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In the 1810 will of Benjamin Turner, Nat Turner was legally transferred to Benjamin's son, Samuel Turner. Also bequeathed to Samuel were two women named Nancy and Lydda. Some historians have speculated that Nancy may have been Nat Turner's mother and Lydda, his grandmother. The man called Abraham in the will may have been Nat Turner's father, although there is no conclusive evidence confirming this connection. 


Original Document

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Will of Benjamin Turner, October 14, 1810


[p. 109] In the name of God amen I Benjamin Turner of the county of Southampton and parish of St. Luke’s, being in sound mind and memory do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following. First and principally I bequeath my soul to almighty God who gave it me, and for the worldly goods that I possess, I dispose of them as follows—


Item 1st I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Elizabeth Turner one negro woman nanny, six cows and calfs, all the plantation [illegible] that is on the plantation she left one grindstone, pair of chair wheels, one horse, hard money, two feather beds and furniture, also I leave to my wife Elizabeth Turner deserving the following property one negro man slave Abraham, Bridget, and Silvy


Item 2nd I give and bequeath unto my loving son Samuel Turner the following negroes, Sam, Nat, Lydda, Nancy, Drew, Thain Miner, Elick, which he has got in his possession to him and his heirs forever.


Item 3rd I give and bequeath unto my loving daughter Nancy Barrott the following negroes namely Frankey, Beck, which she hath in possession to her and her heirs forever


Item 4th I give and bequeath unto my loving daughter Susanna Turner the following negroes to wit, Chary, [illegible], Thain, [illegible], Martha as to her and her heirs forever


Samuel Travis                                                                         Benjamin Turner

Phebe Newsum

Rebeccah Mason       


At a court held for the county of Southampton the day of January 1811. This last will and testament of Benjamin Turner deed was presented in court by [illegible] the oaths of Samuel Travis and Rebeccah Mason, two of the [illegible] and died to be recorded and [illegible]


Will Book 7a, Southampton County, Virginia, 1810-1815: Pg. 109


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