Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims I’ve made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. Today I’m RELEASING Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning.
In 2014 I wrote about the ancestors in my paternal line from my father to my 4th great-grandparents. None owned slaves – or to be more specific, I have not found documents showing they held slaves. Going back one or two generations further I do find ancestors who left wills with names of slaves. One of these was Edward NIX lastly of Camden District in South Carolina.
I believe that it may be of importance to the slaves’ descendants to know where my ancestor, the slave owner, Edward NIX spent his long life. This is a quick rundown of information Libbie Griffin shared in the article “The Lineage of Frances Nix Doss” in The Doss Connection, Volume 2, No. 1, July 1996. The article was based on information compiled by Wanda Gregory who researched the Nix family for many years.
Edward NIX 1686-1776
Edward NIX was christened on 7 November 1686 in St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia. His father John (seen as James on the christening record) had recently come to Virginia from Barbados. Edward was very likely an only child and his father died about the time of his birth. His mother Elizabeth married Abraham VENABLE Sr. in 1687.
Hanover County was formed in 1721 from part of New Kent County. In 1731, Edward NIX received a patent for 400 acres in Hanover County. In 1734 he was named executor of his father-in-law Thomas Gibson’s will.
In 1745 Edward received a grant for 2977 acres of land in Amelia County. In 1746-1747 Edward was 60 years old and living in Amelia when he sold his land in Hanover. By 1750 numerous deeds can be found in Amelia County showing he transferred ownership of tracts of about 200 acres. Many of these were to his sons and sons-in-law who in the early 1750s moved with their families to Lunenburg County in the area that is now the north east corner of Pittsylvania County. In 1754 Prince Edward County was formed from part of Amelia County. In 1756 Edward NIX began selling his land now in Prince Edward County.
At the age of 70 he was planning to move to South Carolina. He appears in both Prince Edward and South Carolina records until 1762. In 1763 he received a 400 acres grant in South Carolina and lived in the Camden District from 1763 through 1776. He died in 1776 leaving a will.
WILL of Edward NIX
South Carolina, Camden District. In the name of God Amen on this Eighth day of October 1776 I Edward Nix of the Province & Dist aforesaid being sick & weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God, therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say principally & first of all. I give and recommend my Soul unto the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian Manner at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the general Resassection (sic, Resurrection) I shall receive the same by the mighty power of God, and as touching such worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to Blefs (sic, Bless) me in this life I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner & form.
Item: I give & bequeath to my grandson James Nix son of James Nix one shilling sterling.
Item: I give & bequeath to my son Volintine (sic, Valentine) Nix one Shilling Sterling.
Item: I give & bequeath to my son George Nix one Shilling Sterling.
Item: I give & bequeath to my daughter Sabra Lax (sic, Lox) one Shilling Sterling.
Item: I give & bequeath to my daughter Francis Dafs (sic, Doss), one Shilling Sterling.
Item: I give and bequeath to my grand son Ambrose Nix one hundred & twenty five acres of Land lying on the north side of Santee River in Camden District begining (sic) on a Mark’d Hickory & running down the Sd (sic, Santee) River, for the compliment of one hundred & twenty acres be the same more or lefs (sic, less), it being part of a large tract of Land granted By His Excellency Thomas Boone to Edward Nix.
Item: I give & bequeath to my grand son John Lyon & his heirs, after the death of my beloved wife my Plantation whereon, I now live, on the South side of Sandy River with all the Remaining part of my Land it being part of a larger Tract of Land granted by his Excellency Thomas Bonne Esq., the 18th day of August 1763 to Edward Nix.
Item: I give & bequeath to my grandson Jno (sic, John) Lyon to him and his Heirs the following negroes, Judy, Beck, Dick, and mourning (sic, Mourning) after the decease of my wife during her natural Life, & after his decease, to be equally divided between his two sons Elijah and Elisha.
Item: I give to my grandson Jno Lyon all the remaining part of my Stock of Horses, Hogs, and Black Cattle, House hold Furniture, and plantation Tools after paying my just debts Funeral Expenses, and Legacies.
Item: I likewise constitute make & ordain my loving wife Unice Nix and Jno Lyon Executors of this my Present Last Will and Testament, & I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and dis annul, all and every other Former Testament Wills Legacies and bequests, & Executors by me in any ways before mentioned Will’d or bequeathed, rectifying & confirming this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament. In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand & seal the day & year first above written.
Edward Nix His X Mark (LS).
Signed, Sealed, published pronounced & declared by the I Edward Nix as his last Will & Testament in presence of us the subscribers.
Wm. Farr, Richard Crosby, William Crosby
Recorded in Will Book 1774-1779 page 418
Source of transcript of will:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-5488-91?cc=1919417&wc=M6N4-F68:210905601,211749101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017 > image 171 of 424; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
The original will can be found on p. 418 of the Charleston County Will Book 1774-1779 per the will index found here:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-6863-0?cc=1919417&wc=M6N4-F68:210905601,211749101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017 > image 12 of 424; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
The inventory of Edward NIX’s estate may help with the ages of Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning:
1 old Negroe Wench & a boy about 9 or 10 year old
1 ditto and a Girl about 7 year old
Judy and Beck may have been the older women and Dick and Mourning the two young children.
The original inventory is on p. 229 of the Charleston County 1774-1785 A-A Inventories book per the index found on:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19424-88508-35?cc=1919417&wc=M6NW-Y3D:210905601,211110101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Inventories, 1774-1785, Vol. 098 > image 14 of 425; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
John Lyon, the grandson
I have not researched the descendants of Edward NIX. A quick look at the South Carolina Probate Records in Charleston turns up the will of one John LYON who died in 1781 leaving a wife Elizabeth and three children John, Thomas and Margaret. In the will he names one slave, his negro boy Dick. This may be a coincidence and requires further research.
© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey