Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Will of Robert Wheatley

You never no where the next big family history break is going to come from. Now I've been researching the Whitley/Wheatley lines of my Grandma Lois (my great-grandmother Elizabeth Lois Whitley) off and on over the last 7 years. Sometimes it pays to reach out to nearby university libraries and ask what they have in their digital collections.

After looking at Western Kentucky's Special Collections Library online, I sent an email inquiry to one of the research librarians. It looked like they had a copy of an 1849 will for a Robert Wheatley, whose name matched up with my 5th-great-grandfather. In less than 2 hours, they emailed me a scan of the will. And sure enough, after checking the names, it was in fact the will of my 5th-great-grandfather. The Internet never ceases to amaze. Thank you, Western Kentucky University!

Source: WKU Special Collections

Source: WKU Special Collections
Source: WKU Special Collections
The will was proven in Warren County Court on 26 November 1849. Robert Wheatley died in Warren County, Kentucky on 21 October 1849 at the age of 63 years old. Robert was born in Virginia (most likely Fauquier County) sometime between 1785-1786. This is a huge find for me.

Will of Robert Wheatley (transcription)
I Robt Wheatley of the County of Warren and State of Kentucky shurely being in my sound mind and perfectly at my self doth make this my last will and testament. In the first place I request to be buried at the most convenient and suitable place and that a stone or a brick wall should be made around my grave. Secondly all my just debts be paid. Thirdly I wish my children to have a liberal education, that is to say my last wife's [Cassey J. Duff Wheatley] children namely Edmond Wheatley, Nancy Amandy [Nancy Amanda], Sary Alen [Sarah], James Wesley, Mary Jourdan, Pamley Nash [Pamela Nash], Daniel Bradford.

Fourthley I wish my dear and beloved wife to have all and every thing I possess both real or personal estate her life time with this exception to say her widowhood and provided she should marry again then in that case all and every thing I wish to go to the above named children if she should have anything to spare I wish her to convert it to the use of the above named children and give each one a proportionable part and at her death the property should be equally divided amongst them.

Fifthly my first wife's children to say Richard L., Andrew J., Garret, Henrietta I have given them heretofore what I intended to give them. I have given them a liberal common schooling the above three sons I have given them a horse sadle and bride and bead. Each of them and my daughter Henrietta one horse. Sixthly I wish my dear and beloved wife, Robert Renick and Edmond Duff to be my Executors and if either should fail to perform I appoint my wife to select one of her choice in there place and if she should marry I want all and every sale to the highest bidder and equally divided amongst my last wife's children.

In testimony where of I have here unto set my
[page 2]
hand and affixed my seal to this 2d day of January in the year of our lord Eighteen Hundred and forty two

Interlined before signed -- Robert Wheatley [Seal]
Witness -- Robt Ground

Jacob Washer
State of Kentucky
Warren County Court - November term 1849

This last will and testament of Robert Wheatley dec. was produced in Court and proved by the Oath of Jacob Washer one of the Subscribing witnesses thereto and her further proved that he heard Robt Ground the other subscribing witness to said will acknowledged that he witnessed the same and said will was ordered to be recorded which is recorded accordingly.
Test - A G Hobson (?)

Parting Thoughts
Until seeing the will, I was not sure which of Robert's children were of his first wife or of second wife Cassey Duff Wheatley. I also did not know of Garrett or Henrietta Wheatley, and I didn't know that Richard Wheatley, my fourth-great-grandfather, was likely the first born of Robert's children. After seeing the will, I did some additional searching and have found another researcher's tree on Ancestry which shows more information on Robert Wheatley and his descendants. Further updates to come on this branch of my Grandma Lois' family.

The text of the will is great as well. Robert valued education, and made sure that his children and his wife were provided for. Robert's hand is clear, and is well spoken for someone of the time.

1 comment:

  1. What a great find for you, Patrick, and a good idea to keep in mind. There are so many archival resources out there, it makes me wish there were one universal directory or repository where these connections could be scoped out! You are right, though: the Internet is making more of this accessibility possible. It is truly a gift for family history researchers.

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