William Frost's will -- proved May 7, 1776 in Frederick County, Virginia

Last Will and Testament of William Frost, Sr., executed on August 21, 1774 in Frederick County, VA, proved on May 7, 1776 in Frederick County, VA [Frederick County, VA Will Book 4, pp. 323-324]:

Whereas I William Frost of the County of Frederick & Colony of Virginia being in poor state of health but in my proper senses and Considering the uncertainty of Life do think fit to make this my Last Will & Testament and by these Presents do make and ordain this my last will & Testament in manner and form Folowing [sic] that is to say

First of all it is my will that my Executors hereinafter named do pay all my Just debts and Funeral Charges as soon as possible out of my personal estate,

Secondly I give and bequeath unto my Son William Frost his heirs and assigns forever two Tracts of Land laying [sic] and being in the County of Frederick & Colony of Virginia on the South East and East side of Back Creek Containing three hundred and fifty three acres agreeable to two deeds from under the hand and Seal of the Right Hons. Thos. Lord Fairfax bearing date the Twenty sixth day of April one Thousand seven hundred and Fifty three & and third day of October one Thousand seven hundred & sixty six, Charging the said William Frost Junr. with a Legacy to be paid to his Sister Francis [sic] in two years after my deceas [sic] the sum of Fifty pounds Current money of Virginia & in the case the said Francis [sic] should die before the said Legacy hereby allowed is due & payable then and in that case it my Will that my said Son William Frost shall be free and Clear of paying of such Legacy

Thirdly I give and Bequeath to my two sons John & Thomas Frost their Heirs and assigns for ever a Certain Tract or parcel of Land laying [sic] in the County of Frederick & Colony aforesaid Containing Four Hundred acres as will appear by Deed &c. from the proprietor of the Northern neck, Virginia a bearing date the 17th day November 1752 the same to be Equally divided Quantity & Quality agreeable to the discretion of my Executors.

Fourthly I give & bequeath unto my two sons Isaac & Abraham Frost & their Heirs and Assigns forever a Certain Tract of Land Laying [sic] and being in the County of Frederick & Colony aforesaid Containing four Hundred acres as by Deed &c. bearing date the fourth day March one thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty three

Fifthly I give & Bequeath unto Jacob and Amos Frost whereon I now Live the Plantation & Tract of Land Containing Four Hundred & Fifty Five acres as also one other Tract which I have obtained a Bond for under the Hand & Seal of Warner Washington, Senr. & Warner Washington Junr. under the Penalty of one Hundred & Sixty Pounds to convey the sd. Tract of Land Containing sixty one acres agreeable to the said Bond bearing Date the 14th April 1774.

Sixthly I give & Bequeath unto my Dear and beloved Wife Hannah Frost all the Profits of the last two mentioned Tracts of Land during her natural life for the support of herself & bringing up the small Children & duly Educating of them And

Seventhly I do hereby nominate & appoint my trusty & Loving sons William John & Thomas Frost my whole & sole Executors of this my last Will & Testament hereby disannulling all former Wills by me made.

Eighthly I do hereby order and it is my Will that Jacob & Amos Frost do pay (after they are in Possession of the Lands bequeathed to them) unto Abraham Frost the sum of Fifty pounds at or upon two years after the said Possession and I do hereby order my Executors to pay unto my Daughters Mary and Hannah the wives of Jacob Larew & John Mason Five pounds each out of my Personal Estate and the Remainder of my Personal Estate after my Funeral Charges & Just Debts are Paid & Legacies paid I do hereby order my Executors before mentioned to equally Divide the Remainder between my loving wife & Elizabeth Martha & Ellen & Ann Frost my Daughters.

William Frost (LS)

Signed Seal'd & Publis'd &
Declared as his last Will &
Testament in the Presence of

Joseph Day
Nathan Littler
John Adams
William Drago (his mark)

At a Court held for Frederick County the 17th day of May 1776 This Last Will and Testament of William Frost dec was proved by the affirmation of Nathan Littler and John Adams (being two of the people called Quakers) witnesses thereto and ordered to be Recorded and on the motion of William John & Thomas Frost the Executors therin named who made oath according to the Certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form, they with Security having entered into and acknowledged bond Conditions as the Law directs.

By the Court

J. A. Keith C. of Court

Notes: Modern genealogists have anguished over two issues with this will -- in regard both to the family composition of daughters and of sons:
1. Much store has been placed in the names and punctuation of his daughters. Many (including William Perry Hay (1871-1947)) have conjectured that Elizabeth Martha was one child with two names, or that this combination of children -- Elizabeth, Martha, Ellen, Ann -- contain at least one set of triplets. One problem to the triplet story is that at least one version of the family story has the wrong married surnames with the first names. It has never been resolved, but the evidence indicates that these were four daughters, no twins or triplets, and somehow the ampersand between Elizabeth and Martha was omitted in the will. I, DLH, think the triplet story may have originated thinking that these four daughters were three, or perhaps more likely that Martha, Ann and Elizabeth all married in 1782/1783, they may have been "as close as triplets."
2. A second major big issue brought up by this will is the fact that Jacob and Amos are not specified as sons. Some genealogists have conjectured they were indeed not sons since they were not specified as such; however, I and many other genealogists are in disagreement. First, it is the family home where William now lives that he gives to these boys -- it would be odd to give the family home to other Frost (non-son) relatives when there are so many children one could give it to. Second, this home is on a large property of 350+ acres -- it would be odd to give such a sizeable amount to non-children. Third, if they were not sons, he probably would have mentioned their relationship (such as my nephews Jacob and Amos, or my grandsons). Finally, and most convincing, he mentions that wife Hannah has small children to rear, and the estimated birthdates of these two boys would make them 8 and ~14 when this will was written in 1774 (even if these dates are off, it is agreed that Amos was the youngest/next-to-youngest child). Therefore, when the will was written, William would probably have thought that these sons were "obvious" since they lived at home with him; he was only more careful about the specifications of the older sons who had their own homesteads. It seems certain to most genealogists, upon reflection, that Jacob and Amos are indeed sons. However, it is curious that Abraham's will also does not include Amos and Jacob as brothers.
Thus the family composition I use on the Frost Family page, includes these four daughters and these two sons, in addition to the entries that are free from confusion.

William wrote this will in August, 1774; his son Isaac dies in the fall of 1774, just months later.

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