Liberty County Will – Lydia Laing

Enslaved People Named: Bess, Hagar, Rachel, Samuel
Slaveholder: Lydia Laing
Year: 1859
Location: Liberty County, Georgia

[Begin Transcript]

State of Georgia, Liberty County } In the name of God Amen. I Lydia Laing of the State and County aforesaid do hereby make my last will and testament in the following manner. I commend my immortal soul to God the Father my Creator to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer and to the Holy Spirit as my Sanctifier and Preserver humbly hoping that at my departure from this life it will be made perfect in holiness and fitted for the enjoyment of heavenly happiness. I make the following disposition of the property which God in his goodness has bestowed upon me.  I give devise and bequeath to my son John B. Mallard and his heirs my house and lot of land in Walthourville and all the lands that I possess and also my silver tea-spoons. I give devise and bequeath to my daughter Mary A. Cassels my Ba???? with the glass attached to it my riding carriage my silver table spoons and my large Bible. I give devise and bequeath to my grand-daughter Lydia Matilda Baker my negro slave Rachel. I give devise and bequeath to my grand son Benjamin L. Baker my riding horse saddle and bridle, my cattle my next largest Bible one cotton mattress bolster and pillow and my slave Samuel (Rachel’s child). As to the remainder of my property undisposed of by the foregoing provisions I give devise and bequeath one third to my son John B. Mallard and his children one third to be divided between the following children of my deceased daughter Anna Lydia viz. Amanda Ann’s children, John, Henry, Mary Sarah Robert Augustus and Elvira share and share alike and the remaining third I give devise and bequeath to John B. Mallard and William S. Baker in trust for the sole and separate use of my daughter Mary A. Cassels for and during the term of her natural life and from and immediately after the death of the said Mary A. Cassels then in further trust for such child or children as she may leave living at her death to them and their heirs forever equally to be divided between them share and share alike. It is my wish that Hagar and Bess should have their choice given them from my heirs to who they wish to belong to and that they should take them as a part in their lot and let Hagar have every other Saturday during her life and Bess have one Saturday in every month as long as she lives.

I constitute my son John B. Mallard and William S. Baker Executors of this my last will and testament in testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this tenth day of January in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred and fifty nine.

[Signed] Lydia Laing

In presence of

E.Q. Andrews

Joseph Way

Enoch Daniel J.S.C.L.C.

Recorded April 12th 1861

W.P. Girardeau O.L.C.

[End Transcript]

Probated by E. Daniel on 4 March 1861 before W.P. Girardeau, Ordinary, Liberty County.

John B. Mallard swore on 4 March 1861 to fulfill the duties of executor.

For original copy of will, see: “Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990,” images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Liberty > Miscellaneous probate records 1850-1863 vol C and L > image 252 of 703; county probate courthouses, Georgia.

2 thoughts on “Liberty County Will – Lydia Laing”

  1. and here is another one giving the choice of owner to the slaves. Wow. I really don’t understand how these owners understood the character of slaves. They obviously felt black people were inferior to the extent that they didn’t deserve freedom, but still referred to them as men and women, and respected their choice of owner. These ideas seem opposed. Jill


    1. I see it as people operating within the system they were born into, but as individuals, some were kinder and/or more aware of inequities within the system than others. It doesn’t mean they weren’t fully invested in the system of oppression. Many of the wills that have some kind comment about a particular slave turn out in the estate inventories to have other slaves who were just divided into groups and given or sold.


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