Last Will and Testament of Andrew Patton, Charles County, Maryland

Andrew Patton was not a wealthy man. He was wealthier than some but many men were richer. He does not appear to have owned any land and had modest belongings listed in his estate inventory, several of the items listed giving perhaps a clue to his occupation – leather, shoe thread, and a parcel of shoemaker’s tools. Modest sums were due to his estate from Dr. Mungo Muschette, John Hatcher, Edward Fluery, Charles Race and Thomas Webster, and, like so many men of this era, he owed a debt to a company of Glasgow merchants. In all respects he appears to be an unremarkable man, but his will is quite unusual.

In the name of God Amen. I Andrew Patton of Charles County being sick and weak of body but of sound and Disposing mind & memory thanks be God do make & ordain this to be my Last will and Testament.

First I give & bequeath my soul to almighty God who gave it me Trusting thro the merits of Intercession of my blessed Saviour and Redeemer that I shall obtain Everlasting life & my body to the Earth to be decently buried as my Executor shall think fit and as for what worldly Goods it hath pleased God to bless me with I dispose of in manner & form following.

Item I desire that all my Just Debts be paid and satisfied.

Item I give and bequeath to Frances Clements my mare and saddle.

Item I give and bequeath to Walter Hanson In trust for & for the use of his negro woman Called Sarah all the remaining part of my Estate be it of what nature or sort soever.

Lastly I appoint & nominate my Trusty friend Walter Hanson be my Executor of this my Last will & testament and I hereby Revoke & make void all other wills formerly made by me Ratifying This and none other to be my Last will & testament.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the 9th Day of Dec. 1762 signed sealed published & Declared In the presence of us Thos. Thornton. Margaret Hanson.

Andrew Patton.

This is the only will I have come across in Charles County that specifies a legacy to a person enslaved by another man. Certainly there are wills granting freedom to enslaved persons, leaving personal property to enslaved persons, and/or acknowledging the paternity of enslaved persons, but none other that I have found where the entire estate, saving for a horse and saddle, were left in trust “for & for the use of” a person enslaved by another man. Sadly, I have found no further record of Sarah and her legacy. I like to imagine she used it to purchase her freedom.

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