By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber), June 7, 2020
Here follows a transcription (with annotations) of the last will and testament of Milton benefactor Lewis W. Nute. It may have been written in the American House hotel on Hanover Street in Boston, MA, which was then his principal residence, or in the nearby State Street office of his attorneys. It is dated [Friday,] June 15, 1888.
Nute died on his family farm on Nute Ridge in West Milton, NH, on Saturday, October 20, 1888, and this last will was proved in Suffolk County Probate Court, in Boston, MA, on Monday, November 19, 1888 (Suffolk County Probate, 608:62).
Lewis W. Nute – Will – Proved Nov. 19, 1888
I, Lewis W. Nute, of Boston, in the county of Suffolk, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby make and publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking all wills heretofore made by me.
I. I constitute and appoint as executors of this my will and as trustees whenever a trust in herein created, Charles H. Moulton, of Waltham, John Q. Henry, of Newton, and Henry E. Cobb, of Newton, all of Massachusetts; and I direct that they be exempt from giving surety on their bonds in either capacity.
Requiring a surety bond for executors of such a large estate – even a bond based upon posting a percentage only – would have imposed a significant financial burden on them. Even propertied men might have struggled to raise so much liquid cash. (Every $1,000 Nute bequeathed would be worth today about $90,000. (A $20 “double eagle” gold piece from 1888 would have today the gold value of about $1,800 in modern Federal Reserve paper money)).
Boot & shoe merchant Charles Henry Moulton (1847-1915) of Waltham, MA, had been Lewis W. Nute’s partner in the firm of Lewis W. Nute & Company since 1880. He was born in Dover, NH, September 2, 1846, son of Josiah and Harriet M. (Allen) Moulton. He was a fellow Mason, having joined Waltham’s Monitor lodge in 1883. He was a banker when he died in Waltham, MA, June 7, 1915, aged sixty-eight years, nine months, and five days.
Boot & shoe merchant John Quincy Henry did not long survive Nute, dying of apoplexy, i.e., a stroke, in Boston, MA, December 21, 1888, aged sixty-six years, one month, and twenty-three days. He was born in Rutland, VT, circa 1822, son of William and Catherine A. Henry. The will’s provisions for replacing an executor and/or trustee would have been employed right from the start.
Banker Henry Eddy Cobb was born in Hartford, CT, June 21, 1839, son of Andrew B. and Lydia M. (Eddy) Cobb. He would be later mayor of Newton, MA, in 1896-98. He died in Newton, MA, February 2, 1908, aged sixty-eight years.
II. I give and bequeath unto my beloved brother, Samuel F. Nute, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars.
Nute’s younger brother, Samuel Freeman Nute, was born in Milton, July 8, 1827. He died in Peabody, MA, August 14, 1893, aged sixty-six years, one month, and six days.
Samuel F. Nute married in Portland, ME, August 25, 1853 Josephine Wyatt Page, he of Milton and she of Wakefield, NH. She was born in Wakefield, NH, April 7, 1832, daughter of David and Caroline (Jones) Page. Josephine W. (Page) Nute survived her husband, dying in Melrose, MA, May 12, 1913, aged eighty-one years, one month, and five days.
In his own last will, dated April 23, 1891, Samuel F. Nute of Wakefield, NH, appointed his wife, Josephine W. Nute, as his executor and left her all his estate, both real and personal, excepting $5, which he left to their son, Frank I. Nute. “My reason for not providing more for my said son is he being financially in condition not to be in need of further provision by me” (Essex County Probate, 497:319).
III. I give and bequeath unto my beloved nephew, George A. Nute, the sum of twenty-five thousand (25,000) dollars & to his wife, Ann J. Nute, the sum of twenty thousand (20,000) dollars.
George Albert Nute was born in Charlestown (Boston), MA, March 17, 1842, son of Lewis W. Nute’s elder brother, Cyrus W. Nute (1817-1876), and his wife, Almira (Banfield) Nute (1817-1890). He died in Natick, MA, January 22, 1891, aged forty-eight years, ten months, and five days.
