Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc. Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents.

After looking over the many old papers such as estates, receipts and notes, thinking they would be of interest to their descendants we have decided to use the following; the names will show who the first settlers were. This is done at the risk of being tedious, but they are so interesting one cannot forego the opportunity to reproduce some of them. The oldest paper found is a receipt among the papers of William Lawrence which follows: "March 12, 1800, settled all accounts with James Worthington up to this day, due to said Worthington by settlement, eight dollars three shillings and ten pence. As witness my hand — John Musbond." Another article found among his papers that does not seem to be connected with his estate but evidently his property, was a small book made of writing paper, and inscribed on the first page, "William Lawrence, his hand and pen, March 27, 1803. " On the outside pages were quotations of a hymn and one of the psalms. The first pages of the book were devoted to retail liquor accounts. Judging from this, license issued and tax receipts, William Lawrence, was a distiller of this county. Then followed this account of his family. "A true account of the age of my family, William Lawrence, Senior was born December 27, 1770, Esther Worthington was born November 19, 1772 and were married November 12, 1793. Children: Elizabeth, born October 18, 1794; Phoebe, born October 19, 1796, Benjamin born September 19, 1798, William, Jr., January 2, 1801, John born March 4, 1803, Nancy born January 3, 1805, Calvin born May 9, 1807 Lucindy born March 1, 1809, Matilda born June 14, 1811, Polly born July 9, 1813." William Lawrence, Sr. administered on the estate of Samuel Worthington, and it is more than probable his wife Ester was the daughter of Samuel.
One of the largest and earliest estates recorded is that of Nathaniel Green. Green's old ferry located on the Mississippi River was the terminus of an old road that ran across the southern end of the state. It is very probable that this ferry was established by him or some of his family, which resided in the western part of Johnson County which is now Union.
The executors of the estate of Nathaniel Green were Thomas and Parish, brothers of the deceased and appointed by him, as his will (recorded elsewhere) directs. The personal property sale amounted to $1,573.95. Some articles offered for sale that are now out of the ordinary, were two piggins, 50c each, these were small wooden vessels made with staves and hoops, one stave was left longer than the other for a handle, and they were usually made of cedar of various sizes, used for the same purpose we use pans and crocks today; one flax wheel, which indicates that flax was raised in southern Illinois at that period, $2.30; one Bible bought $2.12 1 /2 ; one pot, lid and hooks, $3.75, pot hooks are not now in use, but in those days when people cooked on the open fire they were very essential. These hooks were long pieces of iron, joined together at one end so that they would work freely. They had hooks on the other ends to lift lids, ovens and pots with out bales and handles. This sale shows one negro man named Richard, one negro woman Anna and child named Reuben, sold to Thomas Cox, for $770.00; to John Earthman, one negro boy named Charlie, $220.00. The account of Robert Tweedy for the year 1812 shows sixty pounds of beef for a dollar and a half; the account of John Earthman for the same year, 81 pounds of cotton $2.00. How wonderfully small these prices seem compared with those of 1917 : beef, 45c per pound and cotton, 48c per pound; an item also in John Earthman's account was two ferryings of himself and horse (referring to Nathanial Green) $1.25 each. Daniel T. Coleman made an affidavit before Joseph Palmer, J. P., that Nathanial Green "did sign to school to Daniel T. Coleman, on an article of the same date to commence on the first Monday in January, 1812, and assigned the 25th day of November, 1811. This was receipted by Daniel T. Coleman, 1814. The administrators furnished six gallons of whiskey for the sale at $1.50 gallon. George, James and Robert Tweedy were the appraisers of this estate and the sale was held on March 6, 1812. Thomas Abernathy and Benjamin N. Conner were the clerks. A later appraisment was made by Jacob Hunsaker, Robert Tweedy, and B. F. Conner. This property was all live stock which no doubt had been gathered later, as all stock ran at large and made their living on the range. The bond of Thomas and Parish Green was replaced at $2,000. John Bradshaw and Owen Evans were the bondsmen.
The estate of Bazil Borin was administered on by Hoseah Borin. James Hogan and Thomas Mcintosh were his security for a $2,000 bond, delivered James Finney, June 7th, 1813. The appraisers were John Bradly, Abraham Price. Total appraisment was $1,101.19. A feather bed is listed at $30.00, one side of leather, $1.00, the improvement, $40.00, Jerry, a negro boy at $300.00, Clarice, a girl, $200.00, Mariah a girl, $150.00, Fannie, a girl, $100. In the account rendered against the estate as administrator is the following: "For entering four young negroes as per receipt, $8.00, going to Tennessee to bring back three negroes belonging to the estate, $38.00, for a trip to Tennessee to examine witnesses agreeable to notice from John Bradshaw in the suit brought by me against him for Isabel a negro girl, $30.00." The amount of whiskey was only two dollars. Russel E. Heacock, was the attorney.
William Dorris presents an account of $125.00 dated April 14, 1802, a note of a little earlier date was made to Nimrod McTosh for $7.50, dated March 1802, signed Bazil Borin, Test. H. Johnson. The Borin family lived in the southern part of the county, now Pulaski. The Prices are also of that locality and descendants of both families still reside in that section.
