The Legacy of Whiting Street, Part VI

by Laurel | March 11th, 2013

31 May 1903

Tombstone of Whiting Street

Tombstone of Whiting Street
Forestdale Cemetery

The Will and Its Provisions

The will of Whiting Street was drawn up by him under date of June 23, 1875, being witnessed by William E. Lewis, W. V. Sheldon and John C. Hammond. By the provisions of the will, after providing for the disposition of his real estate, the sum of $1000 each was given outright to Smith College, the Massachusetts Agricultural College, Mount Holyoke College, the House for the Friendless of this city and Rev. Simeon Miller, a former pastor at Holyoke for many years, but then living in this city. A further sum of $1000 was given to the Parsons Paper Company, in trust, the income to be distributed to the employees of the company under the direction of the directors, and the Clarke Institution for the Blind in Northampton was also given $1000 outright. It is recorded that during the last years of his life Mr. Street was importuned by many men and women for requests to the institutions all through this section. They were received pleasantly, and in some cases a promise was given that he would do something for them; in others they were put off with a promise to consider the matter. Where his promise to remember was given, it was without doubt kept.

The sum of $112,500 was then set apart to be held by the trustees, the income to be paid by them during the life of thee heirs mentioned in the will “for the relief and comfort of worthy poor of said towns and city (Northampton was then a town), who shall not be in the almshouse nor be town or city paupers.” After the death of Whiting Bradley Street, Mrs. Nancy Perkins, Polly Ann Houston, Harriet Adaline Street Houston, this sum of $112,500 is to be paid over to the towns and city as provided, with the stipulation that the income only shall be used as before; the city and not the trustees of the estate then to manage the money. It will be noted that the sums were bequeathed to the various cities and towns along the river from the traffic of which he had laid the foundations of his fortune The division was as follows:

Gifts to Towns
South Hadley
West Springfield

There is left $1500, which the trustees are authorized to appropriate and dispose of at their discretion. Due provision is made that proper action be taken by the city or town that the sums received be expended for no other purpose tan mentioned in the will. The local dispensation of the money is in charge of commissioners, or in small towns, almoners, elected by the cities and towns. The income of $5000 was also left to the First Congregational Church of Holyoke, of $1,000 to the House of Providence orphanage, and $500 to keeping the cemetery on the road from Holyoke to Northampton in good condition.

The residue of the property was divided into a “one-third fund” and a “two-thirds fund.” This one-third fund was held separately for the use and benefit of Whiting Bradley Street, under certain conditions. the passage from the will relating to it is worth quoting. It reads as follows:

The said trustees shall, as soon as may be after the estate shall come into their hands, set apart and hold separately one full and fair third of said residue of my estate for the use and benefit of my grandnephew, the aforesaid Whiting Bradley Street, and shall manage and improve the same, and all the income and profits thereof with prudence and care, applying from time to time such parts of said income as they shall deem needful for the comfortable support and the suitable and proper education and advancement in life of the said Whiting Bradley Street until he shall arrive at the age of 25 years; at which time the said trustees may and shall, if they find him well established in habits of frugality and temperance and competent to the prudent management of his estate, pay over and deliver to him, as his own, such portion of the estate set apart as above directed with its unexpended income, and increase, as they shall think best, not exceeding, however, one-fourth part thereof. And when the said Whiting Bradley Street shall have reached the age of 30 years, the said trustees shall, upon finding the same facts to exist, as above specified, as to his habits and capacity, pay over and deliver a further portion of the estate set apart, as aforesaid, not exceeding one-third thereof at that time, to hold as his own property forever. and the said trustees shall hold and managed the remaining half part of the share originally set apart of the said W. B. Street during the remainder of his life, but shall apply no part thereof for his support, except such as may become necessary for his comfort of that of his family in case he shall by the occurrence of some unforeseen misfortune become incapable of furnishing that support from his own means.

Provision is made that upon the death of Bradley Street the residue of that portion shall be paid to Mrs. Nancy Perkins, or at her death the money to go to the two-thirds fund. As a matter of fact, the time never came at which the trustees could conscientiously pay to Bradley Street any portion, with at 25 years or 30 years of age, or thereafter, save enough to keep him from want. From time to time they have sent him small sums and there has come back to them the simple acknowledgement of the gift. The two-thirds fund was set apart, the income to be paid to Whiting Street’s three nieces, Mrs. Eliza Smith, widow of Albigence Smith, Mrs. R. A. Houston and Mrs. Joseph Houston. On their death the entire two-thirds fund, and probably most of the one-third fund originally set apart for Bradley Street, will be divided among their heirs, the fund for the towns will be paid over to them, and the long trusteeship will be ended.

The will names Haynes H. Chilson of Northampton, Joseph C. Parsons and J. S. McElwain of Holyoke was executors and trustees under the will, without bonds. When the estate was inventoried, it was found to consist of real estate valued at $19,150, and personal estate values at $464,206, a total of $483,356. Of the three executors and trustees originally named in the will, but one is living, J. S. McElwain, who recalls that at one time, owing to death, he was for a short time the only trustee. By the provisions of the will, the remaining trustees choose a successor to any one removed by death. At the death of Joseph C. Parsons and Haynes H. Chilson, Aaron Bagg, Jr. of West Springfield and F. H. Harris of this city we chosen to the trust.

Without doubt, the records of these trustees show the fund to have been the best managed of any in New England, if not in the country. the funds are referred to as the “5 and 7” fund, so named because the bequests to towns, etc., were in these sections of the will; the “one-third fund” for the benefit of Whiting Bradley Street, under certain conditions, and the “two-thirds fund” for the benefit of his three nieces. The one-third fund was never paid over, as Bradley Street was never fit to have control of the property, so there was an accumulation of income in addition The following table will show at a glance the excellent management of the property since 1880, when the trustees too charge, the figures being given in round numbers:

“5 & 7”
One-third fund


This shows that in the 22 years there has been an increase in valuation of the three funds of about $640,000 and an accumulation of the income of the one-third fund is about $378,000. The income divided during the 22 years has been at about 6 percent. The amount of income distributed during the trusteeship ti the towns and the “two-thirds” fund is $521,000.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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