Estate Record of James Armstrong - 1853
Contributed by Myrtle Bridges from Richmond County
Estate Book One (Adams - Harbert)
April 04, 2002
1853 Spring Term Richmond County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. Elizabeth Armstrong vs.
Richard W. Jones, Cynthia Jones, Anderson Griffis and wife Elizabeth, Wade Barrett and wife Amelia,
John Terry and wife Mary, Stephen G. Cobert and wife Nancy caveat will of James Armstrong, deceased.
It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court ··· Woodard, who married one of the daughters of John
Armstrong, and the other children of John Armstrong who are alive that ··· Woodard, who married a
daughter of John Williams and Elizabeth, his wife and the other living children of the said John
and Elizabeth Williams. Drury Armstrong, John Armstrong and the other living children of William
Armstrong. Richard Armstrong and Peter Armstrong reside beyond the limits of this State. It is
therefore ordered by the Court that publication be made for them for six weeks in the North Carolina
Argus, a newspaper printed in the town of Fayetteville, N. C. to be and appear before the Justices
of our next Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions to be held for the County of Richmond at the Courthouse
in Rockingham on the 3rd Monday of July next, then and there to see the proceedings to be had in this
behalf and then and there to join in said issue, wither in favor or against said Caveat. The Clerk to
issue notices and summons John Aldred Isaac.
1854 January 17th. State of Tennessee, Menairy County. I have on this day proceeded to take the Deposition
of William Ussery, a witness for the plaintiff about the age of sixty eight years, at my house and
office in the Town of Purdy in obedience of a commission hereto annexed in the presence of Richard W.
Jones to be read as evidence in a suit now pending in the Superior Circuit Court of Richmond County,
N. C. Rockingham Courthouse. Wherein Richard W. Jones and others are plaintiffs and Elizabeth Armstrong
and others are defendants, and the said Wm. Ussery first being duly sworn to speak the truth and the whole
truth as to what he may know of and concerning the matter in dispute between the said parties ··· saith as
follows (to wit.)
Question by the plaintiff:
Were you acquainted with William Jones and his wife Sarah?
I was well acquainted with them in their lifetime, and for many years.
Are they living or dead? If dead, where did they die?
They are not living, but are both dead and died in Giles County, Tennessee.
Do you know whether there was any relationship between them and the late James Armstrong of Richmond
County, North Carolina?
They were related and so claimed to be by both father and mother having the same father, but different
What was the relationship?
They were half-brother and sister.
Do you know what children Sarah Jones, wife of Wm. Jones, has left surviving her?
Elizabeth, Amelia, Mary, Isaac, Synthia, Nancy, Richard and Sarah.
Will you please to name them; state who are the husbands of the daughters of Sarah Jones, if any of
them are married?
Elizabeth married Anderson Griffis. Amelia married Wade Barrett, Mary has been married twice, the
first husband by the name of Thomas Wilks. Her present husband is John Terry. Synthia is not married.
Nancy is married to B. G. East. Sarah married Stephen G. Cobert.
Do you know who James Armstrong, the brother of Sarah Jones, married?
He married Elizabeth Allred and I never heard it disputed or called in question. [signed] William Ussery.
And further this deponent sayeth not. I certify that the foregoing Deposition is all my own handwriting,
that I am in no wise related to either of the parties. That the same was taken before me on the day at
the place and in the presence of the party named Captain Richard W. Jones, one of the plaintiffs, and has
not been out of my possession and has not in any wise been added to or changed since it was signed by the
said William Ussery, the witness, this the 17th of January 1854. [signed] S. D. Pace, one of the Justices
of the Peace for the County of Menairy and State of Tennessee. Fees for Deposition $1. pd. by Richard W.
Jones. Wm. Ussery pd. $.75.
1854 April 22. State of North Carolina, Richmond County. By virtue of a Commission to me directed I,
Jese A. Baldwin, acting Justice of the Peace in and for the County aforesaid, have caused the persons
therein named as witnesses in behalf of the defendants in the suit therein mentioned, to appear before
me on the day and date above specified at Baldwin's Store in the County aforesaid, and they being first
duly sworn according to law depose and say:
Isaac Ewing being first examined.
Were you intimately acquainted with James Armstrong for the last fifteen years previous to his death?
Do you know that he was a man of very limited education and but little calculated to do public business
of any kind? I do.
Did you visit him during his last illness?
I did. I was there the Friday before he died the following Monday.
Did you not have a lengthy conversation with him that evening upon the subject of farming and other subjects?
Did he not converse as sensibly as rationally as usual?
