I have been working on my family tree since 2001. Among the documents I have gathered are copies of both the Last Will and Testament and the appraisal of the estate of William Downs, who was my 5th GGF and whose grandchildren include my 3rd GGU William Woods Downs (1802 – 1882), after whom the town of Downsville in McLennan County, Texas, was named.
William Downs died in Georgia’s Morgan County in 1824 and this image, which can be enlarged for readability, is the top portion of the “appraisement” which memorializes the nature and valuation of his real and personal property, which consists of the following:
One negro fellow named Joe appraised to $200 “”
One lot of land in Houston County appraised to $15.””
One besdstead and furniture appraised to $15″”
Taken together, the appraisal and the following text of his Last Will and Testament made for one Hell of an epiphany about my heritage.
“It being appointed for all men to die and being old and much afflicted and my bodily strength much decreased though sound in mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following (viz) This I give to my daughter Sarah McCulloch. Twenty dollars good and lawful money of this State to be paid out of the property hereafter named. I also give to the above named Sarah McCullock and David Downs my beloved daughter and son one negro fellow named Tom about fifty five or sixty years of age and lot of land lying in the fifth district of Houston County known by No. two and one feather bead which at my death is to be equally divided between the aforesaid Sarah McCulloch and David Downs after the before named twenty dollars shall be taken out also the above named Negro fellow named Tom having been a faithful servant to me and my children I wish him not to be sold out of my family but for him to be appraised by two disinterested persons and which ever of the two children he wishes to live with to take him and pay to the other half of the Valuation. I also constitute and appoint John M. Butler and Peyton R. Jenkins my executors of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have set my hand and affixed my seal this fifteenth day of April in the year Eighteen hundred and twenty four i n presence of
On the day he died in 1824, William Downs had one slave. When the shooting started in 1861, his grandson William Woods Downs had 100, give or take…