The Last Testament and Will of Vines Collier
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Vines Collier died December 7, 1795 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. He was buried in the family burial plot on his plantation.
The Last Will and Testament of Vines Collier is dated September 11, 1795 and was recorded on December 11, 1795. Vines became ill and passed away before signing the Will. However, with the testimony of witnesses who verified the accuracy of the Will as directed by Vines, as well as the acknowledgement of heirs, the Will was allowed to stand.
The Will is found in Oglethorpe County Will Book “A” on pages 14 and 16, in the Oglethorpe County Courthouse Probate Annex, Lexington, Georgia. Photographs of the Will are below.
It is apparent the document has been damaged and some of the text is missing. The late Ramon Collier viewed drafts of the Will in the Georgia Archives in Atlanta, Georgia. He reported,
“There are two drafts of Vines’ will (Drawer 306, Box 118). In one of these drafts, he names Matthew Rainey (Clerk of Court) as one of the executors along with John Collier, Isaac Collier and Salley Collier. This stipulation, however, does not appear in the will that was approved and filed on the record. Evidently, Matthew Rainey felt it necessary to file an affidavit of refusal because of the wording of this draft. The other draft is pretty much a word for word rendering of the will that was filed. From this it is possible to interpolate the exact wording of the portion of the will that has worn away due to the ravages of time.”
Presented below is the Will, as reconstructed and transcribed by the late Ramon Collier. The Will is followed by scans of additional, related legal documents, with transcriptions provided by Ramon. Portions shown in brackets ( ) have been damaged in the recorded copies. Ramon interpolated the damaged portions based on various other sources.
In the Name of God Amen: I Vines Collier of the County of Oglethorpe and state of Georgia Being of sound and perfect sense and memory and calling to mind, it is appointed for man once to Die, Do make and ordain this my last will and testament and firs (sic) of all I give my soul to god (sic) that gave it me hoping for The Resurrection of Eternal life & my Body to the dust from whence it Came, and as for my worldly estate that god of his goodness has bestowed on me I give and bequeath in the following maner (sic) to wit: first, I give my Daughter Betsey Dunn one Negro girl named Dilsey, secondly I give to my daughter Ann Hardaman one negro girl named Janey. Thirdly I give to my son Isaac Collier one [hundred] acres of land lying in the fork of the Bra(nch) between James Greer and myself (to wit) (beginning) at a Corner persimmon in the spring branc(h) thence thence (sic) down the Branch to the fork, the(nce) up greers Branch to the Back line joining gre(sham) thence on Grishams line as far as will ma(ke a) strait line to the beginning for Complimen(t). forthly I lend to my well beloved wife Salley Collier my land, Negroes and (all) kinds of property that I possess dur(ing her widowhood) But if she marrys o(nly a child’s) part with my other ten Child(ren, to wit, William Collier,) Thomas (Collier, Joh)n Collier, Cudbth [Cuthbert] (Collier), Vines Co(llier, Benjamin Collier, Williamson Collier,) Robert Co(llier, Pol)ley (Collier and Salley Collier and at) my wife’s death or Marriag(e the whole of what I lend her) to be equa(lly) divided amongst those ten children above mentioned only a child’s (part to her if married) and last of all I appoint my son, John Collier and my son Isaac Collier and Salley Collier, my (wife, Executors and) Executrix of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my (h)and (and) seal this eleventh day of September one thousand seven hundred and ninety five.
Recorded Dec. 11th 1795
Matt Rainey RCOC
Note that Rainey’s refusal to serve as Executor is found at the bottom of page 16.
December the 11th day 1795) I hereby certify and acknowledge that I refuse to act as Executor for the Estate tho named in the will of Vines Collier deced, deced on Monday the 7th of this instant certified by me at office this 11th day of 1795.
Matt Rainey, R.C.O.C.
In the upper portion of this page, the heirs acknowledge the validity of the Will and John Collier turns down his inheritance.
(Our) names are hereunto subscribed Do each of us for ourselves and those under whose Right we claim Interests in the Estate of Vines Collier deced agree (that) the paper or writing above said shall be (conside)red as the last will and testament of the said (Vines) Collier deced to operate as fully and as amply (as if) the same had been signed by him the said (Vines) Collier under all the legal requisites, and do hereby (in all pa)rts allow and ratify the same in the most full (and amp)le maner, agreeing also that the same be (record)ed in the Register’s office at (th)e County (of Oglethorpe and I,) John Collier do for m(yself ) here by (quitclaim to all ) interest which I (might) be intitled (agreeable to the direction of suc)h w(riting a)nd authorizing the same disposition as p)ointed out (by the said writing along with) the other (legatees) therein named.
