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Submitted by Pat Mount

Excerpt from: "The Collings, Richeys and The Pigeon Roost Massacre"

Will of William Collings

Shelby County, Ky, Book 17, Page 171

          In the name of God Amen.  I, William Collings, of Shelby County or the state of Kentucky, being of sound mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament in manner and form follow-ing.  I commend my soul to God who gave it to me and my body to be buried in a decent Christian like manner.  Now what it hath pleased God to help me to of this world's goods I devise and have given as follows:

          I have here to fore given to my two daughters Lydia Dooley and Frances Holland three hundred dollars each, and to my daughter Elizabeth Bristow I have given one hundred and seventeen Dollars, to my sons John, Abraham, William, and Zebulon J. I have given four hundred dollars each, or it's equivalent.  My other daughters Mary Rigg, deceased, and Sarah Johnson I have not given anything that I make any charge of.  Therefore Mary Rigg's lawful heirs, namely, Zebulon, Johnson, Frances Wise, Elizabeth Gray, Richard Rigg, Mary Jane Rigg, and to Lydia Ann Riggs Heir three hundred dollars to be equally divided among them as they may severally arrive at proper age to receive, and my daughter Sarah Johnson to receive her three hundred dollars, and my daughter Elizabeth Bristow to receive the balance of her three hundred dollars being one hundred and eighty-three dollars which when paid make my daughters equal which I desire.  My executors to pay over to those who have not received of the first money that may come into their hands of my estate making them all equal before a general division may take place which I desire to be done with the balance of my estate both real and personal.

          I come now to say something about my son Zebulon, who feels as near to me as either of my children but from the course he has pursued I do not feel to make such division as I have to my other children, But in order to make justice the living criterion of this instrument I allow to his heirs the same portion I have to my other heirs particularly my sons.  An he is now living on a tract of land in the county of Perke in the state of Indiana which I estimate is an equivalent to four hundred dollars making him equal to the sums received by my other son, my desire and intention is that my said son Zebulon shall have full privilege of cultivating and planting all such improvements as he may deem necessary during his natural lifetime and after his death to descend to his legal heirs as though he had have had a fee simple to the above named tract of land containing one hundred and sixty acres is not to be subject to paying his contracts but go entirely to the support of him and his family and the balance that may be going to him out of my estate when an equal division shall take place his legal heirs to have four hundred dollars to be equally divided among them, and that he, my son Zebulon, to have the balance to use as he may think proper.

          I now come to talk about that part of my colored family which if they should live longer than I do what my will and desire toward them is.  Viz. I intend them all to be free under the following conditions and regulations: First my woman Hannah not only to be free but to have the following proportion out of my estate that is to say twenty-five dollars a year to be paid to her out of my estate by my executor as long as she may live.  Now in relation to Jack and Stephen I desire them to be free on the following terms and conditions. Viz. They are to remain in servitude two years after my death if they live so long or pay to my executor two hundred dollars each making four hundred dollars.  Otherwise if they will give approved security to pay my executors the four hundred dollars at the end of the two years then they are to be emancipated from slavery and given them all the privileges of free colored people in this commonwealth.

          Now as to Elizabeth being the youngest and the last of my colored family I bequeath her to my daughter Frances Holland until she arrives at the age of twenty-one years.  At the expiration of said term to be free from slavery or servitude and to enjoy the same privilege that other free persons of color do in this Commonwealth.  I hereby nominate and appoint George Wise executor to this my last will and testament revoking all other wills heretofore made by me and clothing my said executor with full and ample power to sell and convey all my real and personal estate in testimony hereof I here unto set hand and seal this 12th. day of October A. D. 1844.


William X Collings

Signed in presence                                               mark

of us

          William Pugh

           Noble Jones                          


Shelby County Ct.                                 November term 1846


          At writing purporting to be the last will and testament of William Collings deceased was proven by the oaths of William Pugh and Noble Jones subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and thereupon George Wise the executor named in the will came into court and took upon himself the burden of the execution hereof and having taken the oath required by law and entered into bond with George Bristow, Robert Motherhead, Lunty Johnson, Abraham Campbell, and Obadiah Homerton his securities in the penalty of $16,000 conditioned as the law directs of said will is granted him under form of law.

Att. Ia. L. Whitaker

Shelby County Clerk





Copied Nov. 21, 1968 by

Joe J. Thomas

Route 1

Rockville, Ind. 47878





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