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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Will of Gabriel Johnston, including related certificates
Johnston, Gabriel, ca. 1698-1752
May 16, 1751
Volume 22, Pages 287-290

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(Recorded Copy.)

North Carolina:

In the Name of God Amen, This is the last will and Testament of Gabriel Johnston, Esquire, Governor of North Carolina:

Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my Dearest Wife Frances Johnston a Plantation called Possum Quarter, lying and being in Granville County. I also give and bequeath unto her another Plantation called Conahoe, with the Three Hundred Acres lying near it by Gainers Plantation, both in Tyrrel Countys; together with a small Plantation lying on Salmon Creek in the County of Bertie, which I lately purchased of Lamb Hardy, to her & her Heirs for Ever. Item it is my Will that the said Frances Johnston shall at a Time she Shall Think proper and Convenient for her Own Interest and that of my Daughter, Purchase for her own Use, and in Order to Manage and Stock the aforesaid Plantation Twenty Working Negroes, Seventy Head of black Cattle and a Proportional Quantity of Hoggs, which purchase I allow her to make Either all at Once or Gradually as it shall best Suit her Interest; or if it can’t be done Easily to take the said Negroes out of the Estate of my Daughter Penelope, and take Care to have them Gradually Replais’d. 2d. I give & bequeath unto my Dearest Daughter Penelope Johnston all my lands lying in the Counties of Bertie, Northampton and Granville, which I had by her Mother, to her and her heirs for Ever, and all the Slaves I had by her Mother when I married her. Together with their Increase. And in Case my wife shall Choose to Remain in North Carolina and Reside upon the Lands of, and live with my Daughter (Which is my Hearty Wish), my Will is that she, my said Wife, shall have the Use of all my said Daughters Plantations, and for her Encouragement to Cultivate & Improve these Plantations, Especially in Raising Silk, and she my said Wife shall Receive and Enjoy for her own Proper Use One Half or Moiety of the Yearly

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Produce of the said Plantations, untill the Time of my said Daughter’s Marriage or her Attaining the Age of One and Twenty, I likewise give my Daughter all the live Stock which shall be on my said Plantations at the Time of my Decease. And I Earnestly Request my Dearest Wife to be a kind tender Mother to my Dear little Girl, and to bring her up in the Fear of God and under a deep Sense of her being always in His Presence; and in Sobriety and Moderation Confining her Desires to things Plain, neat and Elegant, and not aspiring after the Gayety, Splendor and Extravagances and Especially to take Care to keep within the Bounds of her Incomes, and by no Means to Run in Debt. And in case it shall please Almighty God to remove my Daughter without her leaving any Children behind her, it is my Will that the Above Estate shall go to my Brothers’ Sons and their Heirs forever, and that in such Case my Dearest Wife Frances Johnston may Enjoy, Possess and live upon any one of my Plantations she shall Choose Within Twelve Months after my Decease and my Brother Samuel Johnston may in like Manner Choose any other of my Plantations to be Enjoyed during their Natural lives. It. I give and bequeath unto Henry Johnston now at School in Newhaven, in the Colony of Connecticut, a Tract of One Thousand Acres of Land lying on Cypress Creek on the South Side of Trent River in Craven County, and a Tract of Nine Hundred and Eighty Acres lying on the South side of Trent, to Carolina Johnston, his Sister; and a Tract of Four Hundred and Odd Acres lying on the Head of Trent and New Rivers to my Neice Penelope Johnston, to them and their heirs for ever. All which Lands formerly belonged to William Smith, Esqr., Chief Justice of this Province, and were left to me by his will, Item I give and bequeath unto my Brother’s Two Sons Samuel Johnston and John Johnston, a Tract of Land of Seven Thousand Acres lying on Deep River in Bladen County, which I hold under the Name of Edward Griffith, Esqr., to be Equally Divided between them, to them, their Heirs, Executors for Ever. It. I give unto my Daughter Penelope, all the small Islands lying in Roanoke River and in the neighbourhood of Mount Gallard. It. I do will and hereby Impower my Executors hereafter Named to Sell all the Remainder of my Real Estate to the best Purchaser within Two Years after my Decease, and the Monies arising from the Sale thereof I do hereby Order to be applied to the Payment of my Just Debts. I leave all my Household Furniture, Plantation
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Tools and Necessaries to my Wife and Daughter in Case they remain in this Province. My Books I leave to William Cathcart, Esqr., after my wife and Brother have Choose out of them any Number not Exceeding Forty Each. It. to my Sister Elizabeth Smear of the County of Fife, North Britain, my large Repeating Gold Watch after it has been put in Order at the Expence of my Estate. To Carolina Johnston so be she settles at her Plantation, Ten Cows and Calves, with Hoggs in Proportion, and Five Negroes And to Each of my Brother’s Daughters, at the Day of their Marriage Two Negroes. And all that Distressed poore Family I Recommend to the Kindness and Protection of my Dear Wife, not daring to leave more to my Brother least it should be Seized to his Creditors, and his Family have no Benefit by it. As for all the Remainder of my Estate after Payment of my Just Debts as above Directed, I Order all may be sold and my Credits and Arrears of Sallary to be Divided in Five Parts, One Fifth to my Wife, Two Fifths to William Cathcart in Trust for my Brother for the Education of his Family, One Fifth for my Sister Elizabeth Smear and her Heirs and One Fifth to Henry Johnston. It. I give unto my Dearest Wife One Negro Female Child Called Titty and leave her Sole Executrix of this my last Will. And in Case of her Death or Absence, Samuel Johnston and William Cathcart Esqr., Executors. Done at Edenhouse this Sixteenth Day of May, 1751.


This last Will and Testament all written with my own Hand and Contained in this & the Two Preceding Pages was Signed, Sealed and Declared to be my last Will and Testament in Presence of

Andrew Leake,
Saml. Ormes,
Thos. Whitmell.

North Carolina:

I, Matthew Rowan, Esq., President & Commander in Chief, in and over the said Province, Do hereby certify that this Day Samuel Ormes Personally appeared before me and made Oath that he saw his late Excellency Gabriel Johnston, Esq., late Governor of the said Province, sign, seal and Declare the above Instrument of Writing as & for his last Will and Testament, and that at his Signing thereof he was of sound & Disposing Mind and Memory, and also that he

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saw Andrew Leake and Thos. Whitmell sign their Names at the same Time as Evidences thereunto.

Given at New Bern under my Hand this Fourth Day of April, Anno Dom., 1753.

Math Rowan.

North Carolina:

This Day Frances Johnston, Widow, Relict of the late Gabriel Johnston, Esqr., late Governor of this Province, Personally appeared before me as Executrix appointed by the Will of said Gabriel Johnston, Esq., and took the Oath appointed by Law to be taken by Executors.

Given under my hand this 16th Day of April, Anno Dom., 1753.

Jas. Hasell, C. S. C.

Bertie County—May Court, 1753:

The within written last Will and Testament of his late Excellency Gabriel Johnston, Esqr., late Governor of North Carolina was further proved by the Oath of Thomas Whitmell, One of the Subscribing Witnesses thereto. Ordered to be Certified.

P. Order of Court.

Saml. Ormes, Cl. Court.