In the name of God, Amen. I, David Gavin, of Texas plantation, St. George's parish, Colleton Co. South Carolina, U.S. being in usual health of body and of sound mind, do make and ordain this as my last will and testament in words following, to wit:
Item 1st. I wish my just debts, if any, to be paid, and to be buried by the side of my brother John or William if I die near here.
Item 2nd. I give and bequeath to my nephew John L. Gavin now in Brazil, one half of all my property in Brazil, which was eleven hundred dollars in specie & fifty sent since, carried there by my brother Charles, and to be invested by him according to his judgement, and to bear a proportionate expense with Charles. If none of John L. Gavin's brothers or sisters or my nephews or nieces emigrate to Brazil I give my said nephew J. L. Gavin all I have there but if any of them do move there I give him or them an equal share of the other half with John share & share alike. I also give my said nephew John my compass and all my surveying and platting instruments, my double barrel gun & c. All my books and manuscripts to be equally divided between said John L., Julius William and brother Charles.
Item 3rd I give to my nephew John L. Gavin eleven shares in So. Ca. R.R. Co., nephew Julius William, nieces Laura R. Smith, wife of S.D. Smith and Nettie L. Gavin, brother John's children each seven shares in So. Ca. R.R. Co. if I have so many in trust for their children, but they to use all the dividends and income, but if all or any of them move west of the Mississippi river, or to a foreign country, they or any of them may sell that or any other property hereafter given them by this will, and invest the proceeds in some other property, stock or bonds, and use the income thereof during their natural lives, but if they remain here, it I expect would do as well or better to remain where it is, and use the income or dividends on it to them until after my death. If I have not enough shares to give John L. eleven and his brother & sisters each seven shares, what I have there in the So. Ca. R.R. Co. I wish divided notably as eleven to seven, amongst my brother John's children, John L., Julius W., L.R. Smith & Nettie L. Gavin.
Item 4 My will is that all the balance of my property, real, personal and mixed, be equally divided amongst my nephews and nieces, share and share alike. My land to be divided into as many lots as there are heirs as equally as may be, and appraised by three, four or five disinterested, competent land holders. If any of my heirs have settled on any part with my approbation or leave, except my homestead, he, she or they may choose that lot otherwise brother Charles is to have choice, John L. next if they are here, the eldest married next, and so on by seniority or as they marry. The child or children of a deceased nephew or niece to take the share it's parent would be entitled to if living, and no share as it regards a child, children or issue of a nephew or niece to be elapsed on account of it's or their parents death before me. If brother Charles has any more children before I died, he, she or they shall be entitled to a share, if living and if brother Charles daughter Ann dies before I do brother Charles is to take his share in fee, and to have the use and income of her share and any other child or children he may have during my life or at my death.
Item 5 I wish my iron safe kept by my executors for the use of my estate, if they wish it, then Charles, and then the oldest nephew until the last, I wish all or any part of my personal property, such as provisions, stock, furniture & perishable property, sold for cash or credit either at public or private sale, as my executors may think best for the benefit of my heirs, or divided, as I do not wish it sacrificed, and the money and all other money invested in good Rail Road stock or bonds, bank, city, state, U. S. stock or bonds, or other good public securities of this or any other state of foreign country, or any other property in a foreign country. I wish my present public investments to remain, unless they become due, or unsafe. My executors are hereby authorized and empowered to make all sales and divisions without any petition to or order from the Court of Equity, Probate or any other court in this or any other state or country or government, but must make a return of all sales, divisions and investments to the Court of Probate or ordinary, but shall not be required to make annual returns.
Item 6. My brother Charles Gavin is to have the use and income of his child or children's share if he has more than Ann, at the time of my death, they are to have a share or shares according to the numbers. My nephews and nieces now are, Nettie L. Gavin, John Lewis Gavin, Laura R. Smith, wife of S. D. Smith, and Julius William Gavin, brother John's children, Charles M. Gavin & Ida William Gavin, brother William's children and Ann M. Gavin, brother Charles' daughter. Should one or more of my nephews or nieces die without leaving a child, children or issue, I give his, her, or their share to their remaining brothers and sisters, or brother or sister, share and share alike without regard to half blood, that is than of their brothers and sisters who are my nephews and nieces, or their child, children, or issue, except Charles' daughter and her share, in that case, is to go to him. And if they have no brother or sister or no descendent of a brother or sister, who is my nephew or niece, or father, then and in that case, I give their share to my other nephews and nieces, share and share alike, the children of a deceased nephew or niece taking the share it's or their parent would be entitled to . My intention and desire is, that it shall be received by my blood, the decendents of my brothers and my brother Charles. If my nephew John L. Gavin dies without a child, children or issue, I give the share he gets from me in Brazil to my brother Charles, unless some of my nephews or nieces or all go there, then and in that case my will is that he, she or they are to receive a share or shares of it. A child, children or issue of a nephew of niece to take the share it's parent would be entitled to if alive. and if brother Charles' daughter dies without a child, children, or issue, and he has no other child, children or issue, he is to take the share his daughter or any other child would be entitled to if living. Brother Charles is to have one share if he has no child or children alive or descendent of a child when I die, that is take his child's share, or the share she would be entitled to if alive, and he can take her share or his children's share with him whether she or they are of age or not, but if he has not child or children I mean him to keep it only during his natural life, and then be divided amongst my heirs as before mentioned in case of the death of a nephew or niece, without a brother, or sister or a child, children or issue of a brother or sister who is a nephew of niece.
