I, Hiram Forbes of the County of Wilson and the State of North Carolina, being of sound mind and memory, but considering the uncertainty of my earthly existance, do make & declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to say:
Item. I give and devise to my beloved wife the tract of Land on which I now live during the term of her natural life or widowhood and after her death or marriage to my son Romulus and also lend to my wife Two negro slaves, one woman named Mary Ann and man Jim. The above named negroes to remain on the land and work for the support of my wife and two younger children Romulus and Elizabeth, and if in case my wife should marry, my will is that the negroes above shall be equally divided between my three children – Randolph, Elizabeth and Romulus.
Item. I give for the support of my wife & her family, fifteen hundred pounds of Pork and thirty barrels of corn, eight stacks of fodder first choice, Three sacks flour and I also give to my wife and two children, Elizabeth and Hannah, three sows and six shoats. I also desire that my wife should take care of a negro child Hannah until it arrives to the age of ten years.
Item. I give and devise to my children Randolph, Elizabeth and Romulus, three negroes Tony Mace and Hannah to be equally divided between them, and if any one of the other should die without issue, the negroes to be equally divided between the other two and if one of the two should die without issue the one thats living should be his.
Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter Sally, wife of Thomas Baker, 1 negro girl named Silvey to have and to hold to her and her lawful children forever.
Item. I give and devise to my son Rufus Webb and my daughter Cinthia Webb, children of Tempa Webb, one negro woman named Gatsy, to be equally divided between them.
Item. I give and devise to my six children, Vesta Ann, Walter, Barney, Lipsicomb, Tempa and Amanda, one tract of land known as the Felton Land, beginning at the Mill and running to the road so as to include all the tract of land above named and adjoining the land formerly belonging to Tempa Webb to have and to hold to them and their heirs forever. Also two negroes named Tobey and Minna to them and their heirs forever. It is my will and desire that the last named negroes, Tobey and Minna shall remain on the land that I give to my six children … and work to support the said children, until they arrive to the age of twentyone years, and I also give to the said children, one black horse male, one cow & yearling. The cow is red and white color. One pair of cart wheels, wooden axle, one plow, ten barrels corn, two blade stacks fodder, three hundred pound pork.
Item. My will and desire is that the Mill shall be kept up by my four sons … for the benefit of all my children. My will and desire is that if I have enough owe me after selling my property to pay my debts that my negroes hereafter named, to be hired out until they hire for enough to pay — Tony, Mace, Gatsy.
And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my trusty friend James Barnes my lawful executor of all intent and purposes to execute this my last will and testament according to the true intent and meaning of the same and every part and clause-thereby revoking and declaring all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I, the said Hyrum Forbes, do hereunto set my hand and seal the 18th day of December, 1861. /s/ Hyrum Forbes
WITNESS: Wm. Ellis, John Carter Jr.
In the 1860 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Hiram Forbes, 55; wife Milly, 45; and children Martha, 21, Rufus, 18, Randal, 17, Bettie, 8, and Romulus, 4. Forbes reported owing $8800 in personal property, which would have consisted largely of enslaved people. Next door was [the mother of the other set of his children] Temperance Webb, 55, and her children Susan, 20, and Sintha, 15.
In 1866, Tony Forbes and Cherry Barnes appeared before a Wilson County justice of the peace to register their seven-year cohabitation. James Forbes and Sarah Barnes registered their ten-year cohabitation.
On 2 August 1867, Toby Forbes, son of Abraham Webb and Masin [Mace] Forbes, married Patience Mercer, daughter of Cila Mercer, at Henry Winston’s in Wilson County.
In the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: Toby Forbes, 25, farm laborer.
In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farm laborer Tony Forbes, 25; wife Cherry, 23; and children Willie, 6, George, 5, Harriet, 2, and Bud, 2 months, plus Alfred Bynum, 25. Sharing the same household: James Forbes, 38, farm laborer; wife Sarah, 25; and children Garrot, 12, Joseph, 4, Bynum, 3, and William, 1.
In the 1880 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: James Forbes, 48; wife Sarah, 37; and children Garrett, 20, Joseph, 15, Bynum, 14, Murtheny, 10, Rose, 9, Movy, 8, Florence, 4, and Reddic, 6 months.
In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Toney Forbs, 39; wife Cherry, 30; and children Wiley, 17, George, 16, Harrett, 12, Buddie, 10, Elizebeth, 8, Elishea F., 4, and Mary L., 3 months.
In the 1900 census of Ellis township, Pulaski County, Arkansas: farmer Wiley Forbes, 37; wife Penny, 27; daughter Lula, 6; siblings Johnnie, 18, Mary B., 16, Martha J., 15, and Tinsey, 12; and father Toney Forbes, 70. All were born in North Carolina, except Lula, who was born in Arkansas.
In the 1910 census of Union township, Pulaski County, Arkansas: farm manager Jacob C. Gay, 28; wife Mary, 25; children William, 3, and Mattie S.A., 8 months; and father-in-law Tony Forbes, 80.
Images of estate documents available at North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.