Will of James Norfleet of Perquimans Precinct, Albemarle County, North Carolina
Introduction by Phil Norfleet
The will of James Norfleet (d. 1732) of Perquimans Precinct, Albemarle County, North Carolina, dated 28 November 1732, was proved in Perquimans Precinct Court on 15 January 1732/1733. This is the oldest Norfleet will known to have survived down to the present day. James was a son of Thomas Norfleet, Jr. of Nansemond County, Virginia and the brother of both Thomas Norfleet (d. 1746) of Edgecombe County, North Carolina and Marmaduke Norfleet (1700-1774) of Northampton County, North Carolina. The original will is on file at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh and is in relatively good condition.
James's wife is thought to be Mary Gordon, daughter of John Gordon, Sr. The fact that three of the four witnesses to James Norfleet's will were John Gordon, Sr., John Gordon, Jr. and George Gordon certainly supports this conjecture. The fourth witness was James's brother, Marmaduke Norfleet.
The will mentions James's wife, Mary, and six children, i. e., two sons, John and Thomas; and four daughters, Mary, Sarah, "Margarit" and "Phelisha" Norfleet. James's brother, Thomas Norfleet is named as one of the executors of the will.
A transcription of the will follows. Passages considered of particular genealogical interest have been colored in red; my comments (if any) are placed within brackets.
Transcript of Will
In the name of God amen. I, James Norfleet of the County of Albemarle in the Precinct of Perquimans, Being very sick and weak in Body, but thanks be to almighty God, in perfect sense and memory, and Knowing and Calling to mind the frailty and weakness of all mankind, of my Self do expect but a small time of Residence here in this painful Life. And am willing before I depart hence and before my ... to settle all my worldly affairs as first I give up my soul to almighty God our father who hath given it to me, and I trust in Jesus Christ my Redeemer to make ... for me when I shall give to you an account for my self. Desiring that my body may be buried in a Christian like manner as my Executors shall think fit, whom I shall hereinafter appoint to see this my last Will and Testament fulfilled in form and manner as followeth, my debts first being paid and fully satisfied.
Item: I give unto Mary my wife one feather bed and furniture and she to take her choice of all the beds I have.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Norfleet all my land that I bought of Richard Brasell in the west meadows nigh Marenoake River, I say I give it to him and his heirs lawfully begotten of his body for ever.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son John Norfleet my plantation where I now live and all the land I have adjoining to it with all the orchards and houses thereon. I only reserve the third part of my land, orchards and houses for the use of Mary my wife as long as she continues a widow or until she alters her life by marriage, I say I give this land to my son John Norfleet and to his heirs lawfully begotten of his body for ever.
My will is that if my sons, either of them, should die without such heirs, then the s'd land shall fall to the others entail as in manner aforesaid.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Norfleet my Negro man called Esex and my Negro woman called Jina and her increase.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son John Norfleet my Negro man called Tom and my Negro girl called Briget and her increase. My will is that Mary my wife may have the use of my Negroes until my sons come of age, providing she doth not marry and doth not abuse them unkindly, But if my wife Mary shall marry or prove unkind and abuse those Negroes, my will is that my Executors hereafter named shall take the said Negroes and hire them out and the wages of the said Negroes to pay for the schooling of my four youngest children, as far as my Executors shall think fit, and the remainder part of their wages to be equally divided between my two sons, Thomas Norfleet and John Norfleet.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son John Norfleet my hot water still, worm and cap, I also give my son John five large stone jugs [?] and five large case bottles and twelve large potte bottles, I also give my son one large silver tankard which weighs thirty three ounces, sixteen pennyweight.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Norfleet one large copper kettle that holds twenty five gallons, a pot that weighs a hundred and sixteen pounds and my gun that was my father's, and ... all my carpenters tools and to my son Thomas Norflet all my wareing clothes and a new suit of clothes I have all ready made [but] never yet worn, I also give my son Thomas my saddle and bridle and a case of pistols and a sword.
Item: I give and bequeath to my two sons Thomas Norfleet and John Norfleet, each of them, a good feather bed and furniture, I also give and bequeath to my four daughters, to say, Mary, Sarah, Margarit and Philisha Norfleet, to each of them, a good feather bed and furniture to be pay'd to them at eighteen years of age or married, and at the same time when they are eighteen years of age, I give to each of my four daughters, two young cows and calves and to my daughter Philisha, I give my quill table and diepun [?] table cloth.
Item: I give to my two sons Thomas Norfleet and John Norfleet, to each of them, five new pewter dishes.
Item: I give and bequeath to each of my sons Thomas Norfleet and John Norfleet all the cattle that hath usually been called theirs, and to my son Thomas I give two year old steers that he hath had for oxen, I say I give them those cattle and their increase, and the side saddle I give to my wife.
Item: I give and bequeath to my son John Norfleet fifty acres of marsh land adjoining to the plantation whereon I now live. Provision: if any charges shall come hereafter for the good securing of the right and good title I have to this land, in this Province, I leave as much current money of this Province to my son John Norfleet in my executors' hands as will pay the charges.
Item: Provision: [if] any charge shall come for the securing of the above said land given to my son Thomas, I leave as much Current money of this Province to the disposing of my executors as will pay the charges.
Item: I give the use of all the remainder of my personal estate to Mary my wife during the time of her widowhood or until she alters her life by marrying and in case my wife should marry, then my Executors shall devise that part of my estate that I gave my wife the use of, between Mary my wife and my six children, to say, Mary Norfleet, Sarah Norfleet, Thomas Norfleet, John Norfleet, Margarit Norfleet and Philisha Norfleet [Comment by Phil Norfleet: the order of these names is probably their order by age.] and Mary my wife to have a third part of the same.
And this I make as my Last Will and Testament making null all other wills made heretofore Either by word or writing. I order and appoint my well Beloved Brother Thomas Norfleet and my faithful and well beloved friend William Hinton to be my true and trusty Executors to this my Last Will and Testament fulfilled in every part in witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this twenty eight day of November one thousand seven hundred thirty and two.
/S/ James Norfleet (Seal)
Signed and sealed in presence of us:
/S/ John Gordon Sen'r
/S/ John Gordon Jun'r
/S/ George Gordon
/S/ Marmaduke Norfleet