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 pleases. 

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

John Cowles