By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith, 1995

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            The genealogical information in this publication has been gleaned from the two will books of Madison County, Tennessee covering the period from 1855 into 1862 (will book six, 1855-1857, and will book seven, 1857-1862) and selective data from the Madison County court minute books, 1822 into 1862. An effort has been made to abstract in strictly paraphrasal form, with occasional direct quotations, from this mass of material which may be utilized as an annotated index to these records, a cross-referencing of names and relationships that would be difficult to achieve by almost any other method.

            The will books for 1855-1862 also contain the reports of administrators of estates of persons who died without leaving wills. Reports of guardians for minor children were also entered into these books and while these are often genealogically useful, they have not been abstracted for this publication which concentrates on last wills and testaments.

            Selective abstracts from the old county court minute books and pictures of tombstones of persons having made wills during this period are included. Some will-makers, technically testators, never had tombstones and. a few have been destroyed or have riot yet been located. It is difficult to attain pictorial clarity of the inscriptions on these old tombstones, some of which are heavily stained, encrusted with various vegetation and/or broken into pieces.

            Most testators began their wills with brief preambles, calling to mind the brevity of life, the mercy of God and a statement that their just debts were to be paid as soon as possible. Such conventional remarks have been deleted in this publication unless there was some uniqueness in them.

            Abbreviations used in this publication:

abt = about
dau = daughter
dec = deceased
exec/execs = executor (male);executrix (female), singular or plural
grdn = guardian
hr/hrs = heir, heirs
wit/wits = witness, witnesses
yr/yrs = year, years

            With the issuance of this publication the wills of Madison County, Tennessee from 1821 into 1914 have been genealogically abstracted by this writer.

            Appreciation for the cooperation of the following persons who helped make this publication possible is expressed here, to Jack Darrel Wood and Robert D. Taylor, Jr., librarians, Jackson-Madison County Library; Lula Scarbrough and Katie Coffman, staff members, Probate Division of the Madison County Court Clerk's Office; Ann Robbins Phillips, Historian, Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church.


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