I took another look at those papers and they have a William A. Widner in them...I am not sure if this is supposed to be John's son or not. The court documents start in 1875 and end in 1878. The suit was filed by William McMurray and wife Mary Lane (Widner) McMurray. Mary and her husband brought the suit about because of the 10th clause of Isaac Hines' will. It reads as follows, "10th, I give and bequeath the lower one half of the Henley farm and any other that I my possess at my death to my two grandchildren namely William Widner & Mary L. Widner my daughter Mary W. Bell and my son Robert Hines two children namely Robert Hines and Sarah Hines the same to be equally divided among them."
As understood by the other heirs the William and Mary Widner in the 10th clause were assumed to be both the children of Martha Hines, Isaac's daughter who was deceased. However, Martha's daughter was Mary Elizabeth Widner. So, Mary Lane (Widner) McMurray was suing the heirs claming that the share belonged to her.
Eventually, the court decided that the heirs were correct in giving the share to Mary Elizabeth Widner. If you have access to the TN land records I would look for something pertaining to this share of land that William Widner received and you could compare his signature to documents that you have that you know are from your William. There are quite a few pages in the court documents and some are hard to read but, I will go through their and pull out any references to the Widner family for you.
Do you have an approximate date of birth for your William R. Widner?
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