Last Will and Testament
Moses Duke of Barnwell, d. 1821
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Barnwell Co., SC, Will Book B, page 146
Barnwell Co., SC, Probate Records, Bundle 37, package 11

"The last will and testament of Moses Duke of Barnwell District in the State of South Carolina. I Moses Duke considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory, (blessed be Almighty God for the same) do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say)

First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Lurana her executors administrators and assigns forever my negro girl slave called Mary and her increase.

Item, I give, devise and bequeath all the rest and residue of my estate real and personal to my said wife for and during the term of her natural life or widowhood and no longer, to have use occupy and enjoy the same so far as may be necessary or conducial to her support convenience and comfort.

Upon the marriage or death of my Said wife, then I give and bequeath unto my nephew Moses D. Hughes, son of Micajah Hughes his executors administrators and assigns forever my negro boy slave called Ceaser; and unto my nephew Elijah Dukes, son of John Dukes his executors, administrators and assigns forever my negro boy slave called Will.

And upon the death or marriage of my said wife, I give, devise and bequeath unto my beloved daughter Esther Dyches wife of Seth Dyches all the rest and residue of my estate real and personal not, herein and hereby before absolutely disposed of, to have, hold use possess and enjoy the same for and during the term of her natural life and for her own sole and separate use, behoof and benefit for and during the term aforesaid.

And upon the death of my said daughter Esther Dyches, I give devise and bequeath unto the children or grandchildren of my said daughter who may be living at the time of the death of my said daughter, (Provided always that no grandchild or children shall take under or be action of this my last will and testament whose fathers or mothers shall be living and capable of taking under the provisions hereof) to them their heirs, executors and assigns forever Share and Share alike, all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate real and personal not herein and hereby otherwise absolutely disposed of.

My will and desire is that such of my Stock, household furniture, and other perishable property as may not be found necessary to the support, convenience and comfort of my Said wife should be sold, by the executors of this my last will and testament at such time or times as they may judge most proper, and the proceeds of such sale or sales applied to the education of the children of my said daughter Esther Dyches.

And my further will and desire is that my old and faithful Servants Simon and Jenney, may, after my decease, be treated with humanity and Kindness.

And I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint Francis Trotti and Angus Patterson executors of this my last will and testament. In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the fifteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty.
(signed Moses Duke (Seal)

Signed, Sealed, published and declared by the said testator as and for his last will and testament in our presence, who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.
(signed) Seybert Odom
(signed) Jose Parker
(signed) Daniel D. Odom

Recorded in Will Book B page 146
Recorded August 15, 1821
Orsamus D. Allen, Ordinary Barnwell District
Bundle 37, Package 11"

TLC Notes: The original Last Will and Testament of Moses Duke of Barnwell is in Barnwell Co., SC, Probate Records, Bundle 37,Package 11 along with testimony taken during the proving process. The package also contains his movable estate inventory and sale data. All papers in the package are circa 1821. The signature on the will is very shaky as done by someone infirm or unable to write well. The date on the will was March 15, 1820. This conflicts with subsequent testimony during the proving process which apparently started prior to July 28, 1821 and ended August 10, 1821.

It appears that Daniel Odom refused to affirm the will, at first. The Odoms were "summoned" to court by the sheriff for the July 28 hearing. Jose Parker failed to appear at this hearing, but testified later, on August 9. Seybert Odom said he saw Moses sign the Will, but he believed Moses was not "in his proper senses" at the time. The will was signed late at night, after 12 PM. Daniel Odom collaborated Seybert's testimony and added that he understood that Moses intended to change it but "...the will was made in March & Mr. D(uke) died in June..." William Freeman then testified that seven days after Moses executed his will, the subject came up in a conversation; Moses affirmed that he was highly satisfied with it and with the two men selected as executors. On July 31, 1821, Jimmy O'Bannon testified "...that in the forepart of October 1820...," Moses asked him to create his will and become his executor. O'Bannon declined and recommended Patterson. In the course of his conversation with Moses Duke, the items to go into the will were discussed. Moses wanted to provide for Esther Dyches but believed her to be a "...weakly woman and bed fast..." Moses had deeded her some property earlier and worried that to do more would be challenged because she was illegitimate. O'Bannon saw Moses again in May 1821 and wasn't recognized until someone told Moses who he was. After that Moses "...was perfectly in his right mind..." Next, Doctor William Gilliam testified. It seems Moses was infirm for more than a year, suffering from what he called asthma, but from what the doctor in testimony called dropsy. He had difficulty sleeping and had spells of forgetfulness and disorientation, but the doctor believed him to be of sound mind. Moses discussed the will and said he was pleased with it. The doctor also stated that Moses wanted to make sure Seth Dykes did not get control of his estate because "...he may be a froliksome fellow given to drinking & might spend it..." On August 3, 1821, Doctor Wilson Brown basically collaborated Doctor Gilliam's testimony. Several other witnessed were called that affirmed Moses Duke's state of mind and his satisfaction with the will. One witness stated that Moses Duke wanted to free two of his slaves, Simon and Jenney but the laws of South Carolina prevented it.

After reading the testimony, we believe that Moses Duke of Barnwell died in June, 1821. It is also possible that Moses' will was written in 1821 rather than 1820 as stated in the will. Moses apparently had many debts. The record is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in Moses Duke of Barnwell.

List of names from the will and testimony: Moses Duke(s), Lurana, Mary, Moses D. Hughes, Micajah Hughes, Ceaser, Elijah Dukes, John Dukes, Will, Esther Dyches, Seth Dyches, Simon, Jenney, Francis Trotti, Angus Patterson, Seybert Odom, Joseph Parker, Daniel D. Odom, Orsamus D. Allen, William Freeman, Mr. Eastland, Jimmy O'Bannon, Dr. William Gilliam, Dr. Wilson Brown, Dermis? Conley, John Williams.

List of names from the inventory: Bill (a fellow), Authur (a fellow), Ceasar (a boy), Will (a boy), Mille, Jane, with two children, Sarah and Jack, Tamer with two children, Mary and Celia, Simon, and Jenney. notes: William Ayers, Robert Williams. appraisers: Barnett. H. Brown, Jimmy O'Bannon, Lewis O'Bannon, William (his x mark) Freemen. appraiser not chosen: Thomas Harry

List of buyers at the sale: Francis Trotti, Seth Dyches, John Dyches, Levi Peacock, Thos. Kennedy, Lewis O'Bannon, B. H. Brown, Chas. Fellorvis?, Lewis Williams, John Browning, Jno. Williams, Lack Robyon, John Tant, O. D. Allen, G. W. Duncon, Wm Cumming, Dan Odom, Jno. Hart, and Jacob Fine.

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