The Will of Samuel Swann, St. Mary’s County, Maryland – 20 Nov 1807

Amanuensis[i] Monday
Darling-Swayze-Walter-Swan

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

Wills and probate records are generally a gold mine of information. The will of Samuel Swann is no exception. It provides key information, particularly that he had five children living and four children, who had issue, that had died before he created his will in 1807. One of the five children required being cared for.

From the Maryland Register of Wills, Saint Mary’s County, comes the following:


TRANSCRIPTION BY DON TAYLOR

Samuel Swann’s last will and testament}

In the name of God, Amen. I Samuel Swann of St. Mary’s County in the state of Maryland being sick & weak in body, buts of sound and disposing mind, memory & understanding, considering the certainty of death, and the uncertainty of the time thereof, and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs, and thereby be the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me hence, do therefore make and publish this my last will & testament in manner & form following, that is to say.— First & Principally, I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God, and my body to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executor herein after named, and after my debts & funeral charges are paid, I devise and bequeath as follows —

Item. I give & bequeath unto my grandchildren (Children of my deceased son Samuel Hatch Swan (towit) Henry Swan, Philip Swan, Anna


Swann, Catharine Dent Swan, & Margaret Compton Swann, all that parcel of land, being part of a Tract of Land called Eagleton (except one half acre where the Graveyard is) laying & being in Charles County to them and their Heirs forever also to my grandchildren above mentioned I give and bequeath one Negro man by the name of Ben, and one-eighth part of my personal estate not specifically bequeathed.

Item. I give & bequeath unto my son Thomas Mercer Swann & his Heirs forever, all my land in St. Mary’s county being part of five Tracts of land (to wit) Quaintan, Swann’s Forrest, Swan’s Venture, Hopewell & Thorn’s Venture, provided my said son Thomas Mercer Swann pays unto the children of my deceased son Edward Burch Swan[i], the sum of six hundred dollars when they come to legal age, to be equally divided among them or the surviving part of them, also to my said grandchildren above mentioned, representatives of my deceased son Edward Burch Swann, to wit, to John Samuel Swann, I give and bequeath a Negro Boy by the name of Charles, to Elkanah Swann, I give & bequeath a Negro Boy by the name of Elich, to Eli Dent Swann I give & Bequeath a Negro Boy by the name of Jeremiah, in case wither of said John Samuel Swann, Elkanah Swan or Eli Dent Swann should die before they come to age, my will & desire is that the survivors or survivor of them shall inherit the property left the whole of them, but in case the whole of them should die before they come to age my will & desire is that the property left them by this my will, shall go to my children or to their Representatives, also to my Grand Children Representatives of my deceases son Edward B Swann I give & bequeath one eighth part of my property that is unrevised.

Item. I give & bequeath unto my son John Swan one Negro woman by the name of Rose one Negro boy by the name of Vincent and a negro girl by the name of Jennet with the future increase of the said Negro Women Rose, a horse colt & one bed & furniture, to him & his heirs forever, but under this restriction, that the said John Swann shall not sell or dispose of any part of the property left by me, without the license or consent of his brother Thomas Mercer Swann, under whose care I leave the said John Swann, and his


property, and in case of the death of the said Thomas Mercer Swann the person whom he may appoint to take care of him. And I further will & desire that after the death of the said John Swann that the property left him by this my will shall go to my son Thomas Mercer Swann or his heirs forever.

Item. I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Anna Garner or her legal representatives one eighth part of my unrevised estate.

Item. I give & bequeath unto my daughter Margaret Walter or her representatives one eight part of my property unrevised.

Item. I give & bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Barber one eighth part of my undevised property –

Item. I give & bequeath to my granddaughter Lydia Dyson Swann, one negro girl named Mary and her increase, to there and her heirs forever but in case she should die without issue, my will & desire is that the aforesaid bequest shall devolve to her brother, John Dyson Swann and her sister Anna Maddose or their issue.

Item. I give & bequeath to my grandchildren Anna Maddox & John Dyson Swann one eighth part of my unrevised property, to them or their heirs.

Item. I give & bequeath to my granddaughter Catharine Dent Swann (alias) Reynold, as it is said she is married to a man of that name) Daughter of my deceased son Philip Swann, one negro girl by the name of Charity to her and her heirs lawfully begotten.

