The Last Will And Testament of George Mason

20 March 1773

I, George Mason of Gunston Hall in the Parish of Truro and County of Fairfax, being of perfect and sound mind and Memory and in good health, but mindful of the uncertainty of human Life, and the imprudence of a man's leaving his Affairs to be setled upon a death bed, do make and Appoint this my last Will and Testament. My soul I resign into the hands of my Almighty Creator, whose tender mercy's are all over his works, who hateth nothing that he hath made, and to the Justice and Wisdom of whose Dispensations I willingly and chearfully submit humbly hopeing from his unbounded mercy and benevolence, thro the Merits of my blessed Savior, a remission of my sins. My body I desire may be decently buried at the Descretion of my Exors. herein after named, close by the side of my Dear and ever lamented wife -- and as for all the worldly Estate with which it has pleased God to bless me, I dispose of it in manner and form following.

Impremis It is my will and Desire, and I hereby direct and order that all my lands, Slaves with their increase. Stocks, rents. Crops, Tobacco, and Money And Debts due to me, with the yearly interest arising thereon, with all my other Estate of what nature soever in Virginia Maryland or else where, be kept together and considered as one common stock, for the payment of my Debts and Legacies and the Maintenance and Education of my children, and the payment of their fortunes, untill my said Children respectively come of age or Marry; when and not before each of them is to receive his or her part of the same as herein respectively devised or bequeathed to each of them; and when any one of my Children shall come of age or Marry and receive his or her part of the same Accordingly, the residue still to Continue and remain in the said common Stock until another of my children shall come of Age or Marry, and so on in the same manner, until the youngest of my Children shall come of Age or Marry, and receive his or her part of the same as Aforesaid;

It being my intention that my Exors shall not have the trouble and Perplexity of keeping different Accts. with all my children, but only one general Account for the whole. Item, I give and bequeath unto each of my four Daughters, Ann Mason, Sarah Mason, Mary Mason, and Elizabeth Mason, and to each of their heirs for ever, when they respectively arrive to the Age of Twenty One Years, or Marry which ever shall first happen the following Slaves with their Increase respectively from the date of this my Will. To my eldest Daughter Ann the four Following Slaves and their increase. To wit, Bess (the Daughter of Cloe) and her child Frank, mulatto Priss (the Daughter of Jenny) and Nell (the Daughter of Occoquan Nell) To my Daughter Sarah the three following slaves with their increase, to wit, Hannah and Venus (the Daughter of Beck) and Mulatto Mima (the Daughter of Jenny) to my Daughter Mary the following Slaves with their Increase To Wit, Ann and Nell, the Daughter of House Nell, and little Jenny (the Daughter of Jenny) To my Daughter Elizabeth the three following Slaves with their Increase to wit, Vicky the Daughter of Occoquan Nell, Sarah (the Daughter of great Sue) and Rachel (the Daughter of Beck) and I confirm unto my three eldest Daughters, Ann Sarah, and Mary their right and title respectively to a Negro Girl given to each of them by their Grand Father Mr. William Eilbeck Dec'd. to wit, a Negro Girl named Penny to my Daughter Ann -- a Negro Girl named Priss to my Daughter Sarah and a Negro Girl named Nan to my Daughter Mary. But in the mean rime, that is untill my Daughters respectively come of Age or Marry, the Profits of all such the above mentioned Slaves as shall not be employ'd in waiting upon any of my said Daughters, or for their use in the House, are to remain in and be considered as part of the Common Stock for the purpose herein before mentioned and if any one or more of my said Daughters should happen to die under Age and unmarried then and in that case it is my will and desire and I hereby Direct and Order that all the Slaves with their Increase herein before bequeath'd to such Daughter or Daughters shall go to and be equally divided between my other Daughters, or to the Survivor of them, to be delivered them or her, as herein before directed. I also give to each of my sd. Four Daughters One Bed and Furniture, to be delivered them at the time and in the manner aforesaid. Item, I give and bequeath unto each of my sd. four Daughters Ann, Sarah, Mary and Elizabeth (except such of them as may happen to marry and have actually received their fortune in my lifetime) the sum of six hundred Pounds Sterling, out of my money, Debts due to me, & the Profits of the Common Stock of my Estate, the sd. sum of Six hundred Pounds, Sterling to be paid to each of them, without Defalcation or Diminution, when then they respectively arrive at the Age of Twenty one years, or Marry, which ever shall first happen; exclusive of any sum or sums given or to be given to any of them by their Grand Mother Mrs. Eilbeck, or for which I have taken or may take bonds for their use or in any of their respective Names. And if any one of my said Daughters should die under age and unmarried it is my will and Desire, and I hereby direct and order that the Money herein bequeath'd to such Daughter shall go to and be equally divided between all my other surviving Daughters; Such of them as may happen to be of Age or Married at the time, to receive their part of the same and the residue to remain in the common stock, until my other surviving Daughters respectively come of Age or Marry. But if two or more of my Daughters should happen to die under Age and unmarried, then and in that case it is my will and desire, and I hereby direct and order that so much of their money only shall go to my surviving Daughters or Daughters as will increase the fortune of each or either of them to the sum of one Thousand Pounds Sterling exclusive of their Slaves (or of any money given them by their Grand Mother Mrs. Eilbeck as aforesaid) to be paid them or her in the manner above directed, and that the residue shall remain in the common Stock, for the benefit of my four youngest Sons in the Manner herein after directed.

