Famous and Bizarre Last Wills and Testaments of Various People

Some famous and bizarre last wills and testaments of various people including the Marquis de Sade's will and the shortest known will.

Where There's a Will (There's an Insight into the Deceased)

Marquis de Sade French writer Died: 1814

Last Will: The man whose name has been immortalized by the word "sadism" recorded his deep gratitude to Madame Quesnet. He gave her 80,000 livres since "during the Reign of Terror, she saved me from the revolutionary blade all too surely suspended over my head." The marquis insisted that his corpse be kept in an open coffin in the death chamber for a full 48 hours, "at the end of which period the said coffin shall be nailed shut." Only then, after he was found to be definitely dead, was he to be buried in the woods at Malmaison.

Margaret Nothe Philadelphia housewife Died: 1913

Last Will: On one page of her handwritten book of kitchen recipes, under the title "Chili Sauce Without Working," Mrs. Nothe wrote the delicious will that was accepted by the probate court:

4 quarts of ripe tomatoes, 4 small onions, 4 green peppers, 2 teacups of sugar, 2 quarts of cider vinegar, 2 ounces ground allspice, 2 ounces cloves, 2 ounces cinnamon, 12 teaspoons salt. Chop tomatoes, onions and peppers fine, add the rest mixed together and bottle cold. Measure tomatoes when peeled. In case I die before my husband I leave everything to him.

Charles Millar Canadian lawyer Died: 1927

Last Will: Having neither dependent nor near-relative at hand, Millar bequeathed his considerable fortune "to the Mother who has given birth in Toronto to the greatest number of children" during the 10 years which followed his death. The fertility clause sent Canadian wives into a bedroom competition that the newspapers called the Stork Derby. The will was contested bitterly for 12 years, with claims that the clause provoked "immorality," but to no avail. On May 30, 1938, the $568,000 estate was distributed to 4 mothers who had produced 9 children within the specified time span. One winner immediately announced her solid support of birth control in the future.

Karl Tausch German businessman Died: 1967

Last Will: Herr Tausch, of Langen, in the province of Hesse, wrote the shortest will ever conceived: "Vse zene." The Czech words meant "All to wife."

Aleksandr Kerenski Russian revolutionist Died: 1970

Last Will: The head of Russia's provisional government between the 1st Russian Revolution of April, 1917, and the Bolshevik Revolution in the following October left approximately $30,000 to his son, Oleg. A 2nd son, Gleb, was not mentioned.

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