The Estate of Brinsley Barnes
Author: John LaRue
On 5 May 1790, Brinsley Barnes made the following proposal to his son, Jehu Barnes. Brinsley would give Jehu 290 acres of property on the Lower Little River in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and all the rest of his “whole estate whatever,” on condition that Jehu would care for and maintain Brinsley “during the whole course of his life.” And, Jehu was to give Benoni Hobson 100 acres of the 290 acres of property. Jehu agreed, and an Article of Agreement was proved by the Wilkes County Court in the July 1790 session by George Brown.
On 4 November 1794 Jehu Barnes, as administrator of his father’s estate, signed a bond in Wilkes County with George and Edwin Brown providing security for the bond. Jehu promised to make a true inventory of Brinsley’s estate. “If it shall appear that any will or testimony was made by the deceased,” the executor should present it to the court, and make a request to have it approved. If it was approved then Jehu’s letters of Administration and the bond would be void.
Brinsley Barnes did die leaving a will, naming John Bradford of Burke County, and son John Barnes as executors. On 5 February 1795 John Bradford relinquished his post as executor, leaving Brinsley’s son, John, as the sole executor. On the same day, Wallace Alexander, an attorney retained by Brinsley Barnes, Jr., made motion to have Brinsley Sr’s will presented. Exceptions of the proof of the will were taken by attorney R. Wood in Wilkes County on behalf of Brinsley Jr., who asked that a trial by jury be held to decide the matter. Brinsley Jr. was living in Fayette County, Kentucky at this time, and apparently hired an attorney to contest his father’s will.
On 7 May 1974, Jehu Barnes b4-2 filed suit in Wilkes County, North Carolina contesting Brinsley Barnes’ will. Jehu contended that, if Brinsley did make a will, he was either of unsound mind or the will was obtained by fraud. Jehu also asked for a trial by jury, which was granted. However, a mistrial was subsequently declared.
In May of 1796, Jehu Barnes filed an inventory of Brinsley Barnes’ estate in the Wilkes County court. On 2 August 1796 Jehu, as administrator of Brinsley’s estate, sued Patrick Sloan, accusing him of having items belonging to Brinsley’s estate, and keeping them for his own use.
In July of 1797 the sheriff of Wilkes County, North Carolina was ordered to have Jehu Barnes’ brother, John Barnes, before “the justices of the County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions,” on Monday, the 5th 0f October, to answer Jehu, as administrator of Brinsley, who accused him of trespass, and asking for damages of five hundred pounds. In October of 1797, John posted bond.
Ramona J. Sadlon comments that it is safe to say this all goes beyond a little squabble between brothers.