Item -- I give and devise unto my eldest son George Mason and his heirs forever, when he arrives to the Age of Twenty one years or marry's which ever shall first happen, my Mansion house and Seat at Gunston Hall, with all my lands thereto belonging or Adjoining being between five and Six Thousand Acres; Also a small Tract of Land Adjoining to the Land of the Revd. Mr. Lee Massey, Purchased by my Father of Giles and Benoni Tillett; and in General all my Lands between Potomack River, Occoquan River and Pohick Creek in Fairfax County, excepting and reserving unto my Exors. the right and Previlidge of keeping three Quarters upon the said Land, to be considered as part of the common Stock of my Estate, for the Benefit of my Younger Children, and of working the same number of hands as are work'd at the said three Quarters respectively at the time of my Death, with the right and Previlidge of getting timber for the proper use of the said three Quarters or Plantations on any part of the said Lands. That is to say one Quarter in the bottom of Dogues Neck (commonly call’d the Occoquan Quarter) untill all my sons come of Age, with all the Land which I have usually tended and made use of at the said Quarter, and such other convenient and adjoining Land as is necessary for the use of the same, and the benefit of suffering all the Stock properly belonging to the said Quarter to range and run at large in the said Neck. And the two other Quarters at Hallowing Point, and upon the Land I bought of William Courts, until all my sons except the Youngest come of Age; with all the Land between the upper line of the said Tract Bought of William Courts, the river and the great Marsh; and the benefit of All the Stocks properly belonging to the said two Quarters ranging and running at large within the New neck fence; my Executors keeping the said Quarters and Plantations in good order, and repair and delivering up the same accordingly at the respective expiration of the times aforesaid or when the Crops then growing thereon are finished, unto my said Son George Mason or his heirs. But if my said Son George Mason should die under Age and unmarried, it is my will and Desire, and I hereby direct and order that all the lands herein devised unto him shall go and descend unto his heir at Law and his Heirs for ever, in the same manner as if my said Son George had been in the Actual Possession of the same before his death, and shall not be devided among my residuary Legacies herein after named.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my Son George Mason and his heirs for ever when he arrives to the Age of twenty one years, or Marrys, which ever shall first happen, the seven following Slaves, to wit, Alice, Bob Dunk, yellow Dick, Bob (the son of Occoquan Nell) Peter (the son of Great Sue) Judy and Lucy; together with all the Slaves which shall properly belong to and reside at my two upper Quarters in Dogues Neck Adjoining to the Great Marsh at the time of my Death (Except such of them as may happen to be any of the Slaves by name specifically bequeath'd to some of my other children) also all my Stock of horses, Cattle, Sheep & hogs shall properly belong to and be wintered at my said two upper Quarters in Dogues Neck at the time of my Death, with all the Plantation Utensils and Impliments of Husbandry thereto belonging, also one fifth part of all my Books, and household furniture in and about my Dwelling house. But if my said Son George Mason shou'd die before he comes of Age, and unmarried, then and in that case it is my Will and desire; and I hereby direct and Order that all Slaves as well as all the personal Estate herein before bequeath'd him shall be equally divided between my other surviving sons, and for that purpose shall remain in the common Stock until my other sons respectively come of Age or Marry.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my said Son George Mason & his heirs for ever all my stock in the Ohio Company as a member thereof, together with my share and part of all the said Company's Lands; but whatever Ballance (if any at the time of my Death) appears by my Books of Acct. to be due from me to the said Ohio Company is to be paid out of the Common Stock of my Estate, in the same manner as any other debts. I also give and bequeath unto my said Son George Mason my Gold Watch, which I Commonly wear, also a large Silver Salver, which being an old peice of family plate, I desire may remain unaltered. And I confirm unto him his right and title to a negro man named Dick, given him by his Grand father Mr. Eilbeck; and likewise his right and title to two Negroe men named Tom and Liberty, exchanged with him by me for two other negroe men given him by his Grand Mother Mrs. Eilbeck; also to a large silver Bowl given him by my Mother, in which all my children have been christened, and which I desire may remain in the family unaltered for that purpose. And whereas my Son George will soon be of Age, and if I shou'd happen to die during the minority of my other children, they will probably live with him, and he may not chuse to charge his Brothers and Sisters with their Board, Altho' it must put him to a considerable trouble and Expence, Then and in that case therefore I give unto my said Son George, whilst my children live with him as aforesaid, the right and previlege of taking in any Year from any of my Quarters, whilst they remain in the Common Stock, such Quantity of provisions for his family's use; and also of employing such and so many of my house servants in his family, as he and my other Executor shall judge reasonable and necessary for the above mentioned purpose, and adequate to the Expence and trouble thereby occasioned; without being accountable for the same.

