Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Will of Catherine Wagner Stout (1806-1901)

My 3rd great-grandmother Katy Stout died in 1901 in Johnson County, Tennessee.  She left a will even though she owned no land.  She also was illiterate (she could not sign her name).

You can see the will at Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927, Johnson County Wills 1882-1932, Will of Catharine Stout, 1901 (image 51 of 172); digital images, FamilySearch (http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 15 Jul 2015). 

Here is my transcription of her will:

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In the name of God Amen, I Catharine Stout recognizing the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, and being of sound memory and disposing mind do hereby make and publish this my last Will and testament to wit:

First: - It is my will and desire that my body be buried in a decent and Christian manner.

Second: - My just debts shall be paid as soon after my death as is possible for my executor.

Third: - I will and bequeath unto my three daughters, Betsy Snider, Polly Adkins, and Sallie Snider to be divided equally among the three all by [my] beds and bed clothing and whatever wearing clothes of mine I may have at my death.

Fourth: - I will and bequeath unto my daughter-in-law Rachel Stout my weaving loom.

Fifth: - I will and bequeath unto my daughter-in-law Mary Stout one of my large spinning wheels.

Sixth: - I will and bequeath unto my granddaughter Sarah Nave my other large spinning wheel and my small spinning wheel.

Seventh: - I will and bequeath unto Rachel Stout and Mary Stout equally between them my brass kettle and my hackle.

Eighth: - I will and bequeath unto my granddaughter Sarah Nave all of my property proceeds and monies not herein before disposed of.

Ninth: - I do appoint and nominate W. G. Nave my Executor to carry out this my last Will and Testament.

In Witness whereof I have here and to [unto] subscribed my name this twenty-fifth day of April 1893.
Catherine X Stout

Signed in our presents at the request of the testator to whom the contents of the foregoing last will and testament was read in our presents April 25th 1893.
E. C. Wilson
R. L. Nave

Admitted to probate Aug. 2" 1901 - County Court and recorded in Will Book Aug. 2" 1901.
                                                            I. S. Rambo, Clk.

Notes on Catherine’s will:

The handwriting is the clerk of court who copied the will from the original will into the bound book.

Catherine dictated the will in 1893, about 4 years after her husband’s death, and 8 years before her death.  Most people at that time wrote a will just before they died; maybe she felt sickly in 1893 but recovered.  She owned no real estate, so why did she write a will?  I wonder if there were issues because Nicholas did not leave a will?  She wanted to ensure there would be no family squabbles over her property.

She left quite a collection of weaving tools: a loom, three spinning wheels, and a hackle.  A hackle is an implement with sharp spikes for cleansing flax or hemp.

Catherine left personal property only to her daughters, daughters-in-law, and one granddaughter.  Who were the people in her will? 
  • Daughter Betsy Snider lived in District 3, Johnson County.Daughter Polly Adkins died in 1899 in Watauga County so presumably her inheritance went to her children. 
  • Daughter Sallie Snider lived in Wilkes County.  Sallie was my 2nd great-grandmother who had moved away in 1861, so I’m glad to see that her mother included her. 
  • Daughter-in-law Rachel (Brookshire) Stout married Andrew.  Rachel was also Catherine’s niece (daughter of her sister Sarah Wagner Brookshire).  In the 1900 census, Catherine lived with Rachel and Andrew’s family, so no one had to move the loom! 
  • Daughter-in-law Mary (Holman) Stout married Daniel; they lived in District 4, Johnson County, adjacent to Catherine and Andrew. 
  • Granddaughter Sarah Nave was the daughter of Andrew J. Stout. 
  • Executor W. G. Nave, William Garland Nave, was the father of her grandson-in-law, David S. Nave. 
  • Witness E. C. Wilson (Edward Clinton Wilson), was another relative (his mother was Sarah Elizabeth Stout). 
  • Witness R. L. Nave (Richard L. Nave) was David’s brother and a son of W. G. Nave.

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