Testimony regarding John's Will and James's claim to settle the Estate

(Courtesy of Lisa Burns research)

Below you will find testimony taken about John's ability to have made a will, just before he died, and also James' claim to settle the estate.  Can you imagine one of the witnesses describes John as being " a strange man always" and "vicious and of bad temper"?  Ahhh, the Sinclair lineage!


Journal of the Ordinary Book C 1829-1846

March 7th 1845

Evidence John Sigler Will

James Vaughan for pltffs
Says he was acquainted with decd
Says he was in a low state of health in 1839 says that at the time ? Siglers grand daughter applied to write her grandfathers will, he refused to go because he did not think he was in a condition to make a will, he had seen him 3 or days before he was sent for?, this was about the 1 Feby 1839---
Says he was  does not know the condition of his mind on the day he was sent for, and it was some two or three months after this when he next saw him.


Richard Ivey
Says that he knew the deceased
Thinks that in 1839 he was in very
Bad health and that he was not competent to make a will - he says he would not have felt safe in any business transaction about 1839 and he did not think him capable of transacting business, never had any dealing with him himself.
Says he lives 1 ½ or 2 miles from decd.
Says he does not know whether if was in the first or last of the year 1839 that he was incapable of making a will not at anytime till his death.
He would not have been inclined to have traded with him - says he was there and had conversation with him in 1839 - but does not know what ti?? His state of mind, but generally his childish talk - has talked with him frequently since 1839 - never (or ever) since his wife died which is 5 or 6 years.

Porter for Pltffs
Says he knew Mr. Sigler
From the time he has talked with the deceased he was at times in his proper mind and other times not.
Mr. Sigler himself that since the deceased had taken he was not as he had got his wife to trade and manage for him - does not know of his trading afterwards, he had at different times observed a difference at different times.  The wit says he should have considered himself safe in trading with him at times and at other times not.

Col. Metetillo?
Says he know the old man after he was afflicted and before his wife's death, he does not know the year but it was July or Augt. The old man was very much afflicted - says he say him after the death of his wife and he was not apparently at himself he did not think him rational -

Says when he got mad he was outrageous, he thought him not competent to make a will whereas he saw.  Says he appeared to be in great rack and pain -he moaned? And talked much that he did not wish to bear? - thinks the ???? times he saw him he was not at himself.

Says he know the decd.  That at the times the decd was at himself and at others, not. -as the times wit. saw him, did not think him competent to make a will, says he never was there after his return from the west but he could not fix the time.  He saw him frequently before the wit went to the west he does not know the year says at the time he saw him the cause of his wa……….he cannot say - he was a very strange man always -he would have felt himself safe it the old lady was caunetted? And referred to - he was vicious & of bad temper -

Evidence closed.  To examine clerk office for evidence of his surviving as juror.

The State of South Carolina
Union District

In House Court Ordinary

To John J. Pratt Esquire Ordinary for the said District

The petition of James E. Meng and James Sinclair.  Show that John Sinclair deceased departed this life in the District of union of the day of     one thousand Eight hundred and forty four leaving paper writing purporting to be his last will and testament in full force and unrevoked and appointing Chirstopher Brandon and his widow Elizabeth Sinclair Executor and Exectoux, they thereof say that previous to the death of the said John Sinclair, his widow afore said departed this life - that Christopher Brandon named and Executor of the said last will and testament refused to qualify as such Executor and your petitioner James Sinclair, applied for and obtained letters of Adminstration for the said John Sinclair deceased and that since of such administration fully paid up and settled all due awards against the said Estate, and that the personal property has proved amply sufficient for that purpose.

Your Petitioner? further ??? that the said John Sinclair deceased left him surviving the following
children viz. James Sinclair, John Sinclair. Benjamin Sinclair, William Sinclair and ? daughters Nancy who intermarried with Thomas Holcomb, ?? Anna who intermarried with M Beatty Rebecca Who intermarried with Buckner Walls Mary who intermarried with Thomas Holcomb Junr Elizabeth who intermarried with Benjamin Forsyth Sarah who intermarried with John Holcomb and Letitia . . .That at the time of the death of the said John Sinclair he was seized and possessed of a valuable tract of land and located in Union District on Brown's Creek waters of Broad River, Containing One hundred and Eighty two Acres ??? on left adjoining lands of Christopher Brandon on the north William Bevel on the East on the South and west by lands of Jason??? E. Ne?? and Absolom Ivev-that the said tract of land cannot exceed in value the sum of one thousand Dollars, and that two divisions
thereof ??? the parties interested therein.

Your Petetionor further shows that the said last will and testament of the said John Sinclair contains amongst others the following clauses viz~
Also at the death of my wife my will "is that my daughters that my he single 'at that time shall have the privelage of living on my plantation till they marry, Also "my will is that all the property remains at mv wifes death is that it shall
"be equally divided among my children "Also at the marriage of my' last daughter 'my plantation be sold and equally divided among my children
'Your petitioner further shows that since the death of the said John Sinclair, Sarah Sinclair a daughter of the deceased hath intermarried with John Holcomb and that the only unmarried daughter Letitia Sinclair ???????? sold or disposed of all her rights and interest in the said tract of land above. referred to and removed without the limits of this state ---Your petitioner shows that they are interested in the said tract of land and that Buckner? and his wife Rebecca, Thomas Holcomb Jr. and his wife Mary, , Benjamin Forvsyth and his wife Elizabeth, John Holcomb and his wife Sarah, John Sinclair, Benjamin Sinclair and Letitia Sinclair ?????? reside without the limits of this state.

Your petitioner further states that they believe it will be to the best interest of all the parties in said cause that the land should he sold as soon as practical. Your petitioners therefore pray that the parties Shall each and every one of them be summonded and show cause (if any they can why the said land should not he sold or divided according to the rules????? upon such terms that Partitioners and this Court shall prescribe
And your Petitioners will ever pray

Entered 15 June 1846

The within described land sold to Samuel W. Bentley for six hundred and seventy two dollars at the price being the last and highest bidder 6 July 1846.

The within described land resold at the risk of the former purchaser for five hundred ?? dollars twenty five cents to Christian Wilson he at the last highest bidder 5 Oct. 1846.
R. McBeth

In the Court of Ordinary
Jas. E. Meng & James Sinclair
Thomas Holcomb

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