Friday, January 29, 2010

Will of Abraham Womack, 1803, Lincoln County, North Carolina

I transcribed this will mostly as is, keeping the spelling and punctuation. The will was divided into paragraphs, and the only thing I added was an extra line between paragraphs.

See notes following the will.

State of No Carolina
Lincoln County

In the in the name of god amean I abraham wamock of the State and County aforsaid Being weack of Boudy But Being of sound memory bequeath all of my Estate as followes

first I give to my grand son James Wamock son to Abraham Wamock my Bible and the Remaining of the following articles to Be divided Between my Grand Children of son Abn {preceding word was erased} of my son Abnor Wamock one Bead and furnitur and Bead stand one Chist {?} one oven one scilet 3 puter pleatts one sadle and Bridle one Beasson {Basin?} all the above property to be sold and the money ariseing {?} theron to Be Eaqiely diviced amongst the sd hears of my son abnor Wamock

Item the 2 I leave all the Rest of the household property Margrat Hacker allso one house also ten hea of Cattle & Eleven head of hogs and six head of shepe & nine head of gees with all my oather property and the sd property to be Sold and the Money ariseing from sd property to be {word missing, possibly "given"} to the sd Margrat hager nese {?} as witness my hand and seal this forth day of august 1803

Signed & delivered in the preasanss of ous
H L Hager {could be Mcgee}
John '' Beati
John Robinson

Abraham Womak (seal)

{Reverse side}

Copy Issued
January the 5th 1804

W 1803

Notes on this will

This will has been transcribed before, see Womack Wills and Inventories, though some words are missing, and a few are mis-transcribed.

This is a "loose will", not recorded in the Lincoln County will books. As such, it is the original, and the signature of Abraham Womack is actually his signature. Likewise, the signatures of the witnesses are original. Abraham did not actually write the will, but dictated it to someone else, since handwriting is so different.

The signature of Abraham Womack seems to be from a shaky hand. Since Abraham was close to or slightly over 100 years old, this make sense.

The name of the third witness was definitely John Robinson. The other signatues are harder to make out, but I think they were John Beati (sic, Beatty) and H L Hager.

Perhaps one reason this will was not recorded is that is does not name an Executor, as was customary. Lincoln Co, NC court records of the time do not mention Abraham's will being probated. From dates on the will, we can place Abraham death between 4 Aug 1803 and 5 Jan 1804. Several places have his death incorrect as 16 May 1800, impossible since he wrote his will in 1803. His son, Abraham Womack Jr, died 6 May 1800 in Caswell Co, NC, and perhaps this is the source of the mistaken death date for Abraham Sr.

I do not think Margaret Hager was a relative of Abraham Womack, though he left her money from the sales of some his property in his will. I think she may have cared for him since he was so old. She was possibly paid to do so by Abner Womack, who moved to Kentucky in 1797. By coincidence, an Archibald Womack from the Richmond, VA area came to Lincoln Co, NC in the early 1800s and married there Sarah Hager. This Archibald Womack was only very distantly related to Abraham Womack.

Note that at the time of his death, Abraham Womack owned no real estate. He had purchased 160 acres in Tryon Co, NC in 1772:

Tryon Lincoln Deeds, Volume 1
Pp. 694—695: 23 1772, JOHN REED of Tryon Co., to ABRAHAM WAMMOCK of same, for lb 5 sterling …land on W side Catawba River, granted to JOHN BEATY, then conveyed to JOHN REED, 160 A…. JOHN REED (SEAL), MARTHA REED (SEAL), Wit: ABEL BEATTY, JNO. BEATY. Rec. Jan. term 1773.

See my NC Womack records.

In 1779, Tryon County, NC was divided into Lincoln and Rutherford Counties, and ceased to exist.

In Lincoln County Pleas and Quarters Court for Jan 1790, a deed from Abraham Wammock to Abner Wammock for 160 acres dated 25 Sep 1789 was proved by Jas. Reed. I have not seen the actual deed.

