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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Milo Mead's Will… “with papers pinned on”

by Jeffrey Bingham Mead

Every family, no matter how large or small, has its share of eccentric souls. Milo Mead was no exception. The Greenwich native lived all of his life in the Byram section of town.

His eccentric ways made him something of an enigma in Greenwich. He never married, but died with a substantial amount of land in his name. Over the course of his adult life he deeded plots in the area he named 'New Lebanon.'

Milo Mead’s gravestone is located in the New Burial Grounds Association Cemetery next to the Second Congregational Church, Greenwich.

The piece below comes from the Greenwich News-Graphic shortly after his passing:

The will of Milo Mead of New Lebanon has been placed on Probate at the Probate Court. It has some peculiar features beside that of giving practically the whole property to two mission societies. Several clauses in the original were scratched out, and papers with Milo Mead's signature were pinned over them.

The value of the property is not accurately known, but is supposed to amount to more than $100,000 in real estate bonds and mortgages.

The original will was made on September 4, 1888, and in it Mr. William M. Ritch was named as executor. The will, which is on probate, reads as follows:

I, Milo Mead, of the Town of Greenwich, County of Fairfield, and State of Connecticut, do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following.

1st: I will that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid by the executor hereinafter mentioned.

2nd: I give, devise and bequeath to my brother Charles money sufficient to pay half his claim to his father's estate with interest.

3rd: I give, devise and bequeath to my sister Hannah five hundred dollars.

4th: I give, devise, and bequeath to my brother Mark five hundred dollars.

5th: I give, devise, and bequeath to Agnes S. Smith five hundred dollars.

6th: I give, devise, and bequeath to Agnes Wright, daughter of George Wright, dec'd, two hundred and fifty dollars.

7th: I direct that all of my property be sold by my executor hereinafter named within two years after my death.

8th: I give, devise, and bequeath the remainder after paying my bequests and legacies above mentioned to the American Missionary Association and the American Home Missionary Society, both located in the city of New York, to be divided equally.

9th: I hereby constitute and appoint William M. Ritch executor of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal this fourth day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight-hundred and eighty-eight. Signed and declared and sealed by me the said Milo Mead as his last will.

Milo Mead L.S.

And testament in presence of us, who in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names

Sylvester D. Hill

William Talbot

Willis M. Ritch, Jr.

A paper was pinned on clause 3 containing the following: As I have outlived my sister Hannah, I cross off her name as one of the heirs. Milo Mead. The clause was run through with a pen.

Over clause 4 was pinned a paper as follows: As I have outlived my brother Mark I cross off his name as one of the heirs. Milo Mead. The clause was also struck out by the pen.

Over the fifth clause the following was pinned on: Jan. 17, 1900. As I have outlived Agnes S. Smith I this day cross off her name from my will, not from any disregard to her. Milo Mead. The clause was struck out.

Over the witness clause another paper containing the following was pinned: New Lebanon, Sept. 22, 1894. As Agnes Wright is about to be married to Edward C. Fischer I cross her name off my will. Milo Mead.

Still another paper and evidently the latest one was pinned over the attest clause, which read as follows: It is my wish in case of my death, that the Danish Independent Club and Societies of New Lebanon should have plenty of time to pay the mortgage on their building, notwithstanding the limit of two years for the settlement of my estate, in my will, let it run indefinitely according to circumstances by paying the interest. Milo Mead.

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