William was a farmer who could not read or write but apparently that didn't keep him from being a sound business man able to amass a small fortune.
Residences & events:
1838 Oakland area, Bracken Co, KY was where he first purchased land in the state.
1840 S Div, Bracken Co, KY. At census time his family consisted of 2 males under 5, Wm was 20-30, 1 female under 5, and Sophia, also 20-30. Next door was a McDowell family.
8/30/1850 Same place. The census taker recorded both William and Sophia "Workeman" at age 37. The children were: Albert, 14, William, 13, Elizabeth, 11, Mary, 10, James, 8, Cynthia, 6, Rebecca, 5, Darius, 4, and Cordelia, 2 months. William was a farmer with real estate worth $800. Next door neighbors were John Cox and Samuel Maines.
7/2/1860 E Dist, Bracken Co, KY, was his address at census time. He and Sophia were both 48 years old and they had a large family: James M, 18; Rebecca J, 15; Darius E, 13; Cordelia, 11; Sarah A, 7; and Alfred, 5. Next door neighbors were Thomas Jett and William Burrell and son William was 2 doors away.
7/20/1870 Brookville Pct, Bracken Co, KY. He may not have moved, only the townships changed. At census time he was a 62 year old farmer with property valued at $10,000/1000, quite a sum for the day. Sophia was 60, and living with them was Sallie A, 20. Next door was son "Dreton" and on the other side was Richard Lucas. Living in the same precinct were daughter Elizabeth and Nimrod Neaves.
6/8/1880 Same place. The census listed him as Will, 68, Sofa, also 68, and living with them was grandson, William J, 21. Next door was son Albert.
By the time of his death he had amassed nearly 1000 acres.
William's will was dated 5/17/1888 and signed by X. It stated:
"Know all men by these presents that I William Workman this day being of sound mind and knowing the uncertainty of all things human make, publish and declare this my last will and testament.
1st Unto my wife Sophia Workman, I bequeath all my estate both real & personal to hold use & manage in her own name and right during her natural life. Sophia Workman is to discharge my burying expenses and all other debts left unpaid at my death.
2nd At the death of my wife Sophia Workman I will unto my daughter Elizabeth Ann Neaves the sum of One Thousand Dollars as her portion of my estate. (William did this because Elizabeth had moved to Illinois, and possibly Kansas, and would have no use for KY land.)
3rd After all the conditions of the above have been complyed with, I desire the balance of my property to be divided equally between my remaining heirs.
4th Section Third includes the children of Sarah Ann McDowell as heirs in the Equal division made in said secion Third.
5th It is my will that Darius E, William W and Albert B. Workman shall pay no back rent or that no deduction shall be taken out of their portion of the estate on account of any moneys paid by me for said heirs.
6th It is my will that the heirs pay or cause to be paid all debts at the death of my wife, and also her burying expenses"
On 3/13/1893, son, Albert, petitioned the Court to divide his deceased parent's land. The petition was granted and division was made equally among the children except for Elizabeth, who received a tenth of a tract of her mother's land. The court proceedings recorded all the
children of the family and/or their heirs, each receiving 1/9th. Instructions were given to the those in charge of the transactions:
"The Commissioners in making the division will have due regard to quantity, quality and value, and may assign to each their respective interests, so as to suit the convenience and best interest of all the parties. The Commissioners will proceed to make the division on the
Family lore says that when Sophia died, William was disinterred so they could be buried together and his beard had grown.