Who knew Jemima was such a popular name in Craven and Pitt Counties in the 18th century?

Turns out it apparently was! While trying to figure out who Jemima Mills Pettit is, and who her children were, I kept coming across entries that claim she died in Craven County in 1816 because a Jemima Mills left a will there at that time.

I thought it was likely true since everyone has Jemima’s date of death listed at that time, but when I found an item in PCGQ with her signing a deed after that date, I began to become so amused that I even wrote a satire piece poking a bit of fun at some of it.

This post is designed to shine some light on who the Jemima Mills was who left that Craven County will in 1816. (Hint: She wasn’t the wife of Gideon Pettit. She wasn’t the daughter of Nasby Mills.)

First, let’s start with a transcription of that will:

In the name of God Amen! I JEMIMA MILLS of Craven County and State of North Carolina, being in sound mind and perfect memory, thanks be to God, do this 19th day of April? in the year of our Lord 1816 make this my last will and testament in manner and form and followeth:

First I give and bequeath to my sister PENELOPE HADDOCK my great coat cloth and copperas frock & ? frock and black silk shawl.

Item I give and bequeath to LOUISA CHAPMAN one gold ring.

Item and give and bequeath to ESTHER CHAPMAN one cloak and one counterpain? one bedquilt

Item I give and bequeath to JEMIMA BUCK all the rest of my clothes and what money I have, and I do hereby appoint JESSE CHAPMAN Executor to this my last will & testament. In witness wehreof I JEMIMA MILLS have set to this my last will and testament my hand and seal this day and year above mentioned.

Signed sealed and delivered by the said JEMIMA MILLS, testatrix, to be her last will and testament in presence of us

Jemima ( her X mark ) Mills { seal }

David Chapman }
Esther ( her X mark ) Chapman }

State of North Carolina
Craven County

Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.
June Term A.D. 1816

The last will of JEMIMA MILLS was produced in Court and ? due execution ? by ESTHER CHAPMAN one of the Subscribing witnesses who swore she saw the testatrix sign and seal and hand her declare said writing her last will and test. at the time thereof she was of sound mind and memory. Said witness further sworn that DAVID CHAPMAN the other Subscribing witness and herself subscriber said writing by the request and in the presence of each other and the testatrix. JESSE CHAPMAN the Executor appeared and qualified. Attest. J.G. STANLY, C.C.

You can view the images here.

 

The individuals Jemima names in her will are:

  • Penelope HADDOCK is her sister, also named in her father, Anthony’s will.
  • Elizabeth BUCK was her sister, as mentioned in Anthony’s will, so Jemima BUCK was her niece
  • Louisa CHAPMAN is a daughter of Jesse CHAPMAN, the executor she names
  • Esther CHAPMAN is Jesse CHAPMAN’s wife and Louisa’s mother. Esther’s maiden name is GATLIN.

I’m unsure of the relationship of Jesse and his wife Esther Gatlin to Jemima, though it’s likely through her mother’s side of the family, as her mother was believed to be a CHAPMAN or a CLARK.

Regardless, based on the mentions of her sister and niece, we know this must be the JEMIMA “MIMSEY” MILLS referred to in the her father, ANTHONY MILLS’s will a decade earlier, in 1806.

Here is her father, Anthony’s, will:

In the name of God Amen. I Anthony Mills of the State of the State of North Carolina, Craven County being of sound and perfect mind and memry blessed be God do this September the 20th day eighteen hundred and Six make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following that is to say First I give and bequeath to my son NASBY MILLS all my lands houses orchards and all other priveledges also my stock of all kinds after my decease also I give to my daughter MARY MILLS one feather bed and furniture after my decease.

Also I give to my daughter MIMESEY MILLS, one feather bed and furniture at my decease.

Also I give to my son NASBY MILLS all my Spinning? property at my decease.

Also I give to my son JOHN MILLS, deceasd his heirs with what he hsa had one shilling.

Also I give to my son ANTHONY MILLS, deceased his heirs with what he has had one shilling.

Also I give to my daughter ELIZABETH BUCK deceased her heirs with what she has had one shilling.

Also I give to my daughter SARAH HARDY with what she has had one shilling.

Also I give to my son FREDERICK MILLS with what he has had one shilling.

Also I give to my daughter PENNY HADDOCK one feather bed and furniture and one sow after my decease.

And I hereby make and ordain my son NASBY MILLS and ABNER CLARK Sr. Executors of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I the said ANTHONY MILLS have to this my last will & testament set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Anthony ( his A mark ) Mills { Seal }

Signed Sealed Published
and declared in presence of us

JAMES CLARK, JR.
OSBORN CLARK
JAMES (his X mark) CLARK

State of North Carolina
Craven County

Court of Please and Quarter Sessions
June Term 1808

The foregoing last will and testament of ANTHONY MILLS was exhibited for probate and under execution ? by ? testator was present by the oath of JAMES CLARK JR. one of the subscribing witnesses at same time NASBY MILLS appeared and Qualified as Executor to said ANTHONY. Ordered that letters testamentery issue and said Will be Recorded. Attest J.G. STANLY C.C.

 

If you know the relationship of Jesse and Esther Gatlin Chapman to the Jemima Mills mentioned above, I’d love it if you’d comment below!