Item. I give & bequeath to my son Thomas Mercer Swann one eighth part of my unrevised property. Lastly, I hereby nominate, constitute, & appoint my son Thomas Mercer Swann Elecutor of this my last will & testament, hereby revoking, disallowing & annulling all & every will or wills by me heretofore made or done, and acknowledging this and only this my last will & testament.

In witness whereof – I have hereinto set my hand & affix my seal this twentieth day of November eighteen hundred & seven.

Signed, sealed, acknowledged & declared to by the last will and testament of Samuel Swann the Testator, in the presence of us Gustavis Cartwright, Robert Barber Benjamin Wood.

Sam’ll Swann {Seal}


Before signing this my will, I have thought fit to make the following addition hereto (That is to say) I will desire that my three old slaves (to wit) Hep, Philis & Jane shall remain on the land whereon I now live and be supported by the property of my son Thomas or his heirs, provided they are willing to live with him, but if they prefer going to any of my other children, and they will take them, my will & desire is that they shall be gratified. — Sam’ll Swann

On the back of the foregoing was the following, to wit, Saint Mary’s County, to wit, the 8th day of December 1807 — Then came Thomas Mercer Swann and made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God, that the afore going instrument of writing is the true and whole last will and testament of Samuel Swann lat of Saint Mary’s County deceased, that had come to his hand or profession & that he doth not know of any other.

                      Certified by James Forrest – Reg-wills for Saint Mary’s County.


Saint Mary’s County the 8th day of December 1807.  Then came Gustavus Cartwright and Robert Barber, two of the three subscribing witness to the aforegoing last will and testament of Samuel Swann late of Saint Mary’s County deceased, & made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God, that they did see the testator therein named sigma and seal this will and that they heard him, publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and testament, that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of their apprehensions of sound and disposing mind, memory & understanding and that they respectively subscribed their names as witnesses to this will in the presence and at the request of the testator in the presence of each other; also that they did see Benjamin Wood the other witness to this will subscribe his name as a witness in the presence and at the request of the said testator

                      Certified by James Forrest Reg. wills


Conclusion

  • Samuel Swan created a will on 20 Nov 1807.
  • Samuel Swann’s wife, Catherine, is not mentioned, so I presume she died before 20 Nov 1807.
  • The children of Samuel Swann included 5 living and 4 deceased who had issue.
  1. Thomas Mercer – Executor. Provided care to John.
  2. Philip (Deceased) Philip died before 20 Nov 1807.
    Children:  Catharine Dent Swann Reynold?
  3. Edward (died before 20 Nov 1807.)
    Children: Elkanah, Eli Dent, John Samuel
  4. Henry (died before 20 Nov 1807.)
    Children: Lydia Dyson, Anna Maddox & John Dyson Swann
  5. Elizabeth Barber (a Robert Barber was a witness)
  6. Margaret Walker
  7. Anna Garner
  8. John (was under the care of brother Thomas Merce Swan)
  9. Samuel Hatch (Samuel died before 20 Nov 1807).
    Children:  Henry, Philip, Anna, Catharine Dent, & Margaret Compton.

All the grandchildren mentioned were born before 20 Nov 1807.


Source:

“Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999,” images, FamilySearch: Accessed 20 May 2014), St. Mary’s> Wills 1777-1820 vol 1-3 > image 543 of 743; Hall of Records, Annapolis. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYMH-9WF4?i=542


ENDNOTES

[i] John Newmark started the “Amanuensis Monday” category in 2009 on his Blog,  Transylvanian Dutch  and many bloggers have followed suit using the tag. Google provides the following meaning for amanuensis: “A literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.”

One thought on “The Will of Samuel Swann, St. Mary’s County, Maryland – 20 Nov 1807”

  1. Just so you know:
    Philip Swann, mentioned as a dec’d s/o Samuel Swann, died in Frederick Co., VA about 1789. He had a will probated there that year in which he mentions a wife Mary and daughter Catherine. I have never found a marriage record for Philip and Mary, but my husband is a descendant of their daughter Catherine. She married Washington Reynolds in Orange Co., VA 1 Mar 1805. They had 8 sons and 1 daughter. According to the 1850 census, she was born in Maryland in 1785. The names Dent, Mercer, and Swan have been carried on down in the Reynolds family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.