The estate of Joseph Eubanks was adjusted in 1814, Sally Eubanks and William Styles administered and Isaac D. Wilcox and David Frame were their bondsmen. The articles offered at this sale were about the same as at other sales of that date. A receipt was signed by David Shearer, January 3, 1812.
There is an acknowledgement which shows this business was done in Massac Township, now county, Illinois Territory, Johnson County, "I certify that James D. Wilcox and William Cherry, being chosen to examine the estate of Joseph Eubanks deceased, was duly sworn to settle the estate according to the best of their skill and judgment, given under my hand and seal, 27th day of May, 1814, John Prichard, J. P." The amount of Sally Eubanks taxes on two horses for the years 1813-14, was $1.00 the receipt was signed by G. Marshall, D. S. The same, no doubt who took the oath against dueling. Among other papers is the following order, "Miss Eubanks, please to let Mr. Cochran have my bed and furniture, you will oblige, yours Irvin Morris, March 24, 1814." The following promissory note has no visible connection with Sally Eubanks' business but was found among her papers, "On or before the 20th day of October next I promise to pay Moses Oliver or order $17.08 for value received, Kaskaskia, 20th of August, 1805, William Wilson." A certificate of purchase, adds other evidence to the fact that this county bought and sold slaves. "I do certify that the negro girl named Anna was purchased by Isaac D. Wilcox at the sale of the property of Joseph Eubanks, deceased. She was bid off to him as highest bidder at $160.00, and said Wilcox has paid for her and is lawfully entitled to said negro and no other person. Given under my hand, one of the administrators, this 9th day of October, 1815, William Styles."
William Lawrence settled the estate of Samuel Worthington, 1814. Joseph Palmer and Gilbert were his securities. A letter in connection with this estate cites the method of business and the rate of interest of that time, and reads as follows, "To William Lawrence, Cache Settlement Illinois Territory, by Charles Bradly, Cape Girardeau, March 9, 1815, not until a few days since had I learned of the death of Samuel Worthington, and I understand that you are the administrator of his estate. I have a judgment against his estate in favor of Robert Hall, surviving partner of Waters and Hall, for $53.86, with interest from 17th of August, 1806 which is $27.47, Principal and interests makes $80.32. This amount I authorize Charles Bradly to receive from you as the administrator. I have also a judgment rendered against Samuel Worthington in the Mullenberg circuit court of Kentucky, for $50 with interest from the 24th of March, 1807, which is $24.00, which makes $74.00. The cost of said judgment is $25.28. The amount of said judgment 1 give you notice as administrator. Yours with respect, James Evans." Judging from the accounts of William Lawrence Sr., and Samuel Worthington they were formally residents of Kentucky.
The settlement of the estate of William Morris was a year later, and was in charge of Jane Morris, no doubt his widow. Irving Morris and Isaac Worley were her bondsmen. Judging from the names the location of his estate must have been at or near Elvira, our first county capital. George Smiley was one of the appraisers and Marvin Fuller was the J. P. Nancy Worthen took charge of her husband's estate whose name was James, May 3, 1815. Josiah Davis and Nathaniel Arnett were her securities. The personal property amounted to $1,000. John Byers was the J. P. that took the oath of the appraisers. There were a number of promissory notes, the following are the names of the signers given in order to record some more of the early families: Thomas and Hugh Lewis, Jesse Basco, William Worthen, Thomas Robard, James Swafford, Hezekiah Davis William Langly, Abraham and Ebeneezer Piott, Samuel and Jasper Butcher, Remembrance Davis, John M. Campbell, John Deason, Evan Thompson, Issac and W. E. Glen, W. Doty, Able Lee, George Creath, Drury Harrington, Isaac Garrett, Adam Fiffer, and Joseph Taylor. These notes were given for purchases at the sale. The following notice had been cut from a newspaper and was filed with the estate papers, "I will attend the proper court on the third Monday in July next at Vienna, Johnson County, Illinois, for the purpose of settling the estate of James Worthen, deceased. All who have demands against said estate will then and there present them, legally authenticated, Brownsville, June 7th, 1821, signed William Worthen, agent for Nancy Worthen Administratrix.
William Powell's estate was settled by his wife, Obedience, and was begun July 18, 1815. George and William Brazil with James Hawkins were her bondsmen. There were a few articles offered at this sale not already mentioned and which would be considered out of the ordinary at this time: one whiskey cock, to King Fisher at 30c; also 1 to Squire Choat, 37-1/2c. One sley was sold for 50c, which would be very cheap for a sleigh, if there was a big snow, but this was not that kind of a sleigh, this belonged to a loom and was used in weaving cloth. One broad ax was sold for $4.00. This is another tool not now in use in this county, since the timber for making hewed log houses has been cut and sawed into lumber to make frame ones, barns and fences.
