April 7, 1908: Wealthy Bachelor Leaves Considerable Inheritance to Friends and Neighbors


(Apologies to our loyal readers. For some reason, the April 7 history story was not published, and so we are offering it as a "bonus" vignette.)

By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

April 7, 1908: A wealthy bachelor, the late Henry Gilbert, has left his considerable estate to “strangers” (not relatives). Gilbert was the last of five siblings, none of whom had ever married; and, as each one died, the estate was left to those who remained. They had inherited considerable money and properties from their father.

Gilbert’s largest bequest is to Ammon Mensch, a merchant from Gilbertsville, who inherits about 130 acres of farm land and a large tract of timber land. The rest of the estate, consisting of a home and 15 acres in New Berlinville and the Gilbertsville Hotel property is to be sold and the proceeds divided into seven equal shares. These beneficiaries were all friends and neighbors of Gilbert who were quite surprised about their inheritance. The entire estate is estimated at between $35,0090 and $40,000.

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