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[genpcfr] Will of Mary Willing Byrd

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  • Michael Johnson
    from the Genealogical Publishing Company Virginia Vital Records Virginia Will Records -- from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 1999
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      from the Genealogical Publishing Company Virginia Vital Records
      Virginia Will Records -- from the Virginia Magazine of History and
      the William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, and Tyler’s
      Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Indexed by Judith McGhan.
      Pages 688-696
      (Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, whose will is here printed, was born in 1740,
      and died in
      1814. She was the daughter of Charles and Ann (Shippen) Willing, of
      Philadelphia. She married January 29, 1761, Colonel William Byrd, of
      “Westover,” Charles City county, Virginia, being his second wife. His
      first was Elizabeth Hill daughter of John Carter, of “Shirley.” During the
      revolution, the British forces were several times at Westover, and as Mrs.
      Byrd had acquaintances in the English army, was nearly related to Benedict
      Arnold’s wife, various communications passed between her and the enemy,
      which wer at the time thought to be treasonable. Whether Mrs. Byrd
      exceeded the bounds of friendly intercourse, and if so, to what extent,
      cannot now be determined. There can be no doubt that many persons at the
      time thought she was guilty of treasonable correspondence; but she denied,
      with indignation, the charges against her; and lossing, in his “Field Book
      of the Revolution,” states that it was discovered that she was certainly
      innocent. In February, 1781, all of Mrs. Byrds letters and papers were
      seized by the American officers. It does not appear that any decisive
      action was taken in her case. The Cal. of Va. State Papers, I, 599, and
      II, 312, contain letters from Mrs Byrd in Regard to her case. Arthur Lee,
      in a letter to Colonel Bland, March 21st, 1781, says: “In this situation it
      need not surprise you
      that Arnold, with a handful of bad troops, should march about the country,
      take and
      destroy what he pleased, feast with his tory friends, settle a regular
      Correspondence with them, which he carried on for some time in vessels sent
      up the river and unnoticed, till one happening to run aground, discovered
      Mrs Byrd’s correspondence, which, however, will produce neighter good to us
      nor injury to her. I have reason to think she will not be tried at all,
      because care having been taken to keep the witnesses out of the way.”
      (Campbell’s History of Virginis, p. 711)
      Chastellux, writing of a visit in the year 1782, says: “That [the
      residence], of Mrs. Bird,
      to which I was going, surpasses them all in the magnificence of the
      buildings, the beuty of its situation, and the pleasures of society.
      “Mrs. Bird is the widow of a Colonel who served in the war of 1756, and
      afterwards one of the Council under the British Government. His talents,
      his personal
      qualities, and his riches, for he possessed an immense territory, rendered
      him one of the principal personages of the country; but being a spendtrift
      and a gambler, he left his affairs at his death, in very great disorder.
      He had four children by his first wife, who were already settled in the
      world, and has left eight by his second, of whom the widow takes care. She
      has preserved his beutiful house, situated on the James River, a large
      personal property, a considerable number of slaves, and some plantations,
      which she has rendered valuable. She is about two and forty, with an
      agreeable countenance, and great sense. Four of her eight children are
      daughters, two of whom are near twenty, and they are all amiable and well
      educated. Her care and activity have in some measure reparied the effects
      of her husband’s dissipation, and her house is still the most celebrated,
      and the most agreeable of the neighborhood. She has experienced however
      fresh misfortunes; three times have the English landed at Westover, under
      Arnold and Cornwallis; and though these visits cost her dear, her husband’s
      former attachment to England, where his eldest son is now serving in the
      army, her relationship to Arnold, whose cousin german she is, and perhaps
      too, the jealousy of her neighbours, have given birth to suspicions, that
      war alone was not the object which induced the English always to make their
      descents at her habitation. She has been accused even of connivance with
      them, and the government have once put their seal upon her papers; but she
      has braved the tempest, and defended herself with firmness; and though her
      affair be not yet terminated, it does not appear as if she was likely to
      suffer any other inconvenience that that of being disturbed and suspected.
      Her two eldest daughters passed the last winter at Williamsburg, where they
      were greatly complimented by M. de Rochambeau and the whole army.”]

      The Will

      In the name of God Amen. I Mary Byrd of Westover of the County of
      Charles city,
      Virginia, being of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and
      testament. I
      resign my soul into the hands of its unerring Creator in full hope of its
      eternal happiness throught the mercy of my God, and the mediation of our
      Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and secondly I desire that my body may be
      privately buried by the grave of my dear husband.
