Will of John Burney, Guilford County, North Carolina, 22 August 1794

John Burney was the father of this John Burney and my 6th great-grandfather. I have been researching him for the last week—going down a Scots-Irish rabbit hole!—and I have more information to write about, but I first wanted to make his will available as a separate post.

Note the mention of “my Negroe man Jeffrey.” That is probably the only person enslaved by Burney, as his daughters were given horses and cattle rather than slaves, and there is no other record of him holding slaves in deed, tax, or probate records that I could find. (He may have been a livestock farmer: in my research I have found that livestock farms typically were not as dependent on slavery as plantations were.)

22 Aug 1794

In the name of God amen, I John Burney of the State of North Carolina and County of Guilford being sick in Body but Sound in mind and memory, and Calling to Remembrance the uncertainty of this present transitory life I have thought Proper to make and publish this to be my last will and Testament disannulling and revoking all former wills and Testaments whether written or by word of mouth and this only to be my last will and Testament in Manner and form following

First I give and Bequeath unto my Beloved wife Catherine one good horse and saddle and three cows, her bed and furniture and Chest and all that is about the Dresser and her maintenance of the Plantation whilst she lives and my negro Jeffrey to Work for her and my plantation to be at her disposal whilst she lives

I give unto Elizabeth my eldest Daughter one horse and Saddle, one Bed and furniture, and Chest and two cows

I give unto my daughter Rebekah one horse and Saddle, two Cows, one Bed and furniture and Chest

I give unto my Son Robert two hundred acres of land where he now lives and joining to my Son William’s land

I give unto my son John the plantation whereon I now live at his mother’s death and all the land that remains after Robert has got his two hundred acres

I give unto my three grand-sons, to wit William’s John, Robert’s John and John’s son William my Negroe man Jeffrey at my wife’s decease

I do allow that after the Legatees has got the portions Designed for them in this Will that there be an Equall divide of what remains of my Estate among all my Children both Men and Women the Clock only excepted which is to be Elizabeth’s

I do appoint my wife Catherine and my son Robert to be my Executors

Given under my hand and seal this 22nd day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four

John Burney (seal)

John Gilchrist
George Denny
William Denny

Proven November court 1794

Guilford County, NC Will Book A, page 26 (at Family Search)

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