Question: Will of Moses Woodruff, Surry County, NC 1817

I’ve seen a lot of wills in my day. While this one looks very ordinary, I have a big question about one of Moses’s children:

Will of Moses Woodruff
Surry County, North Carolina WB 3:130
Source: FamilySearch

I Moses Woodruff of Surry County North Carolina being weak in body but of sound and perfect memory blessed be the Almighty God for the same do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say),

First I give to my beloved wife Elizabeth Woodruff one third of my land where I now live and one third of my household furniture and the labour of my negro wench Sarah as long as my wife lives and at my wife’s death I will the negro wench Sarah to my daughter Mary McBrideand the third of the land and household furniture that I leave to my wife I leave to be equally divided between John Allen Woodruff my son and my daughter, Mary McBride.

I do give and bequeath to my son John Allen Woodruff and my daughter Mary MdBride all the Lands I own in Surry County to be equally divided between the two I also leave to my son John Allen Woodruff my fellow Jack at my death At my death I will that my stock be sold and my Executors pay my son Moses three children twenty dollars apiece. And I give to my son Gideon Woodruff five shillings. I also give to my daughter Jennett Woodruff five shillings. I also give to my daughter Lydia Pare five shillings. I also give to my daughter Hannah Moore five shillings. I also give and bequeath to my daughter Phebe Bryan five shillings. I hereby appoint John Allen Woodruff and John McBride and Obadiah Martin my Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 29th day of July 1816.

Moses (his X mark) Woodruff (Seal)

Signed sealed and published and declared by the above Moses Woodruff to be his last will and testament in the presents of us who at his request and in his presents have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses to the same.
Obadiah Martin
Samuel McBride
Daniel Cockerham

I Moses Woodruff of Surry County do this 17th of April 1817 publish this Codicil to my last will and testament in the manner following (that is to say) I give and bequeath to my son John Allen Woodruff and son-in-law John McBride one hundred acres of land commonly known by the old Meeting House tract lying between John Spencer, Jesse Rouse and Samuel McBride. It is my desire that this my present codicil be annexed to and made a part of my last will and testament to all intents and purposes. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and date above written.
Moses (his X mark) Woodruff

Signed sealed published & delivered by the above named Moses Woodruff as a codicil to annexed to his last will and testament in the presents of:
Obadiah Martin
Aaron Woodruff

State of North Carolina Surry County November Term AD 1817
Daniel Cockerham one of the subscribing witnesses to the foregoing last will and testament of Moses Woodruff made oath that he saw Moses Woodruff sign publish and declare the same to be his last will and testament that he was of sound and disposing mind and memory and that at the same time he saw Obadiah Martin and Samuel McBride sign the same as witnesses to the codicil annexed to said will, made oath that he saw the said Moses Woodruff sign publish and declare the same to be a codicil to be annexed to his last will and testament when he was of sound and disposing mind and memory and that at the same time he saw Obadiah Martin sign the said codicil as a witness to the same, which was ordered to be recorded.

Recorded accordingly.
JP J. Williams CC

Moses Woodruff, born c1738; died between 17 April 1817 and November 1817, Surry County, North Carolina; married (1) Phebe (MNU), but called Woodruff, 20 January 1760, Westfield, Union, New Jersey (2) Elizabeth Collins, 19 June 1806, Surry County, North Carolina.

Children:

1. Lydia, baptized 4 January 1761, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; married Burrell Pace, c1779
2. Jennett, baptized 10 October 1762, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; died 14 September 1800, Spartanburg County, South Carolina; married Samuel Woodruff, c1788.
3. Gideon, baptized 9 September 1764, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; died c1822; perhaps married Prudence Day Phillips
4. John Allen, baptized 1 June 1766, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; died c1832; married Jane (MNU)
5. Hannah, baptized 8 May 1768, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; married William Moore
6. Mary, baptized 27 May 1770, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; married John McBride
7. Moses, baptized 1 April 1772, Westfield, Union, New Jersey; married and had three children; predeceased his father
8. Phebe, born c1777, North Carolina; died after 1850 census; married Francis Bryan

Here is my question. Jennett Woodruff died on 14 September 1800 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Her gravestone is still standing and legible.

Her age at death matches that of Moses’s daughter Jennett, baptized in October 1762.

Her husband, Samuel Woodruff, was a very well-to-do man. A few records in the Carolinas seem to indicate that those in Surry County, North Carolina had continued contacts with those in Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

Moses Woodruff wrote his will on 29 July 1816 AND added a codicil on 17 April 1817. Why did he leave a bequest to daughter Jennett if she clearly died over 16 years before he wrote his will????

“Everyone” has Moses’s daughter as the wife of Samuel Woodruff, and she may well be, but I have never come across a will written near the time someone passed away that left a legacy to a child who had died many, many years earlier.

Ideas, anyone?

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