Last Will of John E. Townsend (1871-1914)

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | May 16, 2021

John Edward Townsend (1871-1914) was the son of Henry H. and Agnes J. (Brierley) Townsend. His father had founded the Miltonia Mill in Milton Mills in 1872, to which John had succeeded upon his father’s death in 1904. (His two grandfathers (and namesakes), John Townsend and Edward Brierley, had run earlier the Milton Mills Mfg. Co. and the Brierley Mill respectively).

We learn from Ms. Cunningham’s recent interesting article regarding selected excerpts from the diary of Miltonia Mills executive Harry E. Wentworth, that John E. Townsend’s health began to fail him as early as April 1910.

John E. Townsend, a woolen blankets manufacturer, aged thirty-nine years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Mills”) household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fourteen years), Eda B. Townsend, aged thirty-nine years (b. ME), and his children, Henry A. Townsend, aged twelve years (b. NH), and Agnes M. Townsend, aged ten years (b. NH). John E. Townsend owned their house, free-and-clear.

John E. Townsend died of Bright’s Disease (a kidney ailment) in Milton Mills on September 8, 1914, aged forty-two years, eleven months, and thirty days. He left a widow, Eda B. (Lowd) Townsend, and two children, Henry A. Townsend, and Grace M. Townsend.


Will of John E. Townsend

Know All Men by These Presents that I, John E. Townsend of Milton Mills, Strafford County, New Hampshire, do make this my last Will and Testament, revoking all other Wills by me at any time heretofore made.

After the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses I give, devise and bequeath as follows:

First: I constitute and appoint Harry E. Wentworth, for many years my secretary and confidential clerk, and the New England Trust Company of Boston, Massachusetts, the executors and trustees under this my last will, and exempt all executors of and trustees under this last will, whether original or substituted, from giving a surety or sureties upon the bonds required of them as said executors and trustees. By “substituted executors” are meant, of course, administrators with the will annexed.

Brother-in-law Harry E. Wentworth, a woolen mill bookkeeper, aged forty years (b. NH), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census (April 22, 1910). His household included his son, Norman L. Wentworth, aged six years (b. ME), and his mother-in-law, Melissa Lowd, aged sixty-seven years (b. ME). Harry E. Wentworth owned their farm, free-and-clear.

The New England Trust Company of Boston, MA, declined their appointment as joint executor and trustee. Harry E. Wentworth traveled instead to Dover, NH, September 18, 1914, and secured Strafford County Solicitor Dwight Hall as a substitute for the trust company. (This substitution of Hall for the N.E. Trust Company altered their status somewhat. They became administrators, with will annexed, i.e., administrators guided or advised by the contents of a will, rather than its executors).

Dwight Hall, a lawyer and county solicitor, aged thirty-nine years (b. NH), headed a Dover, NH, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Frances S. Hall, aged thirty-eight years (b. New Brunswick, Canada), and his servant, Margaret Cassidy, a private family servant, aged thirty-five years (b. Canada (Irish)). Dwight Hall owned their house at 119 Silver Street, free-and-clear.

I authorize my said executors to sell all real and personal estate not hereinafter  specifically devised or bequeathed by private sale or public auction for the payment of debts and for the purpose of investing the trust estates hereinafter created, and to execute and deliver such deeds of conveyance or other instruments of transfer as may be necessary to pass a proper title to the same.

I authorize my said Trustees from time to time to invest and reinvest the various trust estates hereinafter bequeathed to them, if in their judgment they deem it advisable, always purchasing sound securities or other reliable property real or personal; and to this end I empower them to sell real and personal estate at any time being a part of any trust estate in their hands, either by public auction or private sale, and to execute such instruments as may be necessary to transfer the title thereto; but no purchaser from my said executors or trustees shall see to the application of the purchase money, and the receipts of my said executors and trustees for all moneys and effects paid or delivered to others by virtue of this will shall exonerate the persons taking the same from all liability to see to the application or disposition of the money or effects therein mentioned.

I direct my said trustees to keep the funds of the several trust estates created by this will separate and distinct, and I enjoin upon them a similar caution in regard to keeping their accounts.

I declare that the number of my executors and of my trustees for each trust created under this will shall remain two so long as there are any duties to be discharged by said executors and trustees, and I also declare that the words “my said executors,” and “my trustees” and “my said trustees,” wherever occurring, shall be construed and taken to mean the executors or trustees for the time being, whether original or substituted.

I authorize my said trustees to take over from my said executors any or all funds, shares of stock and other securities belonging to me at the time of my decease, and retain the same as a part of the trust estates, even though such bonds, shares and other securities may not be of the nature and character permissible for trustees to invest in by the general rules of law or by statutory provisions, and my said trustees are not to be held answerable for loss or depreciation occasioned by holding such bonds, shares or other securities, or any other securities or investments, which may form part of the trust estates, provided they act in good faith.

