Valley of the Shadow
The Eve of War
Fall 1859–Spring 1861

Letters & Diaries

Augusta County Court Will Book #37 page 73
Contract of Heirs of Polly Patterson

Memo of a contract made and entered into this day of March one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight Between the legal heirs and representatives of Polly Patterson, late of Augusta County in the State of Virginia, deceased.

Witnesseth: That whereas the said heirs and representatives have distributed the estate and property left by the said decedent, according to the expressed wishes and intentions of said decedent, as well as agreeably to their own views, and in such distribution there has been delivered to Gasper Coiner [?] and Mary J. C. his wife (the said Mary J. C. King @ daughter of the said Polly Patterson deceased) a certain Negro woman slave named Eliza upon the the [sic] following conditions and limitations, that is to say: the said Mary J. C. Coiner is to hold and possess said slave and her increase during her life with full power and authority to dispose of said slave and her increase as she may see proper by bill of sale, deed or will. But: in the event of the said Mary J. C. Coiner's departing this life without making such disposal of said slave and increase then they shall go [?] and belong to the child or children, if any, of the said Mary J. C. and the decendents of such as may have died in the same manner as if they were inheriting under the law of descents. but: if it should so turn out that the said Mary J. C. should depart this life without having disposed of said slave and increase, and without leaving any such descendants surviving her said slave and increase shall go and pass to the brothers and sisters of the said Mary J. C. Coiner, in the same manner as though they were her heirs and inheriting from and under her. And the other heirs and representatives hereby covenant that they will warrant the title to said slave and increase with the conditions and limitations hereinbefore expressed against the claim of all persons under , by or through them. And the said Gasper Coiner and wife covenant with the other heirs and representatives that they may hold possess and enjoy severally the distributive portions they have received or are to receive from the estate of said decedant free from the claims of them the said Coiner and wife and of their daughter Mary J. C. and all claiming by or under her and of all persons claiming under by or through them, in consequence of this contract and arrangement having been entered into and will claim nothing more from said estate. Witnesseth the following signatures and seals.

Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presence of

James G. Patterson
B. G. Patterson
Chas. S. Patterson
Bettie E. Guthrie
John A. Patterson
H. G. Guthrie
H. G. Guthrie for W. B. Patterson

I Gasper Coiner, a party to the foregoing contract hereby agree that my wife Mary J. C. may exercise the control and power over the slave Eliza and her increase as is stipulated in the said contract as though she were unmarried, and I hereby renounce all ownership or title to said slave, and have willingly agreed that she and her increase may be held as set forth in said contract. Given under my hand and seal this - day of March 1858.

Gasper Coiner (signed)