Today, I release the names of Bob, Hannah, James Judah, Jim and Amy who were enslaved by John Goff in Amherst County Virginia.
I committed to publish and share the names of the enslaved persons (My Commitment for Black History Month) found in my family genealogy records as part of the Slave Name Roll Project . I don’t know if I am directly related to John Goff, but that doesn’t matter.
Every record that contains a name or information about enslaved persons is a valuable record to their descendants. I encourage you to share any documents and records you find with names to help those with enslaved ancestors find families.
It’s hard. Every time I see a name of a person listed as property, my stomach churns. I would rather pretend that it isn’t there, or that the person was a benevolent slave holder.
The truth is, I don’t think there can be such a thing.
Slavery is abhorrent.
I can not change what other people have done in the past, especially my super shady ancestors. (They know who they are.) What I can do, is give a voice to the unnamed. By recording and sharing their names, my hope is that it will inspire others to publicly share information they encounter in their genealogy research that may help African American genealogy research, and the millions of descendants of the enslaved.
Transcription of the Will of John Goff Amherst County, Virginia, Will book pages 25-28
At a court held for Amherst County at the Court House
the 2d Day of May 1763
This Bond was acknowledged by the parties hereto, and ordered to be recorded.
Test. Geo Seaton clk [clerk]
In the Name of god amen the Thirtieth Day of November one thousand seven hundred and sixty three J John Goff of Amherst County being sick of Body but good and perfect memory thanks be to Almighty God and Calling to Rememberance the uncertain Estate of this transitory life and all flesh must yield unto Death whom it shall pleas God to call do make and Declare this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form folling foist being penitent and Sorry for my former Sins most humbly Deserving forgivings of the same I commend my soul to Almighty God my Saviour and Redeemer in whom and by whose merits trust and believe asuredly to be saved and have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins and to inherit the kingdom of heaven and my body I commit to the Earth to be Decently Buried at the Discrestion of my Exors hereafter named and for the settling of my Temporal Estate and such goods and Debt as it hath please god to bestow upon me I do order give and Dispose the same in manner and form following –
Imprimis I lend to my beloved wife Anne five Negros Bob, Hannah, James, Judah and Jim and all my moveable estate during her widowhood Item I give and Bequeath, unto my son Joseph a negro Amy to Dispose of as he shall think proper, at my Wifes Death or marage all my whole estate to be Divided Between Joseph Goff, and John Goff Ambrose and Elizabeth Goff is to have Twenty five pounds current money paid hereby the executors at my wifes Death or mariage and I leave the tract of land lising on Stovaurts Creek and Bowlins to be Divided Equally between Joseph Goff and John Goff and Elizabeth Goff and Ambros Goff only Ambros is to pofsefs the place where the plantation now is after his Mother’s death and to my son Leonard Goff I leave the hundred acres that he has bond for -Amen
Thomas Gillwaters pre me John Goff
During of widowhood and life and I do heareby make and appoint my loving sons Leonard and Joseph Executors full and sole Executors of this my last will and Testament hereby and Revoking Disannuling and making void all former wills and requests by me made and declaring this only to be my last Will and Testament in Witness whereunto I have set my hand and seal this Thirtieth Day of November one thousand seven hundred and sixty two.