Gideon Ratcliffe Will, April 1854
State of Tennessee, Williamson County
Submitted by Melissa Ratcliffe Crowe
I, Gideon Ratcliffe of said county and state and being
of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and ordain this to be my last
will and testament hereby revoking all others heretofore made by me.
First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Mary S.
Ratcliffe one half of the track of land on which I now reside including the
pieces bought of Beale and of Core containing in all about two hundred and
twenty five acres, her portion to contain the Mansion, Kitchen and such other
out houses as she may need. I also
give to her such of the household and Kitchen furniture as she may think it
necessary to retain, one-forth of all my stock of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs
which may be on hand at my decease, my Barouch and harness, horse mule and wheat
thrasher and such of my plantation utensils as she may need to carry on the
farm. I also give and bequeath to
my said wife Mary S. Ratcliffe four negroes of the following description towit,
a man, a woman, a boy and a girl. She
is to have the privilege of selecting said four slaves among the slaves I may
own at my decease. The said Mary S.
Ratcliffe to have and to hold said land & slaves & other property for
and during the term of her natural life and at her death I will the same to be
equally divided among my children as herein after directed.
It is also my will & desire and I hereby direct my executor after my
decease to allot to my wife Mary S Ratcliffe one years provisions of corn, bacon
and wheat & to pay her five hundred Dollars absolutely to do with as she
Item Second. I
have five children among whom I wish to make no difference and it is my will and
desire that all the estate whether real, personal or mixed of which I may die
possessing or be entitled to in any way and not herein before disposed of
equally divided among my said children towit, Mary E. Pierce, Wm. P. Ratcliffe,
Thomas L. Ratcliffe, Frances G. Ratcliffe and John W. Ratcliffe, and I hereby
direct that any portion of my estate be sold by my executor as necessary to make
an equal division, and in making the said division the advancements heretofore
made, or which hereafter be made by me be taken into account, so as to make the
portion of each equal (receipts for said advancements will be found among my
papers). It is also my wish that
none of my adult slaves be carried out of the state against their consent, but
that they may be sold in the state if necessary to make a division.
It is also my will or desire that if either or any of
my children should die before me, that the portion hereby intended to be given
to such children or child be equally divided among his other children if any
there should be.
It is also my will and desire that the property or such
of it that may not be consumed in the use herein given to my wife together with
the slaves lent to her & their increase, at her death be equally divided
among my children before named or their descendents.
Item fourth. The
portion of property hereby given to my daughter, Mary E. Pierce & which may
be allotted to her by this will (at the request of her husband William F.
Pierce) I will and bequeath to her for her own separate use & benefit during
her life and at her death to be equally divided among her children and I hereby
do constitute and appoint the said William F. Pierce a Trustee to receive and
hold said property for the exclusive use of said Mary E. Pierce and her children
during her life & at her death to keep said property together for the use
and benefit of her said children until they arrive at the age of maturity or
until he deems it proper to make a distribution to them.
I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Francis G.
Ratcliffe executor of this my last will and testament and regard that he will
execute the same fully according to my intentions as herein
In testimony whereof I hereunto subscribe my name and
affixed my seal the sixteenth day of March Anno Domini One thousand Eight
hundred and fifty.
Gideon Ratcliffe (seal)
Signed sealed and
acknowledged in the presence of
Jonathan Core / May 54