Joseph Belk's Will[This typed document was given by Lynette Fincher Myers to Mitch Fincher around 1990. The spelling of Zachariah varies thoughout the doucment. The main docment was written in 1861 with an ammendment in 1863 when Zachariah has died (perhaps in the Civil War?)]
I, Joseph Belk, of the county and state aforessaid being of advanced age and knowing the uncertainty of life deem it right and proper both as regard myself and family that I should kame [sic] a disposition of the property with which a kind providence has blessed me. I therefore make this my last will and testament hereby revoking and annulling all others made by me.
Item (1) I desire and direct that my body be buried in a decent and christian like manner with little expense. My soul I recommend to God.
Item (2) I desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid out of my estate by my executors hereinafter named as soon after my death as by items be found convenient.
Item (3) It is my will and desire that my daughter Frances Belk remain and live with her mother until she marries or becomes of age and I hereby appropriate one hundred dollars per annum out of my estate if so much be needed for clothing, board including her services to her mother and if said sum of money should not be consumed for this purpose then said Frances shall have and receive the balance when she becomes age or marry all to be under the supervision or control of my executors.
Item (4) I will, give and bequeath and set apart unto my wife, Margaret Belk for and during her natural life or widowhood subject to the limitations and instructions hereinafter named the following property to wit, and shall be in of owner, Lot of land No. (54) fifty four, it being the lot whereon I now live also the north half of lot number fifty three (53) all in the forth district of originally Muscogee now Marion County with all the sights numbers and to said belonging or in anywise so much of all the farming utensils used and belonging to the plantation of every description to carry on the farming or other useful business, wagons including as she may judge sufficient for the purpose. Three farm mules or horses such as she may choose. From all my stock of mules or horses, her choice of one buggy and harness belonging to the place, five cows and calves as she may choose from all my stock of cows and many stock hogs as she may choose, three feather beds, bed steads and furniture belonging as she may choose with as much of all other household and kitchen furniture as she may choose, my desk and book case excepted also as corn fodder, bacon and all kinds o provisions as are usually kept on the place as my executors may judge sufficient for one years support and one hundred dollars in money for her use at her own discretion and the cotton gin I will also give and bequeath and
Item (5) Set apart for my said wife Margaret Belk for and during her natural life or widowhood subject to the limitations and instructions hereinafter named and to be in of her ...as.... aforesaid my negro man Davy about forty two years old my negro girl named Rose about fourteen years old, Benice about forty one years old and her children to wit, Isaac about sixteen years old, Shade 13 Yrs old, Solomon about 12 years old and Reuben about 11 Yrs. old together aforesaid property of every description embraced in the 4 and 5 items of this will, rest, personal or mided [sic], John set apart to my wife for her support and maintenance for and during her natural life or widowhood and in lieu of Davie and she shall feed and cloth and pay tax upon and all other incidental expenses attached to said property. It is my further will and desire that none of the aforesaid negroes which I have given and set apart a aforesaid shall be removed beyond the limits of said county of Marion unless they should be sent on an errand with a speedy return or in case of war, invasion or insurrection on the safety of said negroes should require them to be removed, I hereby place the same restrictions on all the balance of the property of a movable nature which I have set apart for the support and maintenance of my wife as aforesaid that is to say none of said property shall be removed beyond the present limits of said County of Marion only upon the contingencies aforesaid my and with the consent, knowledge on approbation of my said wife then and in that event it is my will and desire that the negroes or any other property which may have been thus removed contrary to the meaning of this will shall be forfeited by said Margaret Belk and that the same whether it be negro or negroes or other property shall revert to and become a part of my estate and shall be disposed of by my executors hereinafter named as they shall be directed by a subsequent clause of this my will.
Item (6) If my wife Margaret Belk should be dissatisfied with the provisions which I have made for her in the fourth and fifth items thereof or which I may also signed and ... them and ... that went ... it is my will and desire that in that event it is my will and desire that she have nothing out of my estate but her dower and all the property which I have willed and given and bequeathed to her by the 4 and 5 items of this my will of every description whatever rent personal and mixed shall revert to my estate and be disposed or by executors hereinafter named as they shall be directed. Item (7) By a subsequent clause of this will and if my said wife Margaret Belk should elect to taker her dower and should have the same laid upon any other lands which I may bequeath to any of my children by this will there and in that event it is my will and desire that the child or children whose lands may then be taken shall have a fair equivalent therefore out of my estate to be paid to him or them by executors.
