This is the Will of Nathaniel (d. 1703), son of my wife Nancy’s Southy Littleton (d. 1683) who was in turn the son of Nathaniel (d. 1654). Nathaniel (d. 1703) was the brother of Esther Littleton from whom the Whittington’s of our clan are descend. Bascially making him an uncle. His will and the courtroom drama that followed it helped define the distribution of family wealth for generations.

The Last Will and Testament of Nathaniel Littleton, d. 1703

In the name of God Amen, I Nathaniel Littleton of Northampton County in Virginia, being sick in body but well in sense and memory, but calling to mind the uncertain estate of this transitory life and that all flesh must yeild unto death when it shall please God to call, do make, constitute and appoint this to be my last will and testament, revolking all former wills heretofore by me made and this to be taken for my last will and testament which is in manner and form following;

Imprimus – I give and bequeath my soul to God that gave it, hopeing and assuredly trusting through the alone merits of my Saviour Jesus Christ to obtain forgiveness of my sins and salvation, and my body to the earth from whence it was taken to be decently interred and as for my temporal estate which it hath pleased God far above my deserts to bestow upon me I give and bequeath as followeth;

Item – It is my desire that all my just debts that is justly due agreeable to my book may be paid without any advantage of law.

Item – I give and bequeath to my son Southy Littleton, my malletto man Jack, twelve cows and calves, or equivolent in other cattle, twelve sheep, one young horse, one mare colt, my best pistols, my silver headed cane and rapier, three pounds sterling to buy him a saddle and holsters etc., one good bedstead, feather bed and bolster, two pillows, one pair of Holland sheets, one pair of courser ditto, one pair of blankets, one eight quarter rug, one chest of with a lock, two pair of pillow beers, one new darnex pair of curtins and valance, one new bedtick seven quarters wide, four good breeding sows, one good iron pot about seven gallons, one frying pan, twenty pound of good pewter, one new brass skillet, three new large silver spoons. It is my desire that the cattle, sheep, horse, mare and hogs may be delivered to him, the May after my decease and to be put on the plantation where James Wilson liveth, provided he hath six months warning to go of, I desireing my wife shall keep my said son at school four years at the college or longer if he then desires it. For which consideration my said wife shall have his man Jack and all the rents of his land during the time of his being there, and at his return I desire that he may have the disposeing of his rents and cattle with the approbation of my executrix and Overseers, and to have the rest of his estate if they think fit.

Item – I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Custis Littleton a certain parcel of land in Accomack County on Pitts his Creek being one hundred and fifty acres, now in the occupation of William Merrill which I give unto her and her heirs or assignees for ever, but if she dies without lawfull issue of her body, or otherways disposed of it, then I give it to my daughter Esther Littleton to her and heirs or assignees forever. I further give my said daughter Sarah Custis Littleton twenty cows and calves or equivolent in other cattle, twelve sheep and my silver tankard, and a black walnut box with her name onit, one young mare.

Item – I give and bequeath to my daughter Esther Littleton twenty five pounds sterling money to buy her a young Negro and twenty cows and calves or other cattle equivolent and twelve sheep and six of my new large silver spoons, one young mare.

Item – I give and bequeath to my loving wife Susanna Littleton my Negro man, “Sandy” and all the remainder of my cattle, horses, mares, sheep and hogs on my dwelling plantation and all provisions (except what corn can be sold) and all the rest of my household plate, and all the rest of my personal estate. I desire it maybe equally divided between my wife and two daughters as soon as convenience will permit after my decease, and after the division if anything doth come to my daughters share that may be perishable I desire that my Overseers may dispose of it for them to the best advantage.

Item – I give and bequeath to my loving wife during her natural life, the plantation whereon I now live, bounded Westerly on the main bay, Northerly on the mouth of Old Plantation, and running along the creek to the branch between John Clays and James Wilsons so from that branch with a right line to the main road and Southerly from the mouth of Maggetty Bay Pond so running along the said pond to a place called,”The Spring”, Easterly on the main road. But she not to make waste or sale of any timber on the said land but to get what is necessary for the use of the said plantation and if my wife shall marry one that will remove of the said land or refuse upon the demand of any one of my Overseers to enter into bond with good security to keep and leave the said plantation in good repair and to pay all my childrens estate. Then she is not to have this said plantation, but in lieu she shall have all my settled plantations on the seaside, but if my son Southy Littleton shall disturb my said wife by law or any other way for the said land, then my said son to have nothing as I have given him by this will, but it to be divided between his two sisters.

Item – The land I sold to Edmund Bebbee I give and bequeath to his child or children as he the said Bebbee hath bequeathed it in his last will and testament to them and their heirs or assignees forever. It being four hundred and fifty acres of land near Mr.John Washbournes in Accomack County which I bought of Col. John Custis and Mr. Richard Waters he or they to have their choice out of the same he or they paying for the same as agreed with his father, and the desire the aforesaid Col. John Custis and Richard Waters with their wives do convey the same accordingly, which I do hereby warrent to them and their heirs forever, so far forth as the law can devise, and the rest of the said land I give unto my wife Susanna Littleton to her and her heirs or assignees forever to be sold for the use of the plantation whereon I now live.

Item – My will and desire is my loving wife Susanna Littleton be my whole and sole executrix of this my last will and testament, but if she dies before the same be performed, then my son Southy Littleton to be my whole and sole executor and if he dies before the same be performed then my two daughters to be my whole and sole executrixes jointly.

Item – I give and bequeath to my loving wife Susanna Littleton her best side saddle and bridle.

Lastly – I desire my loving friends Col. John Custis, Major William Waters, Mr. Southy Littleton and Mr. Robert Andrews or any two of them to be Overseers to see this will performed whom I do hereby give each of them twenty shillings to buy them a mourning ring. In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this 25th day of January 1702/3.

N. Littleton

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of us;

(This word,”rapier” interlined before signed.)

Lev. Clay Mary Baker

John Clay Daniel Neech

Item – It is my desire that my daughters shall receive their estate at eighteen years of age or at the day of their marriage real or personal.

Item – My will desire and meaning is that my loving wife Susanna Littleton shall have all my sheep, cattle, horses and mares which I have any where else besides them at my dwelling plantation, and my son Southy Littleton my wearing apparell of what kind soever, but what are sorry and not fit for his use, I also give unto him my Knot of Silver Seals, one diper table cloth and six diaper napkins, one courser table cloth and six courser napkins, as also witness my hand and seal the day and year abovesaid. Further I give unto my said son Southy Littleton my new gun, three good towels, my Bible and the fourth part of the rest of my books.

N. Littleton

Teste Leverett Clay, Mary Baker, John Clay, Daniel Neech


March the first anno 1702, Then the last will and testament and coddicell thereto of lt. Col. Nathaniel Littleton deceased (on the presentation of them to the court by Mrs. Susanna Littleton his widow and executrix and desire that they might be proved) were proved in open court of the said county by the corporal oaths of Daniel Neech, Leverett and John Clay and approved and allowed of by the court as authentic probates and ordered to be recorded.

Teste Daniel Neech Clk. Cur.

Recorded Daniel Neech Clk. Cur. Co. Northampton

Walczyk, Frank V. Northampton County Order Book & Wills 1698 – 1710 Vol. 1, 1698-1703 (Coram NY: Petersrow, 2002); pp. 104-105.