The estate of Robert Smith belonged to Massac township, as the papers designate. The sale was held September 11, 1815. Thomas Larrison had the business in charge, and James N. Fox was his security. The same man, no doubt, whose militia company formed Massac township when this county was organized. Judging from the amount of whiskey furnished at this sale, it was not a very large one, only three and a half gallons were used. Dr. Holt was Robert Smith's physician and his bill was $6.92, which was presented for settlement. The deceased's land and county tax for the year 1815 was $2.83. The tax rate was light compared to the present rate. Another account shows the redemption of a town lot in the town of Smithland, Kentucky. One Loom, three reels and harness for the loom sold for $6.00, one stew pot, $2.50, one Dutch oven, $1.50, eight pewter plates, $3.00, one cotton gin, 75c, two pairs of cotton cards, $3.00, candle molds, 37c, more evidence of "made at home" goods. Judging by the articles offered, these people must have been very comfortably situated for a frontier family.
The papers filed in the case of Howell Harrington's estate, states that Esther Harrington, administered, T. Furguson and G. V. Lusk were the bondsmen, Robert Lacey and Wood Lampkin were the appraisers. There are Harringtons and descendants of the family living in Massac and this county at the present. Caleb Messer's estate was handled by his wife Delphia, Owen Evans and John Spann signed her bond, which was filed April 28, 1814.
William Peterson's estate was another one that came up for settlement in 1816. He resided in the southwestern part of the county in the neighborhood of West Eden, John Elkins and George Brazel were the appraisers; Jane Peterson and Thomas Standard had charge of the estate. Thomas and John Peterson were the securities. This settlement was made in the courts held in Elvira and some other names connected with the business of this estate were, Hezekiah West, William Westbrooks, Isaac Beggs, Thomas Robertson, Rix Carter, and John Stokes. There are descendants of most all these men still living in this county. Two accounts in the adjustment of this estate are quite noticable, when compared with the H. C. L. of the present. One is "The estate of William Peterson debtor to John Deans, for schooling two children, three months, cash to Mclntire, $5.00; paid for board for the same time, $12.00: same estate debtor to John Dean for raising and clothing" two children, Joshua, four years old, at his father’s death, and Lydia, two years at the same time; Joshua six years till he was ten years old, $10.00 per year, $60.00; Lydia, eight years, until she was ten years old, at the same price, $80.00. No doubt, old gossips wagged their heads and said at the time, "John Dean is getting rich off of these orphan children."
An administrators bond is made out and marked "Lawrence administrator. The bond was dated June, 1816, but it was never signed or filled out. There are some accounts and receipts that might be of interest. Received of John Lorenz (Lawrence) for Esther Lorenz, all dues and demands up to this date, Jonesboro, April 19, 1819. Jacob Hyberger." The next item of interest because it appears to refer to the Peter Prow, who was confined for debt in our county about that time and referred to elsewhere, "Madam, please pay to the bearer two dollars and twenty-five cents, and by so doing you will oblige yours and soforth, James Brown. It being the cost accrued on an execution levied by George Hunsaker on the goods of Peter Prow, and this shall be your receipt for the same, Esther Lawrence, Admr." Wm. Lawrence debtor to Priest & Menfee, $50 for medicine and attendance, April 27, 1816. An account of John Kirk for labor against the estate of William Lawrence, was sworn to before J. Echols, J. P. May, 1816. Another dated almost nine years earlier. August 7, 1807, to three picks and boring tools, $4.00 (could not decipher the name.) "January 20, 1806, Sir: Please pay unto William Lawrence, two dollars, and this my order shall be your receipt for the same, James Worthington, witness, John Shaver." "February 7, 1806, received of Samuel Worthington, two pounds, 19 shillings and 6 pence, debt and cost in full. The sale note of James Weir, by me Jesse Hurley, Constable for said county." Received of Samuel Worthington, 511 pounds of pork by Thomas Craig, for J. Weir, February 11, 1805. "Henderson, June 1, 1808, Received of William Lawrence, seven and six pence which is to stand against his account at Mullenberg for Will and Jay Bradford, John Russell." These towns were in Kentucky.
William McGowan died in 1816. Thomas Green was the administrator Silas Risley and Owen Evans were the bondsmen, a few articles out of the ordinary disposed of at the sale were, 1 bay mare and bell, $25.00; 4 patterns leather shoe uppers, $1.50; 1 curry comb, 25c; 1 pair leather breeches, 50c; 2 coats, 50c each; to B. Revell. pack saddle, 62-1/2c; 1 pair specks, $1.62; pair saddle bags $2.78-1/2; 1 set of razors, 87c. A statement sworn to before John Weldon, a justice for Johnson County and witnessed by Hugh Erwin April 12, 1816 states that, "William McGown boarded with Mikel Revell from May 1, 1815, to November 7, at the rate of three dollars per month; for attending McGowan from November 7 till December 18th at which time he died, coffin and winding sheet, $15.00, total $30.75."
This is given that one may see the difference in the price of living and dying during the above time and at the present day. This paper was marked I in the files of J. Finney, who was county clerk at the time this estate, was settled.
