Bullitt County History

Dr. J. A. Hoffman's 1896 Will

In 1896, Dr. John Anderson Hoffman wrote out his will in his own hand. It is an unusual will by a man who was very certain about what was to be done with his estate, and specifically who was and was not to share in it. Then just before his death he added some additional bequests in a codicil. Dr. Hoffman died on November 11, 1907, and is buried in the Pope Cemetery.

Bullitt County Will Book J, Pages 359-364

Shepherdsville, Ky.
May 10th 1896

May the tenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-six

Be it known to whomsoever that the following is the manner, way and conditions I dispose of all my property of whatsoever kind, money, notes, and accounts included, to take effect at and after my death, viz. First, to my two (2) half-brothers and two (2) half sisters (of which I know but litte) and their heirs at law, one cent each.

Second, to my two (2) aunts, M. J. McKee and J. F. Evans, and their heirs at law, one cent each. To my two (2) uncles, G. W. Anderson and D. L. Anderson and their heirs at law, one cent each.

Third, to Roger A. Hoffman, the son of my divorced wife Emma D. Hoffman (maiden name Emma D. Anderson, but now or the last time heard from, Emma D. Patterson), one cent. If he has any legal children, to each of them one cent.

Fourth, to my Uncle and Aunt John Hoffman and Bettie Hoffman and their brothers and sisters and all the heirs at law of each of them (I know not how many there are of the first nor second, not having been among them since a boy), one cent each.

Fifth, to my wife (illegal I hold her to be and never agreed with her nor any other person to have the suit against her dismissed, nor gave my consent to have it dismissed, but told my attorney F. P. Straus not to have it dismissed), Myra Belle Hoffman, one cent. If the courts hold her to be my legal wife and entitled to heir of my estate as such, so mote it be, but such a construction is not to operate against any other part of my will not inconsistent with such construction. If from any cause or by whatever means she heirs a greater portion of my estate, then her child Essell, the only child born to her since our marriage January 9th 1895 shall have only one cent of my estate.

Sixth: Not being satisfied and very greatly doubting that Essell the daughter of Bell Hoffman above spoken of is the fruit of our marriage (be it legal or illegal marriage) I give to her only one cent. However when she (Essell) arrives at the age of five years if she has any resemblance of me that would warrant three honorable respectable trustworthy gentlemen of good judgment who are not my enemies and at no period of their existence have been and who are friends of Wm. Bryant family or any part of the family, in saying under oath, that beyond any doubt they believe her (Essell) to be a child of my blood, then she is to have my entire estate, but the gift is subject to the condition as expressed in the fifth paragraph of this will. Whatever part of my estate Essell, the daughter of Myra Bell Hoffman, born about Oct. 5, 1895, may heir as given by will or determined for her by the court is to be kept for her by some friends of mine or some trust company and no part of the principal or proceeds or interest is to be expended for any purpose except for the absolute necessity occasioned by sickness unless she is under the absolute control and training and rearing of some other person than her mother or any one kin to her mother. When she is 21 years old whatever part of my estate, together with the interest and proceeds thereof she heirs is hers to do as she pleases to do with but should she die without heir of her body (child) whatever she has obtained from my estate, not necessarily expended after her burial expenses are paid, I desire and will to give to Kate Connell of Shepherdsville, Ky.

Seventh: I desire and will and am extremely anxious about it, that when Essell (the child spoken of in this will) arrives at the age of 2 years old that the court appoint some good person of good habits, morals and disposition and not a Catholic and who will not teach her any religion except common sense and morality and honesty and no kin to her mother (they are all too ill bred people to properly train a child) to take her and do by her as the part of my estate given her will admit of.

Eighth: If her mother (Essell's mother Bell) will not give her up and there is no way of getting her (Essell) from under her (Bell) control of any of her heirs (Bell's kin) then the whole of my estate not disposed of by court as spoken of, or any other way disposed of by court or myself to brothers and sister and their heirs at law, uncle and aunts and their heirs at law, Roger Hoffman and his heirs at law, his mother, Emma D. Patterson, I will and bequeath to Kate Connell of Shepherdsville, Ky.

