Will of Martha Jane Ashburn
[Will Book 1, pages 40-42 (transcribed by David Johnson)]

In the name of God amen,

I Martha Jane Ashburn being feeble in body but of sound mind and disposing memory and in view of the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death: do make and publish this my last will and testament.

Item 1. It is my will and desire that all my just debts and my funeral expenses be first paid.

Item 2. It is my desire that my Executor shall see that my children are at good homes where they will be properly and kindly cared for my beloved Aunt Caroline Reed has consented to look after the welfare of the three younger children, and I have placed them in her charge and prefer that she have the supervision of them during their minority, if she should live so long, but in the event of her death, then if the children should need the protection and care of my Executor, I desire that it be extended to them.

My beloved son Bernard is I suppose at his Grandfather Towns in Davidson County Tennessee. it is my desire that my Executor shall secure him a good home with some Kind family, and that my said Executor shall act as the Guardian of all the children if he will. it is my desire that all my children be instructed in the rudiments of a good English Education, but my means and estate will not allow that they be sent off to expensive schools.

Item 3. After my death I direct that my Executor shall as soon as practicable sell either publicly or privately as may seem to him most advantageous terms (all of which is left to his discretion) situated in the Civil District of Hamilton County Tenn. and bounded by the land of [blank space] and others, being the same land inherited by me from my grandfather Josiah M Andersons estate, and more particularly described in the decree of the Chancery Court of Hamilton County Tenn. vesting the title to the same in me to which I refer for a more perfect description of the same: and I do further direct that my said Executor shall reinvest the proceeds of said sale (except as hereinafter provided) in unimproved real estate situated in the corporate limits of the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. taking the title to the same in his own name as Trustee for my four children my Bernard Town, my oldest son, Icie F. Ida A. and Anderson T. Ashburn my three younger children who I direct shall share in the same and in the increased valuation thereof as tenants in common, but I also direct that no division of said real estate shall be made among them until the youngest becomes of lawful age, that is to say, of the age of twenty one years.

Item 4. There may not be sufficient personal assets belonging to my estate to discharge the debts and demands against it and also to meet accruing demands to this end. Therefore I direct that my Executor set apart out of the proceeds of the sale of my real estate the sum of one thousand dollars, which with any other personal assets unappropriated by him for charges against my estate, I direct shall be loaned out at interest on undoubted security.

Further I direct that the said unimproved property when purchased by my said Executor shall be leased or let to good tenants for a term of years (provided this can be done) but not to exceed the time when the youngest of said children shall become of lawful age, said tenants paying a stipulated ground rental quantity or semi anually.

I direct that the proceeds of these leases and the interest on the fund loaned out be used for the payment of the current taxes and also to defray the necessary expenses of my said children, but if the interest and rents be inadequate for this purpose then I direct that the principal of the fund loaned out be drawn upon from time to time for what may be necessary and upon the youngest child becoming twenty one years of age

I direct that all my estate boath[sic] real and personal shall be divided equally between my said children

Item 5. It is my wish and desire that my beloved uncle William E. Anderson act as the Executor of this my last will and testament.

Given under my hand on this the 12th day of August 1884

signed and acknowledged in our presence

Martha Jane Ashburn

William Rankin
B B Bennett

State of Tennessee
Marion County

Personally appeared before me W F Lewis clerk of the county court of said county William Rankin and B B Bennett subscribing witnesses to the attached will who first duly sworn depose and say that they are personally acquainted with Martha Jane Ashburn and saw her sign the foregoing will for the purposes therein contained

witness my hand at office this 1st Sept 1884

W F Lewis Co Clk


In consideration of the Love and affection which I entertain for my sister Mrs. Ada R. Bennett and as a slight testimonial of my appreciation of her Kindness in my last illness, I hereby bequeath unto the said Ada R. Bennett all my household and Kitchen furniture

signed Martha Jane Ashburn

Jno H. Parrott
J. R. Rankin

Sworn to and subscribed before me the 2nd day of Sept 1884

W F Lewis Co Clk

[Added Notes by David Johnson]

From the death certificate of Ada Rankin Bennett:
Born: 12/25/ 1856 in Marion Co., TN
Parents: P [Peter from 1860 Marion Co. census] T Rankin and Isabella Stevens
Died: McMinnville, Warren Co., TN on 4/12/1949 and buried Pine Grove Cem. in Marion Co., TN.
Married: Berrell B. Bennett [from death cert. of son]
Her child, Grover Cleveland Bennett was the informant for her death certificate.

Martha Jane Ashburn was nee Rankin. The witnesses for her will were William Rankin and her sister's husband, B. B. Bennett. Martha's husband was Ander T. Ashburn, and they lived in Dist. 3, Marion Co. in 1880, most likely on Walden's Ridge, which was at the Hamilton Co. line.