah & her Children they & their increase to her & her heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mildred Moon one Negroe man Molando to her & her heirs forever.
item: I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Elizabeth Moon one Negroe woman Easter & her children they & their increase to her & her heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my Grand Son David Strange two hundred acres of Land to be laid off to him in the lower End of my Land joining the land of William Hopkins & Jacob Moon to him and his heirs forever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Elizabeth Hamner Two Negroes Viz Toby & Sue to be her property forever and to be at her disposal. I also lend her two Negroes Simon & Jean during her life, also one hundred ninety six acres of Land more or less being the Remainder of my land after my son Richardson & my grandson David Strange’s land are laid off and at the decease of my wife I give & bequeath the said land and Negroes lent to her they and their Increase to my son Richardson Hamner & his heirs forever.
I also give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth all my Estate of Every Kind that shall Remain after what I have bequeathed & all my Just Debts and funeral Charges be punctually paid to be her property & at her disposal.
& Lastly I Constitute & appoint my well beloved wife Elizabeth Hamner, my son Turner Hamner, Jacob Moon & Nicholas Hamner, Executors of this my last Will and Testament Revoking and disannuling all former wills & acknowledging this to be my Last Will and Testament. In Witnefs whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty Fifth day of December one thousand Seven hundred and Eighty seven.
William X Hamner (his mark)
Sign’d Sealed & delivered in the presence of
William Hopkins Junr.
Albemarle July Court 1788
The last Will & Testament of William Hamner dec’d was proved by the oaths of Samuel Standon, William Hopkins June & Arthur Goolsby three of the subscribing witnesses there and ordered to be Recorded & a ___ of the same was granted Nicholas Hamner as Executor named therein who gave Bond and Security accordingly.