Fielding Lewis' Will

Fielding Lewis
Portrait of Fielding Lewis, c. 1755-1757
Artist: Attributed to John Wollaston
Origin: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Oil on canvas
A gift from Mr. Lewis Smoot, 1940
In the name of God, Amen: I, Fielding Lewis of Spotsylvania County in the Parish of St. George being indisposed and knowing there is a time for all flesh to die do make and declare this my last Will and Testament, in manner following: That is to say first: I bequeath my soul into the hands of Almighty God my blessed Creator hoping and believing a remission of my sins through the merits and mediations of my Saviour Jesus Christ my body I commit to the earth to be interred at the discretion of my executors hereinafter named and as to all my worldly estate with which it has pleased God to bless me I give and devise as follows:

Imprimis: I give to my loving wife Bettie Lewis during her life the use of all my lands in Spotsylvania County (except that part which my son John has rented during my wifes life as will appear by writing past for the purpose and all the lots in Fredericksburg) I also give to my said wife ten working negroes viz: five men and five women with the stocks of cattle, sheep and horses, carriages plate and household furniture with right of house servants with their children that are not above 12 years old such of them as she shall choose also the negro Harry the above in lieu of dowery.

I give my son John Lewis after the death of his mother all my lands in Spotsylvania County and in the town of Fredericksburg also one sixth part of my negroes including those nine already given him also my gold watch and the silver ring which was his mothers that has a race horse engraved thereon. It is my intention that he have immediate possession of all my lots in Fredericksburg except my brick warehouse which I give to my loving wife and after her death to my son John. The above is given in consideration that my son John Lewis pays fifteen hundred pounds sterling towards the payment of my debts but if my son John refuse to pay the said money then my will is that all the land between the road leading from Fredericksburg to the falls and the river and all my lots in the town of Fredericksburg or so much thereof shall be sold as will raise the said fifteen hundred pounds sterling.

I give to my son Fielding Lewis one thousand acres of my Frederick County land on which he lives as surveyed by Mr. Barry with one sixth part of all my negroes including the thirteen he has already received to him and his heirs forever.

I give to my son george Lewis all the remains of my tract of land in Frederick County bought of Robert Carter E. Nicholas Esq. except a thousand acres which I shall hereinafter devise to my son Lawrence Lewis and was surveyed by Mr. Barry with one sixth part of all my negroes including the thirteen already given him, to him and his heirs forever.

I give to Charles Carter Esq. my son-in-law the negro wench Unity and her children and the girl Milley now in the house which my daughter calls her maid also five hundred pounds specie with interest from the seventh day of May 1781 and for which I have passed my note to him.

I give to my son Lawrence Lewis one thousand acres of land in the County of Frederick on which my overseer Butler now lives as surveyed by Mr. Berry with the one sixth part of all my negroes reckoning these above mentioned to have been given to my sons John, Fielding and George also one third part of all my stocks horses, cattle, sheep and hogs on the plantation. I hold those not already given and delivered to my sons Fielding and George to him and his heirs forever.

I give to my son Robert Lewis the one half of ten thousand acres of land located or to have been located for me in the County of Kentucky by Mr. Hancock Lee, also the one half of the twenty thousand acres of land located or to have been located for me by Nathaniel Randolph in the said County of Kentucky with the one sixth part of all my negroes reckoning those which his brothers have already received with one third part of all my stocks in Frederick County not yet disposed of to him and his heirs forever. But if it so happen that the lands devised my son Robert should when he comes of age not be of the value of two thousand pounds specie my will then is that that sum be made up to him including the value of the lands to be raised out of the whole of my estate which said money is to be laid out in land or disposed of otherwise as my executors shall think will be most for the interest of my said son.

I give to my son Howell Lewis the remaining half of ten thousand acres of land located or to have been located for me in the County of Kentucky by Mr. Hancock Lee also the remaining half of the twenty thousand acres located pr to be located for me in Kentucky County by Mr. Nathaniel Randolph with the one sixth part of all my negroes reckoning all those negroes which his brothers have already received with the one third part of all my stock in Frederick County not already disposed of to him and his heirs forever. But if it should so happen that the lands devised to my said son Howell should when he comes of age not be of the value of two thousand pounds specie my will is then that that sum be made up to him including the value of the lands to be raised out of the whole of my estate which said money is to be laid out in land or disposed of otherwise as my executors shall think will be most for the interest of my said son.

