Friday, February 10, 2017

From the Probate Files: Jeremiah Warren's Executors vs. Jesse T.S. Warren

If you've been following Great Great Great Uncle Jeremiah Warren's probate in the blog, you may recall that in his will's seventh bequest was to his nephew (and my great great grandfather) Jesse T. Warren. Let's let the Georgia Supreme Court explain the situation:

The next paragraphs (which I'm not including here) quote from Jeremiah's Item 10th, then we're given more information about the matter which we weren't aware of.

I assume Lott Harton, his uncle by marriage to Susan Warren, was named his guardian in 1833 because John P. Phillips had moved his family which included young Jesse T. to Troup County, Georgia, by then.

Returning to 1848:

Jesse T. won his original suit and this appeal was brought by Jesse G. Butts and John Graybill. What follows in the text are several pages of legal argument brought by the lawyers for both sides. Fortunately the index to the book clearly states the result although if you're really interested you can find the whole thing here.

I wonder how much my ancestor received as a result of this decision?

We do know more about what happened to Amy's son Mat* who may be one of these two men listed in the 1850 Slave Schedule.

[Township : District 21. 1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1850. M432, 1,009 rolls.]

All Supreme Court extracts in this post are taken from Georgia Reports, Volume 4, published in 1848 and available as a free e-book from Google.

That we know about this case is due to the generosity of our commenter Marco, who first directed my attention to it. Thanks again, Marco.

*We know this relationship from the inventory of Jeremiah's estate.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.


  1. Happy to help.
    It's seems John Graybill was in court a lot about things like this.
    Do you think the Jeremiah's will tells Graybill to keep Mary and her children if he can't free them or give her to members of the Warren family.

  2. In his will Jeremiah didn't give any instructions on what to do if Mary and the six other people couldn't be freed. He explicitly says "if they can at any time be freed by the laws of the Country it is my will it shall be done" so he's not setting any time limit. We know from 1840 property tax records Graybill was still acting as Jeremiah's executor and 1 slave remained on the property, most likely Coleman or John serving as caretaker at that date. From the same record we can see that Butts doesn't appear to have been involved any more. I would think the Ptobate Court would have had to issue an order authorizinf the sale of the "Parker Place" and the dispersal of the people who were living there but I haven't been able to find them. Until the estate was judged completely settled Graybill and Butts would have been liable for the $40,000 bond they and a Warren (but I don't remember who) put up as executors. There should also be land records documenting the change in ownership. And there should have been a public, advertised sale but I haven't found that either.
    All this is a long way of saying that I think it was up to Graybill with the consent of the Probate Court to decide Mary's fate. We know what he did but we don't know what his motives were. And Mary is probably one of the 34 enslaved people he was taxed for in 1840 although we don't know about any of the others.
    By the way, you'd like to contact me directly instead of through these comments my email is