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2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 572

2 Slave related Wills incl. Franceway Cossitt, Cumberland University

Estimate: $300 - $350

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
2 Slave and Church related Tennessee wills. 1st item: 1862 will of minister and educator Franceway R. Cossitt (1790-1863), the founder of Cumberland College of Kentucky, which in 1843 relocated to Lebanon, Tennessee where it became Cumberland University. Cossitt was New Hampshire born, but adopted the slaveholding practices of the South, where he lived for most of his adult life. His lengthy 3 page will bequeaths considerable property to his wife Matilda, family, Cumberland University and Middlebury College, including furniture, horse, carriage, gold pocket watches, money, "stereotype plates of my book," books, writings, real estate including a building leased to David Cook Jr. as a Drugstore, and a number of slaves: Wilson, Judy, Amy, Frank, and "Anne and child". Cossitt bequeathed his slaves to his family members, but states in a later codicil at the end of the document that if no heirs survived, the slaves were to be manumitted. A second codicil revokes the legacies to Patrick Jewitt and to Middlebury College "owing to the state of the country." 2nd item: 1844 will of Andrew J. Branch of Wilson County, Tennessee, leaving his property to his wife Abigail including "the negro boy Elias, and the girl Lynda and her increase during her natural life." Branch goes on to direct that if his wife dies, Elias and Lynda are to be given "for the use and benefit of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church at Mount Vernon... I will that the negroes Elias and the girl Lynda shall have the privilege of choosing themselves masters and be sold at a fair price according to the times, provided my wife should marry again and they should become dissatisfied, the proceeds of them to be for her use..."


1st item: Overall good condition with small holes and separations at fold lines, toning, some light discoloration. 2nd item: Fading and significant toning.

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