Bullitt County History

Joseph Brooks' 1818 Will

In the name of God Amen. I Joseph Brooks of the County of Jefferson and State of Kentucky, being weak in body, but of sound and disposing mind and memory, considering the uncertainty of mortality and all earthly things, so commending my immortal soul to the supreme arbiter of events, to that power which gave me existence, do make, ordain and publish this my last will and testament for the purposes hereinafter expressed in manner and form following Viz.

Imprimis. It is my will and desire and I do hereby devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Nancy Brooks all my personal and mixed estate (except the debts which are due to me) of which I am now possessed and also the following negroes slaves Viz. Joseph a black man, Jim Hunley a black man, Captain Jack a lad, Priscilla a woman, Caroline a woman, Priscilla a girl, Bartley a boy, and Mahala a female child, making eight in all to her and her only proper use for her to be by her at her death disposed of as she may deem most advisable or proper.

Secondly - It is further my will and desire, and I do hereby devise, bequeath and confirm unto my worthy friend Solomon Neill and trust for my son Squire Brooks all the lands lying westwardly of the line beginning at the corner stone near the Sulphur Well and running thence N 32 1/2° W and between said line and the divisional line or lines between the lands owned by John Speed and myself and back with said divisional line or lines to the said beginning corner stone of what description of title so ever that may appertain to me, and also all the stock, materials, utensils &c together with the nineteen negro slaves agreeably to the purport and design of a deed of conveyance made, signed, sealed and delivered by me to the said Solomon Neill in trust as aforesaid bearing date the 2nd day of September instant, herein ratifying and confirming the same as fully and specially as though the articles therein expressed, enumerated and delivered were here again recited and repeated to be by him the said Solomon Neill retained in trust as aforesaid till it shall seem to him prudent to place the same in the hands of the said Squire or until shall or may become prudent, safe or advisable for him the said Squire to receive, inherit and exercise ownership over and the management of the said property, free and clear of and from all sort of difficulty or embarassment, till when the said Solomon as aforesaid will control the same for the use, benefit and support of him the said Squire, then and at that period deliver and made the same over to him the said Squire and not till then.

And it is my further will and desire that my said son Squire Brooks shall inherit and receive all the interest, benefit or advantage resulting from the estate of my deceased son David Brooks in all and every respect, matter or thing, including all accounts, debts or dues due by me as administrator or any member of my family to the said estate and unto the said Solomon Neill in trust for the said Squire, do I devise and bequeath the same to be applies and appropriated as herein before directed and in no other manner.

I further will, desire and direct that the debts due to D. L. Ward for which I am now in bank and to John Beckwith Sr. which wre contracted by my son Squire be considered as debts due in common by and paid from my said estate herein afterwards provided for.

Thirdly - It is further my will and desire and I do hereby confirm unto my son-in-law Elisha Standiford and my daughter Nancy his wife the title of the two negroes Leonard and Elsy heretofore received from my estate and the title of the land within the boundary or boundares of a deed executed to the said Standiford by me and bearing date the 4th day of September instant upon his the said Standiford relinquishing and giving up all accounts, claims, engagements or debts against me which he may hold in his own name to the present period, and upon his returning and delivering up the five negroes which are in his possession to wit: Edmund, Doll and her three children.

Fourthly - I have already given, conveyed and delivered up to my son Joseph Anderson Brooks his proportion of my estate, which I hereby confirm except his divident if any there should remain after the final adjustment and settlement of the debts &c of my said estate as shall be herein after expressed.

Fifthly - I have also given, conveyed and delivered ove to my son-in-law Solomon Neill and my daughter Margaret his wife a tract of land called the Sand Springs tract and two negroes to wit: Lucy and Preston, the title of each and all whereto I hereby confirm.

And it is further my will and desire and I do hereby devise and bequeath to my son-in-law Solomon Neill and my daughter Margaret his wife all that tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Jefferson and State aforesaid and within the angle formed by the boundary lines of my son Joseph A. Brooks and my son-in-law Elisha Standiford running from the salt wells from their respective corner eastwardly and within Powell's Survey, supposed to contain about one hundred and fifty two acres, be the same more or less, with this condition; that Solomon Neill be permitted to use and occupy the same in trust for my son Squire Brooks as to finding, obtaining or using salt water thereon or there from should there be any or should the said Squire wish so to do, or at least until said Solomon Neill may find it necessary to apply or convert it to his own special use.

Sixthly - It is further my will and desire and I do hereby direct that the money, say about $1300, which will be due and payable to me by John W. Sanders at the termination of the suit in which I stand plaintiff against George Reed in my favor and the money due by my brother David Brooks (when the land shall be secured and conveyed to him which conveyance pursuant to my agreement, I hereby authorize and direct my executors hereinafter named to make) shall be converted to the assistance of my son Squire and appropriated to use for the purpose of enabling him to dig a salt well or wells and said appropriation and application of money, the sums aforesaid, to be subject to the order and control of the said Solomon Neill in trust as aforesid for my said son.