A paper executed in 1810. An account of Charles Murphy was presented against the estate of Phillip Shaver, the amount being $4.50, the following is attached to the account, "This day appeared Charles Murphy before me, John Bradshaw, one of the acting justices for said county and first be it solemly sworn upon the Holy Evangelist, deporteh and sayeth that the above account is just and true as it stands, stated to the best of his knowledge and belief, Charles M. (X) Murphy (His mark.) Sworn and subscribed before me the 17th day of April, 1810, John Bradshaw, J. P. A bill was allowed to Esther Lawrence, widow of William Lawrence for board, from 1814 to 1816, showing Phillip Shaver's death to have been in 1816. A bill paid to J. B. Murry for crying the sale of Shaver, names William Lawrence as administrator. Among these papers is what appears to be a blacksmith's account. It is made out in English money but the writing looks very much like a person's who had learned to write German script before he learned to write English, and is as follows: "Wilber Lawrence to bells, 19 shillings, Moses Cabitt, the same 23 shillings. George Lawrence to mending and sharpening shears, 2 shillings and 3 pence; Samuel to shoeing two horses round, 18 shillings. Thomas Giles to shoeing a mare around 12 shillings, Philander Kuykendall to shoeing horse, .six shillings, Henry Hatten to making a set of wheel irons, 3 shillings." There is no date on this paper but being among Shaver's papers and from the following extract of the court record, would lead one to believe that Shaver was German, which his name indicates. In 1819 Michael Shavendicker of New York at September court of Johnson County presented a petition to said court and said, he was the brother of Phillip Shaver, lately of this county, whose estate had been administered on by William Lawrence, Sr., and after his death, Esther (his wife) and John Sanders, praying that their administration be set aside and himself as the legal heir be appointed. The petition was granted, and Richard M. Young, was the attorney.
"At a probate court holden for the County of Johnson on the third Monday in the month of June, 1822, before James Finney, Judge of said court, John Copeland, administrator of the estate of William Copeland deceased came into court and presented his accounts with said estate and the following sums were allowed against the said estate; to-wit: for money paid judge of probate for letters of administration and settling said estate, $7.50, to money to Calib. E. Isum for a coffin, $6, for crying sale, $5.50, money paid James Lizenby, 50c, money paid Irving Morris, sheriff, 60c, money expended to go to Tennessee twice on business for estate, $34.58, for administrators percentage for collecting $19.24, Thomas Douglas' account $3.63-1/ 2 , whole amount of the estate $192.54-3/4, credits $74.54-3/4, and $18.89-1/4. It appeared to the court that there remained in the hands of the said John Copeland, administrator as aforesaid, a sum of $118.59 of said estate which he is ordered to pay over to the heirs of the said William Copeland, deceased, in equal ratio. It appearing that there were six in number; to-wit; Betsy Dial, John Copeland, Martha Dial, Samuel Copeland, Sally Little, and Jane Hobbs to each of the above named legatee, the amount being $19.81-1/2.
Richard McGinnis sale occurred in 1823 and the list shows the high price of househould articles existing, 1 large kettle, $7.00, 1 small pot $2.50, 1 broken skillet $1.00, 1 large oven, lids and hooks $3.00, pot hangers $3.00. Mrs. McGinnis evidently did not have a cook stove. A rifle gun sold for $10.00. William Barton, Jacob Willis, Lucas S. Gibbs and Polly Bane are among the names as purchaser. There is a note given to the president and directors of the state bank and negotiable at their branch bank at Brownsville. This is some of the famous state bank paper issued at that time.
The settlement of the estate of Richard Cox was begun November, 1824. William Cox and the widow Mary Cox were the executors. There are a few articles in this sale a little different from others mentioned in this period. One steel trap brought $3.05, ink stand and snuffers, 25c, lantern I2V2C, hackle 30c. Some names connected with the notes and receipts of this sale are as follows; Lancaster Cox, Israel Bozarith, Franklin Perry, William Fellows, Jesse Miles, James Harman, Richard McKenny, William Corbitt, James Haley, Robert Griffith, Joseph Montgomery. Henry Eddy was an attorney interested in the settlement of this estate. Willis Hancock, William McFatridge, Champion Anderson and William Thornton were the J. P.s in most cases where the oath was taken. Joseph Kuykendall, J. P. also took some of the acknowledgements. There is a receipted account of Dr. Sim, presumably of Golconda, also a medical bill of B. W. Brooks, and William Slack. Richard Cox must have emigrated from North Carolina, since there is a note payable in North Carolina paper, also some notes collected by the administrator from parties living in that state. Another bill allowed by the court was to Mary and Martin Howell for*the supporting and instructing of six children of Richard Cox deceased, for the term of one year and eight months, the amount was $120.00, dated July 21, 1826. This would give rise to the opinion that the widow Mary Cox, had married Martin Howell. The following is a letter which explains itself and is used for its quaintness, "Illinois Union County, August 10, 1827, Respected friend, James Finney, Esq., After my best respects to thee I -write these few lines to let thee know it is not convenient for me to attend court according to adjournment, which is on the 11th instant, but that need not make any difference. Thee can proceed to make the settlement. I have nothing more to inform thee concerning the estate more than I wish thee to be as saving to the estate as possible, in regard to allowing charges for raising the heirs. About twelve months ago I could have had them raised and kept on twelve months for fifty dollars and on August 21st I informed Martin Howell, that I could have the heirs supported for fifty dollars and he continued to keep them. I merely write this for information to thee, if Martin Howell should put in a bill for a large charge or petition for much. It is not convenient for me to come for my family is not in a situation for me leave them. Thee can make out a bill for thy charges and leave with I. Morris, Esq. or receipt to him on it and send it to me by Thomas Musgrave, the bearer, and I will credit thy note with the amount after settling thy small account of sale, which is $139.50, if correct. Concerning my charge, thee may see on the small scrap of paper folded in this letter a memorandum of time spent besides collecting in and paying out. If thee wish to send any news back tell Thomas Musgrave to wait until thee can write. I wish thee to push on the collection of the Hancock debt as fast as possible. If it would be necessary for me to be at the settlement of the estate put off the settlement a few weeks and give me notice and I will attend. No more, only thy friend and well wisher. — William Cox." One paper records Mary Howell, formerly Mary Cox.