Abner Womack sold the land before moving to Kentucky:

Lincoln County, NC, Deed book 20:
266. 7 Nov 1797 Abner Womack (Lincoln Co) to Anderson Nunelly (same); for £80 sold 160 ac on W side of Catawba R; granted [no date] to John Beatty who sold to John Connelly who sold to John Reed who sold to Abraham Womack. [signed] A Womack; witness John Allen jurat and Abel William Dukworth. Rec Jan 1802. Book 20, p.403.

Abraham Womack had only some personal property when he died, and not very much worth anything.

I'll do some more posts on Abraham Womack's long life, with records in the Virginia Counties of Henrico, Amelia, and Prince Edward, and North Carolina Counties of Tryon and Lincoln. and why I believe he was about 100 years old when he died, but for now, I would like to address a few issues that researchers have noted with his will.

First issue is that he gives his Bible to a grandson James Womack, son of Abraham Womack, but from Abraham Womack Jr's Bible Record, we know that Abraham Jr did not have a son named James. I think that whoever wrote down the will as Abraham Sr dictated it made a mistake. It should have said "grandson James Womack son to Abner Womack". Abraham Sr's son Abner Womack did indeed have a son named James Womack, his eldest son, born about 1789 in Lincoln Co, NC, so about 14 when Abraham Sr wrote his will. There is reason to believe that Abraham Sr's Bible did go with Abner Womack's family:

Excerpt from Revolutionary War Pension Application (NC S30804) of Abner Womack of Butler Co, KY, his affadavit, 12 Nov 1832

{Swears} That he was born in Prince Edward County, State of Virginia, on the 7th January 1764. That he has record of his age at hand which was made by his father. That he lived in Lincoln County, North Carolina during his whole service and until 1797, when he moved to that part of Logan Kentucky which now forms the County of Butler where he now resides.

It would be great to find that Bible today! It probably went to Illinois with Abner's sons.

Another issue researchers raise is that Abraham Womack Sr fails to mention all his children in his will. In fact, as shown above, the reference to his son Abraham Jr was likely a mistake, so the only child he actually mentioned was his son Abner Womack. The simple answer to me is that Abraham Sr had very little property, and in his extreme old age was closest to his youngest son. The more complex answer was that he had three sets of children, by first wife Jane LNU, by Ann Blanton, and by second wife Elizabeth LNU. The three children by his first wife may have been estranged from him over the Ann Blanton affair, and he outlived one or two of them. The two children he had out of wedlock with Ann Blanton were not legally his heirs, and at least one or both were dead when he made his will. Although Abraham Womack Sr did not mention all his children in his will, there is sufficient evidence of his legitimate children, as well as proof of his illegitimate children (including Womack DNA testing and Blanton DNA testing).

The third issue that researchers have with Abraham's will is that the chancery records of his brother William Womack (who died without children in 1790 in Charlotte Co, VA) name Abraham as deceased before he wrote his will on 4 Aug 1803 - for example, this Charlote Court Order from 12 Mar 1803. The answer here is that Abraham's kin in Virginia had no contact with him since he left Virginia in the late 1760s, and they assumed that he was dead, which was a good assumption given that he was born circa 1706. The source of the information on Abraham and his family was likely his brother, Thomas Womack Jr (who administered William's estate), or possibly even Thomas Jr's widow, Mary LNU Womack. This is what they had to say about Abraham:

"Abraham Womack it is said went towards South Carolina a great many years ago, the oldest of the connection amongst us cannot remember him but understood of their relations that he removed as above..."

Note that plenty of mistakes were made in listing the families of William Womack's siblings. For Abraham's family, Elizabeth Womack Cawthorn, Mary Womack Spradling, and Abner Womack were remembered as his children, but Abraham Womack Jr was somehow forgotten, and this relationship had to be proved to the administrator of William Womack by Josiah Womack, son of Abraham Womack Jr.

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