Item 7. If any of my heirs herein named or other person or persons sues me or my estate, in any court about the way I have managed their property in my hands or requires me to make up loss of their property by the late civil war or otherwise, my will is that such heir or heirs, person or persons shall be and are hereby detered from inheriting or receiving any part or share of my estate either directly or indirectly and I do hereby revoke and annul all clauses and parts of clauses heretofore or hereafter made in his, her or their favor for I have done the best I could with their money. And the same to any who endeavors to break this will, they may carry it into court to enforce its provisions, or prevent the property being wasted or spent, but not altered. I hereby disinherit all such person or persons.
In presence of:
I. S. Utsey
W. G. Horn
They have been robbed by the so called United States government, not by me. I have also been robbed by the same government and I wish them to leave it and try some other which has not robbed them or me. It is not likely they will be worsted by the changes. No heir or other persons who endeavours to make me or my estate responsible for robberies or destruction of property committed by the so-called United States government is to be an heir of my estate, if I have any, unstolen when I die.
As John L. Gavin and Charles M. Gavin have each their father's watches, I give my silver watch to Julius W. Gavin. My accounts and books since May 1865 or since our subjugation and robbery by the United States government will show my liability to each of the estates I manage, and to brother Charles, I wish Charles Gavin's gold kept for him, and my book will show what money and gold or securities I have of his. I bought some gold for him and carried the account on in paper, but the circumstance is mentioned on the book, and I may have or may hereafter alter it, but the gain or loss by keeping gold is his.
I do not wish my Executors to sue, bankrupt notes or bonds or to consume my estate in costs and expenses, but exercise a sound judgement in sueing notes or bonds as they would their own. All notes and bonds collected before May 1, 1865 have gone into Confederate bonds, stock or notes, mine as well as those of my wards and many that were good are now bankrupt by the robberies of the so-called United States government. The decision of W. S. Utsey, the Confederate tax collector, (to whome I was returned for refusing to take Confederate notes) by instruction, he said, of I. W. Burbridge of Walterboro. I would have to pay the gold value ot the whole estate which would soon have consumed them all.
Item 8. I nominate and appoint my brother Charles Gavin, nephews John Lewis Gavin, Julius William Gavin and Charles Moorer Gavin Executors to this my last will and testament, and my friends D. L. McAlhany and Dr. P. L. Moorer to act as Executor or executors, until some of the others named come of age, and prove by their conduct that they are prudent, sober and economical and fit tot manage, or my brother Charles Gavin or nephew John L. Gavin return from Brazil, when said Charles or John are to take charge of it, if John is prudent, sober and economical, as I wish no drunkard or spendthrift to manage my estate. and said Charles Gavin or John L. Gavin is hereby authorized and empowered to take charge and possession of the whole real and personal estate of the minors and can or may sell all or any part belonging to said minors, either real or personal, either at public or private sale, and make titles thereto, the same as I could were I alive and make one return thereof to the Judge of Probate or Ordinary, and take all or any part of said money due said minors or either of them, with them on either of them, with the minors to Brazil, or any other foreign country, or any part of the so called United States, and invest it any any way or manner, such as property, or notes, bonds, & security and mortgages, or public securities, or stock or bonds of Rail Road, cities or state, they or either of them may think best for the benefit of said minor or minors. I wish them to exercise their judgements and act prodently and honestly.
If a minor will not go with them from this state or country, they shall take only half his share with them. D. L. McAlhany and Dr. P. L. Moorer shall have the same power of selling all or any part of my perishable property, at public or private sale as they think best, and invest the money in bank or R. Road stock or bonds or any other good public security according to the best of their judgement for the benefit of my heirs, until Charles or John come from Brazil, or some of the others come of age and are as above stated. If the property is kept here I wish the money invested as above in good public securities, but if -------- to a foreign country investments may be made in lands or other property according to the judgement of my executors.
No heir is to pay more than one hundred dollars in the division of land. If brother Charles lives here he is to have first choice of lots of land, John second, and then as they marry or are married or come of age.
If my negro woman Big Mary or Mary Bryant continues to serve me faithfully, My Executors are hereby authorized and required to give to her daughter Mildred forty acres of land near Stokes, Clarks, or any other place they please so as not to injure the balance of the land, said Mary Bryant and her mother Peg to have the use of one half during the term of their or either of their natural lives, and all until Mildred comes to the age of eighteen or marries.
Item 9. My executors shall not be required to make annual returns even if the property is left there, one return of sales and how invested, that is what public security. This so-called government has robbed me and my family enough already. I hope my executors will neither steal, waste, nor spend my property, but if it must be stolen or wasted, they had as well do it as this so-called government of its officials.
(The words, "or nephews or nieces" between 6 & 7 line of Item 2nd inserted before signature)
Witness my hand and seal this nineteenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and seventy
David Gavin (His signature)
P. S. I give to nephew John L. Gavin twelve instead of eleven shares in So Ca. R. R. Co and ten more shares if I have so many to be divided between brotehr John's children & Ann M. Gavin or Charles's children, and William Gavin's Ida Gavin. Charles to have the use of his children share during his life and all in trust as before stated. All the balance of my property to be divided or given as before stated. I give C. M. & I. W. Gavin brother William's children a share of So. Ca. R. R. stock after brother John's children get the seven & twelve shares given that, that is the balance to be shared equally.
Signed & sealed in April 7th 1871
David Gavin (his signature)
(In Presence of)
W. W. Harley
I. S. Utsey
G. B. Sistrunk
W. S. Horn
(the following were witnesses to the P. S.)
I. S. Utsey
W. L. Utsey
W. S. Horn
Major David Gavin died 27th January 1874.
Copied from files in Walterboro, South Carolina Courthouse, August 1993, and typed by John Dannenberg Gavin. First published in the Gavin Newsletter and used here with the consent of Arnold and Joan Gavin. I have corrected a few typographical errors but have not changed any of the spelling.
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