Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday – Will of John Hammontree 1840

On his TransylvanianDutch blog, John Newmark defines an amanuensis as “a person employed to write out what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.” For more information about this daily blogging prompt, see John’s post Amanuensis – Why?

I have amassed quite a collection of scans of handwritten documents related to my ancestors—primarily marriage records, deeds, and wills. As I have been transcribing these documents, it occurred to me that most of these documents were not actually written by my ancestors, but rather dictated to someone else, and then transcribed by a clerk into official records.

Today, I am presenting the will of John Hammontree, one of my paternal 4th great-grandfathers. John names his children, providing evidence to prove parent-child relationships. His daughters’ married names are given, and, in one instance, the husband’s full name is also included. An image and the source citation follow the transcription:

I John Hammontree Sr. being of Sound and perfect mind and
memory on this Eighteenth day of August in the year of our lord
Savir Jesus Christ Eighteen hundred and forty do make this my last
will and testament_ and first I will my Soul to God who gave it
and my body a christian burial, and 2d all my just debts be paid
3d I bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah a good Suporte out of my Mill
and plantation and remain in this my dwelling during her natural
life 4th I bequeath to my two Sons Phillip and John my my Mills and
plantation equally by them paying my son Hugh one hundred dollars
each and the said phillip and John are to have all my personal
property by them paying my daughters Viz. Elisabeth Rosin Martha Henry
Margaret Phebe McClain and Cintha J. Cathcart Sixty dollars
each as for my daughter Polly Black she has got her part in my pay-
ing H. B. Leeper for Joseph Black her Husband
5th I bequeath my upper plantation to my son Harvey by him paying
my son Hugh two hundred dollars. 6th_ I bequeath to my Son
Hugh the two hundred dollars is that he is to get from my two Sons
Phillip and John as above and two hundred dollars from my Son
Harvey as above for his portion. and lastly I apoint my Son Phillip
and Benj Abernathy my executors in order this my last will and
testament my be lawfully executed in witness where of I have here-
unto set my hand and seal in the day and date first above
written in the presents of                                  his
  John McClan Jr                                  John     X   Hammontree (seal)
  David Hammontree                                       mark

Source: Blount County, Tennessee, John Hammontree will dated 18 August 1840, citing Tennessee Probate Court Records, Blount, Wills, 1795-1869, Vol. 01, p. 68; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Jul 2011).

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

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