Attest: Matthew Rainey Dec. 11th, 1795
Charles Smith (John Collier
Recorded on the same day.
Mat. Rainey, R. C. O.
Other documents in the Will Book attest to the intent and accuracy of the unsigned Will of Vines Collier. First is by Matthew Rainey.
State of Georgia)
Oglethorpe County) Matthew Rainey of the County and State aforesaid, planter, being duly sworn saith That on or about the Eleventh Day of September (just) past he was sent for by Vines Collier late of the said County, dec’d, that when he Came, the said Collier told this deponent he wanted him to write (hi)s will and put one which it appeared he had some one Before write into this deponents hand and told him what alteration to make, that the deponent accordingly drew it agreeable to his directions, and (read) it over to him who declared it was according to his intentions and nothing but the want of persons to witness it prevented said Vines Collier from executing it and this deponent further saith that he has once or twice since and not long before his decease, heard Mr. Collier express his concern that the will drawn as above mentioned by this deponent was not executed which will or writing is hereunto subjoined and he veryly believes that when it was Drawn and that every time afterward when the said Collier spoke of it to and in the hearing of deponent, he, the said Collier, was of sound and disposing mind and memory and understanding. This deponent also recollects that Mr. Collier told him on the evening of the tenth or on the said eleventh day of September, that George Younge & Leonard Younge had Been with him and waited to near night in order to witness the said will when wrote and had promised to come again the next day or a few days afterwards and that sometimes afterwards, seeing Mr. Collier, this deponent asked him if the said George and Leonard Younge had come, who told him they did not and he was sorry of it, as he was anxious to have the said will executed. Sworn to and subscribed before me this twentieth of December, 1795.
Jno. Lumpkin J. P.}
Then the sworn statement of Leonard Younge.
State of Georgia)
Oglethorpe County) Leonard Younge of the County and State aforesaid, planter, being duly sworn, saith that he, the deponent, occationally (sic) happened at the house of Vines Collier, now deceased. Mr. Collier drew out a paper and said it was his will and read it to the deponent and expressed some Dissatisfaction tho drawn by himself, which he made mention of, that was, he had pointed out the land he had given to his son, Isaac Collier, and said he would send for Mr. Matthew and get him to write another, and asked him if he would go to his Bro., George Younge, and asked him if he would Come over with himself that evening to witness a new will which he intended to have ready by that time. Accordingly, they both came and Mr. Collier Informed them that he had sent for Mr. Rainey but he had not come and expressed himself somewhat uneasy, urging them to stay but it was not convenient. He asked them to come a few days after, selecting a time himself, the deponent came by himself and his brother not coming by reason of sickness, the business was not done. Sometime after, which was about or on the 7th day of November last, the deponent was in the company of Mr. Collier again and he informed him he got the will ready and all that was wanting was witnesses and he acknowledged (that) it (was) neglect in him that it had not been executed. And this deponent further saith not. Sworn to before me this eleventh day of December, 1795. Jno. Lumpkin, J. P.
Recorded on the same day and date.
11 December 1795 Mat. Rainey, R. C. O. C.
Followed by that of George Younge.
George Younge after duly being sworn saith he, at the request of Mr. Vines Collier delivered by his brother, Leo. Younge, came over to Mr. Collier’s in order to witness a will and when the deponent came he understood the Will was not ready and he was called on to attend a few days afterward, perhaps the next day, as a witness, which was out of his power by reason of sickness. (And this) deponent (further) saith not.
Sworn to before me this eleventh day of December, 1795.
Jno. Lumpkin, J. P.
Recorded this 11th day of December, 1795.
Mat. Rainey, R. C. O. C.
And then the statement from John Collier, son of Vines.
John Collier of the said County, planter, and one of the sons of the said Vines Collier, deceased, being sworn herewith, that he well remembers his father having sent for Mr. Rainey to write his will and for Geo. and Leo. Younge to witness it, that it was late in the evening before Mr. Rainey came And the gentlemen being absent, he asked Mr. Rainey to stay all night and Draw it in the morning, when perhaps the witnesses would come again, that he recollected hearing his father tell Mr. Rainey to draw it and heard it read over to his father by Mr. Rainey after it was wrote and that it Corresponded with the said directions. His tenant(?) further saith that he has examined the handwriting and verily believes it to be the same writing which was wrote by Mr. Rainey for the last will of the said Vines Collier who was well pleased therewith, and believed that Said Collier was of sound memory and understanding at that time. Sworn to before me this Eleventh Day of Dec., 1795.
Jno. Lumpkin, J. P.
Recorded the 11th day of Dec., 1795. Mat. Rainey, R.C.O.C.