One named Daniel, commonly called Possum.

In the name of God Amen

I Benjamin W. Sharp of the County of Wilson and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and memory do make ordain declare and publish the following to be and to contain my last will and testament in manner and form following, to wit

Item first. I will and desire my Executor hereinafter named to provide for my body a decent burial and to pay all my just debts out of the first monies coming into their hands as a part and parcel of my estate.

Item second I will and desire and devise to my wife Martha that portion of my home tract of land whereon my dwelling now stands and adjoining the lands of Ely Robbins begining on the road below the cribs in front of the store at the barbecue hole then through the field by a walnut tree on an old dunghill a strait line to Redmon Thomas line also one other tract on the north side of the mill swamp also the following slaves to wit and their ishue from the date of this will one named Abram one named Mary one named Daniel commonly called possom one named Judith also three of the choise Horses three cows and calves of her choise and all of the hogs all of my sheep all of the House hold and kitchen furniture of every description all my farming utentials all my riding vehicles one cart and its wheels also fifty barrels of corn and 4000 lbs of foder and ten bushels of peas and 500 lbs of Bacon and all of my poultry fifty lbs of Shugar 25 gallons of Molasses 25 lbs of Coffee and 75 lbs of Picked Cotton to have and to hold during her natural life

Item third my will and desire is that my crop be carred on the present year and at the end of the present year and then to be hired and rented out untill the two years of executorship expires then to be equally divided amongst all of my shildren with the exception of that that is willed to my wife to have and to hold in fee simple except that portion coming to my daughter L[illegible] E. Bridges wife of Franklin Bridges and for that to remain in the hands of my son James B. Sharp as her trustee and for her to have the hire and rent every year during her life and then to be divided amongst her isue or isue of isue

Item the forth my will and desire is that at the death of my wife that the property bequeathed to my wife be equally divided amongst all my children to have and to hold in fee simple except that portion coming to my daughter L[illegible] E. Bridges wife of Franklin Bridges and for that to remain in the hands of my son James B. Sharp and to be done by as the other that has come to her before

Item the fifth my will is that my Executors hereinafter named pay to my son Isaac G. Sharp the sum of forty Dollars out of the money coming in to their hands

Item the sixth I nominate James Barnes (Miller) and my son William H. Sharp Executors to this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills and testaments by me heretofore made

In testimony of which I hereunto set my hand and seal this the 28th day of Febuary in the year of our Lord 1860

Signed published and declared to be and to contain the last will and testament of Benjamin W. Sharp in our presence who witness the same at his request the year and day above written   /s/ Benja. W. Sharpe   /s/ Benja’n Bynum, Ely X Robbins


Contrary to the four people he named in his will, the 1860 slave schedule of Joyners and Gardners township, Wilson County reports that Benjamin Sharpe owned 15 enslaved people, ranging from a 45 year-old woman to a one year-old boy. They were sheltered in just two cabins.

Wilson County marriage records show that Abram Sharpe, son of Church Bynum and Thana Sharp, married Caroline Hines, daughter of Allen Hines and Harriet Hines, on 12 January 1869. In the 1870 census of Joyners township, Wilson County: farm laborer Abram Sharp, 30, wife Caroline, 19, and son John, 9 months. A death certificate shows that widow Caroline Sharp died 1 February 1935, in Pinetops township, Edgecombe County. She had been living on Leggins farm, and her parents were listed as Allen Hines and Caroline Lancaster.

“Possum” may have been the farm laborer Daniel Sharpe, 26, listed in the household of Benjamin Tillery in the 1870 census of Gardners township, Wilson County.

North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [database on-line],