At age 69, on November 20, 1920, Emma Borden signed her Last Will & Testament. It would be greatly enhanced with a Codicil signed less than two years later, on June 27, 1922. Her Will and Codicil have been uploaded as a separate page to this blog. Click that selection at the top of this page to view them.
Subsequent to the Will and the Codicil, and something never written about before, is the fact that on January 14, 1925, Emma created an initial $45,000 investment Trust with the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company that benefited – while she lived and beyond – an interesting assortment of selected individuals.
In addition to providing an income for Emma herself, the four primary recipients of 10/45th income derived quarterly from the Trust were:
A. Orrin A. Gardner (upon his death to Hamilton M. Gardner)
(It was at Orrin’s home in Touisset, known as “Riverby” that Emma was taken upon her death for her wake prior to burial in Fall River.)
B. Hamilton M. Gardner (nephew of Orrin who raised him as a young boy when his own father died).
C. Maude G. Dawson (married daughter of Mary & Preston Gardner)
D. Annie C. Connor (the trained nurse and woman who would look after Emma in her last last few years of life in Newmarket, New Hampshire — and upon her death to her son, John M. Conlon). Note: Annie C. Connor died at the age of 75 on October 11, 1936 in neighboring Lee, New Hampshire.
In addition, Emma allows for 5/45th to go to Mary Kelly (employed by Emma when she lived at The Minden Apartments in Providence, RI; and upon Mary’s death, the income to her son, John).
Emma could not know she would be dead in 2-1/2 years, so why was this established at this time? Her Will & Codicil had already been written and witnessed a little more than five years previous to this Trust Fund.
Here are a few things that happened the year before the establishment of the $45,000 Trust Fund:
|1924||Helen Leighton moves from Boston to Brookline, MA.|
|February 24, 1924||1924 Woodrow Wilson dies.|
|1924||The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the country’s earliest known gay rights organization.|
|1924||Machinery from the Borden controlled Fall River Iron Works to their mills in Kingsport, Tennessee marks the unofficial demise of the cotton industry in Fall River.|
|April 14, 1924||Lizzie forms a partnership with Jacob Dondis in her half share of the AJ Borden Bldg on So. Main. (LR56)|
|1924||Adolf Hitler publishes his Nazi political tract Mein Kampf (My Battle).|
|April 29, 1924||Hannah B. Reagan, former police matron, dies at the age of 73 in Fall River.|
|1924||Studies in Murder by Edmund Pearson is published. (Did Lizzie read it?)|
|1924||Decline in Fall River textile mills begins; Fall River is no longer the “Cotton King”.|
|December 4, 1924||David Anthony, Jr. dies at Truesdale Hosp from injuries from a fall from his motorbike in Somerset on 11/24/24.|
The year before, 1923, Emma boarded for the summer in Newmarket with Annie Connor and then in 1924 lived there permanently. It was, in fact, through Preston Gardner that the Emma-Connor connection was made. So it would appear Preston Gardner saw to it that Emma had a nice place to live with someone who could care for her.
The Trust Fund was undoubtedly administered by Preston Gardner, an officer and Vice President of the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company that figures so prominently in Emma’s actual Will.
Here is the actual Trust Fund document. Click on image for larger view.
It strikes me that Emma may not have been very wise in the handling of her money in terms of investing it. Perhaps she just kept it in a bank not earning much interest. For the first 42 years of her life she never had to think about large purchases or any type of financial management involving significant sums. Maybe she never learned how. Her relationship with Charles Cook, who handled Andrew’s properties and subsequently “the girls”, does not seem to be as lasting as it was with Lizzie.
It is possible that Emma was already showing signs of senility and her cousins, Preston and/or Orrin, prompted her to invest at least some of her net worth. In any event, this Trust ensured those named individuals of receiving income prior to her death and beyond.