J. H. G. Wilcox took charge of the estate of Calvin Austin in 1827. There is a bill to J. D. Martin as Physician. An advertisement printed in a Cincinnati paper as follows: ''If any of the relatives or friends of Calvin Austin, who lately died at the residence of J. D. Wilcox, near Ft. Massac Illinois, will direct a letter to J. D. Wilcox, or leave information at the General Intellegence Office, Cincinnati, they can be made acquainted with the circumstances of his decease, and of some of the property and papers now in my possession. — J. D. Wilcox, near Ft. Massac."
The sale list of this estate indicates goods belonging in a general store, 1 Yawl at $45.00, 2 tomahawks, 75c, several articles were purchased by Anderson Douglas. One can't help but surmise about these names, and this would indicate that Anderson was the husband of Elizabeth, Douglas whose estate comes later. The sale of tomahawks would show that they had Indian patrons. Many of the names connected with this sale are the same as those of many of the residents of Massac County at the present time, some of which are, James Herren, Cornelius Shord, Jonah Teague, James Lard, Amos Hale, Hartwell Hart, W. C. Sisk, Elisha Ellis, Carter Lathem, John A. Evers, Jacob Childress, John L. Henderson, Hardy Robinson, Edward Allen, Elija Henly, Nathan Gillespie, William White, John C. Johnson, Isom Clay and Thomas Roy.
The settlement of the estate of Elizabeth Douglas occured in 1833 and was settled through a will (see wills). James Copeland was the executor and Samuel Copeland was his bondsman. From the names one would judge that the said Elizabeth Douglas lived near the Ohio River, about the present site of Hillerman. Walter Astin, William Parker, whose home was appointed a voting place for Massac precinct a few years before) Adam Cochran George Brazel and Eliakin Russell were the appraisers. M. and Cal. Hitchcock, James and Jesse Jones, Joel Hobbs, Thomas Pitt, W. S. Gorden, A. D. Whitten, Thomas Harrington. Some articles of sale and prices, 1 tin trumpet, I2V2C, 1 trivet, 31-1/4c, a trivet is a small iron frame with three legs to set near the open fire, so that hot coals could be put under it to boil things slowly or keep them warm, at present they are made of silver to put under hot dishes, 1 meal bag and bed cord, 12-1/2c, a bed cord was used on old fashioned bed steads in lieu of slats or springs, being laced across the stead to support the bedding, 1 bed quilt, $2.50, 1 plain cherry chest, $1.00, 1 demijohn, $1.00, 1 small oven and lid, 75c, 1 barrel of Irish potatoes, 75c. A bill allowed against this estate, 'The estate of Elizabeth Douglas, deceased to Mary Cochran, Dr. 1832 to a balance due on a cow, $5.50, to eight pounds of butter $1.00, to finding leather and making a pair of shoes 62 1 / / 2C State of Illinois, Johnson County, this day came Jesse Cochran before me and upon his oath says as follows, I do swear that the above accounts against Elizabeth Douglas are just and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, given under my hand, Jesse Cochan, sworn to and subscribed before me this 22 day of October, 1834, J. Copeland. J. P." Some accounts due the estate, Elizabeth Hitchcock, $42.06-1/4, Burrell Anderson $2.62-1/2, John L. Cooper $25.25, W. B. Donaghy, 37-1/2c
The estate of James Robertson was settled at the hands of Nathaniel Richardson. William Hayle, and Jesse Richardson were the bondsmen and J. Copeland, S. G. Allen and James Hitchcock were the appraisers. The live stock sold at this sale a little higher than twenty years before. One lot of cord wood, supposed to be eighty-seven cords sold for $108.75 about a $1.25 a cord.
