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Will of Judge Joseph Morton Venable

Will of Judge Joseph Morton Venable

Shelbyville, KY


Recorded Shelby Co Will Book #10, p. 94

Transcribed by his gggg granddaughter

Jean Rawlings Meaney


Anyone who wants a copy is free to make one if they acknowledge my transcription. 

Notes in parentheses/ italics are from the transcriber.

 I Joseph Venable of Shelby county, Kentucky, do make, publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following.

            It is my will that the hands, or so many of them as shall be necessary, be kept on the farm until the crop of this year be gathered in and the horses? broken, that as many of the cattle as shall be fit for making beef be fed and made fat and sold in the latter part of winter or in the spring, and that all the hogs fit for the purpose be fattened and sold as pork, all the rest of my stock, except such horses or cattle as may be necessary for the use of the hands while in the place, be sold on such terms as my executor shall deem most profitable to all concerned.   I wish my books to be divided among my children. Joseph will take Scotts Bible, and all the classical books will be kept for William. Two good beds and furniture will be reserved for my son Henry, and two for William, one bed and furniture to be given to Francis and one to Samuel unless he shall receive the box of books which I have forwarded to him, in that case the books will be in lieu of a bed for him.  The rest of my household furniture will be sold by my executors or distributed among my children as they can best agree amongst themselves.

Sufficient provisions will be kept for the hands and some persons employed to superintend them until they complete the work intended for them.  My executors will sell the crop of all kinds which shall not necessarily be consumed by the hands and stock, together with all other personal property not distributed.

            I give all my land which lies on the south side of public road, which runs through my land to my sons Henry Isaac and William Thomas so laid off as to include a spring under a beech tree north of one of the tobacco houses in Henry’s part and Henry’s part may be wider at the east end to give him more wood and William more cleared land. William will take the south end of the land including the dwelling house orchard etc.? and one hundred sixty five acres of land, both parts to be estimated at fifteen dollars per acre.   The rest of my land, all of which lies on the north side of said road will be sold by my executors on the best terms they can and the money arising for the sale thrown into the general distribution of my estate.  If however my son in law William Q. Morton or my son Joseph will purchase the land above devised to Henry and William at a fair price not less than twenty dollars per acre before there be any sale of the other part of the land, then I give the land on the north side of the road to my son William Thomas to be estimated at thirteen dollars an acre and two thousand dollars out of said sale to Henry Isaac.  My son Henry’s expenses at the Theological seminary until October 1832 will be paid out of my estate without charge to him.  It is my will that a sufficient part of my estate be reserved in the hands of my executors for the support and education of my son William Thomas until he shall arrive at the age of twenty one years, to receive a classical education if his health will permit, but the profits of his estate to go in part of his expenses, except of the last year, which shall be reserved for his use after coming of age.  And if it should please God to call him to the Gospel ministry, the expenses of his theological studies shall be paid out of my estate and the profits of his own.  I have ten shares in the Shelbyville and Louisville turnpike road company which I advise to be retained until the company shall commence making dividend among the stockholders, and then disposed of by my executors to the best advantage either by sale or distribution among my children, or if my executors may deem it best, they may retain them toward the support and education of William.

            I feel much difficulty in my mind with respect to my slaves and leaving them as property to my children, but they are so situated I find no suitable plan by which I can do otherwise.  I recommend them to the benevolence of my children, that by distributing none of them may be separated from their wives or husbands, and that as nearly as practicable an equal valuation of them be made to each taking into estimate those already received by any of them.  I recommend to my children to liberate and send Liberia all born after the Fourth of July last at a suitable age and it would meet my wishes if all could be sent to Liberia after a few years service.  I therefore recommend them to the benevolence of my children to do with them as shall be most consistent with their duty as Christians.

            The remainder of my estate not herein disposed of will be divided equally among all my children taking into estimation the property herein devised or heretofore received by any of them, but Henry and William will not be required to refund ___? their land amount to more than the dividend of the others, and for the better direction of my executors, I herein state, as nearly as I can fix, the sums received by the several children.  My son Joseph has received, including my negro man Ben, eighteen hundred dollars.  My daughter Elizabeth (Mrs. William Quin Morton) nineteen hundred dollars, my daughter Judith (Mrs. Thomas Joyes) sixteen hundred dollars including negro girl Maria.  My son Francis sixteen hundred dollars. My son James seventeen hundred dollars, including money paid to Joseph.  My son Samuel sixteen hundred dollars.  My daughter Selina ( later Mrs. James Morris Chase) twelve hundred and fifty dollars in money,  negroes worth seven hundred dollars and a horse sixty dollars.  My daughter Mary Jane (Mrs. Jacob Woodson Morton) has received sixteen hundred dollars.  Beds and furniture are not to be taken into the estimate in making a division of the estate.  I have borrowed one thousand and fifty dollars of my son in law Wm Q. Morton to be paid to him out of the first monies coming into the hands of my executors or to go in part payment for my land should he purchase it.

            I hereby recommend constitute and appoint my sons Joseph M. Venable (transcriber’s ggg grandfather), Francis W. Venable and Henry I. Venable and my son in law William Q. Morton executors of this my last Will and Testament and they shall not be required to give security unless for good cause or motion of any party concerned the courts shall direct it.  In testimony whereof I hereunto have set my hand and affixed my seal this twenty fifth day of May in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand eight hundred and thirty three.  The whole in my own hand writing.


Signed sealed (??)                                           Joseph Venable   seal

In presence of

M. Lyle

Saml Harbison

J. L Marshall

Jno F. Graham

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