I James B. Woodard of the County of Wilson, State of North Carolina, being of sound mind but advanced in years, & aware of the uncertainty of life, do make, constitute & declare this to be my last will & testament in manner & form as follows.
Second. I give & devise to my Eldest daughter Elizabeth Ann Stancil wife of Thomas Stancil the land on which she now lives, known as the Atkinson land containing about two hundred & twenty acres …, the following Slaves, negro man Elvin, woman Feriba & girl Dellah and their increase ….
I also give & bequeath to my son John B. Woodard negro man London to have & to hold ….
Fifth. I give & devise to my son George W. Woodard the balance of my home tract of land on which my dwelling and improvements are bounded …. I also give & bequeath … the following slaves Howell & Jesse ….
Sixth. I give & bequeath to my daughter Margaret P. Batts wife of W.W. Batts the following slaves Sarah, Florence, Phebe, Mary & young Sarah and their increase ….
Seventh. I give & bequeath to my daughter Mary J. Edwards wife of W.H. Edwards the following slaves Harriett, Debba, Ben, Ned, Rose & Fanny and their increase ….
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this the 22 day of June A.D. 1863. /s/ Jas. B. Woodard
James B. Woodard’s will — drafted six months after the Emancipation Proclamation — included bequests of 17 enslaved people. Most were descendants of London Woodard (whom he had sold to Penny Lassiter in 1856) and his first wife Venus, including their children Elvin, Feriba, London Jr., Howell, Sarah, Harriet, and Rose, and daughter Feriba’s children Ben, Debba, young Sarah, and, possibly, Mary.