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John Kidd vs. Elizabeth Kidd: Chancery Cause, Prince Edward County

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Virginia, In the superior court of chancery holden in Richmond. Between John Kidd, William Kidd, Benjamin Boatright, son of James Boatright & others Plts and Elizabeth Kidd wife of Moses Kidd deceased and others Defts } Among the records and proceedings of the said court are the following in the suit above mentioned. Bill } To the honorable George Wythe Judge of the high court of chancery for the Richmond district; Humbly complaining shew unto your honor, your orators and oratrixes, John Kidd, Williams Kidd, Benjamin Boatright son of James Boatright, and Sarah his wife late Sarah Kidd, Benjamin Kidd, Richard Folwell and Dicy his wife late Dicy Kidd Susanna Quarles late Kidd a Widow, James Quarles, and Judith his wife late Judith Kidd, Reuben Southern and Patsy his wife and Nanny Smith late Kidd, that Moses Kidd brother to your orators and oratrixes, John, William, Benjamin Kidd, Dicy Susanna, Judith Patsy, and Nancy, and uncle To your orator Benjamin Boatright departed this life in the year 1798, seized and possessed of a considerable estate in lands, slaves and personal property and leaving your orators and oratrixes his next of Kin and Co-heirs, and Elizabeth Kidd his widow. That shortly after his death a writing purporting to be his last will was offered to the county court of Buckingham for probate by John Toney a brother to the said Elizabeth Kidd who was therein named as an executor, and the said court on the 9th day of July 1798 admitted the said Will to be proved, and John Toney and William Wilkinson two of the Witnesses to the said writing, and who are named therein as executions, took on them the burthen of the execution thereof. That the said writing bears date on the 17th July 1781, and contains a bequest of all the testators estate to his wife for life with a power of disposing thereof after his death as will more fully appear reference being had to a copy thereof, which is hereto annexed. Your orators further shew, that they have good reason to believe that the said will was not duly executed, that it was obtained from the said Moses Kidd as he as about to March with a party of Militia to join the American Army. That the said Writing was in the possession and keeping of the said John Toney, that the said Moses Kidd repeatedly afterwards declared his intention of making a will and disposing of his property (a great part of which both lands and slaves was afterward acquired) in a different manner, that he was by the importunity of his wife and other causes prevented from time to time from making his will, that he frequently declared that the said writing was not his will, and was constantly assured by the said John Toney that it had been destroyed. Your orators expressly charge that the said writing was fraudulently, and without the knowledge of the said Moses concealed and kept by the said John Toney with the intention of producing it as the last will of the said Moses after his death. That by these means the testator was prevented from cancelling the said writing. That the said widow and the said John Toney and William Wilkinson insist on retaining possession of the whole of the estate of the said Moses under the writing aforesaid. In tender consideration whereof, and for as much as your orator and oratrixes are only relievable in Equity. To the End therefore, that the said Elizabeth Kidd, John Toney, and William Wilkinson who they pray may be made defendants to this their bill, may on their corporal oaths make full and perfect answer to all and singular the premises, that the said writing purporting to be a will may be set aside, and they be compelled to account with your orators and oratrixes for the said Estate, and that they may have such other relief as is consistent with equity. May it please the your honor &c Answer } The Separate Answer of William Wilkinson to a bill of complaint exhibited against Elizabeth Kidd, John Toney, and this defendant in the honorable the high court of Chancery for the district of Richmond by John Kidd, William Kidd, Benjamin Boatright and others. This defendant saving and reserving to himself all benefit of exceptions