Friday, November 11, 2016

Jane Wood Johnston Michel: Last Will and Testament, August 1891

[Jane Mary Wood Johnston Mitchell/Michel (1811-1892), Last Will and Testament, August 1891. District of Columbia, Filed May 5, 1892, L.P. Wright, Register of Wills. In District of Columbia, Wills, Boxes 0133-0138, 1892-1893.] 

August 1891

As I may not, in all probability, have much longer to live, I consider it prudent to write out my wishes as to my small effects, in order that there may be no room for discussion after I am gone.

My two older children living in California, they could not have any of the furniture, as it would not be worth transportation. Therefore I shall not leave an of it to them. Besides, as I have lived so long with my daughter Susie, and she has had a great deal of care and trouble with me for all my latter years, when I have been an invalid, I think it only just that she should be heir to my possessions.

Accordingly, I hereby bequeath to her, my Susie, all my little property. I beg her to accept it as a mark of her mother's fondest love & gratitude for her unwearied care & devoted affection. Would that I were able to do something of greater help & higher value! God bless her!

To my daughter Louisa & my dear son and their children my tenderest love & blessing. May they be good, loving, faithful Christians & heirs of life eternal. Lucy is included.

Jane W. Michel

My heart yearns to express its pure & ardent love to you all. But I can find no words. I think my life's devotion has proved my affections. Look leniently upon my faults -- pardon my errors and infirmities & remember only the best of me.

Reginald Munson MD
Giles W. Smith

Proved the whole of this to be in her handwriting & of sound mind and that she is dead. Sworn May 14/92 [May 14, 1892].

[Jane Mary Wood Johnston Mitchell/Michel (November 26, 1811-January 6, 1892)
Susie = Sue Henry Mitchell/Michel Taliaferro (1845-1940) 
Louisa = Mary Louisa Mitchell/Michel Binckley (1838-1930)
Son = William Manning Mitchell/Michel (1839-1908)
Lucy = Lucy A. Dennis Michel (1845-1923)
Dr. Reginald Munson (1858-1946)
Giles W. Smith = NA
Note: Jane's brother, Joseph Eggleston Johnston (February 3, 1807-March 21, 1891) willed stocks and bonds to Jane, and also, for release upon Jane's death, to her children. But did Jane also leave personal archival material to Susie? Were there letters and other artifacts that Jane had kept? If so, what happened to them?]

Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy and Sally Young for their ongoing research collaboration; in this case, specifically to William for providing a scanned copy of the original document. 

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