A widow of property, died, leaving a handwritten will. Such a will, I am told, is  called a holographic will.

This type of instrument brings up all sorts of problems when it comes to proving such a document.

Such a will may or may not be witnessed. In this case it was.

Having been witnessed, it must then be proven that the will is in fact, in the hand writing of the diseased.  During the course of the proceeding, it was proven to be so, by comparing the will with other known writings of the widow.

Then they had to determine that the widow was of sane mind and knew what she was doing about the will.

This was cleared up by the fact of the bulk of the language of the will, as well as the spelling, and structure, was deemed well enough to ascertain that the widow was in good mental health at the time of the writing.

So far, so good. Now, since the widow had little or no knowledge of the legalities of the language of a will, this was left the problem of intent, for the court to decide.

This will, having met all the criteria, was probated in Suffolk Co. MA,

Nov 2, 1906.


Mrs. Ellen WARE, of Washington, DC died Aug,31, 1906, her will being probated the following November.

She was survived by one son, Robert WARE, who along with Albion Parris,

were named executors. and were appointed and qualified as such.

Mrs. Ware, among other holdings, owned a parcel of real-estate in the area of East and Essex Streets, in Boston.

Robert, having been named heir to all of his mother’s holdings, decided to sell the land in Boston and hired Robert S. Minot to execute the sale. The property set value of $133,500. (1906 dollars!)

It was stipulated, in  the will, that the proceeds from the sale, be invested in shares under the Willis-Ware Real Estate trust agreement.

So that came to be.

Now things get sticky. Mr. Minot was to see that certain shares were dispersed to certain of Mrs. Wares sisters, and or her nieces




When things didn‘t work out the way they were supposed to, we find ourselves in court  listed as,


March 12, 1909-June 22, 1909

Suffolk, County


It appears that Mr. MINOT took it upon himself as to which of Mrs. Wares sisters, and or nieces, would receive how many shares in the Willis-Ware trust, as opposed to Mrs. Wares wishes.

The court, after long debate, and precedent citing, determined the intent of Mr. Wares wishes and it was so ordered, with the shares being divided as per Mrs. Wares wishes.


East and Essex in Boston is now part of I-95, if I read the map correctly.





  1. After all the “here to forths” were entered, the “t’s crossed” and the “i’s” dotted, justice finally prevailed. Thanks for a great article Ray.

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