Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy

By Boynton Merrill Jr. | Go to book overview

29
THE GRAVEYARD

SOMETIME during the next week Lilburne decided to kill himself. He prevailed upon Isham, and they formed a suicide pact. Thursday, the ninth, was a gloomy day with the temperature in the mid-fifties. Earthquake vibrations were barely perceptible. On this day Lilburne wrote his will, one of the most unusual documents ever admitted to public record.

In the name of God Amen. This my last Will & c

1st. It's my desire that all my just debts be paid & then my property
both real & personal be equally divided between my children Jane
W. Lewis, Lucy J. Lewis, Lilburne L. Lewis, Elizabeth Lewis, Robert
Lewis & James R. Lewis, reserving to my beloved but cruel wife
Letitia G. Lewis her lawful part of said property during her natural
life—

2d. It's my desire that my beloved Father Chas L. Lewis be
possessed of the riding Horse which I purchaised of Hurley, my
Rifle & Shott bag during his natural life also my walking cane &
that my beloved Sisters Martha C. Lewis, Lucy B. Lewis & Nancy
M. Lewis may be comforted from the perquisites of s'd Estate by
my Executors as prudence may require, or in other words, so as to
do my children & themselves entire justice.

3d. I do hereby constitute my beloved Father Chas L. Lewis, the
Revd. Wm. Woods near Salem, SamlC. Harkins, James McCawley,
& Richd Furgison my Executors, whom I must remind that Henry
F. Delaney has received a fee from me for the prosecution in a
Trespass against James Rutter Senr, James Rutter, Junr. James
Young & Tho. Terry. Given under my hand this (& revoking all 8c
every other will heretofore made) ninth day of Apl. Eighteen
hundred and twelve.

Lilburne Lewis.
N. B. My dog Nero I do hereby bequethe to my beloved Father.

L. L.1

Lilburne wrote this will on one side of two sheets of paper, each approximately eight by thirteen inches in size (see Figure 4). When finished he folded the sheets once in the center, and then again in the same direction, reducing the size of the packet

-293-

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Jefferson's Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Constructing Jefferson's Nephews ix
  • Preface xxv
  • Preface to First Edition xxix
  • Acknowledgments xxx
  • 1: Colonial Days 3
  • 2: The Fight for Freedom 12
  • 3: A Colonel in the Militia 20
  • 4: Prosperity 29
  • 5: The Virginia Planter 38
  • 6: The Shipwreck of the Fortunes 44
  • 7: Craven Peyton, Thomas Jefferson, and the Hendersons 55
  • 8: Jefferson and the Lewises 71
  • 9: The Plan to Emigrate 84
  • 10: The Trip to Kentucky 97
  • 11: The Land and Towns 111
  • 12: Houses and Crops 123
  • 13: The Smithland Neighbors 134
  • 14: Issues in West Kentucky, 1808 143
  • 15: The County Court 151
  • 16: The Year of Trouble, 1809 163
  • 17: Lilburne Enters Public Life 175
  • 18: The Church in West Kentucky 189
  • 19: The Presbyterian Lewises 203
  • 20: Insecurity 215
  • 21: Community Affairs, 1810 226
  • 22: Slavery in Livingston 234
  • 23: Tremors in the Dynasty 240
  • 24: Annus Mirabilis 248
  • 25: The Murder 256
  • 26: After the Murder 266
  • 27: The First Grand Jury 274
  • 28: The True Bill 285
  • 29: The Graveyard 293
  • 30: The Orphans 303
  • 31: During the War 312
  • 32: The Aftereffects 322
  • 33: The Epilogue 329
  • Appendix 1 - Notes on Lewis Genealogy 339
  • Appendix 2 - The Colle Sale 348
  • Appendix 3 - The Interview with Matilda 351
  • Appendix 4 - Medical Notes 353
  • Appendix 5 - Lilburne Lewis's Estate 359
  • Index 441
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