Zephaniah Kingsley's Will


I, Zephaniah Kingsley, of Duval County, Florida, Planter, being of sound mind, memory and understanding, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament, as follows, viz:

First. I will and devise that all my just and lawful, funeral and testamentary charges, and expenses shall be fully paid and discharged, as soon as may be after my death.

Secondly. To my nephew Kingsley B. Gibbs I will and devise one half of my two thousand acre tract of Land in the Twelve Mile Swamp which when divided into two parts will give one thousand acres of land for his one half be the same more or less, to him, his heirs or assigns: I also bequeath to him in fee, my Schooner North Carolina with all its appurtenances, likewise any books and arms not otherwise disposed of.

Third. To my nephew George Cooper Gibbs I will and bequeath in fee simple, absolute, all the remaining one half of the aforementioned two thousand acre tract in Twelve Mile Swamp, which will be one thousand acres be the same more or less.

Fourthly. To my nephew Charles I. McNeil I will and bequeath in fee simple, absolute, a certain tract or parcel of land situate on Beauclerc’s Bluff, between Cohen & Curry, containing Sixty two and one half acres of land be the same more or less; also my three hundred acre tact situate at the head of six mile creek (Saw Mill Creek), flat. Also my Negro woman Betsy and Peggy the daughter of Nancy and all their children and issue; Also, one of my horses saddle &c. at his choice, all the above to him in fee & to his heirs &c.

Fifth. To George Kingsley my son any Anna Madegigine Jai Kingsley I will and bequeath all my nautical instruments including maps, chars &c. to be sent out to him at Hayti by way of New York or otherwise, clear of expense to him.

Sixth. It is my will and desire, that as soon after my decease as is convenient to my Executors, that all the specific legacies and devises aforesaid shall be separated, set apart and served, by my Executors for the special purposes aforesaid and that all the remaining part of my property, real and personal, including what sums my be received from Government in compensation of losses in 1812 or 13, or since of what nature or kind soever after the payment of my just debts, money, and the net amount be divided in twelve equal parts of shares (12 parts) or shares, one of which parts shall be paid to my nephew Kingsley B. Gibbs in full compensation for all claim that he may have or devise against my Estate. One part (say 1/12th) shall be paid to Anna Madegigine Jai Kingsley or to her heirs or assigns. Two parts (2) to John Maxwell Kingsley, my son by Anna M. Jai. Four parts (4) to be paid to George Kingsley, my son by Anna M. Jai. Two parts (2) to be paid to Flora H. Kingsley her heirs of assigns, One (1) part to be paid of Micanopy the son of Sarah M. Kingsley, should he live until the years of discretion. All the forgoing legacies and bequests in this Will are granted in fee simple, absolute, on condition that no further claim or action at law shall be instituted or suggested by any of the parties against my Estate except the usual lawful charges and commissions.

Seventh. I do hereby declare that it is and shall be lawful, for my Executors to retain in their hands sufficient money of the proceeds of my Estate, to defray all necessary charges and expenses in the administration thereof before paying over the surplus as aforesaid.

Eighth. I do hereby order and direct, that whenever I may happen to die that my body may be buried in the nearest, most convenient place without any Religious ceremony whatever, and that is may be excused from the usual indiscreet formalities and parade of washing, dressing, &c. or exposure in any way, but removed just as it died to the common burying ground.

Ninth. Should I leave any Slaves, I earnestly recommend to my Executors not so separate families by selling them individually without their consent, if to be avoided.

Tenth. It is my will and I do hereby authorize my Executors not to separate the families but to allow to any of my slaves the privilege of purchasing their freedom at one half the price of their valuation, on consideration of their migrating to Hayti, if they cannot be allowed to stay as free in this territory.

Eleventh. I do hereby appoint Kingsley B. Gibbs, George Kingsley, and Benjamin A. Putnam as Guardians to my infant natural children, amongst which I acknowledge all those of Flora H. Kingsley of Camp New Hope, also Sarah Muphy’s mulatto child Micanopy now in Hayti: I do also solemnly enjoin my colored and natural children, that seeing the illiberal and inequitable laws of this Territory will not afford to them and to their children that protection and justice, which is due in civilized society to every human being: Always to keep by them a Will, ready made, and legally executed, directing the disposal of their property, after their death until they can remove themselves and properties to some land of liberty and equal rights, where the conditions of society are governed by some law less absurd than that of color. This I strongly recommend, nor do I know in what light the law may consider my acknowledged wife, Anna Madegigine Jai, as our connubial relations took place in a foreign land, where our marriage was celebrated and solemnized by her native African custom altho’ never celebrated according to the forms of Christian usage; yet she has always been respected as my wife and as such I acknowledge her, nor do I think that her truth, honor, integrity, moral character or good sense will lose in comparison with any one.

Thirteenth. Lastly, I do hereby nominate and appoint Kingsley B. Gibbs and Benjamin A. Putnam of Florida and George Kingsley, the son of my wife, Anna Madegigine Jai, to be Executors of this my last Will and Testament, to whom I earnestly recommend the closing of the concerns of my estate &c. as expeditiously as possible, and to see that my intensions in regard to the disposition of my estate are, and shall be strictly complied with, for the better promotion of which purpose I do appoint my trusty friend Benjamin A. Putnam to act as legal attorney and advisor in all matters and things relating to the interest of my estate, with a fee to be paid to him by it of One Thousand Dollars; and I do hereby revoke all other wills by me heretofore made.

In Witness I, the said Zephaniah Kingsley, the testator, have to this my last Will and Testament contained in this sheet of paper set my hand and seal this twentieth day of July in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and forty three (July 1843).


Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Zephaniah Kingsley as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have at his request hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said testator and of each other at Jacksonville 20” July 1843.




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Last updated: May 9, 2016

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