Will of Col. James Williams, Hero of Battle of Kings Mountain, 1780

OK. How can so many people get this all so wrong? This is a rhetorical question, as I know the answer – copy and paste and don’t do any of your own research.

I was mining the probate records of Caswell County, North Carolina for collateral lines in my husband’s Williams tree.

I came across the inventory of Col. James Williams who died in 1780. Because his estate file was labeled with the “Colonel” title, I thought he may well have died as a result of the war and I was correct. This man is considered a hero of the Battle of Kings Mountain and he died during the battle itself.

His wife, Mary, was the executor and a will was mentioned, so I located that, too, to share in this post. I’m sorry he isn’t related to my husband’s line, but perhaps this will help someone who is related to him.

Out of curiosity, I checked those infamous public member trees to be found online. Although I found no documentation of his wife’s maiden name, other than Mary, who was his executrix, her name as been listed as Mary Jane Wallace, Mary Clark Wallace, Elizabeth Gooch Drake, Mary Vincent, Kiziah Elizabeth Brooks and Christianne (MNU).

Oh, and one tree lists all 27 (!!! ) children of James Williams by one wife! And, no, he didn’t have 27 children by any number of wives.

The good colonel, according to some of these same trees died in the counties of Gaston, Cleveland, Nash, Mountain and Jackson, North Carolina. As far as I can tell, Kings Mountain was in (then) York County, South Carolina and in today’s rural Cherokee County, South Carolina.

This is a side gripe, but all of the information listed above came from “sourced” member trees. That is why those trees should be considered hints and when they are that much of a mess, walk away and do your own work! It took me five minutes to find his will and inventory, digitized on FamilySearch.

Back to the subject. James Williams’ estate was settled in Caswell County, North Carolina because his brother, Henry, lived there; James Williams wrote his will at his brother’s house and brought most of his movable property from his endangered home in South Carolina to his brother’s house.

It appears the original has some kind of water damage. Bits of this lengthy will are difficult to read.

Will of Col. James Williams, 1780
Caswell County, North Carolina WB A:113-116

In the Name of God Amen I James Williams
of the State of South Carolina and of Ninety Six District
but now in the State of No. Carolina as a refuge  Yet I being
at Present in my Propper health and of Sound Memory but —-
Considering that it is appointed for all men Once to Die I do
Ordain this to be my Last Will and Testament First I in this
Great Since of Humillity Give my Soul to god that Gave
it me at first In and Through the (Muntts?) of Christ the Saviour
of Mankind and then my body to be Decently buried at the
Discretion of my Executors hereafter to be Mentioned —
Item the First It is my will and Desire that all my Just Debts
be Payd —-
Item the Second I Lend to my well beloved Wife Mary
Williams During her Natural Life a Part of the Tract of Land
that I live upon Little River in Ninety Six District Bounded
as follows (that is to say) On the South Side of the River Beginning
On the River below the Mill where the Lane Crosses the river &
from thence Along the line of the Land Bought of John Caldwell

