Will of George S. Houston
Contributed by Judith M. Miller on 28 Aug 2001
Last Will and Testament of George S. Houston
State of Alabama
Filed November 6, 1934
Recorded, Will Record 5, Pages 160-162
I, George S. Houston, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby expressly revoking any others which may heretofore have been made by me.
Item1: I direct that all of my just debts be paid.
Item 2. To my wife I give for and during her natural life, the use of the House at Belle Mina, Alabama, that being the place where were are now living. I also give to her for and during her natural life, the next income from any and all property, real and personal and mixed, wherever situated, of which I died seized and possessed, except as my be hereinafter otherwise disposed of. After the death of my wife, I want Ellen Irvine, my wife's niece who has lived with us for many years, to have the use of the house at Belle Mina, Alabama, so long as she may choose to use it for her home. While she is so using the home, she may also have the use of the whole of Section 29. It allowing the said Ellen Irvine the use of the property above set out, she must use the rents and income, so far as may be necessary, to keep the house and farm buildings in a good state of repair and properly protect them by insurance, and pay all taxes against the property. My purpose is to provide a home for Ellen Irvine for and during her natural life. But should she decide at any time not to love on the farm as her home, then upon her abandonment of the farm as her home, or upon her death, should she continued to live there until she dies, the said house and land as above set out, shall at once pass to my two sisters, Mary Ella Houston and Emma Houston Drennen of Birmingham, Alabama, in fee simple, share and share alike, or to the survivor of them. Should they both die before the said Ellen Irvine or would they both be dead at the time she abandons the farm as her home, the said house and land shall go to my nephews, Houston and Charles Drennen, in fee simple, share and share alike. Should either of my said nephews died before the said Ellen Irvine, leaving lawful issue, then said issue shall take the share that the deceased parent would have taken. Should he not leave lawful issue, then the whole place shall go to the survivor. Should both of my said nephews die before the said Ellen Irvine, leaving lawful issue then said issue shall take the share that the deceased parent would have taken. Should he not leave lawful issue then the whole place shall to the survivor. Should both of my said nephews die before the said Ellen Irvine, leaving lawful issue, then said issue shal take, share and share alike. Should both of my said nephews die before the said Ellen Irvine without lawful issue surviving then, then when the said Ellen Irvin abandons the farm, the in either event I give the house and land to any of my kindred then living, share and share alike.
Item 3: Subject to the provision that during the life time of my wife, she is to have the net income from any and all property, wherever situated, of which I may died seized and possession, except as herein otherwise provided, I give, devise and bequeathe to my two sisters, Mary Ella Houston and Emma Houston Drennen of Birmingham, Alabama, in fee simple and share and share alike, all of the property real, personal and mixed, and wherever situated of which I may die seized and possessed except as herein otherwise provided.
Item 4: My brother John P. Houston has given, upon certain conditions to the town of Athens, Alabama his interest in the Houston Family residence and several acres of ground attached to it. I desire to make a similar gift, coupled with the following conditions. I give, devise and bequeath to the town of Athens, Alabama or to the proper authorities thereof, my interest in the Houston Family residence and several acres of ground attached to it, but this gift is effective only upon the condition that my sisters make a similar gift of their interest in the home place, and the gift of my interest shall be effective whenever the gift of my sisters takes effect, whether by will or deed. What I give is coupled with the further condition that it shall be kept and so used that the public shall get the continued use of it, and so as to keep before the people the name of my father, and should the use of this gift ever be diverted from the purposes as herein set out, then my interest shall revert and become a part of my estate as if same had never been disposed of as above. Should my sisters make a gift to the house and only a part of the surrounding land, then my gift shall cover only my interest in so much of the land as they give.
Item 5: It was the wish of our brother John P. Houston, that a part of our acreage, possibly on the Athens & Decatur Road, about six miles from Athens, be given to the public in such way as to helpful to the portion of the public most in need of help, the particular use to which it was to be devoted to be determined by his brothers and sisters. I request my sisters to carry out suggestions made by our brother. I leave to their judgment the determination of how this land shall be used, how much of it shall be used and when the gift shall take effect.
Item 6: I wish to follow the will of my brother John P. Houston and I therefore give and bequeathe to Houston County, in the State of Alabama, the sum of Two Thousand Dollars. I want this amount used in connection with the same amount given by my brother, and in the same way, that is, in some way calculated to keep before the people of the County the name of my father, for whom the county is named. I do not wish my personal representatives to pa this bequest until after the death of my wife and the same shall not bear interest.
Item 7: I give in the trust to the City Cemetery at Athens, Alabama, or to the proper authorities thereof, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, the income to be used for the upkeep of the Houston lot in that Cemetery.
Item 8: To my wife's niece, Ellen Irvine, if living at the time of my death, I give and bequeathe, fifteen shares of stock in the First National Bank of Birmingham, Alabama and twenty shares of stock in the Birmingham Realty Company of Birmingham, Alabama and also what stock I may own in the Belle Mina Bank at Belle Mina, Alabama. Should the said Ellen Irving not be living at the time of my death, then I give and bequeathe to my sisters, Mary Ella Houston and Emma Houston Drennen, share and share alike, the said shares of stock as just above enumerated, and set forth.
Item 9: All the rest and residue of my property, of every kind and description, and wherever situated, I give, devise and bequeathe to my two sisters Mary Ella Houston and Emma Houston Drennen, share and share alike.
Item 10: I nominate and appoint my two sisters, Mary Ella Houston and Emma Houston Drennen, my personal representatives, and waive oath and bond.
George S. Houston
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal on this the 2nd day of October 1928 signed and sealed in our presence by the testator, George S. Houston, who subscribed his name thereto in our presence, he at the same time declaring the foregoing instrument to be his last will and testament and at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, we hereunto subscribed our names as attesting witnesses on this, the second day of October 1928.
Witnesses: Mrs. Hoyt Williamson and Hoyt Williamson.
Codicil to Will:
I, George S. Houston, of Belle Mina, Alabama, hereby declare and present writing to be a codicil to my last will and testament dated the 2nd day of October 1928 and witnessed by Mrs. Hoyt Williamson and Mr. Hoyt Williamson.
In "Item Eight" of my said will I have given and bequeathed to Ellen Irvine, fifteen (15) shares of stock in the First National Bank of Birmingham, Alabama, at that time. Since executing this will, said bank has issued new stock in the ratio of eight shares of new stock for each share of old stock. I Therefore give and bequeathe unto the said Ellen Irvine, in lieu of the bequest made to her in said Section of my will, one hundred and twenty shares of the new capital stock of the said First National Bank of Birmingham, Alabama. I do hereby ratify and confirm my said will in all other respects. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal on this day of September 1930.
George S. Houston
The codicil is also witnessed by Mrs. Hoyt Williamson and Hoyt Williamson
Recorded, Will Record 5 page 162
NOTE: This will and codicil were probated in the Limestone County Probate Court and were then filed on August 27, 1937 in Lauderdale County Probate Court. Mr. George S. Houston owned property near the Natchez Trace Parkway and Gravelly Springs, where the Houston Plantation had been.