George A. Nute married (2nd) in Natick, MA, April 12, 1877, Anna J. (McDavid) Henderson, he of Natick and she of Augusta, ME. He was a shoe cutter, aged forty-three years, and she was aged thirty-six years. It was the second marriage for each of them. She was born in Augusta, ME, August 15, 1851, daughter of John and Margaret (Bunting) McDavid. She died February 9, 1925.
IV. I give and bequeath unto my beloved nephew, Frank I. Nute, the sum of ten thousand (10,000) dollars; and to his wife, Lizzie F. Nute, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; and I give to each of the children of said Frank I. Nute and Lizzie F. Nute, who shall be living at my decease, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars.
Frank Isaac Nute was born in Milton, March 22, 1854, son of Lewis W. Nute’s younger brother, Samuel F. Nute (1827-1893), and his wife, Josephine W. (Page) Nute (1832-1913). He died in Melrose, MA, January 25, 1918.
Frank I. Nute married in Goshen, NH, May 30, 1880, Elizabeth Frances “Lizzie” Trow, both of Goshen. He was a minister, aged twenty-five years, and she was aged twenty-four years. She was born in Goshen, NH, July 19, 1855, daughter of Perkins and Elizabeth F. (French) Trow. She died in Salem, MA, December 25, 1922.
Frank I. and Lizzie F. (Trow) Nute had children Samuel F. Nute (1881-1907), Willie S. Nute (1885-1885), and Harold W. Nute (1891-1918).
V. I give and bequeath unto my beloved niece, Carrie A. Babb, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; and to her husband, Horace T. Babb, the sum of three thousand (3,000) dollars.
Carrie Ann Nute was born in Boston, MA, August 28, 1844, daughter of Lewis W. Nute’s elder brother, Cyrus W. Nute (1817-1876), and his wife, Almira (Banfield) Nute (1817-1890). She died in Dover, NH, February 7, 1911.
Carrie A. Nute married in Farmington, NH, June 12, 1871, Horace T. Babb, both of Farmington. He was a mechanic, aged twenty-eight years, and she was aged twenty-five years. He was born in Barrington, NH, September 8, 1842, son of Joseph T. and Mary B. (Tibbetts) Babb. He died in Dover, NH, November 26, 1911.
VI. I give and bequeath unto Harriet Souther, of Cohasset, Massachusetts, sister of my late wife, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; and to Edward T. Souther, of said Cohasset, nephew of my said wife, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; to Thomas R. Farrar, of said Cohasset, brother of my said wife, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; to Sarah F. Maxwell, of Melrose, Massachusetts, sister of my said wife, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; to Lewis N. Maxwell, of Winchester, Massachusetts, nephew of my said wife, to Sarah Priscilla Mason, of New York, niece of my said wife, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; to Edwin R. Maxwell, of said Melrose, nephew of my said wife, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars.
Lewis W. Nute’s late wife had been Priscilla N. Farrar (1819-1886). (Her surname was often spelled as Farrow). She was born in Cohasset, MA, December 6, 1819, daughter of Thomas and Priscilla A. (Nichols) Farrar. Her siblings, all younger than she, were Mary Farrar (b. 1821), who apparently died young, Elizabeth Harriet “Harriet” Farrar (1825-1902), Sarah Farrar (1828-1903), and Thomas R. Farrar (1831-1916).
Harriet Farrar married in Cohasset, MA, February 8, 1846, Edwin F. Souther (1822-1901). They had two children, Edwin F. Souther, Jr. (1846-1929), who was named in the will, and George F. Souther (1851-1856).
Sarah Farrar married in Boston, MA, March 6, 1848, Richard F. Maxwell (1821-1923). They had children Lewis Nute Maxwell (1849-1932), who was named in the will, Sarah P. Maxwell (1851-1921), (wife of William W. Mason) who was named in the will, Edwin R. Maxwell (1854-1932), who was named in the will, and Mary H. Maxwell, who died young.
