Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The 1754 Will of Charles McDowell

In 1754 Charles McDowell,* the father of "Hunting John" and daughters Ann, Rachel, Mary, Hannah, and Elizabeth, died at age fifty-seven in Anson County, North Carolina. He had emigrated along with many other family members and friends from Ulster, Ireland, in the early 1700s, first settling in western Pennsylvania. Following the Great Wagon Road along the Shenandoah Valley, they lived for a time in Virginia before finally making their permanent home on the Carolina frontier. Charles knew his time was coming soon as he wrote this will, the first ever recorded in the Anson County courthouse.
In the name of God Amen. I Charles McDowell of Anson County in the Province of North Carolina being sick & weak of body but of Perfect mind & memory thanks be to almighty God for the same and calling to mind the mortality of life and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die have made and constituted this my Last Will and Testament in form and manner following Revoking all other wills and Testaments whatsoever by me made and appointed I doo allow this and no other to be my last will and Testament.
Impremis. First of all I recomment my soul in the hands of God that gave it & my body to the Grave to be Buryed in a Desent Christean Burial.
Item. I Doo appoint & Constitute my well beloved wife Rachal McDowell Executor of this my Last Will & Testament & I Doo appoint my Good friend and neighbour George Cathee of the County & province aforesaid to be her assistant in the Executorship.
Item. I Doo Give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife Rachal McDowell one third part of my Estate to be at her own Descression and a free property to her Mairs and Coults that she has always clamed as Her own for to be at her own Disposull & farther it is my willl and desire that my wife Rachal McDowell may make her home with her daughter Hannah Caller if she scease cause.
Item. I doo Give & Bequeath to my well beloved son John McDowell Ten pounds Current money of Virginia to be paid by my Executors.
Item. I Doo Give & bequeath to my Well beloved Daughter Rachel Eagan of Augusta County in the Colony of Virginia Two Hundred acres of Land lying & being on Broad river in North Carolina in Anson County to her & her heirs Execus. admins. or assigns for Ever.
Item. I Doo Leave unto my well beloved Brother Josp McDowell of Frederick County in Virginea one brown broad Cloath Coat & one beaver Hat & and one pare of Shoe bootes.
Item. and all the rest of my personal Estate after my Lawfull debts are paid to be Equally Divided between my four Daughters Anne Evans Elizabeth Barns Mary McPters & Hannah Caller to be in Joyd by them and their heirs for Ever.
In Witnes whereof I have inter Changeable set my hand and affixed my seal this twenty fourth day of January and in the year of lord God 1754.**

*Charles McDowell, born about 1697, was the son of Joseph McDowell and Ann Calhoun. He preceded his brother Joseph J. McDowell to the Carolina frontier from Virginia. 
**His will was probated 4 June 1754.