The Will of Burgess Witt
June 15, 1868
Nelson County, Virginia - Will Book N, P. 145
Transcribed by Sharon K. Barrett, March 2015.
Note: the Will book was bound. Words on the inner edge of some pages were indecipherable.
Some corrections were made regarding names, spelling; other “mistakes” are original to the will.
I Burgess Witt, of the County of Nelson and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory do make and ordain this instrument as and for my last will and testament. That is item the first: It is my will that after my death that my funeral expenses and all just debts shall be paid, and that then all my real estate shall be divided as follows.
Item the second, I give and bequeath to my son David A. Witt one moiety or half of the following real estate to wit; according to quantity and quality including all improvements thereon that is one half of all the lands embraced in the following boundary, commencing at the north east corner of the tract of land on which Thomas M. Dickerson [Dickinson] lives in the Lovingston road and running thence along said in a south eastern direction with its meandering to where an old mountain road leaves said Lovingston road and runs off in a westerly direction up a ridge. Thence along said fence a strait line to a marked white oak. Thence on the highest land to the lands of the estate of Harves W. Colman or thence with the line of the land of that estate to near the highest top of the mountain thence with that line as far as it goes east of said. Thence down the highest ridge to the estate of ------- Martin deceased thence with the lines of that tract on the south side thereof, first and thence with said from corner to corner to the public road leading to Nellies Ford. Thence along a side road with its meandering to Frances Witts line, thence with her line in a northern direction to the lands of the estate of Harves W. Colman Sr. Thence with that line to the lands of the estate of Josiah Bridgewater dec'd now around by William Henry Harris, thence with his line to John C. Collins line, thence with his line to the public road leading to Adial meeting house thence up said road to an oak sapling near the corner of a field on the south side of said road. Thence in a southern direction to cross the mill road ten yards above the saw mill. Thence a continued strait line across Cobans [Corbins] creek to the foot of the hill. Thence to a chestnut corner at an old road. Thence a new choped line to a chestnut oak. Thence a strait line to the line of the tract of land purchased by me of Nathaniel Bridgewater. Thence along the line of that tract in a westerly direction to where it strikes the line of the tract of land whereon Thomas M. Dickerson [Dickinson] lives at or near the gum corner. Thence with the line of that tract to the beginning at the Lovingston road to him and his heirs forever, the whole tract therein described I value at six thousand one hundred and fifty dollars and it is my will that in case my beloved wife Nancy Witt outlives me that she shall be supported from the products or parts of said tract of land provided by my said son David H. Witt and son John W. Witt fails to provide her with comfortable and plentiful ----- during her natural life.
Item the third, I give to my grand son Dennett A. Witt in trust for [my son] John W. Witt the other moiety or half of said land to be held and controlled by the said trustee free from liability for the payment of any debts of my said son John W. Witt when he now owes or hereafter contract but to be used and worked or rented out by said [trustee] and the profits thereof applied to the support and maintainance of said son John W. Witt and his family or if it shall become needed for the comfortable support of my said son and family then the said trustee may sell and apply the proceeds of the said one moiety of said tract of land to the support of my son and his family but in case it shall not be necessary to sell for my said sons support then in that case the said trustee may let my said son and his family live on and occupy and use it for and during his natural life but at his death it shall be sold by the said trustee on such time and terms he things best and the proceeds of such sale be equally divided between all children of said son John W. Witt and their heirs forever.
Item the third I give to Thomas M. Dickerson [Dickinson] the tract of land on which he now lives containing about one hundred and fifty(?) six acres according to a plat made out by Nathan J. Barnett the eleventh day December 1847 to him his heirs forever, the said land is however to be encumbered and stand bound for the following sums of money, to wit, two thousand dollars to be divided into ten annual payments of two hundred dollars each the first to be due or carry interest from the 12th day of February 1868 and the second to be due the 12th day of February 1869 and so on the last be due and payable on the 12th day of February 1877. The said two thousand dollars to be divided and paid in three equal parts as the same becomes due by the said Thomas M. Dickerson [Dickinson] to his three daughters, my grand children to wit one third to Ella Hughes wife of James J. Hughes, one third to Louisa Collins wife of Collins and one third to Talista Dickerson [Dickinson] if however my said grand daughter Talista dies before she arrives at the age of twenty one years or marries then in that case her part shall pass in equal portion to her said two sisters, Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Collins or to their legal descendants accord to the of (?) descents.
Item fourth, I give to James Rittenhouse and Nancy C. his wife (my daughter) all the balance of my land lying south of the lands herein willed to my said son David H. Witt and my grand son Dennett A. Witt trustee for my son John W. Witt and west of the lands herein willed to Thomas M. Dickerson [Dickinson] and bounded to the south west by the lands of Thomas M. Dickerson [Dickinson] and William C. Roberts and on the west by the lands of Mrs. H. Harris and perhaps the lands of Robert C. Davis which tract of land I give to said Rittenhouse and wife and their heirs forever this land I value at three thousand dollars.
