Henry Dickens' 1828 will. This is a copy of the original, made by WPA workers in  the 1930s. 

Here is an example of why you can't always trust what is written. Henry signed his Will on August 11, 1828, shortly before his death.

The Will of Henry Dickens, deceased, was proven in the November Term 1828, of the Smith County Court and an order was given that the Will should be placed in the court records.

The date that the Will was recorded in the court records is listed as 14, January, 1828 ... . months before Henry died. This error was made by the Court Clerk in 1829. The year of filing should read 1829.

Page 24.

Thanks to Bob Tobin. He has a copy of the original handwritten Will which proves several mistakes were made by the 1930s worker who typed the copy. Here are the mistakes as noted by Bob.

WPA copy reads:
Sabry Pendarvis. The original reads: Loty Pendarvis.
Elizabeth Donnel. The original reads: Elizabeth Darnal.
Martha Whitmore. The original reads: Martha Whitamore.

                           Dickens of Hurricane Creek
Including: Maggart, Sullivans Bend, Elmwood, Chestnut Mound, Smith County, TN
Bob Tobin has some interesting comments about this Will and the people named in it on his Web site:

Page 25.

I carefully examined everything I could find about Henry Dickens. If I could tie Joshua, Jr. with Joshua, Sr. and Joshua, Sr. with Jesse, Henry’s will naming Jesse as his son would mean that Henry was my great, great, great, great, grandfather and my lineage to that time would be clearly documented.  (Note: Joshua, Sr. was the uncle of Joshua, Jr. This is noted throughout this manuscript and detailed later. Also Joshua Jr. is a son of John Jr, not Jesse.) 

(Note added in 2007: Bob Dickens-Tobin has traced our Hurricane Creek family through North Carolina documents from the1700s through the early 1800s. His study concludes that all the Dickens men and the ladies listed in Henry's will are not only Henry's relatives, they are all Henry's children. This finding would include John (Sr), my great, great, great grandfather and Henry would indeed be my great, great, great, great grandfather.) 

Tracking individuals before the 1850 Census can be very difficult. 1850 was the first census to list household names and specific ages. If you thought our modern generations were the first to identify people by numbers instead of names, you’ll find that before 1850 everyone in a household was listed as a number in an age group, and only the head of household was listed by name. The numbers were used for counting only and they offer very little help in identifying a wife or children.

Later I will give more details about the early Dickens households but for now I’ll just mention the names of those whom I had met by this time.

The Hurricane Creek valley was still split by the Smith – Jackson County line at that time (from 1806 - 1853).

1820 Census, Dickens
Henry-------Jackson County
Jeremiah----Jackson County
John--------Smith County
Jesse-------Smith County

1828 Dickens men in Henry Dickens’ will
           Jesse (named as Henrys son in
                      his will).

1830 Census, Dickens
Charlotte----------Jackson County
Jeremiah----------Jackson County
Wm. J.-------------Jackson county
Jesse---------------Smith County