Friday, August 10, 2012

John, John and James

Don't you sometimes wish your ancestors used a little more imagination in the naming of their children?

When a family has expanded to include more than one household, or when some members have migrated and you are trying to find out where, it is impossible to verify if the ancestors name was John,James or William or some other overused moniker. Being thankful for the Archaelus, Zebedee,  Phillipi or Armistead, it still can cause a great deal of confusion when Drury has spawned 10 grandsons who have all named a son Drury.

The following are the final wills and testaments of John, John and James, 3 three men whose families were entangled with mine or whose a member of my family is mentioned or witnessed.
This is the May 1803 Will of James Elliott of Orange County, North Carolina that was written in 1799, and proved 4 years later.

The 4th day of October 1799. The last will and Testament of James Elliett I do bequeath all my housell estate to William Elliott his Heirs or assigns All my Lands on franchbord on the little river on James River on Haw River on Cane Creek in Pensylvania. I bequeath all my personal estate at my Death and said Elliottt shall take care of my wife & let her have the use of her bed forever after while she lives - And the disposal of her body chose at her death - I do bequeath 2/ to John Murray 2/ to William Carter 2/ to James Hird 2/ to Thomas Blake 2/ to William Passmore all at my death if I do not chose to alter it -
James Elliot
Test John Murray
David Passmore } Jurat
Orange County May Term 1803
The Execution of the foregoing last Will and Testament of Jame Elliott dec'd was duly proved in open court by the oath of David Passmore a subscribing witness thereto and ordered to be recorded.

My ancestor John Murray was one of the son-in-laws of James Elliott.


In the name of God, Amen – I John Rice of the County or Orange and Province
of North Carolina, farmer, being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory
thanks be given unto God for the same and calling to mind the mortality of
my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and
ordain this my last will and testament. That is to say principally and first
of all I give and recommend my Soul unto the hands of God that gave all and
for my body I recommend it to the earth to be buried in the Christian like
and decent manner at the discretion of my executors nothing doubting but at
ye general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power
of God. And as touching such worldly estate where with it hath pleased God
to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in manner and
form following that is to
say -------------------------------------------------------------

In the first place I give and bequeath to Cathrine, my dearly beloved wife,
two of her choice of any cows with three sheep with the dwelling house and
all the furniture belonging there unto during her life. Also I give to my
well beloved daughter, Hannah, all my real estate during her life, or while
she bears the name of Hannah Towel. And at her death or change of name, I
will and ordain the same unto her two sons, that is to say, her son John and
her son Henery and it to be divided into two equal shares and each to have
their part.

Likewise, I leave unto my son-in-law, Jesse Towel, and daughter, Hannah, two
horse creatures and five head of cow kind —and them to pay all my lawfull
debts and to pay all my funeral charges. I likeways constitute, order and
ordain my son-in-law, Jesse Towel and my nephew, —John Murry my whole and sole
executors of this my last will and testament of all my real and personal
estate and do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disanul all and every
other former testaments, wills and legacies, requests and executors by me in
any ways before this time named, willed and bequeathed ratifying and
confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament whereof I have
hereunto set my hand & seal. This nineteenth day of January and year of our
Lord one thousand, seven hundred and eighty three.

John (his X mark) Rice (seal)

Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the Countence of
James Thompson
John Murdock

Prudence Murdock 

Orange County  November Court 1783
This execution of the written will  of John Rice Decd. was duly proved in the open court by the Oaths of James Thompson and Prudence Murdock, Subscribers being Witness thereto and ordered to be recorded. 
 List Js Johnston C. C. 
Second page.

And last but not least: John Emmanuel, Stanly County estates. The Emmanuels were relatives of Jesse Murray's second wife, Elizabeth.
State of North Carolina  May Term County Court 1857

Your petitioner  Elizabeth Emmanuel humbly complains ? unto your worship ? She is the widow of John Emmanuel who lately died in the county aforesaid and possesses of a considerable personal estate out of which she is entitled to her years allowance she therefore asks of the court to appoint and lay off

Wilson P Turner, Esq.
Jesse Hathcock
Joseph Morton: Committee

Subsequent papers mentions son Henry Manuel.


  1. Hello TJ, I am interested in corresponding with you regarding the connection between the Murray and Elliott families. Please email me at

  2. T.J., I thing we share the same lineage to John Murray (Sr). I just noticed that your blog references Jesse Towel. He was an executor (along with John's wife, Jean) to John Murray's 1799 Orange County NC will, so I believe we do indeed have a connection on this Murray family line. Please contact me at your earliest convenience at