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Will of Martha DOWDY

Fayette County, Tennessee

October 21, 1850

The last will & testament of Martha DOWDY of Fayette County, State of Tennessee.


I, Martha DOWDY considering the uncertainty of this Mortal life and being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following. ...After all of my just debts are paid I give and bequeath unto my children, Mary DOWDY, Elizabeth DOWDY, William P. DOWDY, Mahaley MUNROE and the Heirs of Manda C. ROBERTSON all the right and interest that I have in the tract of land that I now reside on containing by estimate one hundred and seventy two and one half acres, to be equally divided, but my daughter Mary is to have sufferance of the dwelling house. I further give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary two beds & ... & furniture & one bureau one safe and my table ware. The balance of my personal property to be sold and the proceeds equally divided. I bequeath unto Jacob BOWERS one dollar in money. I hereby appoint my son Wm. P. DOWDY sole executor of this my last Will & Testament in Witness I hereby set my hand and Seal on the 21st day of October One Thousand Eight Hundred and fifty.


Martha DOWDY

her x mark






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Mary DOWDY may have remained a spinster.


Elizabeth DOWDY was actually Martha's daughter-in-law, and the widow of Richard DOWDY, Jr..


William P. DOWDY was the only surviving son of Richard Sr. and Martha DOWDY of whom we have any record. More information about him, and his descendants, appears on this website, including his will.


Mahaley MUNROE was a daughter of Martha DOWDY and the wife of one of the witnesses to the will, David MONROE. Both spellings of this name have appeared in documents. One of Mahaley's and David's sons was William D. MUNROE, whose Civil War record appears on this website. I do not know the names of their other children at this time.


Manda C. ROBERTSON was another daughter of Martha and Richard DOWDY, Sr. She married Alizo (also seen spelled "Alonzo") ROBERTSON in Cumberland County, Virginia, and apparently died some time before her mother. 


Jacob BOWERS receives the curious bequest of "one dollar in money."  I have read elsewhere that this sort of token bequest is intended to insure that the individual, in this case Jacob BOWERS, has a difficult time contesting the will if they choose to do so. I am not certain what the circumstances in this case were, except that another DOWDY daughter, Rebecca H. DOWDY, married Jacob BOWERS on April 9, 1845 in Fayette County, Tennessee (See Sistler, Fayette County Marriages 1838-1871).  Did Rebecca die prior to 1850? She's not mentioned in Martha's will. Did she and her husband have a "falling out" with her mother? I have no way to know at this time....but more clues may surface!


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