Friday, March 24, 2017

From the Probate Files: Sarah Sowell Hardy - Bertie County, North Carolina - 1809

It is rare for a widow in this time period to make a will because most often what property they had was only "lent" to them for their lifetime or widowhood under the terms of their husbands' wills and they didn't own enough to make drawing up a will necessary.

We know that Sarah Sowell Hardy inherited three enslaved persons from her husband William's estate in 1794, Dave, Pen and Rose. Since she had nine children and all but her son Charles apparently had received a slave in a division of her human property the previous November, she must have acquired five more* in the meantime. Her will is primarily concerned that the results of that division "shall stand good."

In the name of God, Amen, I Sarah Hardy of the State
of North Carolina & County of Bertie being sick & weak in
Body but of sound & disposing mind & memory, do con
=stitute & ordain this my Last Will & Testament, First,
I give my soul to Almighty God, beseeching his most
Gracious acceptance of it, and my Body ^to the Earth to be
buried in a decent Christian Burial at the direction of
my Executors herein after named, And my worldly Estate
I dispose of in the following manner. _____
First, It is my will and desire that the Division that
was made of my negroes in November last among
my children shall stand    good & that each one of my
children have the  negro that was then drawn for them,
and also the orphans of my son Lamb Hardy dec'd. have the
negro then drawn for them and that each one of my child
=ren and said orphans have a good & absolute right & title
in & to the said negroes severally drawn for them at said
division on their paying to my Executors herein after nam
=ed the several sums of money that the said negroes were
valued to, over an equal Division of the whole amount of
the valuation of all said negroes among all my children
and it is my will and desire that my Executors pay to my
son Charles Hardy out of the money received from
my other children in consequence of the division of said
negroes, the sum of money laid off, to him at said Division
in consequence of him having no negro, and also that
they my Executors pay to my son Benjamin Hardy 
out of said money as above, the Balance 
due him on account ^of his drawing a low price
negro. ______
Secondly, I will & desire that my wearing apparel
be divided among my surviving daughters.
Thirdly, I will and desire that the residue of my
Estate be divided equally among all my children &
the orphans of my son Lamb Hardy dec'd.; said orphans to
receive one share between among them. _____

[Wills and Estate Papers (Bertie County), 1663-1978; Author: North Carolina. Division of Archives and History; Probate Place: Bertie, North Carolina. North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County, District and Probate Courts.]

Item & Lastly, I nominate & appoint my living Sons
Willian P. Hardy & Benjamin Hardy Executors
of this my last Will & Testament, revoking all
former wills, ratifying & confirming this to be my
last Will & Testament, In Witness whereof I
have hereunto set my hand & seal this 20th
day July Anno. Dom. 1808_____
Signed, Seal'd, Declared     }            her
& pronounced in presence  }    Sarah X Hardy  {Seal}
of                                         }         mark
     Cornelious Williams X
     Sarah Williams

     State of North Carolina  }
     Bertie County Court      }  August term 1809
                                               this last will & Testament
of Sarah Hardy dec'd was exhibited in
open Court by William P. Hardy one
of the Executors therein named and
the Execution thereof proved in due
form of Law by the oath of Cornelius
Williams on of the subscribing Witnesses
thereto -----  ordered that the said will
be recorded ----- and the said Exe-
cutor having qualified agreable to 
Law it is ordered that Letters Tes-
tamentary issue. _____
          Lot Cherny  Jun.Ck.

Next time we'll look at the inventory of her meager estate and the amount realized in the sale of her perishable property.

*Sadly we don't know the names of these five people since she no longer owned them, they do not appear in the inventory of her estate.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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