NICHOLAS MOSBY WILL – 1819
His will reveals a lot about his success:
Nicholas Mosby will: Woodford Co, KY Will book F page 89:
I Nicholas Mosby of the County of Woodford & State of Kentucky do hereby make this my last will and testament as follows: Towit, I give to my beloved wife Susanna Mosby the use of my tract of land and farm on which I now reside in said county of Woodford, and state aforesaid during her the said Susanna’s lifetime and I further give to said Susanna the following named negro slaves, Lamb, Sam, Milley, Allen a son of Milley, Maria a daughter of Milley, and two girls one named Martha and the other Cynthia daughter of said ??. Together with the increase of said female negroes during her the said Susanna life time as also one third part of all all live stock of all household and kitchen furniture and farming materials of every description she having the right to such by selection first and of said property which she is to hold during her life as before stated.
To my beloved sons John Mosby, Robert Mosby and William Mosby I give to them all the property &c which they have hereto received from me no account of which hereafter to be taken of it as being any part of my estate.
To my beloved son Edward Mosby I give all the property which he has heretofore received from me, no account of which is hereafter to be taken of it as being any part of my estate. I also give him a certain negro boy named Joseph a son of my negro woman named Nancy which boy I estimate at $300, which sum of $300 is to be charged to said and finally to be deducted from his portion of my estate which is hereinafter mentioned for an agreed dividend.
To the children of my deceased daughter Nancy Eastland I give all the property &c which she received from me prior to her decease. no account of which is hereafter to be taken of it as being any part of my Estate.
To my beloved daughter Susanna Holton I give all the property which she has heretofore received from me. no account of which is hereafter to be taken of it as being any part of my Estate.
To my beloved daughter Frances Cannon Dawson I give all the property etc. which she has heretofore received from me. no account of which is hereafter to be taken of it as being any part of my Estate.
To my beloved daughter Jane Caldwell I give all the property which she has heretofore received from me. Except a negro girl named Sabrina which I have only lent to my said daughter Jane which girl Sabrina is to be returned to my estate. No account of which is hereafter to be taken of it as being any part of my Estate.
To my beloved daughter Sally Hobson Mosby I give two certain negro girls and their increase one named Emily the other named Eliza also one good feather bed bed furniture and a horse to be worth fifty dollars together with such other articles as may of right belong to her.
To my beloved daughter Elizabeth Cox Mosby I give a negro girl named Rebecca and her increase and a negro boy named Henry and also a good featherbed and bed furniture and a horse to be worth fifty dollarstogether with such other articles as may of right belong to her.
To my beloved son Thomas Hobson Mosby I give the said tract of land on which I now reside as before mentioned which he is not to take possession of until after the decease of my wife Susanna.
It is also my will that at the death my wife should my aforesaid daughters Sally Hobson Mosby and Elizabeth Cox Mosby both or either of them remain unmarried then and in that case they are to enjoy during both or either of their remaining unmarried the ?? each of the rent of said farm equally with my said son Thomas and when either of my said daughters Sally or Elizabeth marry she so marrying ceases to enjoy any longer any further interest in the rent of said farm and further should my said son Thomas die without issue, then in this case the aforesaid land s to be equally divided between my two last mentioned daughters Sally and Elizabeth and should either of them die without issue then the surviving one to inherit the half of said land providing she so surviving has issue but in case both should die without issue then the land is to be sold and the proceeds equally to be divided between any other children herein before mentioned or their heirs or legal representatives.
The residue of my estate that is not before here in mentioned and disposed of is to be sold and a credit of any ?? public sale and the proceeds to be equally divided between the whole of my children or their heirs and at the death of my wife Susanna it is my will that the property which she dies possessed of be sold and divided in like manner as above mentioned the children of my deceased daughter Nancy Eastland are equally entitled with my other children to draw the same part of my estate as any of my surviving children. Whose portion is to be drawn by father Thomas Eastland or their guardian or executors of said children of my said daughter Nancy Eastland.
I do hereby appoint my sons Robert Mosby, William Mosby and Thomas Hobson Mosby my executors to this my last will and testament as witness my hand and seal this 22 day of February 1816.
The words death the any that ?? before acknowledged of signed. Signed sealed and acknowledged – Nicholas Mosby
in presence of Solomon Dunagan, Hermand Barraz Woodford County Set, April County Court 1819
Nicholas Mosby – appraisement of estate Book F, pg 108 – copied – $9990.70
Slaves in estate: Negro man – Sam $700
Boy – Bill – $650
one woman and child – $500
boy – David – $250
boy – Billy – $300
boy – Bob – $350
girl – Beck – $500
girl – Sabrina – $350
girl – Polly – $300
boy – Henry – $500
boy – James (named by will at) $300
Woman – Milly- $200
Woman Maria & Child – $600
girl – Eliza – $350
girl – Anna – $300
girl – Cynthia – $275
boy – Tom $350
boy – Allen – $600
Sales of estate – Book F page 124
Settlement – Book F (or G) 131, and K 37
A NOTE ON WILLS
Firstly, This will was hand written, and all run together in one large paragraph. A few words were illegible, noted by ??.
Secondly, It is interesting to note that even though Susanna Hobson Mosby died 20 years after Nicholas, she was still bound by the terms of his will.
Thirdly, wills give RELIABLE genealogical information. This will lists Nicholas’ children, and the married names of his daughters. Unfortunately it didn’t list the wives names. Getting family info from Ancestry or even books is not reliable. Trust but verify.
Fourthly, the settlement of the estate gave the names and value of the enslaved people on the estate. It’s not much, but it could help their descendants research their ancestry.
A NOTE ON SLAVERY
It seems to me that owning another person would deaden your soul and make you less humane. There would be so much cognitive dissonance in considering yourself a Christian and still have absolute power over another. Many thought of Black people as less than human, even though they procreated with them. Even the non slaveholders couldn’t imagine sharing workplaces, schools or voting rights with them. Just like alcoholism and child abuse those bad attitudes have carried on for generations. It takes a conscious effort for a person to overcome those behaviors.