Amy Johnson Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".
I have great respect and admiration after reading
the Last Will of my paternal 3rd great grandfather.
The story of my paternal 3rd great grandfather is limited and has many gaps. His name is David Sowder. His birth information is limited to the 1830 census which shows his age 70-80. He was born between 1750-1760 provided the census is correct.
The records of his children show that he was born in Pennsylvania. His parents are unknown. The earliest record of David is from a list of landowners. He is listed as a landowner on Oct 11, 1792 in Kentucky. His estimated age at that time would be between 32-42 (based on the 1830 census). This is the same year that Kentucky became a state. It is not known if he already lived there or was a newcomer to Kentucky. Prior to 1792 this area was known as Lincoln County, Virginia. David stayed in this area from 1792 until after 1820. County names and boundaries changed during this time but David didn't move. David had two known brothers living near him: Michael Sowder and Peter H. Sowder.
On December 23, 1796 in Lincoln County, Kentucky, David applied for a marriage bond. His bride-to-be was Elizabeth Laswell. Their marriage bond needs an explanation. Elizabeth's parents were Joseph and Elizabeth Riggs Laswell. Joseph was a Loyalist at the start of the American Revolution. They changed their name to Lacefield. His story is one that should be shared at a later time. Elizabeth's surname was shown as Lacefield. David and Joseph posted bond in the presence of William Green. David and Joseph were illiterate and signed their with their "marks".
Two years later on October 13, 1798 in Lincoln County, David and his brother Michael witnessed the marriage bond of their younger brother Peter Sowder to Sally Lacefield. (Sally and David's wife Elizabeth Lacefield are sisters).
Wolves were a problem in Lincoln County and the government offered bounties for all wolf scalps in an effort to eliminate the wolves. David and his father-in-law Joseph received bounty payments for wolf scalps on November 8, 1802.
The Procession's certificate respecting David Sowder's and Michael Sowder's land was returned, ordered, and recorded in Lincoln County, Kentucky on July 14, 1806.
The county boundaries changed in 1810. David did not move but was now living in the newly established Rockcastle County. It was given the name Rockcastle due to the majestic towering rock formations in the area of the Rockcastle River.
David and Elizabeth moved to Washington County, Indiana after the 1820 census and before the 1830 census (shown above) where David would die.
There are many things I learned about David through the records that gave me insight into his personality and beliefs. He was an avid hunter. Records show that he never owned slaves which indicates he probably believed in freedom for all. The most important record is his Last Will and Testament which is dated July 1, 1831 and proved November 23, 1831 in Washington County, Indiana.
David lived in a time when most men wrote in their Wills "I lend to my wife" but if "she remarried" she would lose everything the couple obtained during their married years. Not David. His will states "I bequeath unto my loving wife Elizabeth". There was no mention of "if she remarries". There is no doubt in my mind that he loved her and probably saw her as his equal. He loved his children and mentioned each by name including the older children who had already received their inheritance. He believed in God and Jesus Christ. David was an ancestor that I would love to have met.
|Will of David Sowder (Page 1)|
|Will of David Sowder (Page 2)|
There are many unanswered questions about David. When was born? Did he actually die in Indiana or elsewhere? Where is he buried? Who were the parents who raised such a wonderful son?