The estate of William Duncan was settled in 1840. James P. Duncan was the administrator, William McMahan and Hiram Kelly the security on his bond, Hames Hayes, the crier at this sale, Henry Thomas and William Richy the clerks. Wheat sold at $1.00 per bushel, fodder, 100 bundles $1.00, bacon 10c per pound, 1 mattock 50c, 1 lot of flax 50c, 1 yoke of steers $20.00, 1 gun and pouch $5.31 V2, 4 bushel of meal and grinding $1.00. Newcomers to the county whose names are connected with this estate were, William Duncan in account with John Bain, December 25, 1840, to two spelling books, William Mounts, James Lasley, James Thornton, John W. Jones, William Harper, Wesley Branscomb, Samuel Roper, G. W. Chapman. A. Colter published the administrators notice in the "Illinois Republican" a paper published in Shawneetown. The receipt shows July, 1841. The following letters are with the papers of this estate written in a good hand writing and plain as though written yesterday, July 8, 1841. "Dear Sir :- Yours of the 5th has just come to hand and is all correct. I enclose you a certificate and receipt. Can you get us some good subscribers down there? Yours obediently, A. Coulter." The price of whiskey was 25c per half pint in 1840, interest rates were 12%. In 1841 Polly Carmicheal gave bond to administer on the estate of John Carmicheal. J. T. Collier, G. W. Pagget, and Samuel Limberlake were her securities.
Hannah Wise administered on the estate of William Wise in 1842. Jesse Fain, Wiley Wise and Charles Reid were the appraisers.
The estate of John Finney was settled in 1843, through a will which is found under Wills, by William Slack, in 1844, Judith L. Ireland administered on the estate of Alexander Ireland. Joseph Street and James M. Davidge were her securities. The bond was filed July 18. 1844. The appraisers were W. B. and B. S. Smith and Henry Jones. The following names of the signers of notes and receipts will give some of the citizens residing here at that time, S. J. Chapman, C. J. Ladd, B. F. Furlong, Joah and James McCoy, W. J. Gibbs, W. B. Donaghy, J. S. Mabry, Reid Smoot, S. Short, Jr., B. S. Gray, G. Young, Thos. Gore, John Simpson, N. B. Jennett, T. J. Church & Co, R. Elkins, Carter Lathem, Joshua Elkins and Nimrod Hazelwood. The rate of interest on the notes of this estate was 12%. Some articles in the accounts, 551 pounds of flour sold at 2c per pound, 120 bushels coal at 8c a bushel, 1 days gathering corn 50c, 1 spool thread 12-1/2c.
The estate of Nicholas Choat was settled 1845, with Benjamin Choat as administrator and Absolam Choat as security. The appraisers were G. W. Oglesby, Philander Yandell and Nathaniel Rushing. A new name or two occurs in this connection Milton Lucas, A. Vickers, James O'Neal. James Gibbs was the crier. There are a few articles sold not given in other sales, millstones $6.25, 1 still $1.25, 1 improvement $27.00. This still would certainly bring more than a dollar and a quarter at this time, 1924.
Items from the sale of the estate of John Shearer, 1848, 1 gray horse $20.00, 3 dry cows $18.00, 1 white sow and thirteen pigs $7.00, 1 shovel plow and coulter, $2.00, 1 stump mill $15.00, Corn 20c per bushel oats and rodder. 100 bundles, $1.00.
The estate of Alfred Bridges, 1852, was settled almost three quarters of a century ago. The appraisers were B. S. Smith, D. S. Kincy and lsum Dunn. The descendants of these men are familiar to all at the present time. John ti. Bridges was the administrator. Among the papers was a bond given Alfred Bridges by George Carter and James Burton, signed the 8th day of November, 1839 for live stock. There were several receipts which date back to the thirties, one from Filed & Dunn dated December 1, 1834, one dated December, 1830, signed by Williard & Co. This was an account collected for them from Mary McGinnis. Another of the same kind with the names of David Worell and Reuben Stone. Some of this money was paid in United Sates paper number 2617. The following is 1845 paper signed by Frederick Turner, Millington Smith, Frederick and George, some 1836 paper signed by Richard Eikins, Elias Harell. Alfred Bridges served as a constable and there are some suits named with no date, Thomas Phillips vs. J. W. Laurens, Anson Gurley, Sr. and Jr., P. Horner, Wiley Mathis, Jackson Murrie, Jones and Reynolds vs. Wm. Bowman and Cameron. There is a certificate of election of Alfred Bridges to the office of constable for Vienna precint on the 17th day of June, 1848, D. Y. Bridges clerk. One other paper of honor states that "This is to certify that Alfred Bridges, a private in Captain Taply B. Andrew's Co., R. T. V. M. G. M. has served a term of five months as a volunteer on an expedition against the Seminole Indians. He carries with him the thanks and gratitude of his commanding officer and merits the applause of his countrymen, and is hereby honorably discharged. Columbia, June 30, 1818, signed Thomas Williamson, Col. 2nd R. T. V. M.
The estate of Peter H. Cummins was before the court in 1853 and the administrator was Daniel T. Cummins. His widow was named Harriet. The appraisers were J. P. Shelton, William M. Jackson and N. Comer. Some of the names connected with the estate were Richard and Benjamin Thompson, George Cummins, John Harris, S. Rainwater, H. H. Emerson, William Williams and Thomas Rice. The rate of interest on notes at this date was 10 %.
