Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Question from Donna:
I am having a hard time reading deeds.  There is so much legal mumbo jumbo in there that it just doesn't make sense.

Ah boilerplate...
Boilerplate is the term used for all of that unnecessary legal "mumbo jumbo" [good choice of words on Donna's part].  Here is a very simple will transcribed word for word, spelling, capitalization and punctuation errors included.  I have highlight the parts that are important to me in red:

Wilkes County, Georgia Will Book 1806-1806, pages 108-111

[page 108]
In the name of God, Amen.  I Mathew Patten of
Wilkes county State of Georgia Finding myself in good
Health and sound in memory Do make this my last will

[page 109]
and Testament revoking all Wills whatever here to fore by me
made.  In the first place I command my soul To God
who gave it and my body to the Earth from whence it cam
and there to be decent by E____[?].  And after my debts and
Funeral charges are Paid my will is as followeth. To Wit
Item.   I give and bequeath to my son Solomon Pattin all
the Land wher on I live and  all my plantation Tools of evry
sort Likewise my Black Smith’s Tools To him and his
Heirs forever.  Item.  I give [?] And biqueath to my son
Samuel Pattin my Negro Boy named Lott to him
and his Heirs for Ever. After which my will is that my
Executors whom I shall nominate and appoint here=
=after shall divide the ballance of my Estate in to four
Equal divisions or parcels which may be Evened or Equ-
=lled by adding some stock which shall be at the des-
=creation of the Executors my desire is that they shall
make Each Lot of Equal Value according to your
Judgement.  After which my will is that my son
Thomas Pattin and my daughter Rebekah Wimpey
my son Samuel Patten my son Solomon Pattin shall
draw lotts for choice of Parcels and what Ever Parcel
falls to my three sons.  To Wit, Thomas Samuel and
Solomon Pattin the Effects or article that compose

[page 110]
them I give and bequiath to them and their Heirs for ever.
Item my will is and I do hereby give and bequeath
Unto my daughter Rebekah Wimpey the Effects and
articles that composes the lot or parcel she o_____[?]
during her lifetime and at her death that part of my
Estate she draws shall be Equally divided among the
Children of the said Rebekah Wimpey.
Item. My will is that my Executors shall be paid
Two Dollars Each of the? pr? Day for the time they
lose and Trouble they are at To be paid by my Lya-
=tns? Item.  my will is and I do Hereby appoint
Wm. Henderson George Barber & Christopher
Orr to Execute this my last will and Testament? Given
under my hand and Seal 20th Day of April One
Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Nine.

Ignatius Rains Snr                    Mathew Patton {Seal}
Henry Rains
Ignatius Rains Jnr

[page 110]
Georgia Wilkes

Personally appeared in Open court
Henry Rains and Ignatius Rains Two
of the subscribing witnesses the Within will and bey?
Duly Sworn Saith that they saw the within named
Mathew Patten sign seal Publish and declare the within
Instrument of writing to be his las Will and Testament

[page 111]
And that the time of his so doing he was of soud &
Disposing mind and Memory & that Ignatius Rains Snr
Subscribed as a concurring evidence in this Re______[?]

Sworn in Open Court                Henry Rains
this 3rd March 1806                Ignatius Rains
D[?] Pernell C. Corly
Recorded July 30th 1806       

Mathew Patton signed his will on 20 April 1799 and it was proved on 03 March 1806 which means he died between these two dates.  That is important.  The will was signed and probated in Wilkes County, Georgia so he died there.  He names his children as Solomon, Thomas, Rebekah and Samuel [no wife is named].  The names of the executors is important [usually family or close friends].  The names of the witnesses are important, again, usually family or friends.  I didn't highlight what Mathew willed to his children because that isn't necessary to establish relationships BUT I will say they fact that son Solomon got Mathew's land is important.

Here is a simple deed.  Instead of  highlighting the important parts in red, I will follow this one with an abstract:

Jacob Pope & Others to William Sterling
Robeson County, North Carolina
Deed Book S:122
Written 01 May 1807; proved February Term 1819

 Jacob Pope & others to William Sterling
State of North Carolina Robeson County.  Know all
men by there presents that we for the natural love
and  affection which we bear for our brother in law
William Sterling do give grant and confirm in
him our right and title of a certain negro girl named Charity which
was given to him by one Jesse Lee during the natural life time of his
wife Obedience Sterling by Will after which time she is to belong to the
rest of the heirs of the said Jesse Lee according to said Will we as a
part of the lawful heirs of the said Jesse Lee do hereby relinquish
all our rights titles or claims to the said girl unto him the said
William Sterling and his heirs forever. In witness whereof we do
hereunto set our hand and seals. this 1st day of May 1807.
James Terry     }    Robeson County February Term 1819.          }    Jacob Pope
Richard Smith  }    This release was proved in open                   }     Benjamin Lee
John Miller        }    Court by the oaths of Richard                         }     Joseph Lee
Smith and James Terry and ordered to be                                   }     Stephen Lee
registered.                  Rich.d C. Bunting  Clk                                }     John Drinkwaters
                                                                                                          }     Jesse Lee
                                                                                                          }     Willis Loe
                                                                                                          }     Benjamin Lee
                                                                                                          }     Joshua Herring
                                                                                                          }     James Barnes
                                                                                                          }     Beedey Hester

State of North Carolina Robeson County.  We, for our brother in law WILLIAM STERLING do give a certain negro girl named CHARITY which was given to him by one JESSE LEE during the natural life time of his wife OBEDIENCE STERLING by Will after which time she is to belong to the rest of the heirs of the said JESSE LEE. We relinquish our rights to the said girl unto WILLIAM STERLING.



Robeson County February Term 1819.  Proved by oaths of RICHARD SMITH and JAMES TERRY

In both examples you can see that there are a lot of unnecessary words.  Learning to wade through the fluff just takes practice.

Note:  Sorry about any formatting issues.  I am having a hard time getting stuff to line up like it is supposed to.  You can't just copy and paste. 

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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