Nathaniel Cunningham was my 5th great-grandfather. I have actually posted his will before, however, that was transcribed from a barely legible copy in a court record. Recently, I found the original will, which is not only easier to read, but differs slightly from the copy. This version makes clear that Nathaniel effectively put his property in trust for his grandchildren, with his son, Elijah, as administrator.
Deeds show that Nathaniel’s property was located in or around Pineville, now within the modern city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Both McAlpin and Little Sugar creeks are mentioned, placing it on the south side of the city, right by the border with South Carolina. (The future James K Polk was born nearby, and his father, Samuel Polk, witnessed one of Nathaniel’s deeds, which is kind of fun.)
Note that the two enslaved people mentioned, Sandy and Rachel, were purchased by Nathaniel’s son in law, William Rives, husband of Jane H Cunningham, at the estate sale, and presumably traveled with him to Warren County, North Carolina.
From Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Wills and Estates at Family Search. Download the PDF here.
In the name of God Amen I Nathaniel Cunningham of the County of Mecklenburg and State of North Carolina taking into consideration the frailty and uncertainty of this Mortal life, and knowing it is allotted for all men to die, being Weak in body but of Sound and disposing mind and memory, blessing almighty god for the same, do make & ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following (Viz)
1st I give and bequeath to my Daughter Winefred Darnall four hogs the largest of my hogs, forty bushels of Corn, two feather beds and furniture and my Chest of Drawers forever.
2nd My two negroes Sandy & Rachel I will to be Sold and the money arising from Such Sale I will to be Equally divided among my three Daughters Winifred Darnall, Elizabeth Robinson, and Jane H. Rives each to have an equal Share forever.
3rd I Lend to my Son Elijah Cunningham the Plantation wheron I now live together with all my Land my Stock of every Description, my waggon and farming utensils, and other tools of every description and the remainder of my house hold and Kitchen furniture that is not above Will’d together with all my Crop, and all the rest residue and remainder of my property of Whatever Kind forever except what I have given to my Grand Daughter Elizabeth M.A. Cunningham in a deed of gift—after the paying of all my Just Debts.
I also appoint Elijah Cunningham acting agent for his Children during his life to transact the business for them in any way or manner he may think most advisable for their advantages.
and after his Death whatever property he may not have Disposed of in raising supporting and educating his Children I will it to be Sold and the money arising from Such Sale to be equally Divided among all his Children at his Death the above property in this _____ being entirely willed for the use of my Son Elijah Cunningham’s Children no part of it nor the Crops that are raised on the land can be taken to pay my said son’s Debts.
4th and Lastly I name to & appoint my friend Benjamin Person of South Carolina and my son Elijah Cunningham Executors to his my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this twenty sixth day of October in this year of our Lord one Thousand and Eight Hundred and Thirty.
(Squeezed in after signing) My daughter Winnifred Darnall is to live in the house where Elijah lives.
Nathaniel X Cunningham (his mark)
In presence of us
James Beaton (Barton?) Jurat
Proved Mecklenburg County February Court 1831