Will of Moses LeCompte Keen
Sussex County., Delaware
August 6, 1855
Moses LeCompte Keen's August 6, 1855 Last Will and Testament
In the name of God Amen, I, Moses LeCompte Keene of Dorchester County in the State of Maryland being Sick and weak in body but of Sound and disposing mind meaning and understanding Considering the Certainty of Death and the uncertainty of 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 home do therefore make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say -
First and principally I commit my Soul unto the hands of Almighty God and my body to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my executor hereinafter named and after my debts and funeral charges are paid and my wife's thirds taken out, I devise and bequeath as follows if there should not be personal property Sufficient to pay my debts then I wish my executor Sell my lands other than the land on the home Side of the Maine road where are deeds for all of the lands in my possession except the land bought from the late __ Pattison for which I hold a bond of conveyance and have paid all the note therein, Where is in my ledger a full Statement of the amount paid by Daniel Meekins to me an amount of the land on which Said Meekins now lives and a statement of the amount still due can be found amongst my papers where is still a balance due me by John M. Dean on account of land purchased from me by said Dean and other accounts between us all of which Should be settled before he attains a deed.
Item I wish the boat now on my sticks at my landing to be finished if my Executor thinks it advisable.
Item On a receipt from Wm Rea in 1852 to be found amongst my notes can be found a statement of the amount due
my ward Miss Emily A. Keene to that date my ledger will show the state of our business since that time.
Item to my sister Mrs. Margaret Stevens, I give a home on the home place during her life or if She Should prefer to build a house on any land adjoining the home place then She shall have a small quantity of land laid off sufficient for her to live at the discretion of my Executor She having the priviledge of getting timber from any of my lands to build said house free of charge.
Item To my servants after serving their respective terms from the date of __ this will as hereinafter mentioned I give thier freedom and direct that all papers necessary to Substantiate their liberation be given them my negro man Jack to serve four years my negro boy David to serve fifteen years and negro manPeter Ross to serve six years negro man Hercules to serve eight years -negro woman Mace to serve three years negro man Adam __ to Serve ten years -negro boy Ben to serve fifteen years -negro boy Young Hercules to Serve twenty years negro boy Bill Buck to serve then years negro boy Luckner (?) serve twenty five years, negro Girl Reginia to serve twenty five years -negro boy Albert to Serve twenty eight years Negro Woman __ Ross to be free now and to be supported by my estate if she becomes unable by age or infirmed to Support herself.
Item I wish my Executor to pay Mr. James W. Dean liberally for his Kindness in ___ __ ___ _ .
Item I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Sophia I Keene in addition to her thirds my best Bed __ and necessary bedding and my watch chain
Item I give and bequeath unto each of my neices Mrs. Elizabeth Jones Emily A. Keene and Mary H_ Keene the Sum of fifty Dollars,
Item I Give and bequeath unto my dear daughter Julia Arnice (?) Keene my wedwatch (?) I the event of the death of my two daughter without heirs of their bodies, I wish my remaining lands to be divided equally between my sister Mrs. Margaret Stevens and my three nieces Mrs Elizabeth Jones, Miss Emily A. Keene and Mary _ Keene and in the event of the death of XXXerasedXX any of these four persons before the death of my two children the Said lands Shall be divided amongst those of these who survive,
Item In the division of my negroes I want Mace and __ to fall to my children
Item Should both of my children die before the expiration of the terms of service of the negroes who may fall to their __ then the Said negroes shall be released from further service and be liberated at once but should one only die then her negroes shall finish their respective terms of Service with my remaining child and lastly I do hereby Constitute and appoint Jeremiah L Pattison to be hole Executor of this my last will and testament revoking and annulling all former wills by me heretofore made ratifying and confirming this and none other to be my last will and testament. In testimony whereof I have hereinto Set my hand and affixed my seal this Sixth day of August 1855.
Signed Sealed Published and Declared by Moses L. Keene the above named testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have Subscribed our names as witness thereto.
James L. Bryan, Levi D. Gravers, Henry Shenton
State of Maryland Dorchester County to wit. On the 20th day of August Anno Domini 1855 Came James L. Bryan and made oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God the Enclosed instrument of __ __ to be the last will and testament of Moses L. Keene late of Dorchester County recently deceased was deposited in his hands for safekeeping by the Testator therein named and that to the best of his Knowledge it is the true and whole last will and testament of Said deceased thd that he Knows of no other of a younger date
State of Maryland, Dorchester county to which on the 20th day of August Anno Domini 1855 came James L. Bryan Levi D. Gravers and Henry Shenton of R. the three Subscribing witnesses to the enclosed last will and testament of Moses L. Keene late of Dorchester County deceased and made oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God that they did see said deceased Sign and seal said will the they heard him publish pronounce and declare the same to be his last will and testament that at the time of so doing we was tot he best of their apprehensions of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding and that they respectively Subscribied their names as witnesses to said will in the presence and at the request of the Testator and in the presence of each other