Item, I give and devise unto my son William Mason and his heirs for ever, when he arrives at the Age of twenty one years or Marry's, which ever shall first happen, all my lands upon Chickamuxson and Mattawoman Creeks in Charles County in the province of Maryland, that is to say all my land in Christian Temple Manner, and my Tract of land called Stump Neck (formerly called Dogues Neck) with two hundred Acres of land thereto adjoining, and included in the same original Patent; Excepting and reserving to my Exors. The right and previlege of retaining and keeping in their hands, as part of the common Stock of my Estate, for the benefit of my Younger children, until all my sons come of Age, the last mentioned Tract of Land called Stump Neck, with the said two hundred Acres of Land thereto adjoining, and of keeping a Quarter thereon, and working the same number of hands for the purpose aforesaid as are worked on the same at the time of my Death. I also give and devise unto my said son William Mason and his heirs for ever, in like manner, a Tract of one hundred and fifty Acres of Land (whereon George Adams now lives) near Port Tobacco in the said County and Province, the same being one moiety of a Tract of Land called Partnership; And if my sd. son William shou'd die before he comes of Age and unmarried, then and in that case I give and devise all the above mentioned Lands upon Chickamuxon and mattawoman Creeks unto my Youngest Son Thomas Mason and his heirs for ever; And the above mentioned Tract of Land near Port Tobacco (upon which George Adams lives) I give and devise unto my son Thomas Mason and his heirs for ever.

Item, I give and devise unto my said son William Mason and his heirs for ever, when he arrives at the Age of twenty one years or Marry's, which ever shall first happen, the two following slaves, to-wit, Milly (the Daughter of Kate) and Sampson (the son of Mrs. Eilbeck's Bess) Also one fifth part of all my Books, and household furniture in or about my Dwelling house. I also give and bequeath unto my said son William my silver Watch, which I formerly used to wear, and I confirm unto him his right and title to a Negro lad named Cato given him by his Grandfather Mr. Eilbeck.

