Friday, January 27, 2017

From the Probate Files: What We Learned from Jeremiah Warren's Probate Records

I was initially surprised to see that the "heirs of Jesse Warren" (e.g. my great great grandfather J.T.S. Warren, who was 11 in 1837) got an equal share with the other legatees but rereading Item 10th of Jeremiah's will it's clear that was his uncle's wish (as expressed in the second part of it).

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Hancock > image 78 of 376;
county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

All the residue of my property I will to be managed
by my executors for five years in a profitable manner having
regard to humanity in there treatment not hiring them to
any person who will abuse them if they cannot have
them freed by the Laws of our Country in that time are
to be equally divided by my brothers and sisters or
their heirs except Epps Warren and James Warren and Eliza-
beth Smith and Susan Johnson as I do not wish them
to have any part in said division.

Also from the above paragraph it seems that Jeremiah hoped that "the residue" of his slaves (those not specifically included in bequests to his relatives) could be freed but he set a five year time limit for the possibility. So that's why the appraisal and division of them took so long.

But regarding Coleman, Mary and her three children, Pat and John, there was no such limit.

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Hancock > image 78 of 376;
county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

Item 10th    I give to Jesse G Butts and John Graybill jointly negroes
Coleman Mary and her three children and Pat and John
one choice Horse four Cows and Calves two beds and furna-
ture and all my household furnature except my clock two
Spinning Wheels two pare of Cards and four thousand dollars
in money if the money is in hand if not the amount in
notes the above also the Track of land I purchased of Parker
which land is not to be subject to be sold for the debts of
they or either of them nor shall the negroes be sold by them
or subject to pay any debt of there contracting the money
to be loaned out at Interest for the support of the negroes
and if they can at any time be freed by the laws of the
Country it is my will it shall be done

The only time I have found mention of Coleman, Mary and the other five people outside of Jeremiah's will is in the inventory of his estate. Thereafter they disappear from probate records (at least those available online).

As Jeremiah thought possible, immediately after his death there wasn't enough cash in the estate to cover the $4000 he directed be set aside "for the support of the negroes" but we can see in the Account Current of August 1834, Graybill and Butts had "retained" the money by then.

   "      am't retained by J. Graybill & Jesse G. Butts under the}
                        will of Jeremiah Warren**                                             }  4000.00

I think there must be more probate records that are either lost or not online because there should be documents relating to court approval of the proposed division, receipts from the six legatees and court orders winding up Jeremiah's probate and giving Graybill and Butts dismission from their responsibilities as executors.

However in the Georgia Property Tax Digest for Hancock County in 1840 I was able to find out a bit more.

[Militia District Number: 101; Year : 1840. Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Georgia Tax Digests [1890]. 140 volumes. Morrow, Georgia: Georgia Archives.]

[Detail of above]

So in tax records John Graybill was still acting as Executor for Jeremiah's estate which at this point was comprised of 1 slave* and 40 acres, presumably the Parker property referred to in Jeremiah's will. John Graybill himself was listed as the owner of 34 enslaved persons. (Jesse Butts is in the same Tax Digest but wasn't recorded as acting as executor for anyone.)

Since we know that Mary (who adopted the Warren surname after emancipation) appeared in the 1870 U.S. Census living very near John Graybill, in Smith County, Texas, next week I plan to look at his life.


© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. please type this into google.
    Graybill vs Warren
    Reports of Cases in Law and Equity, Argued and Determined in the ..., Volume 4
    By Georgia. Supreme Court

    1. Marco, you are awesome! The Jesse T. Warren in this case is my great great grandfather. I have always wondered what happened to Matt. It's possible he is one of the men listed as Jesse T's property in the 1850 Slave Schedule in Alabama but I'm pretty sure he wasn't on of the people on the 1860 list in Cass County TX.

    2. I wish an another inventory had been done in 1848. My GG Grandmother Mary[Warren] Lawson was born around that time.
      Am not sure if she is Mary's daughter or Granddaughter but am sure she was part of the Smith County Warren family. She lived in Gregg county.

    3. If you ever come across a slave named Mary born in Sept between
      1846-1850 in Georgia. let me know.

    4. We have the 1850 Slave Schedule for John Graybill (in Hancock GA) that lists several females around 40 who could be Mary and the last entry is for a 3 year old female. You might look at that. Also the 1860 Slave Schedule (Rusk, TX) lists several females around 50 and a female 14. Do you think?

    5. Oh yes I recall doing a brief study on Jesse T. Warren as a possible slave holder for my Mary Warren 1846. I have been focus on Smith County because it's mentioned on a death record.
      But I should still keep The Cass county Warren in mind as well. I almost forgot about Slave Schedule's am looking for something that names slaves.

    6. Mary was born in 1809-10 and looking at the 1850 & 1860 Slave Schedules JTS Warren didn't list any enslaved women of her age (or even close to it).

    7. Oh I mean Mary Jr. But am sure it was Graybill.