Shillings to My Kids

Token gifts to children in a will could be because the writer had already given the children money or because the writer and the child had a falling out. It can be difficult to determine which is the case if the only evidence of a falling out is a token bequest in a will. Sarah Turberville fortunately is believed to have listed all her sons in her will: John Willis, William Willis, Henry Wood, David Hudson, and Joshua Hudson. Some of the children had likely received money from their respective father’s estates (Sarah was married four times, outliving four husbands, and had children with the first three).

In this case her mention of the sons, particularly the Willis and Husdon ones who received one or ten shillings, was probably to prevent them from claiming omission. The key word is “probably.”

Just don’t draw conclusions that are not supported by the evidence–and be glad that children are mentioned at all. Sometimes they are not.

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