He did until he became drowsy and went to sleep and after waking up he made some random expressions, after
which I had but little conversation with him. What he did say was as rational and as sensible as before,
and when I went to leave he desired me to stay all night with him which was not convenient for me to do
but [I] promised to come and spend the next night with him.
Did you not hear him speak on more than one occasion not very long before he died in regard to a man making
a will and leaving his wife nothing to dispose of as she pleased after his death?
I did on two occasions hear him say that when a man died without children that he ought to leave his wife
something to dispose of as she pleased, which was always his notion.
Did you not consider him as capable of transacting any business that he had been accustomed to transact
when well so far as the state of his mind was concerned?
I did until he became sleepy and after which he seemed drowsy and said he felt very sick and did not wish
any one to pester him, so he did not seem disposed or willing to talk until I went to start [home], the
substance of which is stated in a previous answer.
Further this deponent sayeth not [signed] Isaac Ewing, Jun.
Nathan T. Bowden second witness deposeth and says as follows:
Did you visit James Armstrong during his last illness; and how often? I visited him once on Wednesday, and
as I understand he died on the following Monday.
When you got there was he not sitting up in a chair and did he not walk out into the yard to or near the
garden, and did he not engage in conversation more or less with the company present?
Did he not seem capable of transacting any business that he was accustomed to transact so far as his mind
I saw nothing to induce me to believe to the contrary, as I thought him to be in his proper mind.
When you went to leave him, did he not hold on to your hand and insist that you should stay all night with
He did hold on some two or three times longer than usual until Mrs. Armstrong remarked that he, the witness,
was telling him good bye. He then said that he knew it, but would be very glad that he would stay all
night with him.
Were you not present in a conversation with the deceased and others a short time before he died in regard
to a man dying and leaving his wife without property to dispose of as she pleased? Did he not say that a
man ought to leave his wife property to dispose of as she pleased and did not this conversation arise in
consequence of a mans having just disposed of his property by will without giving anything to his wife to
dispose of absolutely?
I was present and heard him use such language.
Further this witness sayeth not. [signed] Nathan T. Bowden
Ann T. McLeod third witness deposeth and sayeth as follows:
Were you not in the habit of visiting the house of James Armstrong, dec'd, and inti-mate in his family for
a number of years?
I was ever since he was a housekeeper.
Did you visit the deceased during his last illness and did you not go there in company with N. T. Bowden,
the witness previously examined, and on Wednesday previous to his death on the following Monday?
I did go to see him on Wednesday previous to his death on the following Monday in company with N. T. Bowden.
How long did you remain there?
Until the evening of the next day.
Did you sit up with him and were you by his bedside throughout the night?
I sat up with him and watched throughout the night.
Did you have frequent conversation with him throughout the night and did you see anything in his manner
or conversation or anything else to induce you to believe he was irrational or not in his proper mind?
I heard him talk, and heard nor saw anything to induce me to believe he was not in his proper mind.
When did you hear the first conversation about making his will?
The evening of the day I went there while sitting on the piazza in a chair. His wife asked him to lie down,
that he had been sitting up long enough, when he remarked that he wished to fix that writing before he lay
down. At that time I did not know what writing he alluded to, but afterwards learned that it was his will.
He want-ed it fixed before he laid down, that they had been at it long enough and he wanted it fixed then.
He then inquired where John Crouch was, that he wanted him to witness it, and was told by his wife that
he had gone home, whereupon, he went into the room to his bed and lay down and Crouch was sent for. He
dropped to sleep and awoke after a while and inquired if Crouch had come and was informed he had and was
gone to bed when deceased said "well, well."
Was anything said that night about his will?
What was said the next morning about it?
He, the deceased, said that the men were all there and he wanted it fixed then, where-upon, Murdoch B.
McRae went to the bed and handed him the will and all the others went onto the piazza. He remarked that
he wanted them to come in that they were out there talking about his business and he wanted them to come
in and fix his will, where-upon, Christopher Green came in company with others and the will was executed
in presence of Murdoch B. McRae and Christopher Green who subscribed as witnesses.
What did the deceased say after the will was executed?
He held it up in his hand and looked at it and remarked that it hardly looked like his handwrite and
further remarked after laying down that he felt better satisfied than he had for a long time.
Previous to executing the will did he not hold it in his hand for sometime looking over it as though he
was reading it?
Did you you not hear the deceased direct one of the witnesses to the will where to assign his name?
What time that day did you leave the Armstrong house?
I think about twelve o'clock.
At the time of executing the will and during the time you stayed that day did you believe him to be in
his proper mind? I did.
Further this deponent sayeth not. [signed] Ann T. McLeod. Sworn to before me on the time and at the place
above specified. J. A. Baldwin J. P.
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