Ninth: If the court give any portion of my estate to Myra Belle Hoffman, then it is my will that after her death it shall go to Kate Connell, now of Shepherdsville, Ky, but if Kate Connell should die before Belle Hoffman above spoken of, then it is to go to the schools of Shepherdsville, Ky. as a fund and the interest to be used in paying teaches to teach a spring and summer school in each of the school houses, white and colored. If Kate Connell should did before Essell (the child before spoken of), then upon the death of Essell without heirs of her body all the amount she obtains of my estate is to go to the Shepherdsville schools and used in the same way and for the same purposes as the other property just described for said schools.

Tenth: If any litigation is had concerning this will or any part of it, the parties contending for to have my desires and intentions as is expressed and as I am trying to express them, be they legal or not, shall have all costs including a reasonable attorney's fee paid out of my estate. This will so far as written is written wholly by me and while alone and wholly uninfluenced by any person or persons, and without taking into consideration the wishes or desires of any person or persons than my own. The disposition of my estate as herein disposed of may seem strange to some people, but no one can realize as I do the circumstances which govern me in endeavoring to give of my estate to those only who are worthy and not to those who have wronged me, and are unworthy of anything that is mine.

Eleventh: In traveling should I take an insurance, whatever is obtained from such insurance by reason of my death, the same is to go to Kate Connell, now of Shepherdsville, Ky. Should this will of mine not appear to be in accord with itself, or certain parts in conflict, I hope courts will be governed by my object and intention, and not by what they consider right or wrong, for upon the right and justices of this will I stake my future and am prepared for the results in eternity. This will consists of seven pages of this kind of paper and all written by my own hand, but with two different pens. In concluding this my will I seal it with my name, viz. J. A. Hoffman

I attest this to be the will of J. A. Hoffman and written by him and signed by him, he being in my presence. There are seven pages this May 11th 1896. (signed) H. H. Glenn

We attest this to be the will of J. A. Hoffman, he acknowledging it (in his home) in our presence to be wholly written by him and signed by him. (signed) C. L. Samuels, John H. Shafer

Shepherdsville, Ky., Aug. 13, 1903. "1. I, J. A. Hoffman, having become fully satisfied in regards to Essell, the daughter of Myra Bell Kendall, alias Hoffman, I will and bequeath to her one cent only of my estate and under no condition whatever is she to have any part of my estate.

I give on my death all of my horses and vehicles to Thomas Tucker in gratitude for the kindness shown me in my sickness; also all of my household and kitchen furniture.

To Morgan Trunnell I give all my books and safe (school books).

To J. H. Shafer all my medical books, medicine and instruments. (signed) J. A. Hoffman

We witness these article as being will and bequest of J. A. Hoffman as to disposition of his property and effects, the same having been declared by him as being his will and bequest. February 13th 1907. (signed) Grace E. Stanton, J. B. Thompson

State of Kentucky, County of Bullitt, Sct.
I W. B. Tilden, clerk of the Bullitt County Court, hereby certify that on the 13th day of January 1908, the last will and testament of J. A. Hoffman, filed of record, was produced in open court and having heretofore been proven by the oaths of H. H. Glenn, J. H. Shafer, J. B. Thompson and Grace Stanton that the same instrument and codicils were signed and acknowledged by J. A. Hoffman to be his last will and testament, that they severally attested same at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other as shown by the said will and codicils, free capacity of mind of said testator at the time of making siad will and codicils were also proved and same having been fully proved as required by law is admitted to probate and ordered to be recorded as the last will and testament of J. A. Hoffman, which with this certificate I have truly recorded in my office this 20th day of February 1908. (signed) W. B. Tilden, clerk, by E. E. McCormick, deputy clerk.

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Feb 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/jahoffman-will.html