Item. I give and devise unto my son Thomson Mason and his heirs for ever, when he arrives at the Age of twenty one years, or marry's, which ever shall first happen, all my Lands in Thompson's Patent (repatented in my own name) Between Dogues run and the South Branch of Little hunting Creek; excepting and reserving to my Executors the right and previlege of selling two Quarters with eight working hands at each upon such parts thereof as they shall think fit, unless the said Quarters shall be setled thereon by me in my life time, and of retaining and keeping in their hands one of the said quarters So settle [d] by me or them with land thereto adjoining sufficient to work the hands belonging to the same, as part of the common stock untill all my sons come of Age. I also give and devise unto my said son Thomson Mason and his heirs for ever, in like manner all my Lands upon both sides the North Bra[n]ch of little Hunting Creek, contained in Thomas Stafford's Patent, Thomas Sandifords Patent (repatented in my own Name) George Brent's Sale to William Bourne, and part of Ball's Patent which I bought of Mr. Sampson Darrell; Also all my lands in Mason's and Heryford's Patent upon the Branches of Dogues run and Accotnck, being one moiety of the Land devised by my Grandfather Colo. George Mason Dec'd. to his Daughters Elizabeth and Rosanna; also a small Tract of Land contiguous thereto, originally Patented by one William Williams, and Purchased by my Father of Winifred Ball Daughter and heir at Law to the said Williams, it being the land whereon Edward Violett lived, also a Tract of about four hundred Acres of Land Patented by my Father upon the upper side of Dogues Run, adjoining the Mathew's Patent, and in general I give and devise unto my said son Thomson Mason and his heirs for ever, when he arrives at the Age of Twenty one Years or Marry's, which ever shall first happen (except as before excepted) all my lands upon the Branches and Waters of Dogue run and little hunting Creek in Fairfax County being in the whole about three Thousand three hundred Acres. And if my said son Thomson Mason shou'd die under age and unmarried then and in that case, I give and devise all the above mentioned Lands in Thompson's Patent, between Dogues run and the South Branch of little hunting Creek (being about thirteen hundred Acres) and also all the above mentioned Lands in Stafford's and Sandiford's Patent's in George Brent's Sale to William Bourne, and part of Balls patent which I Bought of Mr. Sampson Darrell, (being about seven hundred Acres upon both sides the North Branch of little hunting Creek) unto my youngest son Thomas Mason & his heirs forever. But it is my will and desire, and I hereby direct and order that all the other lands herein before devised unto my son Thomson Mason shall, if he die under Age and unmarried as aforesaid, go and descend unto my eldest son and heir George Mason and his heirs for ever, in the same manner as if my said son Thomson had been in the actual possession of the same before his death.

Item. I give and devise unto my said son Thomson Mason and his heirs forever, when he arrives at the age of twenty one years, or marry's which ever shall first happen, the two following Slaves, to wit. Sally (the Daughter of Lucy) and Joe (the son of Mrs. Eilbeck's Bess) also one fifth part of all my Books and household furniture in and about my Dwelling house. And I confirm unto my said son Thomson Mason his right and Title to a Negro lad named Cupid, given him by his Grand father Mr. Eilbeck.

