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Last Will and Testament of Mary Elizabeth “Polly” James, (Feb. 20, 1857)
Bedford County, Virginia Will Book 20, Page 116

     Mary Elizabeth “Polly” James (1774-1864) was the daughter of Daniel James (1750-1817) and Susanna Bealert of Upper Merion Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  She was also the wife of Isaac Daniel James (1770-1853) who was the son of Elias James (1744-1789) and Anna Matson (1746-1827) also of Upper Merion Township.  Polly migrated with her father Daniel James (1750-1817) and uncle Jonathan James (1751- ) to Bedford County, Virginia following the Revolutionary War.  In her last will and testament Polly identifies six of her eight children:  Elias, Susannah “Susan” Wright, Elizabeth "Betsy” Howell, Anna West, Matson and Isaac. See Children of Isaac Daniel James (1770-1853) & Mary Elizabeth “Polly” James (1774-1864). Polly’s last will and testament makes clear that her son Isaac James, Jr. was the favored among her children and received the greatest share of Polly’s estate.

In the name of God, Amen, I Polly James widow of Isaac James Deceased of Bedford County State of Virginia do make this, my last will & testament, as follows:  that is to say, my desire is that my body may be buried by the side of my deceased husband at the direction of my Executor, herein after named, and I direct that all my just debts be paid out of my estate as soon after my decease as may be convenient.

First I give & bequeath unto my son Elias James one dollar for his full legacy in my estate,

Secondly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Susan Wright one dollar for her full legacy,

Thirdly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth Howell one dollar for her full legacy,

Fourthly, After paying the above charges & legacies, I give unto my daughter Anna West one sixth part of my estate,

Fifthly, I give unto my son Matson James one sixth part of my estate,

Sixth, I give unto my son Isaac James all of the remaining portion of my estate, Viz: two thirds

I also will that the negroes that I may own at my decease be sold by my Executor at public sale as soon thereafter as practicable, and I nominate & appoint my son Isaac James my Executor of this my last will & testament, In Witness whereof to this my last will & testament I have set my hand & seal

Feb 20th 1857                                                            her
                                                                      Polly    X    James          {Seal}
Signed Sealed & acknowledged }                                mark
in the presence of                       }
Washington Howell
S. S. Stewart

At a monthly Court begun and held for Bedford County at the Courthouse on Monday the 22nd day of August 1864 This last will and testament of Polly James deceased, was produced in Court, proved according to law, by the oaths of Washington Howell and Samuel S. Stewart, the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded.  And on the motion of Isaac James, Jr who made oath thereto and together with William Johnson and Samuel S. Stewart his Securities, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of fifteen thousand dollars conditioned according to law.  Certificate was granted him to obtain a probate of said will in due from[sic].  And it is ordered that said bond be recorded.

A. A. Arthur, CBC