In the name of God Amen. I, William Watkins, of Pitt County, in the Province of North Carolina, Planter, being in a Week low State of health & calling to mind the uncertainty of this life, Do therefore make this my last Will & Testament, Revokeing & disannulling All other & former Wills by me heretofore made; And first, I Recommend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it me, hopeing through the Merrits of Jesus Christ to Obtain everlasting Salvation; And my Body I desire to be buried in a Christian like manner; And as to my Worldly Estate, I dispose of it in manner & form following, to wit:
I give & bequeath unto my beloved Wife, Christian. Watkins, & to my two Sons, John Watkins & William Watkins, & to my four Sons in Law, Francis Buck, James Cason, William Ormond, & James Jones, all my Ready money that I leave at the time of my Death, to be Equally divided betwean them, Share & Share alike.
And, Whereas, I have Some time ago made & Executed in an open & lawful manner, Deeds of Gifts to my Sons & Sons in Law, for my Land & Plantation & all my Negroes & my Still & Worm, which was then immediately before the Execution of the said Deeds, my Right & Property, & which was done Agreeable to & by & with the free & mutual Consent & Agreement of my aforesaid Wife, & Sons, & Sons in Law, And my said Wife, as I married her a Poor Woman without any Estate at all, at the same time Agreed & Concluded to Renounce & quit all manner of Wright or Dower in, or to, the said Land & Plantation in two of the aforesaid Deeds mentioned, either in law in equity, or any other ways howseover, on Condition that I would leave her at the time of my Death the one third part of all my Personal Estate, except the Negros, the Still, & the Worme; Therefore, I do hereby Give & bequeath in behalf of the said Agreement as also for the love that I bear unto my said Wife, Christian Watkins, to her & her heirs for ever, The one third part of all my personall Estate, of all kinds whatsoever, except the Ready money already Given, (and)
And, I do hereby Give & bequeath unto my said Sons in law, Francis Buck, & James Cason, the other two thirds of all my personal Estate of all kinds whatsoever (except the ready money already given), to be equally divided between them, Share & Share alike- And the reason why I Give no more to my Sons, John & William Watkins, and to my Sons in Law, William Ormond & James Jones, is because I have heretofore provided for them in the before mentioned Deeds of Gifts.
I give & bequeath unto my Daughter, Sarah Buck, one Shilling, lawful money of Great Britain.
I give & bequeath unto my Daughter, Elisabeth, one Shilling.
I give & bequeath unto my Daughter, Ann, one Shilling.
I give & bequeath unto my Daughter, Rachael, one Shilling, And the Reason is because I have provided for them in the name of their Husbands in the aforesaid Deeds of Gifts.
Lastly, I appoint my beloved Wife & my Son in Law, James Cason, Executrix & Executor of this my last Will & Testament.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto put my hand & Seal, this Ninth day of November, Anno Domini, 1771.
Wm. Watkins (Seal)
Signed, Sealed, published &
declared by the Testator to be
his last Will & Testament in the
presence of us:
Catherine ----- Crofton.
The within last Will and Testament of William Watkins was proved Before me, this fourteenth day of October, 1773, by the Oath of John Salter one of the Subscribing Witnesses thereto, who swore that he was present and did sec the said Testator, sign, seal, publish and declare the same to be and contain his last Will and Testament; and that at the time thereof he was of sound and disposing Mind & Memory.
And James Cason, the Eexcutor therein named, having taken the Oaths of Executors and qualified as the Law directs, It is Ordered that Letters Testamentary be granted thereon accordingly. Jo. Martin.
Copied from the Original Will, filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.
Source: North Carolina Wills and Inventories, copied from Original and Recorded Wills and Inventories In the Office of the Secretary of State by J. Bryan Grimes, Secretary of State, Published 1912)