Item. I give and devise unto my son John Mason and his heirs forever, when he arrives at the Age of twenty one years or marry's, which ever shall first happen, all my lands adjoining to and near rock Creek Ferry upon Potomack River; that is to say the lands contained in Thomas Ousley's, Thomas Gowing's, and my Father's Patents (all repatented in my own Name) with the lands I purchased of Ellis and Bradie, and of Daniel Jennings, and a small Tract of Land I took up as vacant Land between my other Tracts; and in general all my Lands between four mile run and the lower falls of Potomack river, in the Parish and County of Fairfax, being about two thousand Acres, I also give and devise unto my said son John Mason and his heirs forever, in like manner, my Island in Potomack river, opposite the mo[u]th of rock Creek, which I hold under a patent from the lord proprietor of Maryland by the name of Barbadoes, I also give and devise unto my said son John Mason and his heirs forever in like manner, all my Lands upon and between the main south run of Accotinck and the branches of Difficult run, in the upper end of Truro Parish in Fairfax County, Patented by my Father, with a small Tract of Land thereto adjoining, patented in my own name, being together about two Thousand Acres. And if my said son John Mason shou'd die under Age, and unmarried, then and in that case I give and devise all the above mentioned Lands between four Mile run and lower falls of Potomack river, together with my before mentioned Island of Barbadoes, unto my youngest son Thomas Mason and his heirs for ever. But it is my Will and Desire, and I hereby direct and Order, that all the other Lands herein before devised unto my said son John Mason, upon and between the main south Branch of Accotinck and the branches of Difficult run shall if he die under Age and unmarried as aforesaid, go and descend unto my Eldest Son and heir George Mason and his heirs for ever, in the same manner as if my said son John Mason had been in the Actual Possession of the same before his Death.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my said son John Mason and his heirs for ever when he arrive at the Age of twenty one years or marry's which ever shall first happen, the following Slaves, to wit. Harry (the son of house Poll) and Peg (the Daughter of Chloe) also one fifth part of all my Books and household furniture in and about my Dwelling house.

Item. I give and Devise unto my youngest son Thomas Mason and his heirs for ever, when he arrives at the Age of Twenty one Years, or marry's which ever shall first happen, all my land upon the lower side of Occoquan River, Patented by my Father and Colo. Robinson, together with the right and benefit of keeping the Ferry over Occoquan from both sides of the river; which has been vested in me and my ancestors from the first Settlement of this part of the Country and long before the Land there was taken up or patented; also all my lands upon the branches of Neabscoe, purchased by my Father of Mrs. Ann West; also all my land upon Potomack River in Cock Pit Point Neck; also all my Land upon the upper side of Chappawamsic Creek: and in general all my Lands in the County of Prince William. I also give and devise unto my said Son Thomas Mason and his heirs forever, when he arrives at the age of Twenty one years or marrys, which ever shall first happen, all my Lands adjoining to each other upon Goose Bay and Potomack river in Charles County in the Province of Maryland, being four different Tracts; the lower most called St. Benedicts, Originally granted to Bennett Marchegay, the next called Mason's fields Patented by my Mother Mrs. Ann Mason; the next (interfearing with Masons fields) a Tract of one hundred and fifty