      Item. I give and bequeathe to my daughter Maria Hosmanden Page all my
      interest in ten shares of the Virginia Bank, to enjou the interest during
      her life, and to be equally
      divided at her death, between my dear Sarah Walker Page, Aby Page and thier
      Item. I give and bequeth to my said daughter M. H. Page the engravings
      represent the offering of Abraham and all other engravings she may chuse to
      have, one excepted, all the furniture in my chamber, except a bed, a
      mattress, and a small table,
      chair, and a piece of shell work including the cabinet, my bedstead and
      curtains (the
      feather bed and mattress I shall give to Richard, the other three articles I
      shall give to my G. daughter Evelyn Page).
      Item. I give and bequeath to my said daughter M. H. Page the red damask
      bed and the bedstead belonging to it with the hansomest Virginia cloth
      counterpoint not worked and blankets and also the red and white chair
      Item. I give to my said daughter M. H. Page the portrait of her honored
      father, and one of myself, and also one of the Cutches of Mantaigne, also
      two fir screens and six of my longest and best table cloths, and one green
      Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Evelyn Taylor Byrd Harrison my
      bible and
      new testament, and my celleret with a green chair, and agreeably to her
      Sister Ann’s wish the portrait of her Aunt Evelyn. I thank God she and her
      children are well provided for.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my amiable son John Page of Frederick a
      portrait of his hear wife and myself.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Taylor Byrd one of his
      brother John, and one of himself, and also a green chair for the use of my
      very dear daughter his wife.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my G. son Benja. Harrison my set of dining
      tables in the
      dining room at this time.
      Item. I give and bequeath to “Mrs. Braxton the portrait of her father
      Mr. Charles
      Carter and also an engraving of a fine head which hangs between two windows
      in the
      North East room.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my friend Mrs. Ann Lee the picture of a
      little girl with
      which shw was pleased as a small token of my affection.
      Item. I give and bequeath unto Mrs. Eliz Randolph the portraits and
      Col. Peter
      Randolph & lady.
      Item. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Ann Corbin the picture of her mother
      Mrs. Maria
      Beverley as a small testimony of the esteem I feel for her.
      Item. I give and bequeath to Miss Elizabeth Royster a negro man named
      Jack to her and her heirs forever, and for whom I have had a bill of sale
      recorded. I also give here the bed on which she lis, bedding and the
      bedstead called Evelyn’s, with half a doz: chairs and one walnut dressing
      table, I also give her one hundred dollars.
      Item. If Miss E. Royster should continue to live with me while I remain
      in this world, it
      is my wish and desire that my executors pay her three hundred dollars in
      addition to the above legacy with my best wishes for her happiness.
      Item. I will and bequeath to my son Charles Willing Byrd his man Ned to
      him and his
      heirs forever. I also give himy my clock, a set of knives and forks with
      silver hafts, a set of castors, the laddle and one doz. larg table spoons, I
      also give my said son ten portraits, to-wit: Mr. Waltho, one of Titian, one
      of Rubins, one of his G. father Byrd and six of his particular friends, viz:
      Lord Orrery, Sir Wilfried lawson, Ld Oxford, the marquis of Hallifax, the
      Duke of Argyle, and Sir Robert Southall, it is my will and desire, that if
      my said son shall find it inconvenient to carry these portraits to his
      house, that they shall be equally divided between his two brothers, Richand
      and William Byrd, and that a hansome silver coffiee pot that will hold at
      least two pints and a half with a tea pot, be purchased and presented to him
      by them, in leiu thereof.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my son Rich’d Willing Byrd, jack Perry to
      him and his
      heirs forever, I also give to him a pair of candlesticks, a quart mud, a
      salver, two salt
      sellers, with their spoons, and all the table spoons, except one dozen as
      above mentioned, and two raguel spoons, one marrow spoon, and a skewer, I
      also give my said son my urn(all these articles are of silver) being the
      particular desire of his Sister.
      Item. I also give my said son nin portraits, to-wit: his honored fathe’
      s pitcure at full
      length, it hangs in the passage; his G.father’s that hangs in the South East
      room below the stairs, and the portrait of his first and second wife and
      five of his particular friends and favorites, viz: Mrs. taylor, Lady Betty
      Southwell, Ld. Egmont, Sir Charles Wager, and Mr. Brent.
