WILL OF JOHN BURRUSS 1745-1778 Baptist Preacher, Caroline County, Virginia
In the name of God amen,
I, John Burrus of the county of Caroline, do make and constitute this my last will and testament to be aforesaid of in manner and form following.
Item - I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Rachel Burrus, my land and house with my part of my wet mill, during her widowhood. Provided that she make provisions therefore, to educate my children fit for county business. Otherwise, I direct that my hereafter named executor shall have power to dispose of so much of the aforesaid estate as shall be sufficient to make full provisions for their education, after my wife's death or intermarriage, I direct that whole to be sold and qually divided between my then surviving children and their respresentatives. I leave all the rest of my Estate being personal to my wife during her widowhood or until my first child arrives at age or marries, then I direct a division to be made at the period and equal parts be given that child, after my wife's dower be taken out and in a like manner to every child as they arrive at age. I also direct that in case of my wife should intermarry, that she should be allowed only the Dower of all my estate, both real and personal during her life and after her death, to be sold and equally divided between my children.
I appoint my friends Samuel Temple, John Thompson, and William Burruss, executors of this my last will and testament. I also direct that in case I die before I acknowledge my rights to Pleasant Terrell, of half of the aforementioned mill, that they are empowered with my wife, to make a sure title of the same. Given under my hand, this 15th day of September, 1777.
Signed and delivered
In the presence of us
John Burruss [seal]
Joseph Campbell Jas. Gatewood, Jr. Robert Terrell
John Burruss at the age of 33, died April 8, 1778 about 7 months after writing his will. He was a farmer, a miller, but is most recognized as one of the first Baptist ministers in Virginia, and more specifically in Caroline County. John Burruss married Rachel Terrell, a Quaker, in 1765 or 1766. They were the parents of four boys, Henry F. Burruss born 1769, Thomas Burruss born 1772; John Burrus born 1776; and Nelson Burruss born April 12, 1777. Nelson was 4 days shy of his first birthday, when his father died. Rachel was 29 years old, a widow with three small sons. In 1780, Rachel remarried to Thomas Hackett, and became the mother of four children; Chiles Hackett, Pleasant Hackett, Garrett Hackett, and Early Hackett who died in infancy. John Burruss left behind a well documented bible, land records, and three well educated sons, who wrote letters about their lives in Caroline County.