At the sale of John C. Harrell, March 10, 1852, 1 loom and appendages, sold for $1.00; 1 spinning wheel sold for 50c, 1 pair of cards, 30c, showing that the home manufacture of cloth was becoming less universal ; 1 stone hammer, 20c; 1 grind stone, 20c; 1 "chist" $1.40.
At W. H. Price's sale 1854, five hundred feet of lumber sold to William Perkins at 84c; 460 feet of walnut lumber to D. H. Bruck at $1.50 per hundred; 1 log chain and 1 ox yoke, $2.10, 1 carriage to Josiah Throngton $125. Some items from the sale of Francis M. Weaver, which occured in 1855, 8,000 shigles at $2.30, 1 silver watch $6.55, 1 history of North America, $1.59. At Louis Wise's sale, 1863, 1 ox wagon sold for $10.00, 2 yoke of oxen sold to Samuel Glassford for $72.00, 1 barrel whiskey, a quantity of candy and tobacco, only brought $28.00, 1 keg of wine $5.50, 1 barrel of raw whiskey $15.00.
In 1860, Dr. George Bratton received for the care of W. L. Gillespie $25.25. This same estate was debtor to John Gillespie, for board, washing, and attention through sickness, $20.00 per month. A promissory note found in the papers of Nathan Allen, a free Negro living in the western part of the county where some of his descendants still reside, "On or before the first day of December next I promise to pay Nathan Allen, the sum of twelve dollars and fifty cents, which may be discharged in corn at the county selling price for value received of him: Wit. my hand and seal, this the 19th day of August, 1846— Thomas Stokes." This shows corn to be a legal tender at that time, in the county.
Some items of the sale of Henry Brinkley, 1873, 1 cook stove and vessel, $19.00, 30 bushel wheat at 30c per bushel, 300 bushel corn at 40c per bushel, 2,500 pounds of salt pork, $125.00. During the winter of 1868, James Miller received ten dollars for feeding and caring for the stock for one month from Nancy Swales. This estate was also indebted to J. A. Culver, $6.00 for a coffin.
Matthew Mathis' estate was settled in 1838, Rebecca and Henry Y. Mathis were the administrators. The amount of their bond was $3,050.00. Wilson Mathis was a signature on a note.
Bennett Jones' estate was settled 1841 and William B. Donaghy was one of the appraisers.
Green P. Finney died in 1863, his estate was administered on by John Slack. Rachael was his wife, children, William N. John M. and Gilbert.
Susanna Borin, wife of Bazel Borin. Hoseah Borin was administrator of Bazel Borin's estate 1813. Children of Susanna were Mourning and Coleman.
Recommendations given to these men on leaving their former homes, which seems to have been a custom in early times. State of North Carolina, Moore County: Where as the bearer, Jacob Harvick, has signified to us his intention of removing himself arid family to the frontier of Georgia, be it therefore known to whom it may concern, that the said Harvick has been a resident of the county for upwards of eight (indistinct). Citizen supported an irreproachable character, maintained his family in honesty and credit, worthy to be received as a neighbor or admitted as a worthy character into any Christain society; he being a peaceable, sober and well disposed man. Given under our hands, this 3rd day of October, 1795." (Signatures were indistinct since the writing was in ink.)
State of North Carolina, Wayne County. This is to certify unto all persons whom it may concern that Joel Harrell hath signified unto us, that he has in mind to travel to the westward, and we, the undersigned being well acquainted with him from his youth, do recommend him as a good honest citizen and hope that he may be received and pass as such. Given under our hand this 20th day of August, 1819, S. Sassee, J. P. Edward Sassee, J. P. Joshua Hasting, J. P. and P. J. Mustgraves, J. P.
The first will of record in the county "In the name of God, Amen : I William Peterson, of Johnson County, Illinois Territory, being weak in body but blessed be God of sound mind and memory and seeing my dissolution drawing near do make this my last will and testament, thereby revoking all former wills or disposition of my earthly goods heretofore made. First I direct my body to be buried in a Christian and decent manner and my soul I commend to God who gave it, in joyful hope blessed be God of a happy immortality in heaven. As to my earthy goods, God has given me I dispose and devise them in the following manner: direct that all my property of any kind, real or personal, be held and kept in the hands of and in the possession of my beloved wife, Mary Peterson, for her use and the support and education of my infant children, all except a bay filly with a blaze face, which I direct the trustees, I shall hereafter mention, to give to my son Joshua, when he arrives at an age sufficient to manage for himself. I do hereby appoint my brother-in-law Hezekiah West, William Peterson and Thomas Peterson trustees to take care and see that this my last will and testament, be carried into effect, and also I wish and hereby appoint them guardians to and for my infant children, namely Elizabeth, Joshua, and Sally, hereby authorizing and requiring the above mentioned trustees to attend to the requisition to this my last will and testament, which I do hereby sign and acknowledge before the trustees after the same has been read in my hearing. Wit:- my hand and seal, this the 22 day of February, 1815. William Peterson, Sr. witnesses present John C. Herbison, Fannie X Osborn and Nancy West.
