For many years whenever the conversation touched on slavery, my family would state with much pride that we had no slave owners in the family tree. However, that’s not exactly true. They probably didn’t mean to lie; they just didn’t know the whole story. While it’s true that the Davis and Jollett families were much too poor to own slaves, the Ruckers were large land owners requiring slaves to plow, plant, reap, and serve, according to the thinking of the day, that is.
In February, Schalene Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees created the Slave Name Roll Project to encourage bloggers to share the names of any slaves they found in their research into deeds, wills, and other documents. Such a noble gesture to help others in their search for their roots should inspire us all to step up.
Orange Co. VA Will Book 1, 1735-1743, pages 299-300
(Transcribed on pages 2-3 of "The Rucker Family Genealogy" by Sudi Rucker Wood. Old Dominion Press, Richmond, VA 1932. Reprinted 1991 Heritage Books)
In the name of God amen I Peter Rucker of Saint Marks Parish in the County of Orange planter being weak in body but of pursued mind and memory knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament in manner following: Imprimis I do order that all my Just Debts and funeral charges be paid and satisfied. Item I lend unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Rucker all my Estate both real and Personal During her natural life and after her Decease to be Devided in the following manner. Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Margaret Tinsley and my Son In-law Isaac Tinsley a Negro boy named Yorkshire to them and their heirs forever. Item I give and bequeath to my beloved Son Ephraim Rucker a Negro Girl named Phillis to him and his heirs forever. Item I give and bequeath to my beloved Daughter Ann Cook and my son in law Shem Cook a Negro girl named Jeny to her and her increase to them and their heirs forever. Item I do Desire that all the Remainder of my Estate both real and personal after my wifes Decease as aforesaid to be sold by my Exr. hereafter named at public auction to the highest bidder on six months credit for Current Money the Buyer giving Good Security and the money arising by Sale to be Equally Devided amongst my beloved Children by name as followeth Thomas Rucker, Elizabeth Pierce, William Rucker, Mary Offell, James Rucker, Ephraim Rucker and Ann Cook and to their heirs forever, and lastly I do Constitute and appoint my beloved Sons James Rucker and Ephraim Rucker to be my Whole and sole Executors of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking and Disannulling all other Testaments and wills by me made Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this 18 day of January 1742/3.
Published in the presence of Wit: Wm. Jackson, Wm. Offell, Michl. Holdt.
Peter (X) Rucker
23 Feb. 1743 .
Presented in Court by James Rucker and Ephram Rucker who gave bond with Michl. Holt, George Holt and Richd. Mauldin Junr. securities. Proved by Wm. Jackson and MIchl. Holt.
© 2015, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.