Seventhly - It is futher my will and I do hereby bequeath and devise to my beloved wife Nancy Bowles all my right, title, interest, claim and of, in and to the two hundred acres of land of which I made the reservation out of the lands or place or plantation which I conveyed to my son Joseph A. Brooks to be for her special use and benefit agreeable to the terms of the said reservation which will be till her death.

Eighthly - I do hereby nominate and appoint my worthy friends and son Joseph Anderson Brooks, Solomon Neill and Elisha Standiford executors of this my last will and testament to whom I will devise and bequeath all my lands of any and every description or place or title whatsoever except such as are conveyed or herein and elsewhere by me specially appropriated, set apart or devised to them my said executors in trust for the use and purpose of paying my just debts, and meeting and complying with any engagement under which I may now be, whether pecuniary or mixed for which purpose and to enable them, my said executors to comply with and to execute this my last will and testament.

I do hereby give and bequeath to them full and ample power and authority to sell and convey any of my said lands and to settle, adjust or compromise any matter of controversy or litigation whether relating to lands or pecuniary matters in which my said estate ma or can be involved in the manner that may appear to them or any two of them to be most to the interest and benefit of my said estate, or as they may be learnedly advised by counsel. And that they first of all attend to and apply the proceeds of the sale of such land or lands to the payment of my said debts. And in case my said executors can obtain or collect the money due to me by Robert Breckinridge.

It is my will and desire that it be applied immediately to my bank debts, or that whenever it can or may be recovered, that it may be applied to the payment of my said debts, thereby saving the necessity for the sale or disposition of land or lands which I wish reserved, and afterwards divided, share and share alike, among my children, provided it can be done and effected consistently wit the affairs of my estate. If however this cannot easily be effected in the manner herein wished and expressed, then that the said executors sell, dispose of and convey the lands at their discretion, having regard to the preservation of my said estate.

And it is further my will and desire that any moneys which may be remaining or left unappropriated after the full and entire payment of the debts &c be distributed and paid over to my said children, to wit: Squire, Joseph, Elisha Standiford and Nancy his wife, and Solomon Neill and Margaret his wife, or the survivor or survivors of them or their heirs in equal and just proportions. And if a residue of land or land claims should remain unsold or unappropriated, then also that the same shall be equally divided as to quality and value between my said children or their heirs.

Ninthly - It is further my will and desire and I do hereby confer and bequeath unto my said executors full power and authority to convey and confirm unto my daughter Mary Pendergrast and my granddaughter Margaret America Pendergrast my right, title, interest and claim in and to the tract of land which I own in Bullitt County and known by the name of the Clear Station tract, she my said daughter holding my bond for the same, pursuant to which I am willing the conveyance shall be made; but is my desire that the tract aforesaid be conveyed to my said daughter and granddaughter or their own heirs, and if my said granddaughter should die without legitimate issue, that then her proportion of the said estate or any other part or proportion which I should or might devise to her or to her mother, my said daughter, should revert to her maternal heirs and by no means ascend to her father, nor to her paternal relations. Such and upon these conditions do I devise and bequeath the same.

It is further my will and I I desire and direct that my said executors pay over to my said daughter Polly Pendergrast the sum of five hundred pounds out of any monies which may be or remain in their hands after the payment of the debts as in the foregoing part of this will provided. And after her mother (my beloved wife Nancy Brooks) shall be paid the sum of two thousand dollars, in case my said daughter Polly shall succeed in he recovery of the six negroes for .. which she my said daughter has instituted a suit in the Jefferson Circuit Court together with other slaves which six negroes I have by these presents and herein devised to my said wife to whom I direct my said executor to pay the sum of two thousand dollars as an equivalent in case she my lose or be by the event of the said lawsuit deprived of the negroes aforesaid and that after the payment of the debts now due by me or my estate and the payment of the two thousand dollars to my said wife as aforesaid, in the event of the loss of said negroes is my said daughter to receive the said 500 pounds, should such sum remain. Which together with the negroes now in her possession and the land heretofore received and conveyed to her my said daughter shall be in full of her interest in my said estate.

Tenthly - It is further my will and desire and I hereby direct that the bond which I hold against my son Joseph A. Brooks for 300 some odd hundred dollars be by my executors given up to him, upon his, my said son's paying the debt due by me to Jacob Yoder for $2000 some odd hundreds for land so soon as the said Yoder can quiet the disputes and make a title thereto. As it was for that purpose and to meet that debt that I took the said bond. And upon the compliance therewith by my said son Joseph, tis my wise and I direct that he be exonerated therefrom.

Eleventhly and lastly - Hereby devising and bequeathing to my said executors full poser and authority to execute, perform and carry into effect all and singular the matters and things enjoined and contained in this my last will and testament. I hereby subscribe and set my hand and seal in presence of these witnesses this 5th day of September 1818. (signed) Joseph Brooks Witnesses: Thomas Joyes, Elias Dean, Robert G. Vance


I Joseph Brooks, being yet weak in body, but of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish the following as a codicil to my foregoing last will and testament, viz.

