I was reading through some court records yesterday, when I came across this entry dated 9 Dec 1799:

Ordered that notice issue to Mary Gaskins to appear at the Next Term and show cause to why the nuncupative will of Joseph Gaskins decd. should not be Established.

Who was Mary Gaskins?  My 6th great-grandfather, Joseph Gaskins, married Zipporah Squires 21 Sep 1782.  Zipporah has become rather infamous among family researchers due to the phrase “her son Fisher” in Joseph’s will.  But, maybe, she wasn’t the only scandalous person in this marriage.

Joseph Gaskins, mortally ill, dictated a nuncupative will to friends, John Morgan and James Askins, on the evening of 28 Nov 1799.  A couple of days later, on the 30 Nov, the two of them deposed the will before Isaac Guion, who was a Justice of the Peace.

State of North Carolina}
Craven County             }
                                      Personally appeared before me Isaac Guion one of the Justices of the peace for the County aforesaid on this 30th day Novr. 1799. John Morgan and James Askins, who being Sworn on the holy Evangelist of almighty God doth say that being with Joseph Gaskins, who was sick, but of sound mind on the Evening of the 28th Instant, desired that the deponents should declare as follows to be his last will and Testament, that a half Lot of land in New Bern and fifty acres of land in the Pocoson, believed his mothers, should be sold to pay his Debts, which if not enough, twenty acres of land he bought from Hillary Parsons, should be also sold, at Vendue to the highest bidder, further he desired that all the residue of his Estate should be left in the hands of his wife Zipporah Squires, for the support of her and the Children he had by her. Bauly [sic Baily], Holland, David Isaac, Joseph Amos until the youngest shall become of age unless she shall marry then the Estate to be taken out of her hands and be equally divided and for her to have a childs part and give her son Fisher forty shillings in Testamoney whereof we have hereunto subscribed our hands in New Bern this 30th November 1799.

                                                                 James Askins
                                                                 John J Morgan [the J is his mark]
Sworn by the Subscriber
before me 30th Novr. 1799
                Ic Guion JP

Fast forward to 14 Mar 1800.  The will was admitted to probate and Zipporah was granted administration of the Estate “with the will annexed.”  Her securities for the £100 bond were John Gaskins (relation unknown) and Amos Cuthrell.  That same day, 

Mary Coleman calling herself the wife and relict of Joseph Gaskins deceased came into Court and dissents [word I can’t make out] the will of said Gaskins.

Whoa!  Immediately after this statement, which had my mouth hanging open, the court adjourns until the afternoon. The second item after the recess grants “the administratrix of Joseph Gaskins” permission to sell the perishable part of his Estate.  I presume they’re talking about Zipporah.  Then nothing. Nada. What happened? Who as Mary Coleman and why did she claim to have been married to Joseph?