The Will of Isaiah Pridgen, dated 5 Nov 1860, New Hanover County, NC. State of North Carolina New Hanover County
In the name of God, Amen. I, Isaiah Pridgeon being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of life do make and declare this my last will and testament.
First, I desire that at my death that my body shall be decently buried, and that my Executors herein after named shall pay all my funeral expenses and all other debts that I may owe out of the first monies that may come into their hands as part and parcel of my estate.
Secondly, I give to my wife the following property during her natural life and at her death to revert back to my heirs as part and parcel of my estate and to be disposed of as hereafter directed - to wit: Four head of Cows, Six head of Sheep, One Horse and One Yoke of Oxen and two Beds to be selected by her, also my Loom, Spinning wheel and Cards and Kitchen furniture, all the rest and residue of my household furniture I leave in common stock for the use and benefit of my wife and unmarried children until my youngest child arrives at the age of twenty one years, But in the event of the marriage of any one or more of my unmarried children they are or may select one Bed and it's necessary furniture the same to be an advance of his or her legacy.
Thirdly, I desire that my Executors herein after named shall sell my negro man Rio and the money arising from the sale of said negro shall be disposed of as herein after directed. And all the rest of my negro slaves shall be hired out by my executors until my youngest daughter arrives at the age of twenty one years. And the money for the sale of said negro and hire of my negroes and all other monies that shall come unto the hands of my executors as part and parcel of my estate shall be annually divided between my wife and all my children share and share alike.
Fourthly, It is my will and I hereby direct that all my stocks not heretofore disposed of shall remain on my plantation until my youngest child shall arrive at the age of twenty one years unless my executors shall find that there are more stock than can be advantageously kept on said plantation in that event I desire that my executors shall sell or divide that portion which is less servsable to my family equally among my heirs.
Fifth, I desire that all my tools of every discription, shall be kept on my plantation for the use and benefit of my family. I also desire that my Flat and Boats shall be kept for the use and benefit of my family.
Sixth, It is my Will and I hereby direct that the Three Hundred and fifty dollars heretofore advanced by me for my Son Isaiah, shall be considered as an advance in the final settlement of my estate.
Seventhly, It is my Will that the Thirty Dollars heretofore advanced by me to my daughter Emily Croom wife of Major Croom shall be considered as an advance in the final settlement of my estate. Also the sum of Twenty One Dollars heretofore advanced by me to my daughter Tobitha J. Lewis wife of A.S. Lewis shall be considered as an advance in the final settlement of my estate, Also the sum of Twenty Dollars heretofore advanced by me to my daughter Melise Corbett wife of N. Corbett shall be considered as an advance in the final settlement of my estate.
Eighthly, It is my will and I hereby direct that when my youngest daughter arrives at the age of twenty one years that all my negroes shall be equally divided among all of my children share and share alike.
Ninthly, I give devise and bequeath to my sons Alonzo Pridgen, Stephen D. Pridgen and my daughter Emily Croom wife of Major Croom the following piece parcel or lot of land to be equally divided between them my son Alonzo to have first choice, and my daughter Emily Croom to have second choice and Stephen D. third choice to wit: Beginning at a small cypress on the north side of Big Gum Branch on or near the line dividing John F. Pridgens land and my own lands running up a ridge on the north side of said branch opposite the Carrigan ditch thence with said ditch to my back line, that portion of my land given in this clause of my will to my sons Alonzo and Stephen D. Pridgen shall be considered as an advance to them in the final settlement of my estate. But that portion given to my daughter Emily Croom shall not be considered as an advance.
Tenthly, I give devise and bequeath to my sons Alonzo Pridgen and H.H. Pridgen all my Caledonia lands and my Cypress bay lands to be equally divided between them share and share, to them and their heirs forever - the same to be considered as an advance to them in the settlement of my estate.
Eleventh, I give devise and bequeath to my beloved wife during her natural life all of my lands not heretofore disposed of including my dwelling house and farm and at the death of my wife I give devise and bequeath the lands in this eleventh clause of my will to my son Stephen D. Pridgen his heirs and assigns forever the same to be considered as an advance to him in the final settlement of my estate.
Twelfth, It is my Will and I hereby direct that if either of my sons Stephen D., Haywood H., or Alonzo Pridgen should die without leaving heirs of their body, that the lands heretofore bequeathed to him or them shall go to and be equally divided between the survivors or in case any two of them should die without leaving issue the survivors of them to have the whole of my lands heretofore bequeathed to them.
Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint my Son in Law Major Croom and my son Isaiah Pridgen sole Executors to execute this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking and making void all former wills and testaments by me made.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Fifth day of November 1860.
Isaiah Pridgen (Seal) [His signature]
Signed, sealed, published and declared by the testator to be his last Will and Testament in our presence who at his request and in his presence and the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto.
W.S.J. Vann [His signature]
Samuel R. Bunting [His signature]