General Clayton Web has been written about by our Shaw relatives in their ancestor books and in the Riggs book put out by Alvy Ray Smith a few years ago, and I don’t really want to give a synopsis of his life – at least not at this time. I though I would just share his will, which I acquired earlier this year, and found a little different from the usual wills I have read from our ancestors:
Last Will and Testament of Clayton Webb
Filed April 22, 1850
Re-Recorded Vol. 1 Page 335
Be it remembered that I Clayton Webb of the County of Hamilton and State of Ohio being in the fifty third year of my age in perfect health and of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament (any other I have not made)
1st I direct that my beloved wife Jane have the sole direction as to the place and manner in which my body shall be interred
2nd I direct that all my lawful debts should I leave any at the time of my decease be punctually paid, after which
3rd I give and bequeath all my estate both real and personal amounting by estimation to five thousand dollars to my beloved wife Jane, believing her fully as capable of acting with judgment and impartiality in the distribution thereof among our children as I am or would be should I survive her, I am led to this step from the following reasons —
1st I have full confidence and ever have had in her fidelity economy industry judgment and affection for our children
2nd It has been by her exertions as well as mine by laboring hard for thirty two years that we have acquired what little property we have, and I have always thought it a hardship where both have equally strove to obtain an independence so necessary in the decline of life that any distinction should be made on the death of either —
3rd From long experience in settling up estates and making divisions among the heirs I am led to believe that generally speaking there is not that ardent and lasting affection in children towards parents, that parents have towards their children. How often have I seen families of children go by the ears in presence of their widowed mother before the corpse had scarcely time to rest in the grave. How often have I seen mothers wheedled out of the small pittance allowed them by law and turned out of doors by unfeeling children; and although I now apprehend no such conduct from my children, I think it my absolute duty to remove the temptation.
4th I further will that should my wife Jane after my decease think proper to intermarry with any person (which I think very impobable) the person so intermarrying with shall have no control over nor inherit any part or parcel of the property herein bequeathed, and should there be any law or usage that would make such person’s claim paramount to this my last will and testament whereby he might inherit possess or control for any period of time the property herein bequeathed then this my last will and testament to be null and void to all intents and purposes
I also request my son-in-law John Magill to advise with and assist his mother-in-law in all matters and difficulties that may arise or grow out of the execution in this instrument of writing —
To the care and protection of his mother I comit our little son John now about ten years old the only one of our children who is not of age–
Written with my own hand without cosultation. In witness whrereof I Clayton Webb the testator have herunto set my hand and seal this eleventh day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two.
Signed sealed and acknowleged
in presence of us who have
subscribed in presence of each
J H Gerard
J M ?han [can’t read signature, too light on photocopy]
Clayton Webb ss1
I was amused by his point in his 3rd reason for giving his wife Jane the power of monetary distribution. But I was especially please by the respect he had for, and the power he was willing to give to, his wife with no prejudice whatsoever regarding her sex. A very 21st century man.
Clayton died April 8, 1850 in Hamilton County, Ohio. After many years of faithful service to his country as a soldier, judge, county commissioner, and member of the Ohio legislature as Senator and Representative.