Item the 5th I give to my grandsons James A. Collins and Roland E. Witt who married my grand daughter Mary E. Collins that portion of my land lying south of a new line beginning at a stake at Thomas M. Dickersons line on the top of Turkey Mountain and running thence a new line in an easterly direction to the land I bought of David Hays to a white oak sapling corner. Then with said Hays line to Pleasant D. Roberts line and embracing the tract of land that I lived on many years ago and is the same that was occupied by John C. Collins for several years after he married my daughter Sarah Ann, which lands willed to said grand sons I value at fourteen hundred and fifty dollars all of which I give to my said two grand sons in equal parts according to quantity and quality to them and their heirs forever.
Item the sixth, whereas John C. Collins is indebted to me seven hundred dollars that I loaned him to pay for the land where he lives which sum of money I desire that he shall use and expend in the education of his two little boys, sons of my deceased daughter Sarah Ann—my will therefore is for him to spend that amount to be equally divided about the education of those two boys, to wit Samuel Collins and John Collins and I will to John C. Collins to his own use until said two little boys or the youngest of them arrives at the age of twenty one years, the whole of the balance of my lands lying between the said new line described in laying off that portion of my land willed to James A. Collins and Roland E. Witt in this my will; and the lands of said John C. Collins (where he lives) embracing all the lands not otherwise disposed of, that I bought of William A. and Nelson F. Shelton and said Hays and the old mill lot which I bought of Alexander Fitzpatrick. If however John C. Collins prefers to rent out the said land and educate his said two little boys from the rents as they come rather than to pay the said seven hundred dollars for their education then he may do so, and not account for or pay the said seven hundred dollars, and when the youngest of said boys arrives at the age of twenty one years they are to have the said lands to be equally divided between them according to quantity and but should either of them die before he arrives at such age the survivor must take the whole and in case both dies before they arrive at such age, then it is my wish that unless they marry before and leave child or children that the lands willed by me to them shall go to my two grandsons Samuel A. Collins and Roland E. Witt in equal portions according to quality and quantity to them and their heirs forever. This land I value at fourteen hundred and fifty dollars and I reserve a right of way through the land as it now runs from the mill I have deeded to John W. Witt to the line between this land and the land herein willed to James A. Collins and Roland E. Witt which is to be perpetual for the use of them and their heirs forever.
Item the seventh, Having heretofore made advancements to all of my children I hereby will that there shall not be any account taken between them on account of any such advancements as I now confirm them all as gifts.
Item the eighth. I desire that all the rest and residue of my estate of every description be sold by my executors hereafter to be appointed on such terms as they may deem most advisable (not on a credit exceeding twelve months) and out of the proceeds thereof and the collection of all debts due me, after paying my funeral expenses and such debts as I may owe they are directed to equalize differences in legacies herein contained, that is to make such of my children or their descendants or each stock or tribe equal to the others (without regard to interest) according to the valuations herein named as the foundation upon which the equalization is to begin, but should the property to be sold and debts due me be insufficient to make such equalization, then such as have the last willed to them shall be paid until they receive as much the rest last and so on until all receives as much as those that get the most, and should there be a surplus, that must be divided equally between all my said children and grandchildren giving to those that get half shares or less the same proportion of any said surplus.
And lastly, I appoint my son John W. Witt and my grand son Dennett A. Witt executors of this my last will. Given under my hand 15th day of June 1868. And it is my will that from any cause my son David H. Witt and my grand son Dennett A. Witt fail to divide the tract of land herein willed to my son David H. Witt and to my said grand son Dennett A. Witt in trust for my son John W. Witt then it is my will that the County Court of Nelson shall appoint two discreet freeholders of said County whose duty it shall be together with a competent surveyor to lay off and divide said tract of land according to quality and quantity taking into consideration the value of improvements and assign one moiety to each as provided for in this my will and make a report to said Court accompanied by plats of each share in moiety that the same may be recorded. Given under my hand this 15th day of June 1868.
John J. Witt Jr.
Moses H. Fitzpatrick
At a County Court held for Nelson County on Monday March 24th 1873 an Instrument of writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Burgess Witt decd was this day produced into Court and proven by the oaths of Moses H. Fitzpatrick and Jno J. Witt Jr. two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.
Teste Wm Hill Clerk
At a County Court held for Nelson County on Monday April 28th 1873 D.A. Witt the (?) executor therein named this day appeared in Court and qualified as such according to law and together with Thos M Dickinson his security who justified as to his sufficiency entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $1500 conditioned according to law certificate is granted him for obtaining probate of such will in due form.
Teste Wm Hill Clk