Last April my husband and I visited the Amherst County, Virginia, courthouse and photographed several records related to my Jennings family.
|Amherst County, Virginia, court house; personal collection|
This is a transcription of the last will and testament of Powhatan Perrow Jennings, who was my great great grandfather. He died of dysentery on 20 August 1858.
I, Powhatan P. Jennings, being now sick but having the full possession of my mental faculties do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament.
In the first place I desire all my just debts to be paid.
It is my will that my estate be kept together until my youngest child shall become twenty-one years of age and managed by one of my sons as superintendent, or if my sons should not be willing to undertake the management of the estate as above directed, then the best arrangement must be made that can be to keep up my estate so that it may be kept together and managed for the mutual benefit of my wife and children and from its profits all to receive a comfortable support as the nature of the case and the means of the estate will permit.
It is my will that my younger children shall receive from my estate as good an education as my older children have received. I earnestly desire that my wife Elizabeth P. and my children shall live together in peace and harmony, but if anything should occur to render this impracticable and they should prefer to separate, I then give to my wife Elizabeth P. Jennings for and during her natural life, the Office Standem in the yard and the spring field as it is now enclosed, a negro boy named Tiny, a mare named [illegible], and a sufficiency of provisions for her support for one year.
Upon the death of my wife, the estate given to her to revert back to my estate and to be divided like the balance of my estate. In the event of my wife choosing to live to herself, in addition to the property above mentioned, I will that she shall have enough household and kitchen furniture to make her comfortable.
My executor herein after appointed is directed if deemed advisable to sell forty or fifty acres of my land at the lower end of the tract to enable him the sooner to pay all of my debts as it is my desire as soon as convenient to extricate my estate from debt so as to leave as much of its profits as possible to the comfortable support of wife and children and the education of my younger children as above directed.
If my older sons who may consent to live upon my land and aid in its cultivation and the management of my estate should desire it and it should be thought property they are to have a reasonable compensation for their labor and services but I hope they will be willing to give their aid and assistance for the common good of all and for [illegible] in the raising and educating of their younger brothers and sisters.
It is my will that when my youngest child shall arrive at the age of 21 years that my estate be then equally divided among all my children.
If my wife should die before my youngest child shall arrive at the age of 21 years, then the estate devised to him shall revert to the rest of my estate and managed as before directed. And if the division of my estate shall take place before her death, then at her death that portion which I have willed to her shall be divided like the residue.
I appoint my friend Sam M. Garland executor of my last will and testament.
Witnessed my hand and seal this 18th day of August 1858
Powhatan P. Jennings (his mark)
Signed, sealed and acknowledged in our presence who in the of each other witnessed the same:
A. C. Harrison
Hiram C. Kyle
At a Court of monthly sessions begun and held for the County of Amherst at the court house on Monday the 20th day of September 1858.
A paper purporting to be the last will and testament of Powhatan P. Jennings, deceased, was produced in court and proved by the oaths of A. C. Harrison and U. Burley, two subscribing witnesses thereto and the same was ordered to be recorded as the last will and testament of P. P. Jennings, deceased.
Sam M. Garland, Clerk
Know all men by these presents that we John W. Jennings and D. W. Jennings are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Virginia in the sum of four thousand dollars lawful money of Virginia to be paid to the said Commonwealth for the payment whereof well and truly to be made. We bind ourselves and each of us our and each of our heirs, executors, and administrators jointly and severally firmly by the presents sealed with our seals and dated this 18 day April 1859 and in the 83rd year of the Commonwealth.
The condition of the above obligation is that if the above bound John W. Jennings, Administrator with the will annexed of P. P. Jennings, deceased, shall faithfully discharge the duties of his office as administrator aforesaid then this obligation to be void or else to remain in full force.
John W. Jennings (seal)
Daniel W. Jennings (seal)