My great great grandfather’s uncle, Asa Lyon Hatch, was one of the men in the boating incident I posted a few weeks earlier. As mentioned he survived that accident, with possibly just the loss of his dignity, and went on to live a few more decades. Sadly, due to bad luck, or crappy karma, neither of his two wives, or only child, survived him when he died in 1895.
I don’t know why, maybe it was just a slow day, but for no particular reason I started to do a very cursory background check on Asa. In the process of this search I learned that Asa was a very well-to-do merchant, who had lived in Rhode Island, Vermont, New York City, Kentucky, and who knows where else.
And then I found his will which he made in 1892, and I’m not really sure why, but I started reading it.
Estate of Asa Lyon Hatch
My Last Will!
In the name of God! Spirit of all things I Asa Lyon Hatch do make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament.
First. After my Spirit has passed to the World of Spirits, I request that my body be clothed in garments of pure white, as I have heretofore stated.
I wish my remains to be placed in a casket of clear white; not expensive.
Second. I desire my body placed in my grounds in the Cemetery in the Town of Grand Isle, State of Vermont. Have the grave dug North and South with the head to the north with the foot of my wife’s Elizabeth grave, on the west, and that of my wife’s Frances, on the North.
I desire to have placed at the head of my grave, a White Marble Head Stone similar to those placed at the head of my two wife’s, with the following words plainly and clearly cut on the same, with the name, cut in a square, raised letter the same as those of my two Wives
“I am the last of those called Mine:
“My resurrection morn; was, when spirit and body parted;
“I have left to join my Loved Ones;
“To spend with them – a Life Eternal!
“Earth Fare The Well!
Asa Lyon Hatch
Third. I would name and appoint my brothers Henry R. Hatch and Arthur E. Hatch, both residents of Cleveland, of the State of Ohio, to be my Executors. And request that no bonds be required, of them.
It is my wish, that my friends Aldridge B. Gardiner of Providence, Rhode Island may carry out my wishes, as to the distribution of the small effect that I have left in the City of Providence, R.I.; a memorandum of which, I have left with this will.
Fourth. I give and bequeath, all my Real Estate and personal property, not designated in above memorandum to my two brothers Henry R. Hatch and Arthur E. Hatch; Share and share alike.
Fifth. I request that my Executors, shall set aside the sum of Five Hundred Dollars in cash, to be invested in the Bonds of the Town of Grand Isle Vermont; or of those of the County of Grand Isle; or of the State of Vermont; which shall be perfectly safe, praying an income that shall prove requisitor to carry out my wishes, as herein expressed.
Sixth. It is my wish that the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, may never be allowed to fall below the amount specified, and the income from which shall be used, to keep my grounds, or burial plat clean and free from grass or weeds; also the Marble Coping and Head Stones in place and in order.
Should any of the income remain after being as above applied I request that such of the remainder be used, as may be deemed necessary to keep clean and free from grass, the graves of my Father, my Mother and those of my Brothers and Sisters, as well as those of my Grandfather and GrandMother Lyon, and that of my Uncle Sewell [sic, should be Newell] Lyon.
Seventh. I have made and signed an order or Draft to the order of Mrs. Emma Hewett Taft, now of Providence, R.I for the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, to be paid to her to compensate her for the care and kindness shown me whilst sick, and feeble and I request that my executors have that order or draft honored and protected out of my estate.
Eighth. I request that my executors will see that my funeral expenses are paid as soon as after my decease as possible out of my estate.
In testimony whereof. I the said Asa Lyon Hatch, have to this my last will and testament contained on one sheet of paper, subscribed my name and affixed my seal this ninth day of April Eighteen hundred and ninety two.
Asa Lyon Hatch L.S. [seal]
He actually added a codicil in 1895 giving his caretaker Mrs. Taft another $1000. Only two of his siblings were still alive when he died, the two brother’s mentioned in the will.
I found the will amusing and sad at the same time. Sad because he had no one left to survive him other than his brothers. But then I had to laugh because he was so very particular about his pure white clothes, pure white casket (apparently he was also cheap), pure white headstone, and the placement of his remains.
Thinking about all that white has images of Col. Sanders constantly popping into my head. Maybe he thought that all that white would better grease the hinges of those pearly gates.
There are no descendants to share his life, show off pictures, or brag about his accomplishments. This will is the only thing of his I have found that gives me a sense of his personality. I know thinking about it in the future will make me smile, maybe you will too. That’s something anyway.
1. Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932 for Asa Lyon Hatch; Providence Probate Inventories of Estates, Vol 38-39 pages 12-16, 1894-1896 Ancestry.com image 324-326 of 586.