Thursday, February 2, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday – Deed: Mary Lancaster to Lancaster Heirs

I’ve been in Salt Lake City this week conducting some research at the Family History Library where I have been viewing microfilmed images of deed records for Shelby County, Kentucky, where my five times great-grandfather, Robert Lancaster died.

I had previously concentrated on the estate records for Robert and wondered why there weren’t any records mentioning his wife, Mary. I have no vital information about this wife at all, so had no idea if she was still alive.

However, I found in the deed records a deed recorded on 26 October 1840 between 
“Mary Lancaster widow of R. Lancaster of Shelby County Kentucky of the one part and Ellis Lancaster, John Lancaster, Creath Neill & Lenis Ann his wife, Robert N Myers & Mary E his wife, William Lancaster, Josiah Lancaster & Eliza Jane Lancaster of the other part.”[1]
The people listed as the “second part” were Robert’s children: Ellis, John, Lenis Ann, Mary E, William, Josiah, and Eliza Jane.

It went on to state that 
“Robert Lancaster departed this life intestate (meaning without a will) leaving considerable real and personal estate to one third of which the said Mary as his widow is entitled during her natural life.”
Mary was not the mother of the above children. She was Robert’s third wife, though I have not found the marriage record yet.

So the parties of the second part have 
“agreed to pay the said Mary Lancaster $2800 in cash and give her a negro girl named Teresa about fifteen or sixteen years old & also to give to said Mary the household furniture which the said Mary owned at the time of her intermarriage with the said Robert.”
 This Teresa was not listed in the slave inventory of the estate.[2]

First part of the deed Mary Lancaster to Lancaster Heirs
Shelby Co KY Deeds, Bk G2, p. 231
Mary Lancaster  then relinquished and quit claimed her interest and claim to the estate of Robert Lancaster. The deed went on to describe the estate as a tract of land in Shelby County on Bullskin containing three hundred and thirty one acres and on which Robert resided at the time of his death, eleven slaves, his stock of cattle, hogs and sheep, housing and kitchen furniture, farming utensils, bonds, notes, cash, all and every other species of real personal or mixed.

She signed the deed with a mark, indicating that either she could not write or was too infirmed to write.

So this deed indicated that Mary Lancaster was living at the time of Robert’s death. It explained why I never saw anything about the widow in Robert Lancaster’s estate records and why she hadn’t become the administratrix of the estate. Was this buyout an indication of how Robert’s children thought of Robert’s current wife? Or had the wife asked for the buyout? Unfortunately the deed didn’t answer that question.

[1] Shelby County, Kentucky Deeds, Bk G2, p. 231-32, Lancaster to Lancaster heirs; FHL film 259241.
[2] Shelby County, Kentucky Probate, Bk 14, p 64, Inventory of Robert Lancaster’s Estate; digital images, FamilySearch ( : 22 Sep 2016); citing FHL film 259254, item 3.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family