Monday, January 2, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - The Will of Samuel Lewis of Randolph Co., NC

Transylvanian Dutch blog author John Newmark started the Monday blog theme called Amanuensis Monday. According to John, “amanuensis” means:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

This week I want to share some records about my LEWIS family from Randolph County, North Carolina that I haven't worked on in several years. I started looking at this family again after connecting with a woman who was a Family Finder autosomal DNA match to one of my matches. Although we were not directly related via ftDNA's Family Finder DNA test, we did find we were related via the STEED family. You will see some STEEDS are mentioned in the will I've presented below. We did not let the lack of shared DNA deter us from exchanging information about our respective Steed family connections. Both of us have yet to find the connection to the other woman that we both match to.

Below you will find scans of the will of Samuel Lewis. He was born sometime before 1759 either in Virginia or North Carolina. It was written 23 August 1823 in Randolph County, North Carolina. Although Samuel does mention all of his children, including the married names of his daughters, he never does mention his wife's name, though he does will to her two acres of land and the house, so we know she is still living. I have not been able to identify her name to date either. I am descended from Samuel's son, John Lewis.

Here is the transcript of the above will: (formatting added by me for emphasis)

In the name of God Amen, I Samuel Lewis of the County
of Randolph and State of North Carolina being of
a  sound mind and disposing Memory and knowing that it
is appointed for all men once to die do make and
ordain this my last will and testament in the following
manner To wit,
1st  I give to loving wife my dwelling House
with two Acres of Land with one cow and calf one
feather bed & furniture, and one Sow and pigs. One pot
during her Widowhood.
2nd  I give to Son John Twenty five cents in cash.
3rd  I give to Son James Twenty five cents in cash.
4th  I give to Son Clayton Steed twenty five cents.
5th  I give to Daughter Polly Wood twenty five cents.
6th  I give to Daughter Peggy Blaylock twenty five cents.
7th  I give to Son William twenty five cents –
also one half of my Land including the
plantation and Land where he now lives
to the South line of my tract.
8th  I give to Daughter Rachel Smithson
twenty five ets.
9th  I give to Son Jesse Twenty five ets
also one half of my Land including my old
plantation Except my dwelling house & two Acres
of land which is giving to my wife unless
She and son Jesse can otherwise agree ---
As to Negro Georo [George?] my - will is that he be sold
and purchased by some of my children if they
can otherwise to sell him where he wishes.
10th  I give to grand daughter Levicy Steed twenty five ets.
11th I give to Grand son Lewis Steed twenty five ets
then the balance of my property to be sold
and Equally divided between my wife
and my children named with my two Grand
children Levicy Steed and Lewis Steed after paying
all my just debts -------
my two Grand children is only to have the part
of one of my children ----------
Also my wife to keep what property she had
when I married her.
Lastly, I nominate and appoint Thomas Thornleigh [or Thornbough]
and Samuel Hill Executors to this my last
will and Testament in witness whereof I have
hereunto set my hand of seal 23 day of
August 1823.
Jesse Shaw Jurat. Samuel His Mark Lewis
H. Nailor

State of North Carolina )
Randolph County ) August Term 1826
The execution of this will of Samuel Lewis
was duly proven in open court by Jesse Shaw, one of the
subscribing  witness thereto & order to be recorded.
Jesse Harper
According to the will, I was able to glean the following information:

    • He willed twenty five cents to each of his 8 children (named) and two Steed grandchildren.
    • His wife is not mentioned by name. He willed to her 2 acres and the house.
    • He willed half of his land to sons William (lives on it) and Jesse Lewis.
    • Eight children named in his will:
                                                               i.      John Lewis
                                                              ii.      James Lewis
                                                            iii.      Clayton Steed
                                                            iv.      Polly Wood
                                                             v.      Peggy Blaylock
                                                            vi.      William Lewis
                                                          vii.      Rachel Smithson
                                                         viii.      Jesse Lewis

    • Executors:
                                                               i.      Thomas Thornleigh (or Thornbough)
                                                              ii.      Samuel Hill
§  Witnesses:
                                                               i.      Jesse Shaw (Jurat)
                                                              ii.      H. Nailor

One of the children that is missing is Elizabeth Lewis. She died probably around 1802, prior to the signing of this will. She was married to Clayton Steed, who is listed as "son" in this will. Their two children, Lewis and Levicy Steed are listed as grandchildren in Samuel's will. Clayton Steed was my 6th great-granduncle. His wife Elizabeth Lewis was my 6th great-grandaunt. I was related to both of them through the Lewis and Steed families. Their children, Levicy and Lewis were my 1st cousins 7x removed. We shared two sets of ancestors in common - Nathaniel Steed and wife Susannah Franklin, and Samuel Lewis and his unnamed wife.  

I am descended from Samuel Lewis via the following:

  1. Samuel Lewis, d. 1826 Randolph Co., NC
  2. John Lewis, d. 1830 Randolph Co., NC; md Lavinia Steed (daughter of Nathaniel Steed and Susannah Franklin and sister of Clayton Steed mentioned in Samuel Lewis' will)
  3. Nancy Lewis, b. ca 1809, Randolph Co., NC; md. Elijah Godwin 1826, Randolph Co., NC
  4. Agrippa Spinks Godwin, b. 19 Mar 1827, Randolph Co., NC, d. 28 Sept 1864, Ironton, MO in the Civil War; md. Elizabeth Ann Orr (daughter of David Orr and Eliza T. Caldwell)
  5. David Orr Godwin, b. 10 May 1854, South Fork, Fulton Co., AR, d. 24 Oct 1928, Mammoth Springs, Fulton Co., AR; md. Zilphia Ann Elizabeth Pulley (daughter of William Henry Pulley and Emily Casinda M Gooden)
  6. Alvin Theodore Godwin, b. 27 Jan 1879 Mammoth Springs, Fulton Co., AR, d. 17 Nov 1950, Mammoth Springs, Fulton Co., AR; md. Lou Ella Davis (daughter of William Davis and Dora Nix)
  7. Orville Godwin, b. 12 Oct 1905 in Hardy, Sharp Co., AR; d. 10 Sept 1956, Tulsa, Tulsa Co., OK; md. Nova Lee Peters (daughter of William Edward Peters and Dora King)

[1] Will of Samuel Lewis, 1823, Randolph County, North Carolina; Found at the North Carolina State Archives, Series of Original Wills.

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