VII. I devise and bequeath to Lewis W. Nute, son of my said nephew George A. Nute, if he shall survive me, and to his heirs forever, my farm with the buildings thereon situate in the Town of Milton in the State of New Hampshire, and consisting of about two hundred acres, except such lot as shall be selected and set apart out of said farm by my trustees for the purpose of erecting a chapel as hereinafter provided and for the grounds attached thereto not exceeding one acre with suitable approaches thereto, together with all the household furniture, fixtures, stock, horses, carriages, harnesses, wagons, tools, farming implements of every description, and all the personal property pertaining to or used with said farm at the time of my decease. Also my Frodsham gold watch and chain, and all my jewelry and articles of personal and household use and ornament.
Lewis Worster Nute [2nd] was born in Natick, MA, October 25, 1880, son of George A. Nute (1842-1891) and his wife, Anna J. (McDavid) Nute (1851-1925). He died in Boston, MA, March 6, 1943.
This grandnephew and namesake of Lewis W. Nute was only eight years of age when he inherited the Lewis W. Nute farm, its stock, tools, appurtenances, furniture, and his granduncle’s gold watch. The Middlesex County court – he lived in Natick, MA – appointed a guardian for him in 1889 to protect his interests, as distinct from those of his parents.
Lewis W. Nute [2nd] married, circa 1908, Florence M. Seaverns. She was born in Cambridge, MA, September 4, 1874, daughter of William H. and Susan L. (Guffney) Seaverns. She died in Brookline, MA, January 31, 1928.
VIII. I give and devise to the said Town of Milton, the sum of five thousand (5,000) dollars; the same to be invested by said Town and the income thereof to be expended from year to year by the Selectmen of said Town to keep in repair the Cemetery of said Town and the lot therein where my parents are buried; the first care to be of said lot.
Parents Ezekiel Nute (1794-1859) and Dorcas (Worster) Nute (1797-1869) are buried in the Hayes Cemetery, which is situated on the north side of Farmington Road (NH Route 75) in Milton, between Governor’s Road and the Hare Road.
IX. I give and bequeath to said Town of Milton, the sum of fifty thousand (50,000) dollars; the same to be invested by said Town and the income thereof used by the Town for the maintenance and support of the common or district schools therein; but one-tenth of the income of said fifty thousand dollars and any increase thereof shall be annually used for the support of a school in the district in that part of said Town where said farm is situated.
Milton’s common or district schools would later be closed one by one, mostly in the 1920s. One supposes that the Milton Grammar school might be defined as a sort of continuation or successor to those district schools. It might be more difficult to stretch the definitions for the Nute Ridge school, which was particularly identified as being entitled to its own dedicated 10% of the annual interest money. A later school superintendent fretted in his annual report about possibly having to forfeit that 10% if the Nute Ridge school were to be closed, which is likely why it was the very last of them to be shuttered (save the Milton Mills school, which was not a district school, as such).
X. I give and bequeath to the Orthodox Congregational Church and Society occupying the Meeting-House at Milton Three-Ponds, so called, in said Town of Milton, the sum of ten thousand (10,000) dollars, the same to be invested and the income thereof to be applied to the support of preaching by said Church and Society; but no part of the principal of said ten thousand dollars shall ever be used by said Church and Society for building purposes, but a portion of said income may be used from time to time for the repairs of said Church and Society’s Meeting-House and Parsonage.
Rev. Frank E. Haley (1835-1904) was then in his second pastorate as Congregational minister at Milton Three Ponds. He would later be the first librarian at the Nute High School and Library (to be succeeded after his death by his widow and then his daughter).
XI. If during my life I shall not have done so, I direct my executors to erect a chapel with a suitable library room therein, near or on my said farm in said Town of Milton, at a cost not exceeding the sum of ten thousand dollars; and I hereby give to my said Trustees and their successors the further sum of thirty thousand dollars, the income of which shall be forever used for the support, care and maintenance of said chapel, and for the providing of preaching, and the purchase of books for the use of the minister and Sabbath School for the library in said library room. And I hereby authorize my said Trustees to set apart out of my said farm and to designate my [by] marks and bounds a lot for said chapel with grounds attached thereto, not exceeding one acre, with suitable approaches, the title to said chapel and lot to remain with said Trustees and their successors.
