Monday, January 7, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
The Will of Mary Peachy Demyers Winston

Mary Peachy Demyers Winston
Born about 1828 - Died about September 1895
Through this will Mary bequeathed 290 acres of land. Mary and her husband Andrew Winston were the slaves of Peachy Ridgway Taliaferro in Copiah County, MS. Peachy died in 1852. Per his inventory listing of slaves, Andrew was valued at $1000 and his wife Mary was valued at $900. The couple's daughters Malinda and Sidney were also included on the list, valued at $150 and $125 respectively. Per the family's oral history, Peachy Taliaferro was also Mary's father. Inventory Listing - Page 1 and Page 2 - Mary and husband Andrew had eight children. Five children survived at the writing of the will: Malinda, Sidney, Eliza, Edward Robert, and Andrew.

Near Hunter
Copiah County State of Mississippi

In the name of God Amen, I Mary Winston of feeble health but sound mind make this my last will & testament. I bequeath unto my son Edward Winston forty acres of land, where his house now stands, beginning at the Southwest corner on the Hazlehurst & Port Gibson Road & running Eastern hundred & twenty yards, thence North eight hundred forty yards, thence West two hundred & twenty yards thence South to place of beginning.

I bequeath unto my son Andrew Winston forty acres of land, the South forty of the land I bought of Mr. & Mrs. J. J. Holliday. If one or both of my above mentioned sons should die without any male heirs, then the above mentioned land is to go back to the Winston Estate & if one or both of them should have male heirs they are not to have possession until they are twenty one years old, but in case of death of one or both of my sons & the wives of either or both, should remain single they are to have & control the above mentioned property until they mary(sp) again.

I bequeath to my three grandchildren (children of Charles Winston deceased) the North forty acres of land of the land I bought from J. J. Holliday & wife…but my husband Andrew Winston is to manage & control it until they become of legal age. In case of his death, then it is to be managed & controlled by one of my sons who is to be selected by my executrix whom I will hereafter mention.

I bequeath unto my husband one hundred & seventy one acres of land my residence now is on a portion of said land, & all of my personal property, consisting of one horse & my household & kitchen effects & my other property I fail to mention.

I appoint Mr. M. M. West & T. E. Groom, executors without bond to enforce this my last wish. Given under my hand & seal this 7th day of Dec 1894.

Mary (her x mark) Winston
Witness T. E. Groom & M. M. West

The State Of Mississippi Copiah County
Chancery Court
Vacation AD 1895

In the matter of a certain instrument – purporting to be the last will and testament of Mary Winston deceased of Copiah County.

Be it remembered that before Chancery Clerk of said County and State on the 28th day of Sept AD 1895 personally appeared F. E. Groom and M. M. West and subscribing witness to a certain instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Mary Winston deceased, late of Copiah County who having first been duly sworn, deposed and said that the said Mary Winston signed, published and declared said instrument as her last will and testament on the 7th day of December 1894, the day of the date of said instrument in the presence of the deponents and that the said instrument testatrix was then of sound disposing mind and memory and twenty one years of age and that these deponents subscribed and attested said instrument as witnesses to the signature and publication thereof at the special instant and in the presence of the said testator, and in the presence of each other, on the day and year of the date thereof sworn to and subscribed before clerk on the 28th day of Sept 1895.

J Q Martin, clerk

F. E. Groome
M. M. West

Source: Copiah County, Mississippi, Will Book Volume A, Page 104
Microfilm Number: 8150
Microfilm found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Image courtesy of Reginald Stanton via Facebook

Mary was the eldest daughter of my 3rd great grandmother Peggy Demeyers.


  1. Bev, I was surprised Mary was the one who actually owned the land, I thought Andrew was the owner. Researching when and from whom she obtained the land is my next project. The Holliday family was the owner of Jim Farley, Mary's son Charles' father-in-law.

    1. Hi Linda, Mary is actually my great great great grandmother. Is there a way we can connect?

    2. You may contact me at LRudd at a o l dot com.

  2. Linda our families are all interconnected, wow

  3. This is very interesting. You can learn so much from reading a will about the context of a person's life.

    1. I use to think a will was a dull document, not anymore.

  4. Linda,
    I find the will so interesting and also the oral history. So Mary's father left her land. Why did it appear that her daughter's were not willed any land? Was there reason back then or was this just her personal choice?

    Veronica RamseySwift

  5. Veronica, Researching when and from whom Mary obtained the land is my current project. As of today, I have not found records indicating her father gave her the land. I was surprised Mary did not leave land to her daughters. Mary may have given her daughters land when they married, or she saw to it that they married well.