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December 10, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Locust Dale, Part II

Mattie Brooks stands by a locust tree at Locust Dale, 1930. Courtesy Ruby Agee.

Need to catch up?  Click here: Buckingham Houses: Locust Dale, Part I

In 1937, Elizabeth McCraw surveyed Locust Dale for the Virginia Historical Inventory, recording the fact that it sat on land once owned by Peter Guerrant, which he sold to James Ramsey in 1799.

Before 1750, Peter Guerrant, Sr. owned extensive land in the section of Albemarle County that would become Buckingham County.  In 1749, he wrote his last will which was transcribed for the Virginia Historical Inventory by Rosa G. Williams in 1937. A copy of the will was in the possession of Mrs. Florence Pratt, who lived in the village of Buckingham. Mrs. Williams noted that the Pratt house sat on the north side of Highway 60, between the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist parsonage. Mrs. Williams’ transcription reads as follows:

In the name of God, Amen. I peter Guerrant of the Parish of King William being in health of body and of sound and disposing mind and memory, praise be Almighty God for the same, but considering the uncertainty of human life, do make this my last will and testament in manner following: that is to say, my just debts being paid first and satisfied.

Item: I give and bequeath to my eldest son John Guerrant Four hundred acres of land, lying on Joshua’s Creek, one of the branches of Slate River in Albemarle County (Now Buckingham), for him and his heirs forever, I also give him, my son John Guerrant, a horse colt called Jockey and my Philadelphia saddle, for him and his heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my son Peter Guerrant, four hundred acres of land lying and being on Hunts Creek, one of the branches of Slate River in Albemarle County (Now Buckingham), for him and his heirs forever. I also give my son Peter Guerrant one feather bed and furniture for him and his heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my son Daniel Guerrant four hundred acres of land joining on his brothers John Guerrant’s line, it being part of an order of council for six hundred acres of land on Joshua’s Creek, one of the branches of Slate River in Albemarle County (Now Buckingham) for him and his heirs forever. I also give my son Daniel Guerrant one negro boy named Caesar, for him and his heirs forever.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my daughter Jane Guerrant two hundred acres of land it being part of the order of council for six hundred acres of land lying and being on Joshua’s Creek, one of the branches of the Slate River in Albemarle County (Now Buckingham) for her and her heirs forever.

Item: If in any case my beloved wife Magdalene Guerrant should happen to be now with child, and it should happen to be a boy, I give him thirty five pounds current money, to be laid out of my personal estate, for him and his heirs forever, if it should happen that my beloved wife is with child of a daughter, my will is that I give her fifteen pounds current money, for her and her heirs forever.

Item: I leave to my beloved wife Magdalene Guerrant the use of the plantation I now live on, with the use of three negroes, Tom, Sarah and Moll during her natural life, and my will is that my beloved wife shall have the use of all the negroes, during the time of her widowhood, Caesar only excepted which is before given to my son Daniel Guerrant but in case that it should happen that there be not movable estate enough to satisfy the legacies before given, my will is that Betty be sold by way of outcry to satisfy the afore given legacies.

Item: My will is that after my beloved wife Magdalene’s decease, that all the negroes and all the plantation I now live on be sold by way of out cry and the money be equally divided among my beloved children who will be living at that time.

Item: I do constitute and ordain my well beloved wife Magdalene Guerrant to be the whole and sole executrix of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof, I have hereto set my hand and fixed my seal, this third day of December, One Thousand Seven hundred and Forty Nine.

Peter Guerrant (Seal)

Pronounced, Signed and Sealed in the presence of William, Sally, Peter, Daniel and Richard Pemberton.

Note: King William Parish was in Cumberland County (1749-1777) and Powhatan County (1777-present).

~

Apparently, Peter Guerrant, Sr. lived and died in Goochland/Cumberland County, making it unlikely that he built the house that became Locust Dale. Did Locust Dale eventually sit on the land left to Peter Guerrant, Jr.?  Was he the builder?

~

The following items, included in other transcriptions of Peter Guerrant’s will, were omitted by Rosa Williams, presumably because the land involved was not in Buckingham County:

Item: I give unto my daughter Esther Guerrant Two hundred acres of land on Collier’s line–it being part of the four hundred acres of land on Mountain Creek in Amelia County, for her and her heirs forever. I also give my daughter Esther Guerrant the other new bed, with what furniture there is to it, and a rug, and two cows and calves for her and her heirs forever, and two pounds of current money, and the two cows and calves to be delivered when she shall attain the age of twenty-one years or married.

Item: I give and bequeath to my daughter Magdalene Guerrant the other two hundred acres of land on Mountain Creek in Amelia County, it being the other part of the four hundred acres, for her and her heirs forever. I also give my daughter Magdalene Guerrant the sun of five pounds Current money to be paid out of my personal estate and two cows and calves, to be delivered after she shall attain the age of twenty-one years or married.

… I also give my daughter Jane Guerrant, the sum of Five pounds Current money, to be paid out of my personal estate, and two cows and calves, to be delivered after she shall attain the age of twenty-one years or married.

Item: I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith Guerrant, the sum of fifteen pounds Current money for her and her heirs forever.

It is always fascinating to see the varied inheritances of sons and daughters!

Coming Next: Buckingham Houses: Locust Dale, Part III

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