The term “viz.” (or “vizt.”) used in sections XII and XIV below is an abbreviation of the Latin term or phrase vidēre licet (“it is permitted to see”). It was used commonly to introduce a list or series. In this case, Lewis W. Nute is about to list semi-annual allowances (or life estates in interest money), which he has labeled (a) through (g). They are to be interest payments only on principal amounts held for the time being in trust, as distinct from the outright bequests that he detailed above for many of the same parties.
XII. I give to my said Trustees the following named sums upon the Trusts hereinafter set forth: – viz.;
(a). The sum of fifty thousand (50,000) dollars in trust to pay over the net income as often as once in six months to my said brother, Samuel F. Nute, during his life; and at his death in trust to pay over and distribute the said net income at their discretion to the deserving poor of said Town of Milton, employing therein such individuals or corporate agencies as they shall see fit; and with power at any time to transfer and convey the principal of the trust fund to any corporation which may be organized with the approval of my trustees for the time being for the purpose of providing charitable relief to the poor of said town.
The “deserving poor” would have been thought to encompass those that could not work, such as the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled, as distinct from those whose poverty arose from their own vices and failings, such as imprudence, sloth, gambling, drunkenness, etc. (We should note that he intended the charitable relief to be dispensed via private entities, such as individuals, churches, incorporated charities, etc., rather than governmental ones).
(b). The sum of thirty-five thousand (35,000) dollars in trust to pay over the net income thereof as often as once in six months to my said nephew, George A. Nute, during his life; and at his death to pay over and distribute the principal of said trust fund in equal shares to and among his then surviving children and the issue of any child or children deceased, such issue taking by right of representation.
Per Stirpes. Distributing assets per stirpes (sometimes called “by right of representation”) means that assets will be divided evenly among heirs, but if one of the heirs predeceases the testator, their children (if any) will split their deceased parent’s share. The surviving child or children “represent” the deceased parent in the division.
(c). The sum of twenty thousand (20,000) dollars in trust to pay over the net income thereof as often as once in six months to Ann J. Nute,
the wife of my said nephew, George A. Nute, during her life, and at her death to pay over the net income thereof as often as once in six months, to Ann J. Nute, the wife of my said nephew, George A. Nute, during her life; and at her death to pay over and distribute the principal of said trust fund in equal shares to and among her then surviving children and the issue of any child or children deceased, such issue taking by right of representation.
This section above had some duplicate wording stricken out and initialed by the registrar, as having been stricken out also in the original.
(d). The sum of thirty thousand (30,000) dollars in trust to pay over the net income thereof as often as once in six months to my nephew, Frank I. Nute, during his life; and at his death to pay over and distribute the principal of said trust fund in equal shares to and among his then surviving children and the issue of any child or children deceased, such issue taking by right of representation.
(e). The sum of ten thousand (10,000) dollars in trust to pay over the net income thereof as often as once in six months to Lizzie F. Nute, wife of my said nephew, Frank I. Nute, during her life; and at her death to pay over and distribute the principal of said trust fund in equal shares to and among her then surviving children and the issue of any child or children deceased, such issue taking by right of representation.
(f). The sum of twenty-five thousand (25,000) dollars in trust to pay over the net income thereof as often as once in six months to my niece, Carrie A. Babb, during her life; and at her death to pay over and distribute the principal of said trust fund in equal shares to and among her then surviving children and the issue of any child or children deceased, such issue taking by right of representation.
And upon the decease of either the said George A. Nute, Ann J. Nute, Frank I. Nute, Lizzie F. Nute, or Carrie A. Babb, leaving no issue him or her surviving, then I direct that the principal of the trust fund held for his or her benefit during his or her lifetime be added to and become a part of the Nute High School and Library Fund, hereinafter created. And I direct that none of the beneficiaries for life to whom the income of any trust fund is herein given shall have any power of assignment or anticipation of such income, and that no part of such income shall in any way be subject to the chain of any creditor of such beneficiary.
