Peter Jefferson’s Last Will and Testament

He was President Thomas Jefferson’s father. Peter’s wife and Thomas’s mother is a royal gateway ancestor, too. Here is a transcription of his complete will.

Peter’s wife Jane Randolph is a royal gateway ancestor; that is she descends from royalty, but her ancestors moved over here. She was a member of one of the most power families in Virginia: The Randolphs. Please click on this link:

The Randolphs of Early Virginia

Basic features of the will:

State: Virginia

County: Albemarle

Wife: Jane Randolph

Sons: Thomas (not 21 years old yet) and Randolph

Daughters: Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, Martha, Lucy, and Ann Scott

Named slaves: Chloe, Patt, Nan, Sall, Cate, Rachel (mulatto), Cathchina and daughter Phoebe, Eve, Sawney (mulatto), Masilla and her son Peter

Interesting Note: Peter owned property on the Mississippi that was thought to contain copper ore;

Note: Thomas was bequeathed books, mathematical instruments and a cherry desk;

(Future) President Thomas Jefferson’s name is put in bold font.

Long transcription begins:

IN THE NAME OF GOD, Amen. I PETER JEFFERSON of the County of  Albemarle being of perfect and sound memory [for which I bless God] do make ordain and publish this my Last Will and Testament revoking and annulling all former or other Wills by me heretofore made in manner and form following, that is to say,

Imprimis. I give and devise to my dear and well beloved Wife, JANE JEFFERSON, for and during her natural life or widowhood the use and profits of the house and plantation whereon I now live comprehending four hundred acres of land being the same I purchased from the late WILLIAM RANDOLPH of TUCKAHOE Esqr., the water mill only excepted;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my dear Wife the sixth part of my slaves during her natural life which slaves I hereby empower her by a Deed executed in her life time or by her Last Will and Testament to dispose of amongst and to such and so many of my Children as she shall think fit but if she shall fail or omit to make such disposition then my will is that such as shall be undisposed of by her equally divided between my two Sons, THOMAS and RANDOLPH, in the same manner as I have directed my other slaves to be divided;

Item My will is that my Wife shall have and enjoy all my household stuff [my Cherry tree desk and bookcase only excepted], during her natural life or widowhood with full power and liberty to dispose of the same amongst my Children according to her discretions if any part thereof shall remain undisposed of at the time of her death or marriage then my will is that the same be disposed of by my Executors as to them shall seem most to the interest and benefit of my Children;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, JANE, one of my two Negro girls, Chloe or Patt, which she shall choose and their future increase to her and her heirs forever, and the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid unto her in one year of after she shall attain the age of twenty one years or shall marry which ever shall first happen;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, MARY, Nan, Sall’s Daughter, and her future increase to her and her heirs forever and the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid unto her in the like manner as was appointed for the payment of her Sister, JANE’s, fortune;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, ELIZABETH, my Negro girl, Cate, and her future increase to her and her heirs forever and the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid in like manner as is appointed for the payment of her Sister, JANE’s fortune;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, MARTHA, my mulatto girl named Rachel and her future increase to her and her heirs forever and the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid unto her in the like manner as is appointed for the payment of her Sister, JANE’s, fortune;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, LUCY, my Negro wench, Catchina and her Child, Phoebe, together with their future increase to her and her heirs forever and the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid unto her in like manner as is appointed for the payment of her Sister, JANE’s, fortune;

Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter, ANN SCOOT [sic, SCOTT], my Negro girl, Eve, and her future increase to her and her heirs forever and the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid unto her in like manner as is appointed for the payment of her other Sister’s fortune; that is to say, after she shall attain the age of twenty one years or shall marry which ever shall first happen and if it shall happen that any of the slaves bequeathed to my Daughters as aforesaid die before they come to the possession of my said Daughter respectively then it is my will that such and so many female slaves of near the same age be set apart out of my Estate and given to such Daughter or Daughters whose slaves shall be so dead and if any of my said Daughters die before they attain the age of twenty one years or many then it is my will that the portion or legacies bequeathed to such Daughter return to my Estate so that no distribution thereof be made and it is my will and desire that [the last line on this page I cannot read], death together with the profits of my Estate [after the maintenance of my family and education of my Children is provided for] shall be appropriated to the paying off my Daughters’s portions at the respective times they become due and if these should prove insufficient for that purpose I then and in that case empower and authorize my Executors to sell and convey my lands in the Counties of CUMBERLAND and BEDFORD in such manner and on such proportions as shall make good the deficiency, the land in CUMBERLAND being first sold;

Item. I give and bequeath to my Son, THOMAS, my mulatto fellow, Sawney, my books, mathematical instruments and my Cherry tree desk and bookcase;

Item. I give unto my Son, RANDOLPH, my Negro boy, Peter, Masillas’s Son, to him and his heirs for ever:

Item. I give and bequeath all my slaves not herein otherwise disposed of to be equally divided between my two Sons, THOMAS and RANDOLPH, at such time as my Son, THOMAS, shall attain to the age of twenty one years, each of my said Sons to have and to hold the slaves allotted to them on such division to them and their heirs for ever subject nevertheless to this condition that the Estate bequeathed to my Son, THOMAS, as to the clear profits thereof be and remain equally liable with my other Estates to provide for the maintenance and support of my family, the education of my younger Children and the payment of my Daughters’s portions;

