Monday, July 18, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Will of William Hamontree 1815

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 posting my transcription of the 1815 will of William Hamontree, one of my paternal 5th great grandfathers. William listed all his children in his will by first name only. One child's name was misread when the will was copied into the court records—Harriet should have been Harris! I thought it interesting that William was specific in his bequests of livestock to his sons Jacob and Jesse. Another peculiar bequest was the money due from the county for the care of John Hays; who WAS John Hays?

I William Hamontree of Blount County and State of Tenn-
essee being weak of body but of sound mind and disposing
memory do make and ordain this  my last will and testament
in manner following as to what worldly estate it hath pleased
God to bless me with me with after the discharge of all my just debts
I give and bequeath as follows. first my will is that my wife Patsey
Hamontree be and remain in full possession of the farm and
improvements where I now live and also the household furniture
and that she have her maintainance in the Same during her
natural life and at her decease that my two Sons Jacob and
Jesse Hamontree be the heirs and possessors of said farm
to them and their heirs [page torn] to my wife and above named
Sons after her I give and bequeath a horse called old crop the young
roane mare a colt two years old named to Jacob a last springs
colt named to Jesse, and the milch cows my wagon and gears and a
note on Daniel Best for $77. and as many hogs as my executors may
think proper to leave with them for their Support. 3d I give and
bequeath to my wife the money due or to become due from the coun-
ty for the Support of John Hays 4th I give and bequeath to my son
David the young mares colt. 5th the remainder of my property to be
immediately sold by my executors the proceeds there of together with
the debts due to me to be equally divided amongst the rest of my chil-
dren Viz: James John. Betsy. Nancy. Fanny. Harriet. William and
David Hamontree I hereby nominate and appoint John and Willi-
am Hamontree executors of this my last will and testament.witness
my hand and seal this twenty sixt day of July one thousand
eight hundred and fifteen                               his
            Wm McClung [?]                     William  X  Hamontree (seal)
            James H. Doyle                                 mark

[Source: Blount County, Tennessee, William Hamontree, will dated 26 July 1815, citing Probate Record Books, Blount, Wills 1795-1869, Vol. 01, page 65; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Jul 2011).]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

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