Primary Resource

Will of Mary Willing Byrd (December 1813)

In her last will and testament, dated December 1813, Mary Willing Byrd, the widow of William Byrd III, dispenses her belonging to various family members.

Transcription from Original

In the name of God Amen. I Mary Byrd of Westover of the County of Charles city, Virginia, being of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and testament. I resign my soul into the hands of its unerring Creator in full hope of its eternal happiness through the mercy of my God, and the mediation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and secondly I desire that my body may be privately buried by the grave of my dear husband.

Item. I give and bequeathe to my daughter Maria Hosmanden Page all my interest in ten shares of the Virginia Bank, to enjoy the interest during her life, and to be equally divided at her death, between my dear Sarah Walker Page, Aby Page and their four brothers.

Item. I give and bequeath to my said daughter M. H.Page the engravings which represent the offering of Abraham and all other engravings she may chuse to have, one excepted, all the furniture in my chamber, except a bed, a mattress, and a small table, chair, and a piece of shell work including the cabinet, my bedstead and curtains (the feather bed and mattress I shall give to Richard, the other three articles I shall give to my G. daughter Evelyn Page).

Item. I give and bequeath to my said daughter M. H. Page the red damask bed and the bedstead belonging to it with the handsomest Virginia cloth counterpoint not worked and blankets and also the red and white chair covers.

Item. I give to my said daughter M. H. Page the portrait of her honored father, and one of myself, and also one of the Dutches of Montaigne, also two fire screens and six of my longest and best table cloths, and one green chair.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Evelyn Taylor Byrd Harrison [wife of Benjamin Harrison] my bible and new testament, and my celleret with a green chair, and agreeably to her Sister Ann's wish the portrait of her Aunt Evelyn [Byrd, daughter of William Byrd II]. I thank God she and her children are well provided for.

Item. I give and bequeath to my amiable son John Page of Frederick a portrait of his dear wife and myself.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Taylor Byrd one of his brother John [Carter Byrd], and one of himself, and also a green chair for the use of my very dear daughter his wife.

Item. I give and bequeath to my G. son Benja. Harrison my set of dining tables in the dining room at this time.

Item. I give and bequeath to Mrs. [Mary Carter] Braxton the portrait of her father Mr. Charles Carter and also an engraving of a fine head which hangs between two windows in the North East room.

Item. I give and bequeath to my friend Mrs. Ann Lee the picture of a little girl with which she was pleased as a small token of my affection.

Item. I give and bequeath unto Mrs. Eliza Randolph the portraits of Col. Peter Randolph & lady [Lucy Bolling Randolph].

Item. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Ann [Beverley] Corbin the picture of her mother Mrs. Maria [Byrd] Beverley as a small testimony of the esteem I feel for her.

Item. I give and bequeath to Miss Elizabeth Royster a negro man named Jack to her and her heirs forever, and for whom I have had a bill of sale recorded. I also give her the bed on which she lies, bedding and the bedstead called Evelyn's, with half a doz: chairs and one walnut dressing table, I also give her one hundred dollars.

Item. If Miss E. Royster should continue to live with me while I remain in this world, it is my wish and desire that my executors pay her three hundred dollars in addition to the above legacy with my best wishes for her happiness.

Item. I will and bequeath to my son Charles Willing Byrd his man Ned to him and his heirs forever. I also give him my clock, a set of knives and forks with silver hafts, a set of castors, the laddle and one doz. large table spoons, I also give my said son ten portraits, to-wit: Mr. [Nathaniel] Waltho, one of Titian, one of Rubins, one of his G. father [William] Byrd [II] and six of his particular friends, viz: Lord Orrery [Charles Boyle, fourth earl of Orrey], Sir Wilfried Lawson, Ld Oxford [probably Robert Harley, earl of Oxford], the marquis of Hallifax [probably Charles Montague, earl of Halifax], the Duke of Argyle [John Campbell, second duke of Argyle], and Sir Robert Southall [also Southwell], it is my will and desire, that if my said son shall find it inconvenient to carry these portraits to his house, that they shall be equally divided between his two brothers, Richard [Willing Byrd] and William [Powell] Byrd, and that a handsome silver coffee pot that will hold at least two pints and a half with a tea pot, be purchased and presented to him by them, in lieu thereof.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Rich'd Willing Byrd, Jack Perry to him and his heirs forever, I also give him a pair of candlesticks, a quart mug, a salver, two salt sellers, with their spoons, and all the table spoons, except one dozen as above mentioned, and two raguel spoons, one marrow spoon, and a skewer, I also give my said son my urn (all these articles are of silver) being the particular desire of his Sister.

Item. I also give my said son nine portraits, to-wit: his honored father's [William Byrd III] picture at full length, it hangs in the passage; his G. father's [William Byrd II] that hangs in the South East room below stairs, and the portrait of his first [Lucy Parke Byrd] and second wife [Maria Taylor Byrd] and five of his particular friends and favorites, vizt: Mrs. Taylor, Lady Betty Southwell [Elizabeth Dering Southwell], Ld. Egmont [John Percival, first earl of Egmont], Sir Charles Wager, and Mr. Brent.

Item. I give my said son his choice of a pair of horses if M. W. Nelson does not chuse to have a pair for the use of himself and sisters.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son William Powl Byrd, Frank, and his wife Fanny, to him and his heirs forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to my said son, W. P. Byrd, a pair of candlesticks, a quart mug, a salver, a fish trowel, two ragoul spoons, one doz. desart spoons, together with a candlestick which was his G. Grandfathers all of silver.