Item (8) It is my will and desire that at the death or marriage of my said wife Margaret Belk all the property of every description both real and personal which I have conveyed to her by this will for and during her natural life or widowhood shall revert back to my estate and shall be managed and disposed by my executor in the same way as I shall hereafter direct my other property not already disposed or by this will.
Item (9) Whereas I have previously given to wit, in 1849 to my daughter Henrietta Duke the wife of Francis Duke a negro girl named Elsey at that time about eleven Yrs. old I now confirm the gift and bequeath the said negro with all her increase to her and to her heirs forever.
Item (10) I give and bequeath to my son Hollis Belk tow thirds of lot of land No. fifty five in the fourth district of said country of Marion it being the north tow thirds the place where he now lives with all the rights members and appurtenances thereunto belonging or appertaining to him and his heirs forever.
Item (11) Whereas I have heretofore to wit, on the 29th of January 1856 given to my daughter Martha White the wife of Jep. White a negro girl by the name of Doskey at that time about 14 years of age I now confirm the gift and bequeath said negro with her increase to said Martha White and her heirs forever.
Item (12) I give and bequeath to my son Zacharriah Belk the south third of the lot of land number seventy four and the north third of land number seventy five all the fourth district of originally Muscogee County now Marion County with all the rights members and appurtenances to the same in any manner appertaining to belonging to him and his heirs forever. also I give in like manner to my son Zacharriah Belk one good feather bed bedstead and furniture and two cows and calves.
Item (13) I give and bequeath to my son Joseph T. Belk the north two thirds of lot of land number seventy four in the fourth district of originally Muscogee now Marion Count with all the rights members and appertenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining to him and his heirs forever also I give in like manner to my son Joseph T. Belk one good feather bedstead and furniture two cows and calves and a certain mule called Jack which I bought for him last winter.
Item (14) I give and bequeath to my daughter Frances Belk one negro named Caroline about 18 yrs of age with all of her increase to her and her heirs forever and in like manner I give to my said daughter Frances Belk one good feather bed bedstead and furniture, 2 cows and calves, one bridle and side saddle, two hundred dollars in money and her piano. I have heretofore given off to my sons Amandus P. Belk and Denson Belk certain lands an my daughter Ellen Smith a certain girl and made to them all their respective titles thereto and which gifts consider equal to the specific legacies which I give to Sarah Nutt the wife of Martin Nutt a negro girl and executed title to her then to which I also consider equal with the balance of the children.
Item (15) It is my will and desire that all the balance of my property of every description whatever and whatever it may be real, personal and mixed money notes or accounts or any other thing of value shall be equally divided or for the same to be sold and the proceeds of the sale be divided leaving it discretionary with my executors to choose the most equitable mode of division into equal parts or shares and to be given to my children as follows, to Sarah Nutt the wife of Martin Nutt the hald(?) of one share or part the other half or that share of part to be equally dived between the children of Anderson W. Duke (Deceases) the first husband or the said Sarah Nutt the children of Mary Holland to take her share the said Mary being dead to Amandus P. Belk one share or part to Denson Belk one share or part to Henritta Duke one share or part to Hollis Belk one share or part to Ellen Smith subject to the qualifications and restrictions and limitations hereinafter named one share or part to Zacharriah Belk one share or part to Martha White one share or part to Joseph T. Belk one share or part to Frances Belk one share or part and I hereby nominate and appoint my son Denson Belk Testamentary, Guardian and trustee for the children of said Mary Holland deceased and I hereby invest my said son Denson with full power to use the money which may be going to his wards to the best advantage to pay the same over to them before their arrival at full age if necessary and if the exegencies of the case require it to break in upon the capital as I believe they will need their money mostly in their rearing and education leaving it to the entire discretion of the said Denson to manage for the best and if it should not be in the power or too inconvenient for my said son Denson to act as guardian and trustee as aforesaid then it is my desire that Steven M. Nutt or his wife Sarah Nutt act as guardian for said children and hereby invest them with the same power as herein given to the said Denson Belk.