One may have seen advertised occasionally modern arrangements by which one may sell a pension, annuity, or structured settlement for lesser amounts of immediate cash. That is to say, one sells one’s “anticipation” of future payments to someone with a longer economic “time preference,” or one uses the anticipated future payments as collateral for an immediate loan. Nute herein forbade such arrangements.
(g). I give to said trustees the sum of one hundred and twenty-five thousand (125,000) dollars in trust for the benefit of Lewis W. Nute, son of the said George A. Nute, and in trust to expend so much of the income thereof from time to time for the support, maintenance and education of the said Lewis W. Nute, as in their judgment shall seem best; and when he shall reach the age of twenty-five years, to pay over to him the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars of the principal of said trust fund; and when he shall arrive at the age of thirty years, to pay over to him the further sum of twenty-five thousand dollars; and after he becomes of the age of twenty-one years, to pay over to him the net income of said fund & of any increase thereof but without any power of assignment or anticipation on the part of said Lewis W. Nute; and upon his death to pay over the remaining trust fund equally to his children and the issue of any deceased child or children, such issue taking by right of representation. If he shall decease leaving no issue him surviving, then said Trustees shall pay over the remainder of said trust fund to be added to the Nute High School and Library Fund as hereinafter created.
XIII. After the payment of the above legacies I give out of the residue of my estate, in case the same shall suffice therefor, to the said Town of Milton, the sum of one hundred and twenty-five thousand (125,000) dollars as a fund for the purpose of erecting, establishing, and maintaining in said Town a Free High School and Library for the free use of the inhabitants thereof; to be known as the Nute High School and Library; said fund with the addition to be made thereto as hereinbefore provided to be kept as a separate fund and known as the Nute High School and Library Fund. And I direct that of said fund no more than twenty-five thousand dollars be expended in the erection of any building or buildings, and that the same be erected, and that said School and library be established and maintained in that part of the Town of Milton known as Milton Three Ponds. And that no part of any such fund be at any time loaned to said Town or invested in its notes or obligations. And if at any time the said Town shall see fit to have said School and Library incorporated, the fund herein given and all additions thereto and any and all property acquired for said school and library may be by said Town or by my said Trustees paid over and transferred to the corporation so formed; provided however, that the same shall always remain as a High School and Library for the free use of the inhabitants of said Town and shall preserve the name above given.
XIV. All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate and property of whatever nature and wherever situated, including all lapsed legacies, I give and bequeath in equal shares to and among such of the following named four persons as shall survive me, viz.: – George A. Nute, Ann J. Nute, Frank I. Nute, and Lizzie F. Nute; provided however that if either of the four shall decease before me leaving children, his or her share shall go equally among such of said children as shall survive me, and the issue of any such child deceased, such issue taking the share of such child taking the share by right of representation.
XV. I empower my said Executors and the survivor of them to sell any of my real or personal estate except that which is herein specifically devised or bequeathed, either by public or private sale, without the aid of any Court, and to make the requisite deeds and transfers; and I empower my Trustees in like manner at their discretion to sell, exchange, invest or reinvest any and all the property which shall at any time be held upon the trusts hereof, investing the proceeds of such sales upon the like trusts; and my executors or trustees and their successors may continue in any of the trusts herein created any investments made by me during my life and it is my desire that they be continued unless in their judgment they ought not to be so, and, in case by reason of sales or otherwise they shall have occasion to make new investments, I direct that they may be made in those securities in which the Savings Banks or other institutions in this Commonwealth are from time to time authorized to invest their deposits. My trustees shall be entitled to a fair compensation for their services; they shall be chargeable only for such moneys, stocks, funds and securities as they shall respectively actually receive, not withstanding their respectively signing any receipt for the sake of conformity, and shall be answerable and accountable only for their own acts, receipts, neglects or defaults, and not for those of each other, nor for any banker, broker, or other person with whom trust moneys or securities may be deposited, nor for the insufficiency or deficiency of any stocks, funds, or securities nor for any other loss, unless the same shall happen through their own willful default respectively. Upon all sales by my trustees or executors, their receipts shall exempt the purchasers from all liability as to the application of the purchase money.
