Primary Resource

Will of Dolley Madison (February 1, 1841)

In her will, dated February 1, 1841, Dolley Madison arranges for the disbursement of her property among family and friends.

Transcription from Original

I Dolley P. Madison widow of James Madison late President of the United States Do make this my last will and testament at Montpellier, this first day of February Anno Di. 1841. hereby revoking all wills by me heretofore made—From prudential considerations, and not from any want [of] affection for my dear Son John Payne Todd, I do Hereby give devise and bequeath all and every part of my estate real personal, and mixed, whatsoever and whensoever to my worthy friends, William C. Rives, Edward Coles and Philip P. Barbour their Heirs and assigns, and to the survi[v]or and Survi[v]ors of them and to the Executors and assigns of such survi[v]or, In trust nevertheless, and to and for the Sole and exclusive use benefit and behoof, of the person and persons respectively, and for the estate and estates herein after expressed.

I give and bequeath to my Son John P. Todd my house and lots in the City of Washington with the lands appertaining to the Montp[e]llier estate, except six hundred acres nearest the Mansion house, in fee simple, but if my Son John P. Todd mary and have children, I then bequeath to the Said children the Said Mansion house and the six hundred of land to be divided equally, between them, if he should have none than one child; and if but one to that one child and its heirs forever, of this my bequeast. I give to my brother John Coles Payne one thousand dollars, to be laid out for his accommodation and comfort. I give to his sons William Temple and James Madison Payne three hundred dollars each, and I give to my neice Anna Payne, three thousand dollars, with my negro Woman and her children one third of my wearing apparel, my forte piano and the furniture of my chamber, with my private papers to burn. One hundred Volumes of my books and a likeness of Mr Madison and Myself. I give to my dear Sister Lucy P. Todd one negro girl of twelve or fifteen Years of age I give to my niece Mary E. P. Allen one negro girl of ten or twelve years of age—I give to my niece Mary E. E. Cutts one negro Girl of ten or twelve years of age, as Marks of my affection for them—I give to my Mulatto man Paul his freedom—I give and bequeath to William C. Rives, John P. Todd and Edward Coles the Sum of five hundred dollars for the purpose of erecting a plain monument of White Marble over the remains of my dear Husband, and as it is my desire and request to be laid by his side, I give to the above three friends, the sum of five hundred dollars for the purpose of designating the latter place, in a maner they think proper.

I desire that all my just debts be paid out of my personal property after the legacies that are above and might be mentioned.

I hereby appoint James K. Paulding John P. Todd William C. Rives and Edward Coles, to have the management, direction and publication of the papers of my deceased Husband, as they were confided to me for the unfulfilled interests and purposes expressed in his will, as well as may desire that they shall appear without unnecessary delay to the upholding of our constitution, and friends of the writer. In witness whereof I have hereto signed my name and affixed my seal this first day of February anno Domini One thousand eight hundred and forty one

D. P. Madison

Witness

Lucy P Todd

Ana Payne

L Pichot

True Copy Teste Ed. N. Roach Regl. Wills

Jany. 27. 1849.