1st - Not being reconciled at the inflexible or inexorable disposition and determination of my daughter Polly Pendergrast in refusing to abandon her unjust and unreasonable pretensions to the negroes for which she has brought a suit as aforesaid; I do hereby will and devise that should she fail in recovering the said negroes in the said suit and should those negroes now in her possession be decreed to me, or to my estate, I then devise and direct that they be received by my aforesaid and before mentioned executors and by them appropriated to the increase with their increase be apportioned or divided among my childen should anything remain unappropriated.

2nd - The eight hundred acres of land which I bought of Jacob Yoder, the title for which is or has been in controversy and for which land or the debt due by one for the same to said Yoder, my son Joseph is to pay, lies within the boundary which I have set apart and bequeathed to Solomon Neill in trust for the use of my son Squire. And lest there should be any misinterpretation thereof or therein, it is my will and desire and I do hereby devise and bequeath the said tract of 800 acres to the said Solomon in trust as aforesaid.

In testimony whereof I set my hand and seal this 6th day of September 1818. (signed) Joseph Brooks. Witnesses: Thomas Joyes, Elias Dean, Robert G. Vance


I Joseph Brooks, being still of sound and disposing mind and memory, upon further consideration do add, ordain and publish this the following as a continuation of the cordicil to the foregoing and proceeding eight pages of my last will and testament, or as a second codicil thereto, viz.

Whereas my daughter Polly Pendergrast hath consistently with her duty as a child to a parent, and presented me with a full and entire relinquishment of her claim and pretensions to the negroes slave for which she hath instituted a suit against me &c accompanied with directions to the clerk of Jefferson County to dismiss the same.

I do therefore publish as follows - It is my will and desire and I do devise and bequeath to my sais daughter Polly Pendergrast and her heirs forever all that tract of land which I now own, lying and being in the county of Jefferson and state of Kentucky and adjoining the lands which I conveyed to my son-in-law Solomon Neill and part of the tract called the Sand Spring tract entered in the name of Slaughter, Camp and Woolfolk and patented to Slaughter as well as my recollection now serves. It is however the remaining tract or parcel of land I now own in taht quarter and contains about six hundred and forty nine acres, be the same more or less.

It is further my will and desire and I do devise and confirm to my said daughter, her heirs &c th full and entire right and title to the negro slaves which I had heretofore bequeathed and delivered to her and of which negroes she is now in the posssession, viz. Charles a man, and Letitia the daughter of Prescilla and her four children for her and their only proper use and benefit.

It is also my will and desire and I do hereby revoke that sentence in my said last will and testament which goes to entitle my said daughter to receive, obtain and inherit from my said estate the sum of five hundred pounds should so much remain after the payment of the debts due &c, and also that sentence which relates to the negroes being taken which are not in her possession by my executors and placed in common in my estate should the court decree them to me or to my estate. This however, the dismissal of the suit aforesaid by my said daughter remedies and supersedes.

It is further my will and I do hereby devise and bequeath to her my said daughter one equal and undivided interest of, in and to the proceeds or overplus if any there should remain of that part of my estate which is not devised or appropriated.

And I do hereby direct that she be considered among the distributies, fully authorizing and directing my said executors to comply herewith as exactly and precisely as though this was contained or incorporated in the first or any part of my said last will and testament.

In witness and confirmation whereof I hereto set and affix my hand and seal the 6th day of September 1818. (signed) Joseph Brooks.

Done in presence of Thomas Joyes, Robert G. Vance, Benjamin W. Brooks.


I Joseph Brooks, being still of sound and disposing mind and memory, upon further consideration to add, ordain and publish this the following as a continuation of the codicil to my last will and testament which was executed on the 6th day of this instant.

It is my will and desire and I do hereby devise and bequeath to my son-in-law Solomon Neill in trust for my son Squire Brooks all that lot or parcel of land which lies between the land I have conveyed to Elisha Standiford and Nancy his wife and the land I have willed to Solomon Neill in trust for my son Squire Brooks.

In witness and confirmation whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 25th day of September 1818. (signed) Joseph Brooks

Done in presence of John Jones, William H. Allen.


At a county court held for Jefferson County in the State of Kentucky at the court house in Louisville on the twelfth day of October 1818, the foregoing last will and testament of Joseph Brooks deceased with the codicils thereto annexed was produced in court and the said will and the first and second codicils thereto annexed was proved by the oaths of Thomas Joyes and Robert G. Vance, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and the third codicil thereto annexed was proved by the oaths of John Jones and William H. Allen the subscribing witnesses thereto, and the said will and codicils were ordered to be recorded and the same are recorded in my office as clerk of said court.

And execution of the said will and codicils were by said court granted to Solomon Neill, one of the executors therein named, who took the oath required by law and gave bond in the penalty of fifty thousand dollars with John Speed, Squire Brooks and Ambrose Camp his securities, conditioned according to law.

Teste. Wolden Pope, Clerk

Jefferson County Will Book 2, Pages 87-96


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