      Item. I give my said son his choice of a pair of horses if M. W. Nelson
      does not chuse to have a pair for the use of himself and sisters.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my son William Powl Byrd, Frank, and his
      wife Fanny, to him and his heirs forever.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my said son W. P. Byrd, a pair of
      candlesticks, a quart
      mug, a salver, a fish trowel, two ragoul spoons, one doz. desert spoons,
      together with a candlestick which was his G. Grandfathers all of silver.
      Item. I likewise give him a pier glass with the family arms painted on
      it, I also give him two pair of andirons one of the belonging to the dining,
      and the other to the S. West chamber below the stairs. I also give my said
      son my best mattress and best English ticken bed, bolster, pillows and
      Item. I give to my said son a pair of my best mules.
      Item. I also give him eight portraits, to-wit: one of his G. Father,
      one of Mr. Dutton,
      one of Mr. Blaithwhite, one of Lady Betty Cromwell, one of his Aunt Carter,
      one of his
      Aunt Maria Carter, one of Mr. Blunt and one of General Park.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Mary Willing Nelson, all of
      my furniture
      in the North West room below stairs in addition to her own bedstead and
      curtains, and the picture of her papa, the larger, the new Virginia cloth
      bed ticken, and the bedding, also the press in the passage up stairs, the
      best easy chair, the commode, a green chair to work on, a table that hold
      her petrifaction now stanking in the South West room, and her bedstead now
      in my room.
      Item. I give and bequeath to My G. Daughter Evelyn Byrd Page all my
      furniture in the
      South West chamber, the pictures, the andirons, and damask bed and bedding.
      I also give my said G. daughter my work table, chair, belonging to it, a
      piece of shell work, two birds drawn by myself, and a set of china (green
      and white, the portraits of he aunt Skipwith, with six chairs of her
      chusing; her bed is now making up.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Lucy Nelson the portrait of
      my honored
      mother, as I find it was the particular with of my lamented daughter, and my
      counter point with the bedsteads and curtains belonging to the S. West room
      up two pair of stairs, with my press which now stands int he passage, with
      two low bedsteads and beds to all three bedsteads.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my G. daughter Ann Rosalie Neslon, a pier
      glass which
      hangs in the dining room, also her choice of two low bedsteads with feather
      beds and
      bedding, four green chairs, I confirm the right given her by my daughter to
      her bedstead curtains, &c. &c. in the S. west chamber, with all i contains,
      the chest of drawers excepted, which is the property of her sister M. W.
      Nelson: I also give her my silver slop bowl, and tea spoons, and my small
      Item. It is my will and desire that my executors advertise and sell all
      that remains of the estate fo my testator agreeably to his last will and
      Item. It is my will and request that my executors retain so much from
      the sales of the
      personal estate of my testator, as shall be sufficient to discharge the
      balance of the debt due me from the estate as settled by the Commissioners,
      in my administration account, who were appointed by the court of Charles
      City. I am undoubtedly the first creditor,having paid debts of the first
      dignity out of --- own estate, and such only have I broghtinto my account
      with the estate.
      Item. I give and bequeath to all my G. sons the interet I have in the
      Dismal Swamp to
      be equally divided between them all.
      Item. It is my wish that my executors dispose of all my crops that may
      be on hand or
      may be growing ( when severed from the land) and after reserving the money
      due me
      principal and interest from the estate, and other outstanding debts, the
      balance is to be divided into four equal parts.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Maria Horsmanden Page one
      fourth of all my property so described.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my son Charles Willing Byrd of West Union,
      Ohio, one
      fourth of all my property in the hands of my executors.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my son Richard Willing Byrd, of Smithfield
      one fourth of
      the above named sum.
      Item. I give and bequeath to my son William Powel Byrd, of Gloucester,
      the remaining fourth part.
      Item. It is my will and desire that a reservatuib if the church land be
      made when
      Westover is sold. I refer my executors to the green book of records.
      Item. It is my will and desire that my faithful maid Jenny Harris be
      whenever she may chuse it. I give and bequeath her a small bedstead, bed,
      bedding and curtains belonging to it, and such of my wearing apparel as my
      children may think proper for her to have, I have the fullest confidence
      that they will not let her wany any of the comforts of life.
      Item. And lastly I appoint my sons John Page of Frederick, Richard
      Willing Byrd of
      Smithfield, William Page of Frederick and Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley,
      Charles City, Executors of this my las will and testement, to which I have
      assigned my hand and affixed my seal this ------- of December one thousand
      eight hundred and thirteen.
      mary Byrd
      In presence of Dunbar Gordon.