Townsend MillSecond: I give and devise unto my trustees, but In Trust nevertheless, for the purposes hereinafter named, all my real estate situated in Milton Mills, and all buildings therein, water privileges, and all other rights appurtenant thereto, constituting the mill property, where I have for many years conducted the business of blanket manufacturing; and I give and bequest unto my said trustees all of said business carried on by me upon said property, including the plant, machinery, fixtures, utensils, stock in trade, book debts, and good-will and effects of every nature and description connected therewith.

My said trustees shall hold and manage said property for the benefit and to the use of my son, Henry A. Townsend, and to that end I authorize and empower them to carry on as trustees, in the name of my estate, my manufacturing business until my said son shall reach the age of twenty-five years, and for the purpose of carrying on said business my said trustees are authorized to risk as capital such part of the residue of my estate hereinafter bequeathed to them for the benefit of my said son, being one-third of the residue of my estate, as they may deem advisable so to do.

Townsend, JE Estate - 1917My said trustees shall pay over the net income derived from said business quarterly or oftener if in their discretion they deem it advisable so to do, to any duly appointed guardian for my said son during his minority, for his maintenance, education and bringing up, or to my wife should she survive me, for said purposes during said period, but if my said wife should fail to maintain, educate and bring up my said son to the satisfaction of my said trustees, I authorize them in their discretion to retain and appropriate for such purposes so much of said net income as they shall think expedient and to add in their discretion any part of the net income of said trust estate to the principal thereof, and the amount so added shall thereupon become as much a part of the principal as if originally a part thereof.

If in the opinion of my said trustees my said son shall prior to his attaining the age of twenty-five years be deemed competent and able to assume the management and control of said business and the property connected therewith forming said trust estate, I authorize my said trustees, in their sole discretion, to transfer, deliver and convey to my said son all of said business and property, and the same shall thereupon become his, solely and absolutely, free and discharged from all trust. In any event this trust shall terminate and said business and property be conveyed, delivered and transferred to my said son upon his attaining the age of twenty-five years, to be his sole and absolute property, free and discharged of all trust.

Trustees Wentworth and Hall set up Henry A. Townsend as manager of a branch factory (the Acton (or Actin) Blanket Company) in the Timson shoe factory building (formerly the Brierley Mill), after he reached the age of twenty-one years (January 2, 1919). (See H.E. Wentworth’s Diary Entries, Miltonia Mills – 1910-27).

An industry directory of 1920 identified Henry A. Townsend as being then proprietor of the Miltonia Mill. He would then have been twenty-two years of age. (See H.E. Wentworth’s Diary Entries, Miltonia Mills – 1910-27).

Henry A. Townsend, a blanket mill manufacturer, aged twenty-two years (b. NH), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Ingeborg V. Townsend, aged twenty-seven years (b. MA), and his nephew-in-law, Robert R. Anderson, aged eleven years (b. MA). Henry A. Townsend rented their house on the Springvale Road. (Robert R. Anderson would become principal of Nute High School in 1939-42).

Townsend House - Per JW CunninghamThird: I give, devise and bequeath to my wife, Eda B. Townsend, her heirs and assigns forever, the homestead estate on which I know reside in said Milton Mills, together with the household furniture and household effects, including all articles both of use and ornament, silverware, pictures, horses, carriages, sleighs, and stable furniture and equipment generally, and other personal property used in conjunction with the occupation of my said estate at the time of my decease. In case my said wife should not survive me, I give, devise and bequeath my said homestead estate and other property used in conjunction therewith in equal shares to my son and daughter, or the whole thereof to the survivor, to their heirs and assigns forever.

Eda B. Townsend, a widow, aged forty-eight years (b. ME), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census (January 2, 1920). Her household included her daughter, Agnes M. Townsend, aged nineteen years (b. NH). Eda B. Townsend owned their house on Church Street in Milton Mills, free-and-clear.

Fourth: I give and bequeath unto my executor Harry E. Wentworth in recognition of his faithful service to me the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars.

Harry E. Wentworth, a blanket mill manager, aged fifty years (b. NH), headed an Acton, ME, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his [second] wife, Ella B. Wentworth, aged forty-nine years (b. ME), and his son, Norman L. Wentworth, aged sixteen years (b. ME). Harry E. Wentworth owned their farm on the Lebanon Road, free-and-clear.

Milton Mills CemeteryFifth: I give and bequeath to the Milton Mills Cemetery Fund or the trustees thereof the sum of one thousand dollars.

Sixth: I give and bequeath unto Oscar F. Marsh of Milton Mills, an old and close friend of my father, Henry H. Townsend, the sum of one thousand dollars.

Oscar F. Marsh [(1846-1928)] appeared in the census over the years as a woolen mill finisher (1870), a felt mill worker (1880), and a blanket finisher (1900). He appeared in the Milton directory of 1912, as being retired, with his house at 30 Main street, M. Mills. His son, Forrest L. Marsh, appeared in that same 1912 directory as a lawyer, insurance [agent] and notary public, with his office at 37 Main street, with his house also at 30 Main street, M. Mills. Forrest L. Marsh’s wife, Mrs. Mildred T. [(Tebbetts)] Marsh, appeared as keeping a dry and fancy goods store at 40 Main street, corner of Church street, with her house also at 30 Main street, M. Mills.

Townsend, HH - GraveSeventh: I direct my executors to expend a reasonable sum for the proper care of the burial lot where my father’s remains are, and there my body shall be interred, and I authorize them to devote for the perpetual care of said lot or lots such sum as may be found necessary or expedient.

Eighth: All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate of every nature and description, both real and personal, of which I may be entitled at the time of my decease, I direct shall be divided into three equal parts or shares. I give, devise and bequeath one of said shares or parts being one-third of said rest and residue to my said wife Eda and to her heirs and assigns forever. Should my said wife not survive me said one-third share shall be equally divided among my son and my daughter and added to their respective shares in the residue of my said estate as hereinafter set forth, or the whole of said one third shall go to the survivor if but one survives me, and become part of his or her trust estate as the case may be.

I give, devise and bequeath to my said trustees In Trust nevertheless for the purpose hereinafter set forth two-thirds of the residue of my estate, one-third of which is to be held by said trustees in trust for the benefit of my said son, and the other third for the benefit of my said daughter, upon separate and distinct trusts for their benefit. My trustees shall collect and receive all income thereof and after paying therefrom the necessary expenses of administering said trusts shall apply such part of the balance or net income as they may deem best for the maintenance, support and education of my said daughter, Agnes M. and of my said son, paying said income to any appointed guardian for them, quarterly or oftener in their discretion, while they are under age, or to their mother, to be expended by her for said purposes, but if my said wife (their mother) should fail to properly maintain, support and educate my said daughter and son in the opinion of my said trustees, I authorize them in their discretion to retain and appropriate for said purposes so much of said net income as they shall think expedient for said purposes and to personally expend such part of said net income as may be necessary for said purposes, and to add any part of the net income of said trust estates to the principal thereof, and the amount so added shall thereupon become as much a part of the principal as if originally a part thereof.

When my said daughter shall arrive at the age of thirty years then the trust above stated shall terminate and I direct my said trustees to convey, transfer and pay over the entire principal and accumulated income then constituting the trust estate discharged of all trust to my said daughter, to be hers absolutely. If my said daughter shall die before arriving at the age of thirty years then the trust shall terminate and I direct my said trustees to convey, transfer and pay over in equal share the entire principal and a [any] accumulated income then constituting the trust estate to the issue then living if any of my said daughter, and if she leave no issue then to any person or persons she may name or appoint in and by her last will and testament, or failing such appointment to my son if living or any issue of his in equal shares.

We may note that Agnes M. Townsend (1900-1970) was not scheduled to come into her own until she was aged thirty years, i.e., not until May 25, 1930. Her older brother would have to be no older than twenty-five years (and under certain conditions even younger, as actually happened).

Agnes M. Townsend married in Milton Mills, April 24, 1920, Halton R. Hayes, she of Milton and he of Rochester, NH. He was a salesman, aged twenty-six years, and she was at home, aged nineteen years. Rev. Lester E. Alexander performed the ceremony. Hayes was born in Rochester, NH, circa 1894, son of Edwin F. and Hattie (Pinkham) Hayes.

Halton R. Hayes, a biscuit sales agent, aged thirty-six years (b. NH), headed a Haverhill, MA, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of ten years), Agnes T. Hayes, aged twenty-nine years (b. NH), and his son, Paul T. Hayes, aged five years (b. MA). Halton R. Hayes owned their house at 35 Fernwood Avenue, which was valued at $10,ooo. They had a radio set. (This was just seven weeks short of her thirtieth birthday).

When my said son shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years then the trust for his benefit above stated shall terminate, and I direct my said trustees to convey, transfer and pay over the entire principal and accumulated income then constituting said trust estate free and discharged of all trust to him. Should my son not survive me or surviving me die before reaching the age of twenty-five years or before the mill property and business described in article Second hereof shall have been conveyed and turned over to him by my said trustees in accordance with said article Second, then and in that event his one-third share in said residue and all the property and business constituting the trust estate described in said article Second shall be added to and become a part of the trust established by this article for the benefit of my said daughter and said business and property shall be controlled and carried on by my said trustees for the benefit of my said daughter under the same terms and conditions as the trust of one-third of the residue for her benefit in the article set forth.