Acres, without any particular name, whereon Henry Fletcher formerly lived, who purchased the same of Henry Aspinall, to whom it was Originally granted; and the upper called Fletchers Addition, Originally granted to the said Henry Fletcher; and in general all my Lands between Chickamuxon Creek and Goose Bay in the said County and province. And if my said son Thomas Mason shou'd die under age and unmarried: then and in that case I give and devise all the above mentioned Lands between Chickamuxon Creek and Goose Bay in Charles County in the Province of Maryland unto my son William Mason and his heirs forever. But it is my Will and desire, and I hereby, direct and Order that all the other Lands herein before devised unto my said son Thomas Mason in the County of Prince William and Colony of Virginia, together with the right and benefit of keeping Occoquan Ferry shall if he die under age and unmarried as aforesaid, go and descend unto my eldest son and heir George Mason and his heirs for ever, in the same manner as if my said son Thomas had been in the actual Possession of the same before his Death.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my said son Thomas Mason and his heirs forever, when he arrives at the age of Twenty one years or Marrys which ever shall first happen, the two following slaves, to-wit, Kack (the son of House Nell) and Daphne (the Daughter of Dinah) also one fifth part of all my Books and household furniture in and about my Dwelling house.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my said son Thomas Mason the sum of six hundred pounds Sterling to be paid him when he arrives at the age of twenty one years or Marrys, which ever shall first happen out of my money and debts due to me, and the profits of my Estate; if so much remain in the common Stock after the payment of my Debts, and Legacies, the maintenances and education of my children, and the payment of my Daughters fortunes, and if there is not so much as the said sum of six hundred pounds Sterling, then whatever lesser sum there is remaining in the said common Stock. And least the manner in which I have limitted and directed the descent of some of my Lands shou'd occasion any dispute or induce any openion that I intended to entail them; I hereby declare that it is not my intention to entail any part of my Estate upon any of my Children; but to give all and each of my sons, when they respectively come of Age or Marry, an absolute fee simple Estate in all the Lands respectively devised them, and in all such Lands also as any of them may happen to rate by the death of any of their brothers, the common legal descent of some of my Lands being herein before altered, only in case any of my sons to whom such Lands are respectively devised shou'd die under Age and unmarried, while their Lands remain'd in the common Stock of my Estate, and had not yet come into their actual possession. And whereas I hold sundry Tracts of Land in the County of Hampshire in Virginia, and in the County of Frederick in the province of Maryland, near Fort Cumberland, patented in my name in Trust for the Ohio Company, I authorize and direct my Executors to convey the same by such Deeds as Cou[n]sel learned in the law shall advise (with special warranty only against my heirs, and all claiming under me) unto the said Ohio Company, upon their paying the ballance of my bond with the Interest thereon, due to Mr. Bladen, or to Mr. Tasker's Executors for the purchase of part of the said Lands, so that the said bond may be taken up and cancelled, and my Estate indemnified therefrom; excepting and reserving unto my eldest son George Mason and his heirs for ever my part and share of and in the said Lands as a member of the said Ohio Company.

Item. All the remaining part of my slaves, with their increase, Stocks of all kinds, and Money, and debts due to me. Crops, profits and all other personal Estate whatsoever in the common Stock not herein otherwise disposed of -- I give and bequeath unto my four youngest sons, William, Thomson, John and Thomas, (whom I make my residuary Legatees) and their heirs for ever, to be equally divided between them, when and as they respectively arrive at the Age of twenty one Years or marry, which ever shall first happen. And if one or more of my said four youngest sons shou'd die under age and unmarried, then and in that case it is my will and desire and I hereby direct and order, that all the Slaves, together with all the Stocks, Money or other personal Estate whatsoever bequeathed to such son or sons, or which he or they wou'd have been entitled to upon comeing of age or marrying, shall be equally divided between the survivors of all my five sons, George, William, Thomson, John and Thomas; such of them as may happen to be of age or married at the time to receive their part of the same, and the residue to remain in the common Stock untill the others respectively come of Age, or marry; or shall go to the Survivor of my five sons, if only one of them shou'd live to come of age or marry. And if any of my sons or Daughters shou'd happen to marry and die, during the minority of theirs Brothers or Sisters, leaving a child or children behind them, it is my will and desire and I hereby direct and order that such child or children shall receive the same part or portion of the Estate which the parent or parents wou'd have been entitled to upon the death of any of my sons or Daughters respectively, under age and unmarried as aforesaid. And whereas there is in my hands as Executor to Mr. William Eilbeck Deed. a considerable sum (as will appear by my Account with his Estate) which by his will is bequeathed to and divided among his Grand Children, my children, which I am answerable to them for and have a Power of laying out for their benefit; and as I have herein not only given much more to each of my said children than their respective shares of his Estate in my hands amounts to but have disposed of both that and my own Estate among them all, in order to make the best provision in my power for them all, and if any of my children were notwithstanding to claim after my death theirs parts of their said Grand Fathers Estate in my hands, over and above what I have given them, it wou'd occasion much confusion, and alter the disposition which I have herein before made, to the prejudice and injury of some of my children; I do therefore declare that what I have herein before given unto all and each of my said children is inclusive of, and in satisfaction for what was due to them from me as Mr. Eilbeck's Executor, And that the several Devises Requests and Legacys herein devised bequeath'd or given to each of my said children are upon express condition of each of them respectively releasing and discharging my Estate and Executors from any claim or demand on Account of the ballance due from me to the said Mr. Eilbeck's Estate Accounts already setled or to be setled with the Commissary in Maryland; and if any one or more of my said children, when they respectively come of Age, shou'd refuse to release and discharge my Executors accordingly; then and in that case it is my Will and desire, and I hereby direct and Order that all the Estate herein by me given to such child or children shall be forfeited, and shall go to and be equally divided among my other children, and their heirs for ever. And as their are Debts due to me to a considerable amount by Bond, the Yearly Interest of which will be a great advantage to the common Stock of my Estate, I desire and direct my Executors to continue the said debts upon Interest, either in such hands as they shall be in at the time of my Death, or in such other hands, and upon such other Security as they, in their discretion, shall judge best, untill the money shall be wanting from time to time for any of the purposes by me directed; and likewise to be let out upon Interest such Money as can at any time be spared out of the Profits of my Estate. I also authorize and direct my Executors to settle a Quarter or Quarters upon my Land between Dogues run and the south branch of little hunting Creek as herein before mentioned (unless the same shall have been setled by me before my death) when they shall think it most for the Interest of my Estate so to do; as also upon any of the other Lands herein devised to either of my three youngest sons, Thomson, John, or Thomas, either with any slaves that can be spared from my other Quarters or Plantations, or with Slaves to be purchased by them for that purpose, with any Money that can be spared out of the common Stock of my Estate, with out interfering with my Daughter's fortunes, or with the money bequeath'd unto my youngest son Thomas; all which Quarters and Slaves are to be considered as part of the common Stock for the purpose before expressed. I likewise empower and direct my Executors to erect Marble Tomb Stones over the Graves of my honoured Father and Mother, and my Dear wife; if the same is not done by me in my life time. And that no dispute or difficulty may arise to my Executors or my children about the manner in which that part of my Estate given to my residuary Legatees is to be divided among them, I hereby declare it to be my will and intention that when each or either of them comes of Age or Marrys, he is to receive his part or portion thereof, as it stands at such time respectively (always having regard to and reserving a Sufficient sum of my Money and debts still in the common Stock to pay the Money that may thereafter be due to any of my Daughters for their fortunes, as well as the Money bequeath'd to my youngest son Thomas Mason) so that any of them after having received and withdrawn their parts from the common Stock, are not to be entitled to any share of the subsequent increase or profits thereof and consequently not to any of the Slaves that may afterwards be born or purchased, nor liable to any loss that may happen therein; except such part of the common Stock as may happen afterwards to fall to them by the death of some of their Brothers or Sisters. Yet the fortunes herein given to my Daughters in Money are to be secured to them notwithstanding at all events; and in case of any deficiency in their said fortunes by failure of Securitys, or any other inevitable Accident, the same is to be made good, in equal Proportion by all my residuary Legatees, as well those who had before, as those who had not received their parts out of the common Stock. And I appoint my good friends the Revd. Mr. James Scott, the Revd. Mr. Lee Massey, Mr. John West Junr. Colo. George Washington and Mr. Alexander Henderson, (when ever it shall be necessary) to make such estimation division and Alotment to and among my several residuary Legatees; and it is my Will and desire, and I hereby direct and Order that such Estimation Devision and Alotment as they or any three of them, shall from time to time make, and give under their hands and Seals shall to all intents and purposes whatsoever be conclusive and binding upon my said residuary Legatees and their heirs. I hope they will be so charitable as not to refuse undertaking this trouble for the sake of a friend who when living wou'd chearfully have done them any good office in his Power.

I recommend it to my sons, from my own Experience in Life, to prefer the happiness of independance & a private Station to the troubles and Vexations of Public Business; but if either their own inclination or the Necessaty of the times shou'd engage them in Public Affairs, I charge them, on a Fathers Blessing, never to let the motives of private Interest or ambition to induce them to betray, nor the terrors of Poverty and disgrace, or the fear of danger or of death deter them from Asserting the liberty of their Country, and endeavouring to transmit to their posterity those Sacred rights to which themselves were born.

I release and remit unto my Brother Thomson Mason and his heirs for ever, a certain debt of three hundred & ten pounds four shillings and five pence 3/4 Sterling and nine pounds twelve Shillings and four pence Currency due to me on Account of Money advanced for him many years ago, while he was in England, for which it was never my intention to make him Answerable, as will appear by an entry to that purpose in my own hand writing annexed to the Account in my Book. And whereas my brother is indebted to me a further considerable Sum on Account of a Protested Bill of Exchange drawn by him and of a Bond I paid for him to Mrs. Bronaugh's Estate, I desire and direct my Executors not to bring any suit against him for the recovery of the said Debt, but to wait until he can conveniently pay the same.

I give and bequeath unto Mrs. Heath, the wife of Thomas Heath of Stafford County the Sum of forty Shillings Sterling, in first Cost of Goods, a Year, during her life to be laid out for her in necessarys for her own particular use. And if her son Mr. Richard Hewitt, my old school fellow and Acquaintance from my childhood, Shou'd unfortunately be reduced to necessitous Circumstances, I desire and direct my Executors to Supply him with necessarys for his support and maintenance out of my Estate: And I particularly recommend this care to my children if it shou'd be necessary after they come of Age. I give to Mr. John Moncure a Mourning ring of three Guineas Value, which I desire him to wear in memory of my Esteem for my much lamented friend his Deceased Father. I desire my old and long tried friends the Revd. Mr. James Scott and Mr. John West Junr. each of them to accept of a mourning ring of the same Value.

I leave to my friend and relation the Revd. Mr. Lee Massey a Mourning ring of the same Value; and I intreat the favor of him to advise and assist my Executors in the direction and management of my Affairs; I am encouraged to request this of him from the experience I have had myself of his good Offices that way; and I am satisfied that both he and my worthey friend Mr. Cockburn will excuse the trouble I now give them, when they reflect upon the Necessaty that dying men are under of thus imploying the care and kindness of the living; which must also one day be their own case; and as the most acceptable acknowledgment I can make them, I desire them to receive out of the common Stock of my Estate the sum of ten pounds a year, to be laid out by them in private charitys, upon such as they shall Judge worthey objects.

I also give to my cousin Mrs. Cockburn a mourning ring of the same Value; And I desire her and my cousin Miss Bronaugh and Mr. Cockburn to accept of a Suit of Mourning each.

Memento Mori

A Mourning Ring of Silver With a Skull Engraving

Colonial Williamsburg Silversmith

Lastly I appoint my eldest son George Mason and my good friend Mr. Martin Cockburn Executors of this my last Will and Testament, and Guardians to my children, untill they respectively come of Age. And it is my Will and desire, and I hereby direct and order that no Securitys shall be required of them by the Court, but only their own Bonds taken for the performance. In Witness whereof I have to this my said last Will and Testament all in my own hand writing, and contained in fifteen Pages, set my hand and affixed my seal this 20th day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy three. --

Signed & Sealed & Published & declared to be the last Will and

Testament of                      G. MASON   {SEAL}

Mr. George Mason, in our presence & Subscribed by us in his presence. Gusts. Scott, Elizabeth Bronaugh, Ann Cockburn, John West Junr. Robt. Graham, John Davidson.

 

"The Obelisk Gravestone of George Mason Circa 1920's"


The Mason Graveyard Photographed Circa 1890 by Kate Mason Rowland in Her Magazine Article Gunston Hall, Virginia Published in The Home-Maker, Vol. 4., 28 (1890)


Text Source: Fairfax County Court Records Book F1

See Also: 1 The Papers of George Mason 147-160 (Robert A. Rutland ed. 1970).

See Also: Kate M. Rowland, 2 The Life of George Mason, 1725-1792, 452-472 (1892).