      At a court held for Charles City County at the Courthouse the 20 day of
      April,1814, the aformentioned last will and testament of Mary Byrd deceased
      was presented in court and proved by the oath of Dunbar Gordon, and there
      being no other subscribing witness to the same, Patrick Hendren, Charles
      Wilson, and Edward Folkes were sworn and severally deposed that they are
      well acquainted with the handwriting of the testatrix and verily believe the
      said will and the name theretwo subscribed to be wholly written by the
      testatrix own hand, whereupon the said will is ordered to be recorded and at
      a --- other courst held for said county as aforesaid the 18 day of August,
      then next ensueing, on the motion ofWichard W. Byrd, one of the executors
      named in the said will who made oath theretoaccording to law and teoghet
      with William P. Byrd, Cary Wilkinson, and Patrick Hendren his securities
      entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand
      dollars conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted him for
      obtaining a probat of said will in due form, Liberty being reserved the
      other executors names in the said will to join in the probat when they shall
      think fit, and at another court held for said county as aforesaid the 17
      day of November 1815, on the motion of William Page another of hte executors
      named in the said will who took the oath of an executor, and with Benjamin
      Harrison and Joh Page sent his securities entered into and acknowledged a
      bond in the penalty of one hundred thousand dollars conditioned as the law
      directs, certificate is granted the said Page to be joined in the probat of
      said will.
      A copy Teste: J. E. Major, Clerk
      of Charles City County Court, Va.
      Maria Horsmanden Byrd, born November 26, 1761, married in 1784, John
      Page, of
      “Pagebrook,” Frederick (Now Clarke) county.
      Sarah Walker Page married in 1815, Major Thomas Nelson, of Mecklenburg
      Evelyn Page Byrd, born October 13, 1766, died ------, daughter of
      Colonel William and Mrs. Mary Byrd; married Benjamin Harrison, of “Brandon.”
      John Page of “Pagebrook.” Second son of Robert Page, of “Broadneck,”
      county, was born June 29, 1760, and died September 17, 1838.
      Thomas Taylor Byrd, born January 17, 1752; married Mary Armistead.
      John Carter Byrd, born January 27, 1751; married the widow of William
      Randolph, of “Wilton,’ and d.s.p.
      Mary, daughter of Charles Carter, of “Shirley,” born 1763, married
      George Braxton.
      Charles Carter, of “Shirley,” born 1732, died 1806; member of the first
      State Council in
      1776. Brother of the first wife of Colonel William Byrd, 3d.
      Maria, daughter of Landon Carter of “Sabine Hall,” Richmond County and
      wife of Robert Beverley. Her mother was Maria, daughter of Colonel William
      Byrd, 2d.
      Charles Willing Byrd, born July 7, 1770, was a United States Judge in Ohio,
      Sarah Meade.
      Richard Willing Byrd, born October 1774, resided in Isle of Wight county
      and was a
      member of the House of Delegates. Died at Westover, October, 1815. He
      married first Lucy, daughter of Benjamin Harrison of “Brandon,” and
      secondly, Emily Wilson.
      William Powell Byrd, of Gloucester county, married Susan, daughter of
      Addison Lewis, of Gloucester county.
      Mary, daughter of Thomas Taylor, of Kensington, England, married Colonel
      Byrd, 2d, of Westover; died April 28, 1771.
      Anne, daughter of William Byrd 2d, born February 5, 1725, died September
      11, 1757, married Charles Carter, of “Cleve.”
      Maria Byrd, sister of preceding, born January26, 1727, died September
      29, 1744,
      married to Landon Carter of “Sabine Hall.”
      Daniel Park, Jr. son of Colonel Daniel Park, of the Virginia Council,
      was born 1669 and killed in Antigua in 1710. Aid to Marlborough at
      Blenheim, and Governor of the
      Leeward Islands, his daughter Lucy married Colonel William Byrd 2d.
      Daughter of Judge William Nelson and his wife Abby, daughter of Colonel
      Byrd. She married --- Pickens of South Carolina.
      William Nelson, Jusde of the District Court of Virginia, died in 1813,
      age about 59.
      William Byrd, born August 2, 1749 was a lieutenant in the17th (English)
      regiment and died while traveling in France, July 1771.
      Lucy, daughter of Judge William Nelson; married Benjamin Harrison of


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