Item. I likewise give him a pier glass with the family arms painted on it, I also give him two pair of andirons one of them belonging to the dining, and the other to the S. West chamber below stairs. I also give my said son my best mattress and best English ticken bed, bolster, pillows and bedding.

Item. I give to my said son a pair of my best mules.

Item. I also give him eight portraits, to-wit: One of his G. Father [William Byrd II], one of Mr. Dutton, one of Mr. Blaithwhite [William Blaithwayt], one of Lady Betty Cromwell, one of his Aunt Carter [Anne Byrd Carter], one of his Aunt Maria [Byrd] Carter [wife of Landon Carter], one of Mr. [probably should be Miss] Blunt and one of General Park.

Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Mary Willing Nelson, all of my furniture in the North West room below stairs in addition to her own bedstead and curtains, and the picture of her papa, the larger, the new Virginia cloth bed ticken, and the bedding, also the press in the passage up stairs, the best easy chair, the commode, a green chair to work on, a table that holds her petrifaction now standing in the South West room, and her bedstead now in my room.

Item. I give and bequeath to My G. Daughter Evelyn Byrd Page all my furniture in the South West chamber, the pictures, the andirons, and damask bed and bedding. I also give my said G. daughter my work table, chair, belonging to it, a piece of shell work, two birds drawn by myself, and a set of china (green and white, the portraits of her aunt Skipwith [Elizabeth Hill Byrd Farley Dunbar Skipwith], with six chairs of her chusing; her bed is now making up.

Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Abby Nelson all my furniture that belongs to the North West chamber up stairs. I also give her my wardrobe, and the picture of her uncle William Byrd, the elder, with one of the pier glasses that hangs in the dining room, the tea table in the S. East room below stairs, and her chest of drawers, which belongs to the north west room, and one green chair to work on, and my second best Virginia tick bed, bedding and Mattress.

Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Lucy Nelson [wife of Benjamin Harrison], the portrait of my honored mother [Ann Shippen Willing], as I find it was the particular wish of my lamented daughter, and my worked counter point with the bedsteads and curtains belonging to the S. West room up two pair of stairs, with my press which now stands in the passage, with two low bedsteads and beds to all three bedsteads.

Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Ann Rosalie Nelson, a pier glass which hangs in the dining room, also her choice of two low bedsteads with feather beds and bedding, four green chairs, I confirm the right given her by my daughter to her bedstead curtains, &c. &c. in the S. west chamber, with all it contains, the chest of drawers excepted, which is the property of her sister M. W. Nelson: 1 also give her my silver slop bowl, and tea spoons, and my small table.

Item. It is my will and desire that my executors advertise and sell all that remains of the real and personal estate of my testator agreeably to his last will and testament.

Item. It is my will and request that my executors retain so much from the sales of the personal estate of my testator, as shall be sufficient to discharge the balance of the debt due me from the estate as settled by the Commissioners, in my administration account, who were appointed by the court of Charles City. I am undoubtedly the first creditor, having paid debts of the first dignity out of ― own estate, and such only have I brought into my account with the estate.

Item. I give and bequeath to all my G. sons the interest I have in the Dismal Swamp to be equally divided between them all.

Item. It is my wish that my executors dispose of all my crops that may be on hand or may be growing (when severed from the land) and after reserving the money due me principal and interest from the estate, and other outstanding debts, the balance is to be divided into four equal parts.

Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Maria Horsmanden Page one fourth of all my property so described.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Charles Willing Byrd of West Union, Ohio, one fourth of all my property in the hands of my executors.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son Richard Willing Byrd, of Smithfield one fourth of the above named sum.

Item. I give and bequeath to my son William Powel Byrd, of Gloucester the remaining fourth part.

Item. It is my will and desire that a reservation of the church land be made when Westover is sold. I refer my executors to the green book of records.

Item. It is my will and desire that my faithful maid Jenny Harris be emancipated whenever she may chuse it. I give and bequeath to her a small bedstead, bed, bedding and curtains belonging to it, and such of my wearing apparel as my children may think proper for her to have, I have the fullest confidence that they will not let her want any of the comforts of life.

Item. And lastly I appoint my sons John Page of Frederick, Richard Willing Byrd of Smithfield, William Page of Frederick and Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley, Charles City, Executors of this my last will and testament, to which I have assigned my hand and affixed my seal this ——— of December one thousand eight hundred and thirteen.

Mary Byrd. [Seal.]

In presence of Dunbar Gordon.

At a court held for Charles City County at the Courthouse the 20 day of April, 1814, the aforementioned last will and testament of Mary Byrd deceased was presented in court and proved by the oath of Dunbar Gordon, and there being no other subscribing witness to the same, Patrick Hendren, Charles Wilson and Edward Folkes were sworn and severally deposed that they are well acquainted with the handwriting of the testatrix and verily believe the said will and the name thereto subscribed to be wholly written by the testatrix own hand, whereupon the said will is ordered to be recorded and at a ― other court held for said county as aforesaid the 18 day of August, then next ensueing, on the motion of Richard W. Byrd, one of the executors named in the said will who made oath thereto according to law and together with William P. Byrd, Cary Wilkinson and Patrick Hendren his securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted him for obtaining a probat of said will in due form, Liberty being reserved the other executors named in the said will to join in the probat when they shall think fit, and at another court held for said county as aforesaid the 17 day of November, 1815, on the motion of William Page another of the executors named in the said will who took the oath of an executor, and with Benjamin Harrison and John Page senr his securities entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted the said Page to be joined in the probat of said will.

A copy Teste:
J. E. Major, Clerk
of Charles City County Court Va.