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Will of Alexander Duncan

Contributed by Nola Duffy
Source: NC Wills & Inventories - Grimes
Written: 1767

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I, Alexander Duncan, of Wilmington, Merchant, Intending, please God, going Soon for Great Britain & knowing the uncertainty of Human Life, in Case of my death do make this my Last Will and Testament for the ordering & Disposing of what Worldly Estate or Personal Interest which it has pleased God to Bestow upon me.

In the First place, I give and bequeath unto my Brother, Robert Duncan, if allive, the Sum of three hundred Pounds Sterling money, to him or his heirs; In case of his death or having no heirs, this Legacy to be divided equally between the Surviving Children of my Sisters, Elizabeth Ronaldson, Deceased, & Margaret Henery, now Supposed to be in Edinburgh, if not there, Let enquiry be made where my said Nieces & Nephews do Live; I Also Will & bequeath to Said Children of my said Sisters, as many as there may be of them, the sum of Seven hundred pounds Sterling, to be equally divided among them, Share & Share alike, to them & their heirs. These Legacys I desire to be made to Alexander Purves, Esqr., in Edinburgh; or to John Clark, Goldsmith there; in Case of their death, to Mr. Thomas Smith, Merchant there, as soon as my Executors Can, not Exceeding two years at Farthest.

I Give & Bequeath to John Rutherfurd, Esqr., of this Province, the Sum of One thousand pounds Sterling money, by him to be disposed of as he pleases, the same to be Remitted to his order in London, as soon as the Circumstances of my affairs will permitt, not exceeding three years, to him & his heirs.

My Will & Desire is also, that my Executors may within two years after my decease, if Circumstances will permitt, purchase four young Negro Men & as many young Negro women that are likely, which I desire them, my Executors, to make a present of to James Moore, Esqr., for his use during his own life; in case of his death before his wife the said Negroes are to decend to her, and their Increase to be willed & Disposed of as she pleases.

I Also give & bequeath to Thomas Cunningham, Junior, who has Lived with me with great fidelity, the sum of four hundred Pounds, Proclamation money, to assist him to follow Trade, if he pleases, which if he does, I desire That my Executors may procure for him in England, Credit to ammount of five hundred pounds, Sterling, for the payment of which they are to be his Security. To Ammount of the Four hundred pounds, Proclamation money, my Executors are to Remitt for him, it being the sum I give him & his heirs, the rest he to make payment of himself.

I Give & Bequeath towards the finishing, if finished, towards Adorning Wilmington Church, the sum of four hundred pounds, Proclamation money, to pay which the Executors of my Will are desired to make over to the Judge of the Superior court for the time Being, the ammount of that sum in some Sufficient Bond or note due to me at the time of my death, to be Recovered for this purpose.

I Give & Bequeath, Frances Rutherfurd, daughter of John Rutherfurd, Esquire, the Same Legacy as I have given to Colonell James Moore, above mentioned, in Case she returns to this Province & Marys here; But in Case of her Living in Europe & Marying there then I Leave to her four hundred Pounds, Sterling, to be paid to her when she Marys or is of Age, to her & her heirs forever.

I Give & bequeath to the Daughter of John Walker, a Carpenter in Wilmington, by his wife, Isobell Walker, being his Last Marriage, (this girl Lives or did Live at Richard Lyons at Cross Creek) if allive at my death, three Negro Girls to be purchased in Like manner as the Others I Leave above mentioned, which Legacy is to be in Trust for this Girl till she Comes of Age or is marryed, with the Wife of Thos. Cunningham, in Wilmington, if dead, young Thomas Cunningham to take care of them for her use forever.

My desire also is, that the following Sums may be paid Soon after my Decease as a token of my friendship & Esteem for the following persons, either to purchase mourning Rings &c in Remembrance of me, at their option, or disposed of as they think proper, Cornelius Harnett, Twenty Pounds, Sterling, His wife the same Sum; Mary Grainger, widor of Caleb Grannger the same sum; Mr. Maurice Moore the same sum, His wife the same sum; Captain John Forster the same Sum, His wife the same sum; & to Alexander Chapman the same sum; All which is to be understood if these persons are allive at the time of my death and are in North Carolina.

Having an opinion of the good qualitys of Arthur Benning, of Wilmington, and Considering him as unfortunate in this part,

I will & Bequeath that my Executors make over to him for his Sole use if allive, the Sum of Five hundred Pounds, Proclamation Money, out of such debts in this Province as may be due to me at the time of my death, to him & his heirs or Assigns.

I Will and bequeath to Robert Schaw, my now Partner, after my debts and the afforesaid Legacies are paid, one half of all the Outstanding Debts that may be my part in this Province or in America at the time of my Death, as also one quarter part of all the Ready Effects, or Negroes that are now my part in Company with him & Mr Ancrum to him and his heirs forever.

And Lastly, I give & Bequeath to John Ancrum, my now Partner, all the rest of my Real or Personal Estate not before given, to him & his heirs forever, Who with Robert Schaw, I Constitute & Appoint my Executors of this my will, to see it Executed as it means without any form of law, which they know I never Choose to have any thing to say to, on which Account I make this will more for their Government in the distribution of my Effects, than to have it conformable to law, & I desire that they may Construct it as such knowing this to be my hand writing without even a Witness as the Law in all Wills directs, therefore desire that they may agree in all things Like Brothers, Live together in Harmony to perform their friend's Will & Remember him only as he has deserved.Given under my hand as my Last Will and Testament at Wilmington, the 11th. May, 1767.


P: S: Mrs. Elizabeth Hall may be in Ordinary Circumstances, in Case of her being so, my Will is that during her Continuance as such, that my Executors pay her yearly the sum of Thirty Pounds, Proclamation money, for her assistance.


The Within last Will and Testament of Alexander Duncan, deceased, was proved before me this 18 Day of May, in the Year of our Lord, 1768, by Thomas Cobham and William Lord, who swore that they were well acquanted with the Handwriting of the said Alexander Duncan, the Testator, and that they verily believe the said deceases Name, as well as the whole Body of the Will, is of his, the said Testators own proper Handwriting. The said Thomas Cobham and William Lord further declare, that they were both before and since the Date of the said Will, well acquainted with the said Alexander Duncan in his Life Time, and were often in his Company, & that they believe at the Time of the date the Said Will He was of sound and disposing, mind & Memory. John Ancrum and Robert Schaw the Executors therein named took the Oaths appointed for their Qualification. Ordered That Letters Testamentary issue thereon accordingly.

Alexr. Duncan's Will. Recorded.

This is the Will of Alexander Duncan of Wilmington, merchant at the time of Leaving North Carolina, going for England, which is not to be Opened till Accounts are Certain of his Decease.

Copied from Original Will filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.