The Will of James Henderson of Greene County, Tennessee ~ 1793
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: LaRae Rahm
NOTE: There has been much controversy amongst Henderson researchers in regards to the James Henderson will & especially the line referring to his son John................
Esther M. Carroll: In reviewing the handwriting of other parts of the documents, other words are capitolized within a sentence & there is very little punctuation or it appears to be in the wrong place. In the photocopies that I have (which is a photocopy of the original document) there is NO PERIOD after the A in John A Brown. However on the other handwritten copy (which has been transcribed by another person) there is a period after the A. giving the impression that it is an initial.
In the line referring to Hannah it appears to read, "I give and bequeth unto my beloved Wife Hanna one bay horse four years Oald and Saddle and all my [word illegible]"
The next line appears to me to read, "[word illegible] I give and bequeth unto my beloved Son John A Brown Mare and Coalt my Saddle and Gun."
I have copied both sentences exactly as possible including/excluding punctuation & capitalizing the same words that are capitolized in the document & spelling the same way. Also the words "beloved son John" are CLEAR in both documents.
The next line comes from the second transcribed document: "And lostly I do order that all the remainder of my Estate be equally divided amongst my wife and children"
The only heirs James mentions by name in his will are his wife Hannah & his son John.
|From: Henderson descendant John
It is not my intent to reproduce the entire will in this message, but to
From Rand Henderson: Some have argued that "Brown" can't refer to the horse as you don't call a horse "brown" but "bay," "chestnut" etc. In order to get more insight on this theory, I ran it past my thirteen year old daughter Brianna -- our resident equestrian. She came back some days later and reported that in some of her books on horses there are references to "brown" horses as a shade not described by "bay" or "chestnut." Specifically, she pointed out that "The Complete Book of Horses by James Kerswell, Crescent Books 1993 on page 14 under "Color terms applied to horses" indicates that "Brown: Dark brown to almost black. Brown to black points." In contrast it defines "Bay: Basically brown in various shades from yellow to red but not dark brown. The points -- extremities such as mane and tail -- are black." Brianna also informs me that a colt can be three years and under.
The curator at the Greenville Historical and Genealogical Library agrees with the assessment (while examining the original will) that the capitalization throughout the will lends credence to the argument that it is not a person "John A. Brown" but rather "to my son John A Brown Colt and Mare my saddle and gun." The better copy also helps.
At right is a picture of the original will of James Henderson which is at the Historical and Genealogical Library in Greeneville. The picture was taken by Rand Henderson in October, 2002 while he was on a research trip in Tennessee. Rand states, "It was so exciting to be in the presence of a document over 200 years old that James signed!"
Counting from 10 August 2001