From some records of the court it appears this will was not executed as directed. In 1816 Thomas Peterson brought suit against Bennet Hancock and wife to be appointed guardian for Joshua Peterson, minor or William Peterson, Sr. This was annulled by agreement. A summons for William Russell and Mary McGowan to appear as witnesses for Bennet Hancock against the heirs of William Peterson in 1822. An account of Bennet Hancock presented August 1821, shows himself as guardian, and an account against the estate for clothing and keeping the three children, Joshua, Elizabeth and Sally, three years and eight month at $25.00 a year $275. An order of the court shows John Peterson appointed guardian for Josuha, September term, 1820. John Peterson was appointed guardian for Sarah Peterson, 1819. Another instrument shows Alexander McGowan as guardian for Elizabeth, a minor of William Peterson, dated 1821. Bennet Hancock was appointed guardian of Joshua Peterson 1819."
A true copy from the original, Attorney J. Finney, clerk of Johnson County, "To all people to whom these presents shall come, I, Benjamin McIntosh do send greetings: Know ye that, I, Benjamin McIntosh of the county of Johnson and Territory of Illinois, for and in consideration of the good will and affection, which I have and do bear toward my children:- I give to my daughter, Betsy, $5.00 in property, I give to Unity one half dollars worth of property, 1 give to Ceny $2.00 worth in property, I give to Stacy $2.00, 1 give my son, Benjamin $2.00 worth of property, all to be discharged in cattle at their value. I give my beloved wife Frances my gray mare, saddle and briddle, and the improvement and my household furniture, eleven head of cattle and my hogs, and at my wife Frances decease the cattle to be given to Joshua, cattle and all other property. To my son Charles I give my gray horse, and all my work ing tools, I give John Burchfield, my sorrel mare, and I give William Smith one cow and one fifty dollar note on John Lathan and by these presents do freely give and grant unto those children articles mentioned. Before the signers of these presents, do deliver those things signed with my own hand forever, absolutely, without any manner of condition, in witness hereunto I have set my hand and seal, this the 17th day of November, A. D. 1815, signed Benjamin McIntosh, signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of James Hamilton, Charles Claxton and William Hamilton."' "In the name of God Amen: I Nathanial Green, of Illinois Territory, Johnson County, being very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say say principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God, that gave it, my body, I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent, Christian burial, at the discretion of my executors, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection, I shall receive the same again, by the mighty power of God, and as touching such earthly estate where with it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give demise and dispose of the same in manner and form, first I give and bequeath to Mary, my dearly beloved wife, a certain bay mare rising of three years old, also I give to my well beloved daughter, Nancy Green, a certain negro woman named Hannah, also the rest of my property to be valued and equally be divided amongst my loving wife Mary Green and my loving children, that is to my beloved son Maston Green, and also to my loving son David Green, and to my loving son William Green, and also to my loving daughter Elizabeth Green. I also constitute and ordain my well beloved brothers. Parish and Thomas Green, Executors of this my last will and testament, witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the 29th day of January, 1813. Signed, Nathanial Green, Test. David Coleman, Robert Tweedy, John Tweedy.
Will of Elizabeth Douglas, "This the 27th day of June, 1831, I being in low health, but in sound mind and memory I make this my last will and testament. I want Squire James Copeland to take my three boys Jackson, William and Clinton and raise them, and after my debts are paid and settled I give Jackson the bay mare's colt, the little sorrel, then I want Mr. Copeland to take the rest of my property and to do the best he can for my children, in the name of the Lord, I give the balance to J. Copeland to raise the children, and this is my last will and testament. Signed Elizabeth Douglas, Test. Hiram Shocklea Thomas Harrington."
State of Illinois, Johnson County, October 20, 1820, "In the name of God, Amen, I, Abner Cox, being in low circumstances in bodily health, but feeling myself in sound mind and memory, I do hereby make this my last will and testament: To my dear beloved wife, Mary Cox I give into her possession at this time with all property and money that is in my possession at this time, with all the money that is coming to me in North Carolina. My will is that all the money that I now have and the money that is coming to me should be given for land in this state for the use of my wife and children. My will is that my wife should hold the possession during her life or widowhood and at her marriage or death all to be equally divided amongst my children and wife. The two half quarters that I now have paid for of land lying in Union County, my will is that my son Abner Cox should have the two half quarters of land, besides the other division to him his heirs and assignees, also my will is that my wife should have out of the money as much of it as will be necessary for her to fix herself and family to live comfortably upon, also the money that is coming to me from S. J. Chapman, my will is that my wife should collect it as she can. I constitute and appoint my wife executrix to this my last will and testament, assigned Abner Cox, witnesses, E. Harrell, Joel Howell, and John Veach."
Notes taken from Randolph County records at Chester Illinois before Johnson County was separated from it, containing names of Johnson County families.

Extracted 09 Apr 2016 by Norma Hass from 1925 History of Johnson County written by Mrs. P. T. Chapman, pages 229-247

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