Primary Resource

Will and Codicil of John Wayles (1760, 1772–1773)

In documents dated April 15, 1760, and altered March 5, 1772, and in a codicil dated February 12, 1773, John Wayles provides his last will and testament. Thomas Jefferson is an executor and his wife, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, is a beneficiary.

Transcription from Original

In the Name of God, Amen. I, John Wayles of Charles City County, make this my last Will and Testament.

Imprimis, I give unto my dear wife Elizabeth all and singular the slaves with their offspring that were devised unto her by the last will and testament of Reuben Skelton, deceased, to her and her Heirs forever she paying all my just debts out of the same.

Item, I give unto my said wife the Land and Plantation whereon I now dwell and twenty slaves also the stocks and Horses, Hogs &c the Eqipage, and Household Furniture to her, during her natural life, in lieu of her dower, and after her decese to my children as underneath Directed.

Whereas my Daughter is amply Provided for by a Settlement made by myself and her mother, and the Slaves contained in the Settlement have been devised to me by her mother, Now I hereby give and confirm unto my said Daughter Martha all and singular the slaves mentioned in the said settlement to her and her heirs forever, except Betty Hennings and Jenney the cook, which I desire may be part of Twenty-five slaves Devised as above to my Dear wife, to continue with her during her Natural life, and after her death to my said Daughter Martha.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my three Daughters Elizabeth, Tabitha and Anne all & singular my Lands Tenements & Hereditaments, and also all my slaves and all other my Estate both real and personal unto them and their Heirs forever, to be equally divided among them.

Item. It is my desire that, if my Daughter Martha thinks her portion not Equal to her Sisters, that her Portion may be thrown into Hotchpotch with her three sisters above and the same Equally Divided among them. And lastly I do hereby appoint and request it as a favour that Francis Eppes and my children as they respectively attain to Lawful age would be Executors to this my last will and Guardians to my Children under age; this I declare to be my last will wholly written with my own hand this 15th day of April, 1760.

J. Wayles. (Seal)

Published and Executors altered this 5th March, 1772. I appoint Thomas Jefferson, my son-in-law, likewise to be a joint Executor hereof.

Feb 12, 1773.

Whereas I, John Wayles of the County of Charles City and Parish of Westover, have before made my will, which by this codicil I would confirm and enlarge untill I have more leisure and better health to adjust so important a piece of business; Messieurs Farrell and Jones have on every occasion acted in a most generous manner to me I shall therefore make them every grateful return in my Power. I therefore direct that my estate be kept together, and the whole Tobacco made thereon be shiped unto the said Farrel and Jones, of Bristol, until his debt and interest shall be lawfully and completely paid and satisfied, unless my children should find it to their interest to pay and satisfie the same in a manner that may be agreeable to the said Farrel and Jones. I would have new quarters settled at Saml James's and in Bedford to increase the crops. I give to Robert Skipwith, Esqr, two hundred and fifty pounds, to be paid as soon as the same can be conveniently collected. I desire that my Executors may purchase for my three grand-children, vis: Richard Eppes, John Wayles Eppes and Patty Jefferson, each, a female slave between twelve & fifteen and they are to be adjudged in a Court as their property, the same to be purchased any time within five years after my death. And I now, as I have done heretofore, appoint my children my Executors as they respectively come of age.

J. Wayles (Seal)

This Codicil was published and declared in our presence.

Anderson Bryan

Henry Skipwith