I, Martin Van Buren of the Town of Kinderhook County of Columbia, and State of
New York, heretofore Governor of the State and more recently President of the
United States, but for the last and happiest years of my life, a Farmer in my
native Town, do make & declare the following to be my last will & testament.
I direct my Executors hereinafter named to pay without delay, my
funeral expenses & all outstanding bills. Debts in the ordinary acceptation of
that term I owe now & hope to leave none.
I direct that no account shall be taken of advances by me heretofore made to
either of my sons and that they shall be considered as settled – with the
exceptions of a bond I hold against my son Abraham for two thousand Dollars.
And also a note against my son John for Four Thousand Eight hundred and
fifteen dollars which were agreed to be considered as business transactions
strict the amount due on each at my death (the interest having been punctually
paid to the present year) is to be charged to them respectively and deducted
from their shares of my estate. The like charge and reduction shall be made in
respect to any future payments by me or by my Estate in cases where I have
made myself liable as surety for either of my sons, but in which nothing has
yet been paid by me.
In consideration of advances which I have made to my sons Abraham & John
whilst now have been made to my son Smith Thompson, I bequeath to the latter
all my personal chattels & effects, excepting therefrom all the debts that may
be due to me and stocks that I may own at my death, and also my wine & stock
on my farm, my miscellaneous library is intended to be included in this
bequest, but not my law library which I bequeath to my son John.
I give to my grandson Singleton Van Buren a gold snuff Box presented to me
with the Freedom of the City by the Corporation of the City of New York, and
to my grandson Martin son of Abraham, the marble bust made of me by Powers
which I had previously presented to his mother, I now transfer to the son by
her direction I give to my grandson Martin Van Buren son of my son Smith
Thompson, a silver pitcher, presented to me, some years since by my old &
always sincere friend Benjamin F. Butler.
I direct my Executors to expend four hundred dollars, or so much thereof as
may be necessary, in obtaining a copy of the bust of me by Powers, which copy
I give to my grandson Edward Livingston Van Buren.
I direct my Executors to lay out five hundred Dollars for Keepsakes for my
grandson Travis Van Buren, and for my granddaughters, Anna, Ellen, Catherine &
Eliza Van Buren.
I request my Executors to regard themselves as standing toward my best of
sisters Dirike Van Buren if she shall survive me, in the relation I occupied
when living, & to omit nothing in the way of pecuniary advances that may
contribute to her comfort out of my Estate.
I direct my Executors to pay to my niece Christina Cantine two hundred dollars
& to each of my nieces Lucretia Van Buren & Jane Ann Van Buren the sum of one
hundred dollars; and I give and devise to my nephew Martin Van Buren, son of
my brother Lawrence, & to his heirs and assigns forever all my interest in a
small dwelling with the Lot on which it stands adjoining his father’s house,
conveyed to me by the latter as security for money lent, but the latter devise
is upon condition that his father relieves me or my estate from my remaining
security ship to the State of New York.
I hereby appoint my three sons Abraham, John & Smith Thompson, Executors of my
last & only will; and I do hereby authorize & empower them or such of them as
shall take upon themselves the execution thereof, and the survivors or
survivor of them, to fulfill by the Execution of conveyances & otherwise as
may be proper, any contracts for the sale of lands, made by me, which shall be
outstanding at the time of my death.
I hereby give devise & bequeath to my three sons, Abraham, John & Smith
Thompson all the remainder & residue of my personal Estate not required ro the
purposes of my will under the provisions above made, & all my real estate
wheresoever situated, to be equally divided between them To Have and to hold
their respective shares thereof to them, their heirs & assigns forever,
subject to the following conditions & reservations viz –
First – that out of the avails of the sale of Lindenwald there shall be
reserved & paid over to my son Smith Thompson, his heirs or assigns the sum of
Seven Thousand five hundred dollars in full satisfaction for his advance
towards the expenses incurred by the additions to and improvements upon the
dwelling House & out buildings with the expectation that the Place would be
devised to him upon terms that would be equitable in the respect to his
brothers, the payment to be without interest during my lifetime.
Secondly – that upon the sale of Lindenwald the preference shall be offered in
succession to my sons, beginning for the reason above assigned & no other,
with the youngest if the son accepting the same as willing to pay therefor as
much as the place can be sold for on the market.
The three pieces of plate last presented to me for by deceased friend,
Benjamin F. Butler, I bequest to my three sons Abraham, John & Smith Thompson,
to be equally divided between them.
In witness whereof I have to this Instrument set my hand & seal this
eighteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred
Van Buren (seal)