23 June 2014

#25-52ancestors; Bad Girls

Bad Girls Baffle Researcher

• Priscilla (Bankston) Mathews (ca 1786-1860)
• Sarah (Pierson) Hixson (ca 1813-after 1859)

It must be a head-strong, stubborn or willful gene that runs rampant in my family's DNA because it is rife with naughty daughters who did (or didn't do) things that so displeased their parents, they were cut out of their wills. The reasons are not always spelled out, leaving me to wonder what happened.

For example, on 11 September 1838, Lawrence Bankston of Wilkes County, Georgia, made an alteration to his last will and testament (dated 10 April 1834) “for good reasons.”  [Had only he bothered to explain!]

“Whereas I did convey in said will to my daughter Priscilla Mathews an equal share with other three daughters, which said gift I do hereby absolutely and entirely revoke and instead thereof I do hereby of my good will place my said daughter’s full share as given in my said former will into the possession of my grandsons Griffin Mathews and Isaac Moore for them or either of them to act as agent or trustee [for] daughter aforesaid for her sole benefit during her life and at her death to descend or go to and belong to the heirs of her body.” 

Bankston had four daughters who were married and living at the time. He mentions two beloved sons-in-law — Isaiah T. Irvin and Caleb Sappington — but he does not mention Priscilla’s husband (William Matthews/Mathis) or daughter Elizabeth’s husband (Samuel G. Mosley), which leaves room for lots of speculation. Both of these daughters had moved away from Wilkes County, but that seems unlikely to be the reason for him to have made this codicil. Moreover, he penalizes only Priscilla.

What is most curious is the two named "grandsons" who were to act as agents or trustees for Priscilla (Bankston) Mathews. Griffin Mathews, the eldest son of Priscilla and her husband William Mathews, was born about 1809, so was an adult when his grandfather died in 1844. However, Isaac Moore was not a grandson by blood, but rather the husband of a granddaughter, Sarah Ann Mathews (another child of Priscilla and William Mathews). Sarah Ann was born about 1814.

Why did Lawrence Bankston pick those two to handle the inheritance of his daughter Priscilla? Curiosity is forcing me to go back to the records of that Georgia county and find out what happened to Priscilla's share of her inheritance.

Then there was Sarah (Pierson) Hixson, daughter of Isaac Pierson. In his 1859 will in Preble County, Ohio, Isaac said, “I will and bequeath to my daughter, Sarah and her children 30 acres of land off of the north side of my farm that I now own in Twin Township [Preble County]  . . .”

But in a later modification, he instructs his executor to give to his daughters, Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah, $25 to make them equal with what he had given their only brother. And, he adds “that Sarah is not to have any more after she gets what I have given to her  —  the 30 acres of land and the $25 she is to have from my estate. And she is not to have any more, the balance is to be divided among my other children and their heirs.” 

Sarah is not found with her husband (William Hixson Sr.) and their seven children in the 1850 census and so far I have not found her in 1860 or later enumerations. So that makes me wonder. Oh, Sarah, what on earth did you do to make your Papa so unhappy with you and where did you disappear to and why? Are you hiding in plain sight right under my nose or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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