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Wills, Letters & Legends




From the manuscript of J.A.C. Leland. " The following are extracts from the records of Lancaster County, Virginia, and cast light on the background of Dame Lucy Lee."
 

Will of Thos. Lee, Dec. 1st, 1750  -  Wills, Lancaster Co. Book 52, Page 230.
    "To my daughter Mary Lee one negro boy named Dick.  To my brother John Lee one negro wench named Cate that I had from my brother Richard Lee.  All the balance of my estate to my two children Mary Lee and George Lee.
    In case of the death of Mary Lee and George Lee without heirs I bequeath to my loving wife Lucy Lee all the estate I had by her and the increase and one negro wench named Feby and likewise my chair and two horses and the Explanation of the Testament.  Lucy Lee made executrix as long as she remains single.  Proved on the 16th of March 1759 and ordered to be recorded."

"On the 16th of June 1759 Lucy Lee Widow and Relict of Thomas Lee dec'd came into Court and relinquished as benefit and advantage from the will of the dec'd and insisted on one third part of the said Dec'd estate according to law.
    Lucy Lee made guardian of Mary Lee and George Lee and having given bond is ordered to possess herself of the estate of the orphans."

"By virtue of an order of Lancaster Court bearing date the 19th of June 1762 - the subscribers have settled the _________ relating to the estate of Thos Lee Gent dec'd to the time the Rev'd Mr. John Leland was appointed Guardian to Mary Lee orphan of the said dec"d and possessed the said Leland with one third part thereof in right of his wife, as also her part of her dec'd son George Lee's estate as follows Vis
                                    12 head of cattle at 20/            L12-0-0
                                    16 sheep               at  5/                 4-0-0
                                    (Bal. of list follows, total            82-0-5

From:   Book 9  -  Page 367

"Know all men by these presents that we Richard Hall of the County of Prince George and the Province of Maryland and Mary his wife on account of the Love and Esteem we bear unto Mrs. Lucy Leland wife of the Reverend John Leland and our Love and Effection which we bear unto her two children Lucy Leland and Charles Leland, etc.  Two negroes  -  -    "Formerly belonging to the Estate of Mr. Thomas Lee dec'd."
Dated 6th day May 1774."

From:   Book 9  -  Page 387:

"Know all men by these Presents that we John Leland Clk and Rector of Weicomoco Parish in the County of Northumberland & Colony of Virginia & Lucy Leland his wife from the regard & Esteem they have for Richard Hall Gent of the Co. of Prince George in the Province of Maryland - - - two negroes etc" - - have been allotted unto the aforesaid John Leland as part of his wife's Dower in the Negroes belonging to the Estate of Mr. Thomas Lee dec'd Late Husband of his present wife Lucy Leland" etc - - - - - - - "
                                                                                                    Dated 5 May 1774

From:   Fee Book _ _ 1775-6-7-8, Page 14
"1778 - Mrs. Lucy Leland widow and relict of Jno Leland, Clerk, dec'd.  Atto. Ent. of your Dissent to your Husband's will.  Record Halls and your gift to your daughter Sarah."
    from J.A.C.Leland;(Sarah had received from her father only 18 pounds whereas Martha, Mary and John had received 30 lbs.  The above may have been to even this up.)
    from R.M. Leland III:Sarah, being a minor at the time of her father's will(presumed), was entitled to the balance of the estate as were the other minor children, Being Sarah was her step-daughter it may have been to buy her off.

From:  Book 11 - Page 30
    "To all people to whom these presents shall come,  Sendeth greeting.  Dame Lucy Leland who was formerly the widow and Relect of Mr. Thomas Lee late of the County of Lancaster Dec;d Know ye that the said Dame Lucy Leland for and in consideration of the Natural Love and Affection which she hath and beareth unto her Daughter Mary and her Husband Richard Hall, hath remised, Released and forever quit claim, and by these presents doth fully and truly and absolutely remise, release and forever quit claim unto the said Richard Hall all and all manner of Dower Right and Title of Dower whatsoever which she the said Dame Lucy Leland now hath, might, should or of Right ought to have of in or out of all and singular the Negroes and Slaves which were the said Thomas Lee's at the time of his Death and also all manner of Actions and Writs of Dower whatsoever so as neither she the said Dame Lucy Leland nor any other person or persons for her or in her name any Dower or any Writ or Action of Dower, or any manner of Right or Title of Dower of in or out of all and every the said negroes and slaves at any time hereafter shall or may have claim or prosecute against the said Richard Hall and Mary his wife or either of them   But off and from the same shall be utterly debarred and for ever excluded by these presents.  In witness whereof the said parties to these presents ahve here unto set their hands and affixed their seals this 8th Day of March Anno Domini One Thousand Seven hundred and Eighty 1780.

Sealed and Delivered                                                        Lucy Leland
in presence of
Richard Nutt
Thomas Haydon

At a Court held for Northumberland County the 11th Day of September 1780 This Release from Lucy Leland to Richard Hall and Mary his Wife was proved by the Oaths of Richard Nutt & Thomas Haydon the witnesses thereto and admitted to Record.
                                                                        Teste:
                                                                                   Catesby Jones, CT Cur."



Notes from J.A.C.Leland:
    From some of the foregoing, it would seem that Lucy did not have much luck when her  husbands made their wills.
    According to the State census of 1782, Dame lucy leland was living in the lower district of Wicomico, the head of a family of four white persons and sixteen black slaves.
    In 1783 Suzanne J. and Henrietta Leland asked to have persons appointed to possess themselves of their part of the father's estate.  Lucy Leland, widow of aforesaid John for heself Lucy, Sallie and Charles, infants.



Notes from R.M.Leland III
    Not having much luck with husbands certainly did not stop Lucy from availing herself of the law in order to receive her due.  It again appears for the sake of brevity or possibly illegibility J.A.C. has omitted parts of these documents.
    The document dtd 6 May 1774, states two children Lucy & Charles, I would assume from this that the other two, Anne Herietta & Susannah J. were not yet born.  Therfore J.A.C.'s order is incorrect as Lucy would be (7), Charles(8), then Susannah(9) and Anne Henrietta(10).
    It is sad that legalese must be redundant, widow and relict have the same meaning, you wonder if they get paid by the word.  It make it totally confusing especially with no punctuation.  I have transcribed these as they appear in my manuscript copy, whether J.A.C. omitted punctuation for a reason or it got lost in copying I don't know.  By the time I finished Lucy leland's release to Richard & Mary Hall I was going in circles (of in or out of all and every the said) What in the world is that?  In J.A.C.'s note about Su(z)annah J. and Henrietta, are they trying to wrest away from Dame Lucy Leland or on behalf of her?
    Another "Chair", have to find picture.
 

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