[genpcfr] Will of Mary Willing Byrd
- 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 Tylers
Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Indexed by Judith McGhan.
WILL OF MRS. MARY WILLING BYRD, OF WESTOVER, 1813
(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
Arnolds 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,
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 Byrds 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.
(Campbells 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,
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 husbands 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 husbands
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.]
In the name of God Amen. I Mary Byrd of Westover of the County of
Virginia, being of sound mind and memory do make this my last will and
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
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
new testament, and my celleret with a green chair, and agreeably to her
Sister Anns 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
Carter and also an engraving of a fine head which hangs between two windows
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
Randolph & lady.
Item. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Ann Corbin the picture of her mother
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 Evelyns, 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 Richd 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.fathers 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
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
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
hangs in the dining room, also her choice of two low bedsteads with feather
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
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,
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
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.
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
A copy Teste: J. E. Major, Clerk
of Charles City County Court, Va.
Maria Horsmanden Byrd, born November 26, 1761, married in 1784, John
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
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
Charles Willing Byrd, born July 7, 1770, was a United States Judge in Ohio,
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
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
eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/genpcfr
http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications