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The Mystery of Wallace Estill's Will
Posted by: mike browder (ID *****2352) Date: May 16, 2005 at 23:30:19
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This post concerns Wallace Estill (born about 1700 in New Jersey, died 1792 in Greenbrier (W)VA) and three children by his first wife, Marca Boude, to wit, Boud Estill, born 1731 (married Jane Pullin); Benjamin Estill, born 1735 (married Kitty Moffett); and John Estill, born 1741 (married Rebecca Christian).

Wallace Estill's will, dated 3 Dec 1789, probated June 1792 Greenbrier, VA, names his children as follows:

''Bound Walliss; Benjamin; John; James; Samuel; Walliss Estill also my Daughters Rebeckah Susanah's children; Massy; and Sarah; also Abigail and Ruth; I leave to each one Shilling Starling I also leave to my son Isaac the plantation whereon I now live...'' (this is the same spelling and punctuation as in the original).

John Estill was supposed to have died (possibly murdered) sometime in 1780. After his death, a Boud Estill became his heir at law, inheriting John's undevised land in both Augusta and Greenbrier Counties. The fact that Boud inherited his deceased brother's undevised land would indicate that John did not have any (legitimate) children and heirs. (I know some sources give John Estill with a son, William, but since I've dedicated an entire web page to that issue, I will not go into it here. His daughter Priscilla named in his will was most likely born out-of-wedlock or was possibly his wife's daughter from a previous marriage and therefore would not have been recognized as his legal heir with regards to his undevised land).

When John Estill made his will in 1774, he named a Benjamin Estill as an executor, and his will was witnessed by a Boud Estill.

Also in 1774, a John Estill and a Boud Estill both had land surveyed on the same day adjacent to one another in Botetourt (later Greenbrier) County. In John Estill's will, made shortly after the land surveys, he indicated he resided in Botetourt County, and left his daughter, Priscilla, a tract of land (unspecified acreage) on which he was then living, and indicated this land was next to Boud Estill's land.

In February 1780, John Estill bought 299 acres of land in Beverly Manor, Augusta Co, VA. By December of that year, Greenbrier County court records indicate a John Estill was dead. In 1782, back in Augusta County, Rebecca Estill was appointed guardian of Priscilla Gold Estill, orphan of John Estill. That same year, also in Augusta, a ''Rebecca Esdale'' appears on the Augusta land tax lists with 299 acres of land. Later tax lists spell her name Estill, also with 299 acres.

In 1785, Rebecca Estill, widow of John Estill, remarried to a Zachariah F. Estill. This is the first appearance of Zach Estill in the Augusta County records. No one seems to know where he came from, or who his parents were. According to Zach's obit in the Kanawha (W)VA Banner, he was born about 1756 and was a revolutionary war veteran. Zach was also a bondsman for the marriage of a Mary Ann Estill in 1786. Was she his sister? If so, when did they arrive in Augusta County and which branch of the family were they from?

On 17 Feb 1790, the deed for the 299 acres John Estill had bought in Augusta in 1780 was delivered to a Wallace Estill, attorney for Boud Estill. On that same day, Boud Estill sold this land to Zach and Rebecca Estill. It seems safe to assume this is the same 299 acres in Beverly Manor that devolved upon Rebecca Estill as admx. of her deceased husband's estate, and later upon Boud Estill as heir at law to John Estill.

Boud Estill also inherited land in Greenbrier as heir at law to John Estill, and this land was adjacent to land owned by Priscilla Gold. This was the land Priscilla was devised in her father's will.

In 1792, a Boud Estill of Madison County, KY, sold some or all of his land in Greenbrier. Boud also used an Isaac Estill as his attorney to sell land in Greenbrer.

It looks like the Boud Estill who inherited the land in Augusta and Greenbrier from John Estill was the son of Wallace Estill and Marca Boud. The names of some of the individuals he gave power of attorney to (Isaac Estill, Wallace Estill) were also the names of Wallace Estill Sr's children by his second wife, Mary Ann Campbell, apparently Boud Estill's half-brothers. If Boud Estill was Wallace Sr's son, the John Estill from whom he inherited this land must also have been a son of Wallace Estill Sr.

So why did Wallace Estill name his deceased son John as a legatee in his will, written nine years after John Estill had died?

On 26 March 1780, Benjamin Estill wrote his will, leaving everything to his wife Katherine and his sons. His will was probated 16 April 1782 in Washington Co, VA. Considering the brief two year span between the writing of his will and his death, I had assumed Benjamin was in ill health at the time his will was made. But the week before his will was written, Benjamin was added to the Commission of Peace, also in Washington County, and later that year he took the oath of office as that commissioner. Since this would seem to indicate that Benjamin was not in ill health, I'm wondering if perhaps he may have made out his will in response to the death of his brother, John. This is pure speculation on my part, but if true, it would give an indication of when in 1780 John Estill had died. Benjamin Estill was a Gentleman Justice in Botetourt County, VA. He disappears from the Botetourt records early in 1779 shortly after buying land in Washington County from a William Christian.

If this Benjamin Estill was also a son of Wallace Estill and Marca Boude (as every source I have seen indicates), that would make two deceased children named in Wallace Estill's will (both deceased prior to the writing of the will), with no indication that either was indeed deceased.

Wallace Estill's will as it appears in
Greenbrier County, WV Will Book 1 pp. 74&75:

''In the Name of God Amain this third day of December one Thousand seven hundred and eighty nine. I Walliss Estile of Green-Brier County and State of Virginia now in the Evening of my days but with perfect Mind and Memory thankes be to God I therefore calling to mind the Mortality of my Body knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and order this my last Will and Testament that is to say principally and first of all I recommend my Soul to God who gave it; and for my Body I recommend it to the Earth to be buried in a Christian like Manner at the Discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty Power of God; and as touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and Form Imprimus it my will and I order that in the first place all my just Debts and Funeral Charges to be paid and satisfied
Item to my son Bound Walliss; Benjamin; John; James; Samuel; Walliss Estill also my Daughters Rebeckah Susanah's children; Massy; and Sarah; also Abigail and Ruth; I leave to each one Shilling Starling I also leave to my son Isaac the plantation whereon I now live; and I also leave all the rest of the Lands I have or may have to be divided between my son William and my son Isaac. I also leave to my Daughter Ruth's Children one Negro Girl Named Nance her and her Breed forever; and if she has no living Children at her death to return her and her Breed to my Daughter Abigail's eldest daughter to her and her Heirs forever. I also give and bequeath to Mary Ann Estill my beloved Wife the whole of the Negroes Isaac Jude and Isam and all the stock and my Household Furniture and likewise all moveable Estate which she is to dispose of as she thinks proper and also the third of my Land her Life Time; and I also constitute and appoint my dearly beloved Wife and my son Isaac to be my Executors of this my Will and Testament and I hereby utterly disalow Revoke and disanull all and every other Testament made before this whether Gifts Grants or Legacies whatsoever; Ratifying and confirming this same to be my last Will and Testament and declares the same before the under Evidances and have set hereunto my Hand and Seal the day and year above mentioned.''

Wallis Estill

William Rice
Elisabeth Rice
John Henderson
Margaret Henderson

June Green-Brier Court 1792
This last Will and Testament of Wallace Estile Dec.d was presented in Court By Isaac Estile one of the Executors herein named and proved by the oath of John Henderson one of the witnesses hereto that the said Dec.d signed and acknowledged the same & on Motion of said Isaac who made oath according to Law Certificate is granted him for obtaining probation thereof in due Form and hath give Bond and security according to Law and qualified accordingly. Teste John Stuart C.

I would be interested in the opinions of other researchers concerning Wallace Estill's will with regards to sons John and Benjamin.

mike browder




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