Caldwell to a Great branch thence up the Branch to the Ninety
Six road from thence along the road to where it Intersects the (premer?)
Line and so Along the Line to Includ all the Land Bought of
John Caldwell & Land Swapt with Gid Turner and land release
Of Daniel Simpson for the Term of Release & I Give and bequeath
To my Beloved wife Mary Williams A Child part of my moveable
Estate to be eaqually Divided by Lot at the Discretion of my Executors
betwixt my beloved Wife and my Children then Living – – –
Item 3rd I give and bequeath to my son Daniel Williams the following
Tract of Land as follows the Land Bought of William . . Containing
250 Acres Land bought of Robert Johnston Estate 100 Acres Land
Bought of William (Brison?) 75 acres & all that Part of a Tract of
Land that was bought of William Johnston below the Meetinghouse
that Says on the North side of the Charles Town road Thought
to be about (30?) Acres & a Childs part of all my Moveable estate
When he arive to the age of Twenty one Years . . . .
Item 4th I give and bequeath to my son Joseph Williams the Following
Tracts of Land The tract of Land Bought of (Larkin?) (Linard?) 250
Acres, Tract bought of (Simone?) 100 Acres and all that part of
the Land bought of Caldwell that Lays below the Still house branch
Except a 100 Acres that is to be reserved for the Mill that Joines the
Mill below the branch & that Tract of the Land bought of William
Johnston that Lays the South side of the Charles Town road & a
Childs part of all my Moveable Estate to be Given up to him at
his Ariving to Twenty one Years of Age- – –
Item 5th I Give and bequeath to my son John Williams all that tract
Of Land that I bought of Caldwell That Lays below the road
and the Great brantch & that Tract of Peter (Stresser?) by —
Computation 600 Acres & a Childs Part of my Moveable Estate
at his Arival to the age of 21 years. . . . .
Item 6th I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Elisabeth Williams
That Trace of Land Bought of Capt Jacob (? ?) persons and
a Childs Part of all my Moveable estate to be Delivered to her on
her Mariage if she Marries Agreable to the desires of the Executors
Item the 7th I give and Bequeath to my Daughter Mary Williams
That Tract of Land on (back road?) bought of Colls. Hammons at the old
(Store?) Containing 150 Acres and a Childs part of all my Moveable
Estate to be delivered on her Marage if agreable to Executors – – –
Item 8th I Give and bequeath to my daughter Sary Williams as much
Cash Out of my estate before the Division is made as will fetch her
a Tract of Land Eaqual in Value to Either of her Sisters Land
Mentioned above and a Childs Part of all my Moveable estate to be
Delivered on her Marage if Agreable to the Executors- – –
Item 9th I Give and bequeath to my son James Williams all that Part
of the Land Bought of John Caldwell on the North side of Little
river above the still house Branch by Computation 500 Acres
and a Childs Part of my Moveable estate to be delivered on his
coming of age
Item 9th (sic) I Give and bequeath to my son Washington Williams all that
Tract of Land lent to my beloved Wife Dureing her Natural Life
and the Land Bought of James Cook by Computation 600 Acres
and a Childs Part of all my Moveable estate to be Delivered at his
Arival at 21 years of age- – – –
It is my Will and Desire that as Soon as Convenient after my Death
that all my Land that is Not Willd away/ That is to say/ (?) James Johnston
and the Land bought of William Johnstons on the Beaver Dams &
my Stallions and Still & Waggons and Horses and Horse Creatures —
should be sold at Publick sail and the Store Books and the Bonds &
Notes and Other Accts Collected (?) this Money Arising Therefrom is to
Discharge my Debts & The Ballance to be Divided Amongst my – –
Beloved Wife and My Eight Children so each of them as then Alive
As to my Waggons, Horses and Road Waggon and Eight Work Horses to be
reserved for the uses of my Family and my Beloved Wife is to have 2
Chrge? horses and the (?) for the uses of the family and Each of my
Children to be furnished with a Good riding horse and or a Breeding
Mare as the Executors may think (?) My Mill and the 100
Acres of Land Joining it on the North side of the river is to be kept for the
Uses of the Family Dureing my Beloved Wifes Widowhood or (?) the – – –
Washington Williams Coming of age and then she is to be sold at the (?)
bidden amongst my sons then Alive & it is my Will that Either of my Children
should Dye without an Heir before they Arive? at 21 Years of age that
Their Parts of the (sic) should be Eaqually Divided amongst my Children
then Alive – – – – –
It is my Will that my Beloved Wife Mary Williams and my son

Daniel Williams and my Brother Henry Williams & Joseph Hay
is Appointed by me My Executors to Carry this my Last Will and
Testament into Execution Signd with my hand and seal with my
Seal this 12th day of June 1780
James Williams Seal
Signed and sealed in the Presence of Witnesses whose Names is we as
Under Neath (?)
William Rice
James Goodman
James (X) Cook
His mark

The Execution of the within Will was Proven by the Oath of William Rice &
James Goodman Two of the Subscribing Witnesses thereto and
on Motion Ordered to be recorded

Test. A Murphey Cle

Tomorrow’s post will be the estate inventory of Col. James Williams, who died about five months after this will was written.







3 thoughts on “Will of Col. James Williams, Hero of Battle of Kings Mountain, 1780”

  1. On your side gripe – I KNOW!! Some are “sourced” and when you go to their tree to look at the source, it is GARBAGE!! On reason for leaving my tree public is so that others can see the sources I found on Ancestry. All other sources are mentioned cryptically. If they want to know more, they can contact me. Unfortunately, the ones who contact claim my source is wrong but don’t provide an alternate to support their claim.

    Drives me crazy!!

  2. Trying to trace my Williams family to James Williams .my DNA matches to lightfoot jab Williams. Decentionts .so if. Lihtfoot is kin than my Williams family could be also.

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