Item (16) It is my will and desire that the share or portion of my property which may go to Ellen Smith shall go to her husband Smith in trust for said Ellen for and during her natural life and at her death to be equally divided between her children and in nowise be subject to the present or any future debts. Contracts or liability of the said Fallistino Smith or any further husband whereas I did heretofore to wit on the 8th day of November 1858 advance to my son Denson Belk a check for the sum of five hundred dollars and again on the 13th of December of the same year advanced to him another check of six hundred dollars making the aggregate the sum of one thousand dollars my son Denson Belk must account in his receiving his share or part of my estate without interest being computed thereon.
[an Item 17 was not in the will]
Item (18) It is my will and desire that the negroes which I have given off and set apart for my said wife for and during her natural life or widowhood shall remain on the place which I have bequeathed to my wife in like manner and they shall not be hired out or the land be rented neither shall she dispose of her life estate in said property in any manner by bargain and sale but the same shall be left together for the support and maintenance of my said life unless in case of absolute necessity to be judged by my executors.
Item (19) It is my will and desire that at the death of said wife or if she should marry in either event that all the property of every description real or personal an mixed which I have conveyed to her by the 4 and 5 items of this my last will and testament for and during her natural life or widowhood shall be divided or sold and proceeds divided in same manner among my children, grand children and great grand children as directed in the 15ah item of this my last will and testament that those share or part going to Ellen Smith shall go to her husband Fallistimo Smith in trust for her for and during her natural life and at her death go to her children and in no wise to be subject to the debts, Contracts or liabilities of her present or any other future husband.
Item (20) It is my will and desire that my negro man Peter and his wife Mary be not separated or parted in any ... of my estate, that if my executor should find it necessary to sell my negroes in order to affect an equitable distribution thereof said negro Peter and his wife Mary shall be sold together or if the negroes shall be divided in lot they shall both be in the same lot. I hereby nominate and appoint my sons Hollis Belk and Joseph P. Belk executors of this my last will and testament and that Hollis Belk have the privilege of acting alone or that the said Hollis and Joseph F. act jointly or separately, they shall equally divide the commissions and I also appoint the said Hollis and Joseph T. Belk testamentary, guardian for my minor daughter Frances Belk, I also appoint them the said Hollis and Joseph F. Belk trustees to manage and superintend the property which I have set apart to my said wife Margaret Belk in the 4 and 5 items of this will. In testimony whereof I the said Joseph Belk have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal my said will being continued on the within and foregoing thirteenth pages this 28th day of October A.D. 1861.
Georgia Marion County
Signed, Sealed, Declared and published by Joseph Belk to be his last will and testament in the presence of each of us and presence of each other and in presence of each other and of the said Joseph Belk at his request this October 28th, 1861.
James S. Wiggins
Geo. W. McDuffis
Erabert W. Miller
Whereas Joseph Belk did on the twenty eight of October in the year of our Lord 1861 sign seal and deliver and publish my last will and testament in the presence of D.N. Burkhalter, James S. Wiggins, Geo. W. McDuffis, James Baker, and Erabert W. Miller who signed the said will and testament as witnesses and whereas I am desirous of revoking divers bequests therein made to my sorrow Zachriah Belk who has lately deceased and did in estate and without issue I therefore make and publish this codicil to said will I revoke and make void the 12th item of said will wherein is bequeathed to the aforesaid Zacharriah Belk the south third of lot of land seventy four and the north third of lot of land No. seventy five all lying in the 4th. district of originally Muscogee now Marion County and also all bequeaths devises share of my property note or money or anything else of value that may be found in said will bequeathed or given to the aforesaid Zachariah Belk is hereby revoked and made void all other of said will to remain in full force interlined(?) in 26 line with words given(?...).
It is my will and desire that all of the property both real and personal money, notes or any thing else of value or its residue which was bequeathed or given in my aforesaid Zachariah Belk be disposed of at my death according to directions given in the 15th. item in said will as therein is given directions for the disposal of the residue of my estate. This 18th of November 1863. Signed sealed and declared and published by Joseph Belk as a codicil to his last will and testament who subscribed the same in the presence of testator and witnesses and in the presence of each other this 18th. of November 1863.
James S. Wiggins
Geo. W. McDuffis
Erabert W. Miller