There was an interesting story this week about one of the most unusual wills in American history. It appears that about a century ago, one of the richest men in America must have been very upset with his immediate family.
Hon. Wellington R. Burt, a large timber baron in Michigan, died in 1919 and left his fortune to his family. Nothing unusual about that. But one condition stipulated in the will brought this large legacy into the news in 2011.
Wellington Burt’s fortune was not to be distributed to his family heirs until 21 years after all of his grandchildren who were living in 1919 had died. That condition has just been met, and the $100 to $110 million legacy is about to be released.
You may be surprised to see who has family ties to this history book event. Within the 25,000 plus relatives in the Family Forest kinship report (see question number ten) of Hon. Wellington R. Burt are a number of instantly recognizable names.
Some of the other wealthy Americans are Wall Street icon Warren Buffett (7C3R), AOL founder Steve Case (6C3R), Mrs. King Ranch Henrietta Maria Morse Chamberlain (7C), firearms manufacturer Colonel Samuel Colt (7C), department store heir Marshall Field V (6C3R), Wall Street legend JP Morgan (7C1R), and eBay executive Meg Whitman (7C3R).
Some of the entertainers are Humphrey Bogart (8C1R), Spring Byington (6C2R), Agatha Christie (6C2R), Cindy Crawford (8C4R), Bruce and Laura Dern (8C2R & 8C3R), Jane and Peter Fonda (6C3R), Matthew Fox (6C5R), Dorothy and Lillian Gish (6C4R), Ernest Hemingway (8C2R), Dennis Hopper (6C5R), Tom Mix (6C2R), Anthony Perkins (6C3R), Robert Redford (6C5R), Christopher Reeve (5C4R), Tim Robbins (6C5R), Pat Robertson (7C4R), Tennessee Williams (6C2R), and Jonathan Winters (6C4R).
And some of the politicians are both Presidents Bush (7C2R & 7C3R), Rep. Ed Case (6C3R), Sir Winston Churchill (6C2R), President Grover Cleveland (6C1R), Vice President Charles Curtis (6C1R), Vice President Charles Gates Dawes (7C2R), President Gerald Ford (6C3R), President Richard Nixon (8C3R), Governor Sarah Palin (6C5R), President Franklin Pierce (5C1R), Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (6C3R), Governor Mitt Romney (5C4R), and President William Howard Taft (8C1R).
I am a 7C4R of Hon. Wellington R. Burt, and the Family Forest® is a People-Centered Approach To History®.