It is my will that all lands purchased at the land office except which is already disposed of to my sons Robert and Howell be equally divided between my six sons before mentioned.

It is my will that my share in the dismal swamp company, my lands bought of Marmaduke ........... in partnership with General Washington my lands bought of Doctor Wright and Jones in Nanzemond County in partnership with General Washington and Doctor Thomas Walker and the three hundred seventy acres of land in Frederick County bought of George Mercers estate be all sold at the discretion of my executors also my share in the Chatham rope walk at Richmond which money so raised to be disposed of as I shall hereafter direct.

All monies arising from the sale of lands, land office certificates, or other wise after my note to Mr. Charles Carter and my just debts are paid I give to my six sons before mentioned to be equally divided among them but should either of my sons Lawrence, Robert or Howell die before they arrive at twentyone years of age or have married it is my will that such sons' part of my estate be equally divided among the survivors not "per stirpe sed per capita."

It is my will and desire that my son John Lewis pay five per cent interest on the fifteen hundred pounds sterling he is directed to pay towards the discharge of my debts until the whole is discharged the interest is to commence from the time of my death.

It is my desire that such part of my estate which I have given to my sons Lawrence, Robert and Howell be put into the hands of their mother to support them and that she shall not be obliged to account for any that may be made from the said estate.

I constitute and appoint my loving wife, my sons John Fielding and George executors of this my will hereby revoking all other wills heretofore made. I declare and publish this to be my last will.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the 19th of October in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one.

Signed sealed and published by the said Fielding Lewis as and for his last will in the presence of us who have at his request and in his presence attested the same.


A codicil to be added to and taken as part of my last will and testament: Whereas by a clause in my said will I have given to my son Robert Lewis one half of ten thousand acres of land in the County of Kentucky located by Mr. Lee and also one half of twenty thousand acres of land in the same County located by Mr. Randolph to him and his heirs forever and since the making of the said clause in my said last will I have purchased of Mr. Frank B. Willis Jr. a tract of land adjoining the tract of three hundred and twenty acres I purchased of the trustees of George Mercer which three hundred and twenty acres I have by another clause in my will directed to be sold at the discretion of my executors now my will is that the last mentioned tract of land be added to the tract I purchased of Mr. Francis Willis and the same be given to my son Robert Lewis and his heirs and assigns forever the whole of the ten thousand acres of land located by Mr. Hancock Lee be given to my son Howell Lewis and his heirs forever and that the remainder of my lands at Kentucky to be divided amongst my children as mentioned in my will. If the said ten thousand should not be of the value of two thousand pounds specie then my will is that that sum be made up to my son Howell including the value of the land, to be raised out of the whole of my estate and to be laid out as in my will mentioned 'tis also my will and desire that my estate be kept together in the same manner it is at present until December 1782 and that no division take place before that time. I hereby release my son John from the payment of interest on the fifteen hundred pounds till December 1782 and I will that my son George Lewis have immediate possession of my moiety of the mills given him by my will and the use of the mills until a division.

Lastly I declare and publish this as a codicil to my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this tenth day of December 1781.

Signed sealed and published by the said Fielding Lewis as and for a codicil to his last will and testament in the presence of us

Francis Willis, Jr.
Garrard Alexander
Fr'., Reys.
Georege Ogburn
John Butler
William Carpenter


At a court held for Spotsylvania County January the 17th 1782, the last will and testament of Fielding Lewis deceased together with the codicil annexed was produced by John Butler and William Carpenter two of the witnesses thereto and is ordered to be recorded and on motion of John Lewis, Fielding Lewis and George Lewis the Executors named in the said will who made oath thereto and together with George Stubblefield and Thomas Colson their securities entered into and acknowledge their bonds in the penalty of fifty thousand pounds specie conditioned as the law directs certificate is granted them for obtaining a "profert" in the form.

Test, John Waller, C. L. C.