Robert Saunders letter to Thomas B. Montague, 1854 May 8

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Robert Saunders letter to Thomas B. Montague, 1854 May 8


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Williamsburg 8. May 1854

Dear Sir.

I enclose to you a copy of the will of the Revd. Scervant
Jones, now in my posesion, and beg leave to inform you that I
propose to qualify as executor at the approaching term of
the circuit court her, which will take place on the 10th. day
of next month (June). I beg leave further to say, that
with reference to the tenth clause of the will, I regard it as
merely complimentary to myself inasmuch as the property
therein mentioned will, in my opinion, be not sufficient to pay
the debts; but that even if there shall be a surplus I shall
assuredly not deprive of it, those to whom he has left the rest
of his estate.

I am very repectfully
Your obedt. Servt
Ro: Saunders

Thos. B. Montague esq.

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The last will & Testament of Scervant Jones made this 25th. day of December 1852.

First, & principally, I deem it proper to say that I have an abiding faith in that
Gospel that I have preached to others : & hope through grace & mercy to obtain eternal life.

Secondly. In accordance with a promise made to my deceased wife Nancy Timson (when
on her death bed), I desire that I may be buried by her side, & I direct that the necessary space to con-
=tain us two and also my dear surviving wife (should she desire to lie by me) be inclosed with iron
railing in good style & of substantial form. Thirdly. i revoke all other & former wills by me made,
and I declare this only to be my true last will & testament. Fourthly. I give to my dear
surviving wife (Fannie Taylor) in lieu of dower, all my property in New Kent of every sort & kind
including the slaves purchased up there since our intermarriage, to her in absolute fee simple, and
and to her heirs forever : also my Gig carriage & harness and grey horses (Scott & Pierce). Also my silver
spoons and such other articles of household & kitchen furniture as she may select, to the value of
one hundred dollars. Also any two of my servants she may choose. But these bequests
are subject to whatever sum I may owe her children as their guardian, counting from the
time of her qualification, and in making up my account with them I expressly direct that
they be charged with board & every other expense from the beginning ; and further that she
continue to charge them until the said debt shall be fully extinguished and paid. In the
event that my wife shall die before me, the bequests aforesaid, so far, and so far only
as my lands, slaves & other New Kent property is concerned as before described. I do
hereby confirm to her children and their heirs forever, subject however to the debt aforesaid.
Fifthly. I give to William B. Jones my negro boy Henry together with the sum
of two hundred dollars and such of my books as he may select. Sixthly.
I give to Sarah Ann Montague my negro girl Mildred now in her possession : also
the sum of two hundred dollars. Seventhly. I give to my friend Sarah M. Howard
(should she survive me) the sum of one hundred dollars. Eighthly. I direct
that at the end of the year of my death the balance of my slaves be hired out, and so from
year to year, to good masters, during the life of my wife, and the hires yearly & every year after

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paying all proper expenses, be divided equally between my wife, W.B. Jones and
Sarah Ann Montague: and should either the said W.B. Jones or S.A. Montague die (during
the life of my wife) leaving a child or children, then such decedents part of such hires
shall go to such child or children : but if ther be no such child or children then the other
negroes so hire out with all their future increase to go as is already directed con-
-cerning their hires. Ninthly. I direct that my Vineyard farm be rented out from
year to year until the title be settled : and if it shall be decided in my favor,
that the said farm be then sold on time, and the proceeds, principal & interest, to
go as I have already directed in reference to my slaves in the preceding clause
of this my will : subject nevertheless to the payment of my debts if need be.

Tenthly. All the balance of my estate of every sort & kind I wish sold for
the payment of my debts, and if there be any surplus I give and bequeath
the same to Robert Saunders Esqr. who I hereby appoint my whole and sole
executor. But this bequest is not intended to exclude him from making all such
charges as he may properly make against my estate for his excutorial
services. In witness of all this I have wholly written this my will
and subscribed the same with my own hand and thereto affixed my seal
the day and year first within recited.

Scervant Jones seal

Original Format

Ink on paper


Saunders, Robert , “Robert Saunders letter to Thomas B. Montague, 1854 May 8,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed June 25, 2022,

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