The week 18 theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is “Where There’s a Will”. My take on this theme was – Where there’s a will, there is going to be surprises.
I would like to first say that I love wills. A nice detailed will can provide great insight into not only who the heirs were but also nature of the relationship between the author of the will and those heirs.
I’ve written previously, in my Week 7 story, Winfield Scott Richards had an adopted son, my Great Grandfather, Thearon Richards. Prior to examining the will of Winfield’s mother, Jane Hipp Richards, I did not know that Winfield was not my biological ancestor. Jane’s will also gave some clues to how she felt about her sons. I’ve transcribed it here:
I, Jane R RICHARDS of the City of Rochester, County of Monroe and state of New York being of sound mind and disposing memory do make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament in manner following. After all my just debts and funeral expenses are paid,
First I give and bequeath to my grandson DeWitt Morey RICHARDS One Thousand dollars to be paid to him by my Executor hereafter named at any time in one year after my death.
Second I give and bequeath to my Executor hereafter named in trust to have and to hold the same for the use of my grandson Charles E RICHARDS the sum of One thousand dollars and to Theron E RICHARDS (adopted child of Winfield S. and Libby RICHARDS) five hundred dollars. Said several bequests to be held in trust for each of them by my executor and to use and apply the same for their benefit in his discretion until the said Charles E and Theron E shall respectively arrive at twenty one years of age, then and after that period should there be any moneys remaining of their shares thus bequeathed to pay the same to them absolutely.
Third I give and bequeath to my said grandson Charles E RICHARDS my watch and chain to be delivered to him by my executor when he shall become twenty one years of age.
Fourth I give and bequeath to my executor hereafter named in trust and to have and hold the same for the use of my son Augustus H RICHARDS the sum of fifteen hundred dollars, who is hereby directed to pay said Augustus H no more than two hundred dollars a year of the principal sum herein bequeathed to him with interest.
Fifth I give and bequeath to my Executor hereafter named in trust and to have and hold the same for the use of my son Winfield S. RICHARDS the sum of five hundred dollars and to pay over the same to him from time to time in his discretion and as he may see fit.
Sixth In case of the death of my said grandson DeWitt Morey RICHARDS I direct that the bequest to him be paid to my grandson Charles E RICHARDS to be held in trust for him by my executor in accordance with the bequest and trust heretofore made by me for the said Charles E RICHARDS in the second paragraph hereof.
Seventh All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate of every name and kind and wheresoever situatie I give, devise and bequeath to my son Charles R RICHARDS of said City of Rochester, Monroe County New York.
Lastly, I hereby nominate and appoint said Charles R RICHARDS executor of this will and revoke all former will by me made.
In Witness whereof I the Testatrix above names have to this my last will subscribed my name and affixed my seal this 8th day of May 1886.
Jane R. RICHARDS
Perhaps its just my interpretation, but it looks like son Charles R may have been the favorite son and Charles E the favorite grandson. I find the bequest to Augustus interesting. Augustus was her eldest son, but Jane is perhaps concerned about giving him all of his money at once, and instead has directed his younger brother and executor of the will, Charles R, to ration Augustus’ share. Winfield is bequeathed fewer dollars but appears to be able to receive it upon his own discretion.