The words “my trustees,” or “my trustee,” in this my will, shall be construed and taken to mean the trustees or trustee for the time being whether original or substituted; and the words “children” and “issue,” shall be construed and taken to mean children and issue by blood and not by adoption. In case of any vacancy in the number of my trustees by reason of death, declination, resignation, or otherwise, and so often as the same shall occur, the same shall be filled by appointment by my surviving or remaining trustees or trustee by a writing signed and sealed by them or him, and any trustee so appointed shall be exempt from giving surety on his bond; and if such appointment be not made within ninety days after such vacancy occurs a new trustee shall be appointed by the Court having jurisdiction for that purpose, and I give the remaining or surviving trustees or trustee all the powers herein given to my trustees.
The section above suggests that – after a thorough re-reading of the whole – some points were thought to be unclear or open to other interpretations than those intended and were here clarified.
XVI. I authorize my executors to continue my business of manufacturing and selling boots and shoes until the first day of May or November which shall next follow my decease.
The Dover Improvement Association had built a factory in Dover, NH, for Lewis W. Nute, in 1886. After his death they rented it to the Charles H. Moulton Shoe Company, who occupied it until about 1903.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fifteenth day of June, A.D. Eighteen hundred and eighty-eight. Lewis W. Nute (Seal).
Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the above-named Lewis W. Nute as and for his last will and testament, in presence of us, who, at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto set our hands as witnesses. W.G. Russell. Thomas Russell. H.H. Sanborn.
William G. Russell and [his son,] Thomas Russell, appeared in the Boston directory of 1889, as lawyers with the law firm of Russell & Putnam, whose offices were at 50 State street, rm. 59, and who had their house at 178 Beacon street. Miss H.H. Sanborn appeared as being employed at 50 State street, rm. 59, with her house at 41 Circuit street. (She was likely their stenographer).
A true record, Attest: Elijah George, Register.
Find a Grave. (2020, May 10). Carrie A. Nute Babb. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/209951052/carrie-a-babb
Find a Grave. (2015, June 16). Henry Eddy Cobb. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/147927767
Find a Grave. (2016, August 21). Thomas R. Farrar. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/168770408/thomas-r_-farrar
Find a Grave. (2016, July 5). John S. [Q.] Henry. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/166494124/john-s_-henry
Find a Grave. (2020, March 1). Lewis Nute Maxwell. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/207538483/lewis-nute-maxwell
Find a Grave. (2020, March 1). Sarah Farrar Maxwell. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/207538806/sarah-maxwell
Find a Grave. (2015, January 14). Charles H. Moulton. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/141322856
Find a Grave. (2016, September 14). Dorcas Worcester Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/169916475/dorcas-nute
Find a Grave. (2016, September 14). Ezekiel Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/169916392/ezekiel-nute
Find a Grave. (2016, September 14). Frank Isaac Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/169916300
Find a Grave. (2015, March 9). George A. Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/143534695/george-a-nute
Find a Grave. (2014, March 21). Lewis Worster Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/126657931/lewis-worster-nute
Find a Grave. (2015, March 9). Lewis W. Nute [2nd]. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/143534724
Find a Grave. (2016, September 14). Samuel Freeman Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/169916641
Find a Grave. (2010, August 3). Edwin Francis Souther, Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/55822196/edwin-francis-souther
Find a Grave. (2020, August 3). Harriet Farrar Souther. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/55821884/harriet-souther
Wikipedia. (2020, May 28). American House (Boston). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_House_(Boston)
Wikipedia. (2019, October 14). Charles Frodsham. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Frodsham
Wikipedia. (2019, December 7). Per Stirpes. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Per_stirpes
Wikipedia. (2020, May 30). Viz. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz.