Family History by Robert Monroe Fleming (Sr.)

Notes on Fanily History by Iva Causey Fleming
(Part 13)

Transcribed by Robert M. Fleming Jr.

Before 1803 Mr Stevenson's nine surviving childred had married, and he had dividedhis large landed estate into nine parts, equal in acrage and value as nearly as practicable. And given each of the eight of them their share. Reserving the remaining ninth 535 acres to the use of himself and wife. But to go by testamentary device to their youngest son, Moses. Who remained and was to continue to remain on the parental homestead. Where it was not practicable to make the allotments of land substantially equal in acrage and value, the distribut?e? who received less got contribution from the one who received more than equal shares. Thus James Stevenson, who received less got from Andrew McKenzie, who on account of his wife, Elizabeth, received more, a Negro slave, the bill of sale expressing that the consideration was to make their allotments even. In 1803 Mr Stevenson made and put in writing with his own hand, his last will and testament disposing of the portion of his estate which he had retained after his distribution of eight ninths of his estate to his children. This will I insert here, because it may interest some readers as it has me. -- ( In the name of God, Amen. I William Stevenson, Senior of the State of North Carolina and the County of Iredell, being at present in my ordinary state of health, of mind and memory, thanks be to God for it. Calling to mind the mortality of my body, that it was appointed for all men once to die, for that all have sinned, to make this and ordain it and no other here to fore by me made. To be my last will and testament. And first of all, I commit my Soul to God, who gave it to me. And my body to the dust to be buried in a decent manner, at the descretion of my executor here in after mentioned. Nothing doubted but I that I shall receive the same again at the Last Day by the power of Almighty God. And for such earthly things as it hath pleased God to endow me with, I dispose of them in the following manner. And first of all I allow all my lawful debts fully to be discharged. 2- I leave to my loving wife, Mary, one negro wench named Batty, to be at he own disposal during life and at her death also, if alive till then. Also the negro wench named Dina, to be at her disposal during the life of my wife and after that, if the said Dina be alive, to go as I shall direct. Also leave to her her own choose of all the beds we own, with full furniture there unto belonging. Also her own clothes, coarse and fine. Also her own choose of all the horses creatures we then shall be possessed of. Her own saddle and bridle. Also a choose of the cattle as far as two cows and two calves. I also leave in full possession of the house I now live in while she remains my widow. Also the use of the barn, kitchen and other necessary houses there to belonging with the third part of this plantation I now live on, clear and unclear with the use of all my stock, horses, cows, sheep and hogs. With all laboring instruments necessary for laboring on the plantation, except the reserves here after to be made. Also the negro man names Henry during her widowhood to be under her direction to labor for the family support. And if my dear wife does not choose to live in her present habitation, but would choose to live rather with some other of her children she may take with her the wenches named, and Henry, and wht stock she pleases, to labor for her and themselves. 3 - I leave to my son, Moses, the whole of the plantation I now live on, which contains 535 acres, after my wife is served of it. And two parts of it clear and unclear, till then. I also allow to him after my wife is done with them, all the instruments of laboring tools belonging to the plantation. The present wagon excepted. The remaining at that time of cattle, sheep, and hogs I allow for his use. Also all household furniture of all kinds, except beds and books I bequeth to him. I also allow him my big house Bible and Hymn and Psalm Book with my lot is Union Library. I leave and bequeath to my daughter, Elizabeth, McKenzie, the fore mentioned wench Dina, when my wife is done with her. To whom she is now left. Her with all her breed till then if any there be, be the said McKenzie's. And till that time comes she is now possessed of a negro boy names Jack. That is to fill her room until delivered to her. And if death should prevent Jack is to continue in her stead as her own property. But if Dina is delivered aforesaid Jack returned and disposed of as here after directed. 5 - I leave and bequeath William Stevenson, son of John Stevenson, one hundred acres of land laying on the waters of Third and Fourth Creek. Near Statesville, being part of a tract given by me to my son, Robert Stevenson, and by him exchanged to his brother James. The said 100 acres being on the East end of said tract. Beginning at the black oak sapling. George Robison's Northeast corner of a piece of the same tract he bought of said James Stevenson. From thence East to a post oak sapling. Being the original East corner of said tract. But being now cut down unknowlingly by the cutter, is now supplied by a large standing stone set up by and before many witnesses for the purpose. From thence South to a Spanish oak adjourning William Simentown Esqr. Thence West with said Simentown's til a post oak sapling on said line, George Robison's Southease corner. Thence North with said Robison's line to the beginning. And if the said William should not live to possess it, it is to pass to the next male in the family till possessed. 6. I leave to Mary Stevenson, John Stevenson's oldest daughter, one ,more known by the name of the sorrel mare's colt. 7. I leave to my son John Stevenson the wagon I am now possessor of, but no gears. 8. I also leave to my son, William Stevenson, all my clothes that I am possessed of. Both coarse and fine. 9. I do leave and bequeath to William Stevenson Sloan on hundred dollars, to be paid to him out of my estate, together with my full margin Bible to ber given to him also. 10. My books not already mentioned allow to be divided amongst my children at the discretion of my executor. 11. The remainder of my estate not yet bequeathed I allow to be put to public sale, to wit: The two negroes, Henry and Jack, if Dina lives to release Jack; If not Henry only is to be sold; also what horses may remain, together with what ever bedding may then remain as the property of the estate, all to be sold, and the whole estate or amount of it after all demands are cleared off; to be equally divided amongst all my children, male and femaile. Last of all I appoint my sons, John William and Robert Stevenson to be Executors of this my last will and testament. And in witness of my satisfaction with what is herein contained I have here unto set my hand and seal this eighth day of March, 1803. Signed with my hand and sealed with my seal in the presence of us. William Stevenson Sr. (red wafer) --- Teat: Fergus Sloans, O H Mathews, Jurat, Jno. Mathews.

Mr Stevenson died in the Spring 1809. His son Robert moved to the great West in 1807 and settled at Bellevue in Missouri in 1808. The sons John and William qualified as Executors and filed the inventory of the Estate of the estate May 15, 1809.

Among the probate records in Iredell I found and read the record of the will of Minian Steele, made and declared in June, 1813. In which, following other bequests, this appears: "Then I also give to my two sons, James and Samuel Steele, one large plow and a small one, one pair of gears and double trees, one hoe and spading hoe to each of them. With an ax and mattox to Samuel F. Steele (Fulthy). Also my house Bible. I then give my case of bottles to James Archibald because I think him the most worthy of it. In this connection I found in a record made by one who had been in authority as past pastor of the church this mention.

"There has been, too, a great change in customs connected with funerals. Formerly when the friends of the deceased arrived at the house they were treated to spirits and water. When the religious services were over a dish of cakes and cheese were carried around. Then a stew made of spirits and sugar and spice and water, boiled in a coffee pot and poured out into cups and saucers, and served up very much as coffee is now. This custom was continued in some families as late as 1820. In one case it is said that the pall bearers became so much intoxicated as not to be able to carry the corpse to the grave. The abundance and abuse of ardent spirits and the more frequent use of coffee put an end to it".

In the same record it appears that until 1847 "tokens" were in use in connection with the Holy Supper. Which, on inquiry, I learned meant that little seals or balls were distributed by the officers to those in the congregation who were to be admitted to the Lord's Table. And that each on taking a seat at the communion placed his token of admission on the table before receiving the emblems. The use of tables in the administration of this sacrament was continued until the Civil War. Or perhaps till it's close, but they are not now used.

On Sundat, June 28, 1896, Judge William Gillispie Ewing, of Chicago, and I, with my families, attended morning service at Fourth Creek Church [possibly more below the bottom of the carbon paper] Which, shame on it, in disobedience to the commandent with promise has dis[illegible letter]wned it's hallowed name. In the afternoon of that day Judge Ewing and I went to Concord Church. As we drew near to it we saw persons entering and we followed. We found about twenty five young men, one middle aged man and one older, seated in the Northeast ament corner of the audience room. And a young man standing in front of the pulpit reading the opening hymn. On the right hand side of the group of worshipers there was a vacant space where one of the stoves had stood in winter. And running along the wall here was a bench of the length and fashion of the longer benches in the amen corner. And like them facing across the room. In front of this bench were two plain chairs, rawhide bottomed used probably by the teachers of infant classes in the Sunday school. We had advanced to this vacant space and at first seated ourselves on the bench along the wall. But soon I took one of the chairs. The young leader of the meeting raised the time and carried the air while all sang the hymn. He then offered prayer, after which another hymn was sung and another young man led in a second prayer. After it the leaderread the scripture for the day and after making a few well considered remarks himself declared the meeting open to remarks by other.

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©2009 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last revised on 13 September 2009.