Should my said daughter not survive me I direct that her one-third share in the residue of my estate shall be added to that one-third herein given to my trustees for the benefit of my said son, to be held for his benefit upon like trusts and subject to the same conditions as hereabove stated.

No beneficiary under said will except my said wife shall so alienate, dispose of, anticipate, or in any way encumber or create a charge upon the income to which he or she is entitled under the above provisions of this will, nor shall the same be subject to attachment, diversion or seizure by any creditor by any legal process whatsoever; and if any beneficiary except my said wife shall alienate, dispose of, anticipate or create a charge upon the income to which he or she is entitled, or if he or she shall become a bankrupt or make any assignment for the benefit of creditors, or if said income shall become in any way attached, diverted or seized by any legal process, then my said trustees and their successors shall immediately cease to pay such income to said beneficiary and shall thereafter apply the same for his or her support, maintenance and education as they may in their discretion and judgment deem best.

In Testimony Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 30th day of July, A.D. nineteen hundred and fourteen. John E. Townsend (seal)

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, Who, at his request and in his presence and the presence of one another have hereunto set our names as witnesses.

John C. Townsend, Everett F. Fox, Harper Luper.

Witness John C. Townsend (1871-1916) was both the testator’s cousin and his brother-in-law (he was married to John E. Townsend’s sister, Grace (Townsend) Townsend (1873-1953)).

Everett F. Fox (1856-1927) was a son of Elbridge W. and Sarah E. (Buck) Fox, and grandson of Asa and Harriet (Plummer) Fox. (See Milton Mills’ Asa Fox & Son General Store). Oddly enough, he had been also a witness to Henry H. Townsend’s 1904 will.

Although his name might seem to be readily distinguishable, Harper Luper remains a bit of a mystery. There were men of that name living in Louisiana and Pennsylvania in later years, but with no way to identify them as the erstwhile witness to the Townsend will.

The State of New Hampshire. STRAFFORD, SS. At a special Court of Probate holden at Somersworth in said County on the 21st Tuesday of September A.D. 1914.
The foregoing instrument purporting to be the last Will in writing of John E. Townsend, late of Milton Mills in said County, deceased, having been presented for Probate in common form by Harry E. Wentworth and Dwight Hall, the Execut_ therein named administrators with the will annexed, and Everett F. Fox, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, having made oath before said Court that he saw the said testator sign and seal said instrument; that of the time of so doing the said testator was of the age of twenty-one years and of sound mind; and that the said Everett F. Fox, with John C. Townsend and Harper Luper (all credible witnesses,) attested and subscribed said instrument together in the presence and at the request of said testator. I do hereby approve and allow the same; and do DECREE that said instrument is duly proved and allowed in this Court in common form; as the last Will in writing of said John E. Townsend, deceased. Christopher H. Wells, JUDGE OF PROBATE.
Recorded agreeably to the original. Examined by William W. Martin, REGISTER (Strafford County Probate, 140:300).

Christopher H. Wells, a probate court judge, aged fifty-six years (b. NH), headed a Somersworth, NH, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census, His household included his wife (of twenty-three years), Oriana Wells, aged fifty years (b. NH). Christopher H. Wells owned their house at 19 Mt. Vernon Street, with a mortgage.


See also Milton Mills’ Miltonia Mill – 1872-14 and H.E. Wentworth’s Diary Entries, Miltonia Mills – 1910-27


References:

Dover Public Library. (1999). 1999 Heritage Walking Tour [117 Silver Street]. Retrieved from www.dover.nh.gov/government/city-operations/library/history/Heritage-Walking-Tours/1999-heritage-walking-tour.html

Find a Grave. (2013, August 4). Everett Fremont Fox. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/114891790/everett-fremont-fox

Find a Grave. (2013, August 4). Agnes Townsend Hayes. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/114893159/agnes-hayes

Find a Grave. (2013, August 14). Forrest L. Marsh. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115493759/forrest-l-marsh

Find a Grave. (2013, August 14). Oscar F. Marsh. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115493700/oscar-f-marsh

Find a Grave. (2013, August 4). Eda B. Lowd Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/114893198/eda-b-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 4). Henry A. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/114893218/henry-a-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). Henry H. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115352239/henry-h-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). John C. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115352317/john-c-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 12). John E. Townsend. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115352496/john-e-townsend

Find a Grave. (2013, August 5). Harry E. Wentworth. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/114938247/harry-e-wentworth

U.S. Patent Office. (1922, April 11). Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=IJ2PAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA381

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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