Monday, July 25, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Thomas Cook 1819

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.

This week I am presenting the 1819 will of Thomas Cook of Wilkes County, North Carolina, one of my maternal 4th great-grandfathers. Thomas identified 17 children by name in his will! Only the five youngest children, those of his second (perhaps third) wife Charlotte, were to benefit from his estate; he said the others had already received their shares. It is probably the longest will I have encountered in my research to date.


 Will of Thomas Cook
 

May Term       )           In the Name of God Amen._I Thomas Cook of
1819           )           the County of Wilkes in the State of North Carolina.
being old and afflicted in body, but being of sound and dispo-
sing mind and Memory, do here think proper to make my last
Will and Testament in manner and form following.. In the
first place I Recommend my Soul to God who gave to be disposed
of at his pleasure, and my Body after Death to be Buried in the
[?] form of entering the Remains of Deceased :Persons in this
Country._ First I give and Bequeath unto Joshua Martin Cook
whom I claim and consider to be my own Son begotten upon the
Body of Charloote Cook whom I consider to be my Wife. and with
whom I have lived as such for a Number of Years; the said Char-
loote Cook have been Married or commonly Reputed to have
bedn Married to one George Anderson previous to my Intermar-
riage with the said Charloote. (to wit.) One Negroe Man Named
Charles, & one Negroe girl Child named Kisiah._Secondly
I give and bequeath unto Calvin Jones Cook whom I claim
and consider to be my own Son begotten upon the Body of Char-
loote Cook whom I consider to be my Wife and with whom I
have lived as such for a Number of Years, the said Charloote hav-
ing been Maried or commonly Reputed to have been Married to
One George Anderson, previous to my Intermarriage with the
said Charloote, (to wit.) one Negroe Woman named Virgin &
one Negro Woman Named Hulda._Thirdly it is my Will
and desire that all my Lands that I now own in Wilkes Coun
-ty & ceded to my and to which I have title in fee or otherwise
Being about four Hundred and foorty acres; shall be equally div
ed between my two Sons Joshua Martin Cook and Calvin Jon [unreadable]
Cook Heretofore named as above, when the Youngest of my sa [unreadable]
Sons shall arrive at the full age of twenty one Years, which sai [unreadable]
Division shall be made by my Executors herein after Named [unreadable]
which said Division it is my Will shall be so made that the
Lands shall be Equal or as nearly equal in value as it  is po[unreadable]
ble to be made: It is my Will that Charloote Cook whom I clai[unreadable]
to be my Wife heretofore Married to George Anderson, shall ha[unreadable]
hold said Negroes and hold, occupy and enjoy my said Lands bef[unreadable]
mentioned and Described during the Minority of my said Sons Jos[unreadable]
-a Martin Cook and Calvin Jones Cook; and should my Wife Ch[unreadable]
loote Cook die before my said Sons Joshua Martin Cook & Calvi[unreadable]
Jones Cook arrive at the age of twenty one Years, then the sai[unreadable]
Lands before described to be Rented by my Executors for the ben[unreadable]
-fit of my said Sons, and should either of my said Sons Joshua
Martin Cook or Calvin Jones Cook decease before they arrive [unreadable]
the age of twenty one years; it is my Will that the Survivin[unreadable]
Brother have all the said Lands mentioned heretofore in this Will
Fourthly, I give and Bequeath unto Charloote Cook, Sin[unreadable]
Cook and Henna Ritte Cook whom I claim and consider to b[unreadable]
my own Daughters begotten upon the Body of Charloote Coo[unreadable]
whom I claim and consider to be my wife and with whom I ha[unreadable]
lived as such for a Number of Years. the said Charloote havin[unreadable]
been Married or commonly Refuted to have been Married to on[unreadable]
George Anderson previous to my Intermarriage with th[unreadable]
said Charloote. (to wit.) One feather Bed and furniture each; it
is my Will that my three Daughters above named, Charloote
Cook, Sina Cook and Henna Ritte Cook each of them Receive
their Bed and furniture when the said Daughters above menti[unreadable]
oned arrive at the full age of eighteen Years.
Fifthly, It is my Will and desire that my said Wife Charloote
Cook before mentioned have all my Houshold and Kitchen fur
niture to hold and enjoy said furniture during the Minority of
my said Daughters and Sons before Mentioned and it is my Wi[unreadable]
and desire that when my Youngest Son Calvin Jones Cook
arrives at the age of twenty one Years that all of the above
mentioned Household and Kitchen furniture be equally divided
amongst Charloote Cook. Sina Cook. Henna Ritte Cook. Joshua
Martin Cook and Calvin Jones Cook; it is my Will and desire
that Charloote Cook whom I claim to be my Wife heretofore
Married to George Anderson shall have hold and enjoy all
my Stock consisting of Horses cattle, Hogs and Sheep and
also to have all my Plantation Utensils and tools and it is
my Will and desire that she the said Charloote Cook before
named keep in possession all the above Mentioned living Stock
and Plantation Utensils to have, hold and enjoy and to make
use of, for her the said Charlootes Support and for the support
and Schooling or Educating of my three Daughters and two
sons Namely Charloote Cook. Sina Cook. Henna Ritte Cook
Joshua Martin Cook and Calvin Jones Cook. . and when my
youngest Son Calvin Jones Cook arrives at the full age of
twenty one Yeras that all my living Stock be equally divi-
ded between my three Daughters and two Sons. (to wit.) Char-
loote Cook. Sina Cook. Henna Ritte Cook. Joshua Martin
Cook and Calvin Jones Cook._it is my Will and desire
that my Negroe Man Names Benjamin be sold and the Mo-
ney be Equally divided amongst my said three Daughters and
two Sons above Names as they the said Daughters and said Sons
arrive to the age of twenty one years. my wish is that the
Money that Negro Man Benjamin sells for be disposed of as
follows. (to wit.) when Charloote Cook arrives at the age of twenty
one Years to have her equal part of said Money and when Sina
Cook arrives at the age of twenty one Years to have her Equal part
of said Money. when Henna Ritte Cook arrives at the age
of twenty one Years to have an equal part of said Money. when
Joshua Martin Cook arrives at the age of twenty one years to
have an equal part of said money and when Calvin Jones Cook
arrives at the age of twenty one Years to have an equal part of
said Money: it is my Will and desire that all my Just Debts
be paid, and all the moneys that are owing to me to be collected and
to be disposed of as my Executors hereafter named thinks proper.
Sixthly, it is my Will and desire that all my Elder Children have
no part of my Estate Mentioned in this my last Will and Testame[unreadable]
the Elder Children alluded to, I now proceed to mention their nam[unreadable]
to wit., Elizabeth Jolley. Mary Marlow John Cook. Henry Cook. An[unreadable]
Martin. Martha Ellis. Lucey Milsaps. Thomas Cook. William
Cook. Allen Cook. Richard Coook and Amelia Burton._Be it Re_
membered that I have heretofore given unto two twelve Elder
Children last Mentioned what I conceive to be a Just and ful[unreadable]
Portion of my Estate._it is my Will and desire that if my Wife
Charloote Cook should Marry before my said Sons Joshua Mar[unreadable]
Cook and Calvin Jones Cook arrive at the age of twenty one yea[unreadable]
that the said Charloote is not to hold or have any part of my Esta[unreadable]
mentioned in this my last Will and Testament._And I do hereby
Authorise, Constitute and Appoint Randolph Mabery and Rober[unreadable]
Martin my Sole Executors of this my last Will and Testament.
and that I do hereby Revoke, Disannull and make Void all forms
Wills and Bequeaths whether Written or Nuncupative in the mo[unreadable]
positive and absolute Terms. and do declare and publish this an[unreadable]
this only to be my last Will and Testament by me made here
on Earth. In Testimoney whereof I have hereunto set my hand
Affixed my Seal the twenty fifth day of March.A.D.1819.
Sign’d, Sealed in                                                                  his
the presents of                                                        Thomas X Cook (seal)
W.W. Martin                                                                         mark
         his                      )
Hicks X Combs           )           North Carolina)
         mark                   )           Wilkes County.)         May Term 1819.
James Marlow.           )           The Execution the foregoing Will
                                                     was duly proven in open court by the oath
                                                     of William W. Martin, Hicks, Combs and
                                                     James Marlow, and Randolph Mabery
                                                     Robert Martin were duly qualified as Ex
                                                     ecutors to said Will.
                                                        Test
                                                               R. Martin. Clk.



[Source: Wilkes County, North Carolina, Wills, 3: 195, Thomas Cook; FHL microfilm 393,950.]



© 2011 Denise Spurlock

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