Saturday, February 8, 2014

52 Ancestors #5 Richard Dennington

A couple of weeks ago, I found the last will & testament of the furthest back known ancestor on my mother's Dennington line. Up til now, I had only "heard" about it on & had never actually seen it. Then came the day when FamilySearch announced a list of new & updated records to their site. Among the new records was a database of images covering wills for SC. I went to Ancestry & looked up the pertinent information about Richard Dennington's will & then went back to the FamilySearch site to look through their images of Charleston Co., SC Wills.

Richard Dennington is believed to have been born in either England or Lesson Parish, County Down, Ireland sometime about 1740. He met & married Margaret (maiden name unknown) in about 1760 (I have seen them listed on marriage indexes but have yet to see an actual hard copy document so I don't know the specific date of when or where they tied the knot). They had five sons (John, James, Richard, our ancestor William & Samuel) & two daughters (Margaret & Anne).

Richard is believed to have died between 1776 & 1800 & he (or his executors) filed his will in Charleston Co., SC on 27 Oct 1776. Until I read his will, I had no idea what he had done for a living to support his family. The opening lines gave his name, said he was "of Bristol (I am assuming England)" & his profession was that of a "cordwainer". I had no idea what that was so I googled it & found that it was a fancy word for a shoe maker. Something else I found interesting was that cordwainers were considered to be a rather skilled trade & different from cobblers in the way they made shoes because cobblers made their footwear from old leather & hardware while cordwainers made shoes from brand new everything. The fact that he was a shoe maker by profession intrigued me because I knew that his great grandson William (who was my mother's paternal grandfather) had served on the Confederate side in the Civil War as a shoe maker. Apparently William saw such horrors during the war that afterwards, he changed his profession & became of preacher in Ellis Co., TX where he moved to & lived the rest of his life after leaving Georgia behind in the mid 1880's. I used to wonder how he made such a jump from shoe maker to preacher & now I know that his original profession was something that must have been handed down to him from his father John Louis Dennington, who was Richard's grandson.

His will makes mention of his wife (who appears not to be living in SC, but appears to be back home in Lesson Parish, County Down, Ireland) & each of his seven children. He states that his executors, upon his death, are to notify her of his passing & he leaves each of them 750 pounds, 12 shillings & 9 pence (the approximate equivalent of roughly $48,000.00 USD in the year 2000). At the time of his death, the British Colonies were in the midst of the American Revolution so pounds (& not dollars) would have been the "currency of the realm" then (By 2014, this amount of money would still be quite a bequest; atleast to me). Richard further stipulates that if one of his children or his wife should die before the will is fully proved & executed, their portion should be divided between his remaining survivors. Richard's will also states that if there are minor children, then their portion of the bequest should be held in trust for their benefit until they reach the age of majority (age 21) & if any of them should die before they reach age 21, their portion would be divided among his surviving wife & children.

Richard leaves in his will his horse, saddle & bridle to Daniel Carter, providing Daniel is willing to pay the estate 28 pounds. If Daniel is not willing, then he instructs that the horse is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder & the monies gained to be divided equally among his wife & children. The will makes no mention of any land to be distributed so I don't know if Richard ever owned any (750 pounds may not have been alot in those days & how wealthy can a shoe maker be anyway?), but it does appear that he did have a few gentlemen who owed him money because his will stipulates the amounts & people in question with the instructions that his executors are to see to it that the money they owed him is repaid upon his death.

I don't know how educated Richard was because he only makes his mark at the bottom instead of signing his name. I don't know if Richard served in the Revolutionary War & if that led ultimately to his death, but his descendants would go on to serve their country in the War of 1812 & the Civil War & have families of their own in time. They moved from SC, to GA, AL, TN & finally TX.

Will of Richard Dennington
Next week, I will share another record I just discovered after years of searching about someone who was very dear to my heart.

Richard Dennington's will found on under South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977, Charleston Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017, pages 509 & 510, Img #111 & 112/424

No comments:

Post a Comment