Item. I give and devise to my Son, THOMAS, either my lands on the RIVANNA RIVER and its branches or my lands on the FLUVANNA in Albemarle County which I purchased of JOHN and NOBLE LADDs, together with all my other land adjacent thereto which I have taken up by virtue of an Order of Council which of the two he shall choose he being to make his election within one year after he shall attain the age of twenty one years if he be at that time in this Colony but if he be out of the same then he shall make his election in six months after his return thereto;

Item. I give and devise to my Son, RANDOLPH, and his heirs for ever either my land on the RIVANNA and its branches or my lands on FLUVANNA in Albemarle County which I purchased of JOHN and NOBLE LADDs, together my other lands adjacent thereto which I have taken up and surveyed by virtue of an Order of Council after my Son, THOMAS, has made his choice which of the two he will take;

Item. I give and devise to whichever of my said Sons shall be possessed of the lands on the FLUVANNA RIVER to them and their heirs forever the land I hold on HARDWARE RIVER in partnership with AUTHER HOPKINS and others called the LIMESTONE LAND and whereas I have bought of one JOSEPH SMITH two hundred acres of land joining to my land on the RIVANNA RIVER being part of a tract of land granted to EDWIN HICKMAN by Patent and others for which I have a Deed my desire is that my Executors procure from the said JOSEPH SMITH a conveyance to them in Trust for the use of such of my Sons, THOMAS or RANDOLPH, as shall take my other lands on the RIVANNA RIVER and its branches which is left to the election of my Son, THOMAS, in the division of the said lands;

Item. Whereas I have a right to and an interest in certain lands of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER in partnership with Doctor THOMAS WALKER and others and to two hundred acres on ROCKY RUN in Albemarle County in part now kept with JOHN HARVIE and others whereon it is imagined to be a vein of copper oar [sic, ore], my desire is that my Executors sell and conveyor otherwise dispose of the same in such manner or for the sum to be the most for the benefit of my family and any money that may arise from the sale or profits thereof to be equally divided among my Children;

Item. Whereof I have surveyed and laid off for JAMES SPEARS one hundred acres of land on CARROLS CREEK adjoining the land he lives upon which is not yet conveyed to him, I therefore empower my Executors to convey it to him in fee simple when he shall require the same;

Item. It is my will and desire that all my family be maintained and my Children educated out of the profits of my Estate until such time as they shall respectively attain the age of twenty one years or marry and at what time soever my Wife shall require a division of my Estate and to have her part ascertained and laid out for her which on her request my Executors are hereby authorized to do without any Judgment of Decree of Court for that purpose. I order and appoint that my Executors shall pay and deliver unto her for her only use and behoof one full and equal

third part of all my neat cattle hogs and sheep that shall be at any or all my plantations together with two good serviceable work horses and further it is my will and I do hereby appoint and direct that if any difference or dispute shall hereafter arise amongst my Children about the distribution of my Estate that the same shall be finally determined by my Executors and such of them as shall remain and be alive at the time and if they should all be dead that then such differences or disputes shall be finally determined by the three first Justices in the Commission of the Peace for that County where the matter or thing shall lye and if any of my Children shall refuse to abide by such determination then it is my will that such Child or Children shall forever forfeit all manner of claim and right either in Law or Equity to the thing in dispute;

Item. I give and bequeath to my Executors herein after mentioned all my stock of horses, cattle, hogs and sheep [excepting the part already bequeathed to my Wife] to be disposed of by their discretion for the support and maintenance of my family and for the benefit of my two Sons equally and for no other use or purpose whatsoever;

Item. I do give and bequeath to my Son, THOMAS, all the residue of my Estate whether real or personal of what kind soever;

And finally I do appoint constitute and ordain the Honorable PETER RANDOLPH Esqr., THOMAS TURPIN the Elder, JOHN NICHOLAS, Doctors THOMAS WALKER and JOHN HARVIE Executors of this my Last Will and Testament and Guardians to all my Children. In Testimony whereof I have signed sealed and published this as my Last Will and Testament on the thirteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven.

Note. the words, “and Guardians to all my Children” were interlined before signed In presence of

JOHN BELL,

EDWIN HICKMAN

SAMUEL COBBS

At a Court held for Albemarle County the thirteenth day of October 1757 This Last Will and Testament of PETER JEFFERSON, Gent., deceased, was presented in Court by one of the Executors therein named and proved by the Oaths of JOHN BELL, EDWIN HICKMAN and SAMUEL COBBS the witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded;

And at another Court held for the said County the tenth day of November 1757 On the motion of JOHN HARVIE, THOMAS WALKER and JOHN NICHOLAS, three of the Executors therein named, who made Oath according to Law, Certificate was granted them for obtaining a Probate thereof in due form giving security on which they with SAMUEL JORDAN, WILLIAM MEGGENSON and GEORGE CARRINGTON, Gent., their Securities, entered into and acknowledged their Bond for the due and faithful performance of the said Will

Test JOHN NICHOLAS, Clk

Transcription ends.

Will Book 2, pp. 32-35

RELATED

Gateway Ancestors of Virginia

Gateway Ancestors of the Middle Colonies

Gateway Ancestors of the Northeast

SOURCE

Ruth and Sam Sparacio, Virginia County Court Records, Albemarle County, Virginia, Wills, 1752-1764 (McLean, VA: Antient P, 2000)

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