The full text of each will is published intact and includes everything from bequeaths of land, homes, and livestock to beds, pots, pans, and clothing.
Reading these wills is like taking a trip to another place, another time. I found particularly interesting the verbage used when emancipating 'negroe' slaves: " ... my negroe woman Eddy be mancipated if the laws of the land will permit it and I do hereby require my Executors hereinafter named to carry the same will respecting said Eddy to my daughter Mary C. Taylor. I wish the said Mary to let her work for herself the ballance of her life and the life of Eddy and to have to enjoy the proceeds of all such labor." (None of spelling errors changed).
James L. Douthat
paper, 35 pp.