In the name of God, Amen.
I Gustavus Weems of Ann Arundel County and State of Maryland being of sound disposing mind, memory, and understanding and health of body considering the great uncertainty of life and the certainty of death and feeling it a duty to settle, so far as is in my power, all my worldly affairs, so that I may be the better prepared to obey the summons of death when it shall please my best friend the Almighty God to have it served and take me I trust to a better world, do now make and constitute this my last will and testament in the manner and form following, viz:
Item, 1st and principally, I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it and my body to the Earth from whence it came to be decently buried by my executor hereinafter named.
Item 2nd. I request that all my just debts be paid and my funeral expenses.
Item 3rd. It will be recollected that some years back I made over about 70 acres of Land to their dear mother in trust for the children and that when prest I sold twenty acres odd of said land to D. G. Weems, one of the heirs, the am't of the sale was divided in three equal notes to the children and made payable after my death and which is my request shall be first met.
Item 4th. Now for natural love and affection I give and bequeath to my Grandson Theo M. Weems the 10 and ¾ acre lot with all the houses etc that was his fathers.
Item 5th. It will be recollected by the children that their beloved mother gave some time before her death a girl to each child namely, David, Jane, and Rachel that when the first two married and left me they took theirs, namely Harriett and Eliza away, that Rachel kept Sarah, her girl, with us. That Sarah married Daniel Starkes and by him to 1852 had seven children, that those children with whatever more she may have and herself is the rightful property of Rachel, now Rachel T. Reynolds.
Item 6th. Now when Rachel lived with me, she had taken much pains in bringing up a little girl Charity and whom became attached so that when Rachel married and left me, proposed to take the child, I consented. Not long after that, an afflicted child, Doll, which I feared would be so for life, so I said to David one day if you can make anything of Charles, I'll give him to you. A little trouble restored the child. Of course, he is David's property. Now when the two above cases were known to Jane D. Petherbridge, she took up the idea she was slighted. To silence all such thoughts, I forthwith sent over as a present Priss's son John with a view to satisfying and equalizing.
Item 7th. Now with regard to the remainder of my servants, I am aware of the laws of my Land, yet duty comes in, and afater much meditation and prayer, I come to the conclusion to try and do justice to my God, my conscience and the servants called mine.
Item 8th. Every adult servant over 30 and 35 years of age is hereby set at liberty immediately after my death, provided they in all twelve months will go to Afraca and to be kept at work during that 12 months, such of them as may go to be allowed fair wages the amount to be given them that go to Afraca as there outfit and pocket money. I mean to say after so much as needed for the clothing and feeding for that year shall have been deducted, the balance of there wages paid them for the above purpose and so may all the servants I leave under the before mentioned ages namely 30 and 35 have the same liberty and on the same terms go to Afraca.
Item 9th. Now after twice in my life given my servants the priveleage of going to Africa and none would go, its but fair to conclude they will not after my death. In that event, they all remain as my estate, and it will be recollected that I have raised every servant left and must feel somewhat more liberal towards them than I otherwise should do under other circumstances; therefore shall leave the law and obay the command of duty and relieve my mind.
Item 10th. Under the impression none will go, I go on to dispose of the servants according to age and good conduct. From this moment, I do liberate and set free from service Jane Wikinson, my old and faithful cook, Daniel Digs, a wicked servant be set at liberty in 1857 when he will be 45 years old, 5 years added for cruelty and profainness; Barbara Digs, a good servant, to be set at liberty in 1854, then 35 years of age. Harry Digs to be set at liberty in 18--, then --- years of age. Priscilla Brown, an unruly servant, to be freed in 1861. I mean the full year, as those years above, stay to Christmas. Now as Jinney has past the time of life allowed to be freed by law and will have a right to call on some of my heirs and its likely it will be David because he has and will have her children, I therefore request that David G. Weems will attend and see that the faithful old cook wants nothing to make her comfortable while she lives for which its my request to David have her family. Now in dividing the servants with sincere love for my children and good feeling for them, I wish and do here request for my sake it may be done in good faith and love toward each other, even should one get a little more than the other or one say he or she fails to get those they would prefer or expected, but as St. Paul said, in love preferring one another. Now there is three children and four families. You might then take the three oldest families and range them according to the ages. David take Jinney's' Jane take Barbara's, and Rachel Pris and fill up the deficiency with the fourth family, say Doll and children by way of equalizing. Now this is my idea and I so leave it on paper enclosed as my views and wishes, not as a positive divident, but left with yourselves to settle as shall be most pleasant to all parties and may God's blessing rest upon children and servants.
Item 11th. And now for love and affection, I do give and bequeath to my three beloved children before named all the remainder of my property of every kind, personal, real, mixed and debts to me, to be equally divided share and share alike except a few old fashion chairs owned by Rachel T. Reynolds and my watch I leave to my grandson Gustavus Weems Petherbridge as a keepsake for the name.
Gustavus Weems ideas and wishes as respects the dividend of his servants with his three children. This 26th May 1852.
David G. Weems
Jinney free and no count 45 years
Wm Wilkinson now 27 years old to serve 13 years
Gustavus Wilkens now 20, 20 years
Wilson Wilkenson, 18, 22 years
Margaret Wilkenson, 14, 21 years
Thomas Wikinson, 11, 29 years
Dan'l Digs 40, 5 years
Barbara Digs, 33, 2
James 12, 28
Red Ned 8, 32
Dan Jr. 6, 34
Mary Ellen 4, 31
Marsilla 1, 34
Priscilla Brown 27, 8
Mary 8, 27
Elijah Brown 5, 35
Hester Brown 31, 32
Levy Brown 1, 39
Doll Owens 25, 10
Jo Owens 8, 32
Nathan Owens, 3 37
Hezekiah Owens 2, 38
We three heirs named in this will are perfectly satisfied with its entire contents and agreeing to abide by its contents and to carry out its provisions to the letter, do request that it be recorded.
18 Oct 1852
David G. Weems
John F. Petherbridge
Anne Arundel County 29 Oct 1852
Then came William F. Leitch and James Deale and made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God that the foregoing instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Gustavus Weems late of Anne Arundel County deceased is in the handwriting of the said Gustavus Weems to the best of their knowledge and belief.
Maryland State Archives, Annapolis MD: Will of Gustavus Weems, Anne Arundel County, BEG #1 F174 Transcribed by Anne Scrivener Agee 7 April 2000
The transcript of this will was provided to the USGenWeb Project for Baltimore County by: Anne Agee, asagee (@) cox.net.
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