|Ursula Wilkerson Wilson, daughter of the subject|
Martha Pettypool Wilkerson
The prompt this week is "Favorite Name." I've already blogged about my ancestor with the best first name. You can read about Cinderella McIntyre Wilson here, in my post about her brother Daniel Boone McIntyre (also a cool name).
Like many others participating in this challenge, I am plagued with the usual Johns, Marys, Williams, and Henrys. So, I turned to last names. I recall the delight I had when I discovered an ancestor with the surname Pettypool.
It's fun to say. Pettypool. I've never met anyone with that name in all my travels. I learned early on that many Pettypools shortened the name to "Poole" or "Pool" as time went on.
There is an excellent website on the early Pettypools; if you are interested in this family it is a must-read. At this site there is a direct link to an article written in the Virginia Genealogist about the Pettypools with great documentation.
My last Pettypool ancestor was Martha "Patsy" Pettypool. Patsy was born February 6, 1787 according to her gravestone. Her parents were Stephen Pettypool and Margaret Halliburton. Although the 1850 census lists her birthplace as Virginia, her father Stephen Pettypool was living in Granville County, North Carolina around that time, and I think it is likely she was born there.
While still in Granville County, Martha Pettypool married Joseph Pumphrey Wilkerson, son of Francis and Ursula (Satterwhite) Wilkerson. The following marriage bond was executed by Joseph Wilkerson and Logustin Pool on November 8, 1804.
|Marriage Bond of Joseph Wilkerson and Martha Pool|
Source: Granville County, NC Marriage Bonds on Ancestry.com
Like most women in my family, Patsy's life was measured out by her marriage and the births of her children. She should appear by name in two federal censuses; I've found her in the 1850 but not yet in the 1860. I don't have any pictures of her, nor do I know of any that exist.
However, she did one thing a little unusual for her time. On August 12, 1864, she wrote a will. Well, she dictated her will. It was signed with her mark, indicating her illiteracy.
Martha died two months later, on October 2, 1864. Her will was recorded on October 10th, in the Breckinridge County, Kentucky Will Book 1, pp. 308-309. I have transcribed it here:
"Know all men by these presents that I Martha Wilkerson of the county of Breckinridge and State of Kentucky being of sound mind and disposing memory do make and constitute this my last will and testament.
1st: I will and bequeath to my son A.J. Wilkerson my entire estate interest in and to the farm upon which I now reside and said interest being one eleventh part of said farm said A. J. Wilkerson is to have the said interest upon the following conditions to wit: that he shall pay to my other legatees hereinafter to be named the sum of eighty five dollars six months after my death said eighty five dollars I desire shall be equally divided among my legal hereafter to be mentioned. I also give and bequeath to my son aforesaid my old slave woman Mima it being her desire to be with him. I request that he shall take special care of her during his life.
2nd: I desire that all the rest of my property of evry discription whatsoever after the payment of all my just debts funeral expenses &c shall be equally divided among the following of my children to wit: Polly Milner, Ursula Wilson, Jane Wilson, A.J. Wilkerson, Joseph P. Wilkerson, Anslem W. Wilkerson, and Joannah Carden. It is my wish will and desire that my slaves shall not be sold out of my family. I desire that my body shall be interred by the side of my husband's grave, and that my executor shall have both enclosed in a good stone wall arched over. This I make as a charge on my estate to be paid as part of my funeral expenses.
I hereby appoint and constitute my son A.J. Wilkerson my Executor, hoping that he will faithfully carry out my last wishes in regard to my worldly affairs. Witness my hand this 12th day of August 1864.Concerning her property, I still need to investigate deed records on this family. As to her slave woman Mima, I wonder if this is the same person name Jesseminah or Jessemimah willed to her by her father in 1837? I have the 1850 slave schedule for Martha Wilkerson, and her oldest slave at that time is a black female aged 45. If this is Mima, she would have been born about 1805, making her almost 60 when the will was written. Less than one year later, the ending of the Civil War would have given Mima her freedom. I wonder if she lived to see that?
Martha X Wilkerson
Regarding the last part of her will, Martha gave instructions about her burial. I have not yet found a listing on the FindAGrave website for Joseph and Martha Wilkerson, but I did locate photos of their gravestones on Ancestry.com. Though they are closeups of the stones, a stone wall with metal fencing is clearly visible in the background. I am seeking permission to use those photos here.
Lastly, while googling for this post, I found I am related to the Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell! You can read her blog post on her Pettypool line here. Our lines diverge at her 6th great-grandparents, John and Sarah Sanford Pettypool; my line comes down through their son Stephen, above mentioned.