Saturday, March 21, 2015

Slave Name Roll Project - Will of William Span, 1843

This is my next contribution to the Slave Name Roll Project created by Schalene Jennings Dagutis.  

The last will and testament of William Span of Rutherford County, Tennessee.  Dated 3 June, 1843.  Recorded in Rutherford County Record Book 12, page 385.

I leave to my wife during her life the following negroes, Amy and old Sam 

I give to my son Hartwell Span ... and the five negroes that he now has in possession, Jo, Chant, Ditto, Jim & Eliza 

I give to my grand daughter Sally Ann Haynes, one negroe girl, Lenny about three years old 

I give to my grand son John William Haynes, one negro boy, Will about six years old

Given from under my hand and seal this 3rd day of June 1843.
William Span (his mark)
Signed, sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us, Hartwell B. Hyde, John Hall.
Probated August term 1843.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Schalene! You've created such a worth-while project. But I am glad to say that I don't believe I have anything more to contribute -- meaning I'm not aware of any more ancestors who owned slaves!

  2. "Ditto" would be a cute alternative to "Junior."
    HOWEVER, this is the second will I've read in which children were given away. I had always heard of the heartbreak of families being split apart, but it never occurred to me that it would work this way too.

    1. I can't imagine how awful it all must have been. Hopefully, this project will help sort of reunite families if only in this way. Thanks Wendy!

  3. My wife and I are finishing up the construction of a house on land that was once owned by Jim and Rose(a) "Millie" King. They were both black, and Millie or Rose (whichever name she went by) was originally a Spann. She and Jim (James) bought 64 acres from heirs of Charles Spann in 1908. Charles appears to be one of William Spann's sons mentioned above. Millie (Rose) King's father is documented as Harrison Spann (b 1819 d 1912). There is a fascinating article on for Harrison Spann stating that he could always recall being stolen from the age of 7 and put on a slave ship for America. He stated that he was with the same family (Spann's) for his 90 years after that.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting with this! I'm glad you found it. It's great that you know this about where you live and have shared it. Enjoy your new home!