Margaret T. Basquill

This is the will of my great-great grandfather Walter Basquill’s sister, Margaret. She was the second wife of Thomas J. Burke, and she became stepmother to his two boys they married. One should be cautious reading too much into something like this, but I can’t help but wonder what the family dynamic was, given her bequests.

For context, Margaret and Thomas had four children of their own. Two died of tuberculosis: Thomas in 1910 at the age of 33 and Beatrice in 1911 at the age of 25. In 1912 her husband, Thomas, died of a stroke, caused by complications of a leg he broke in an accidental fall. He was 75. Margaret died in 1914 of a strangulated hernia, at the age of 59.

When she died, she had two surviving children and at least one surviving step-son, Michael. The step-daughter, Margaret, I had no knowledge of before finding this will. She must have been grown or perhaps farmed out to relatives, by the time Thomas married again.

I can’t find her Thomas will, if he had one. It’s possible that his children from his first marriage inherited enough from him that Margaret felt she didn’t need to give them more than a token. But what an odd thing to do. I have to think there was a story there, and that Margaret’s bequests to her step-children were deliberately unkind.

Last Will and Testemant of Margaret T. Burke (nee Basquill) 3 Feb 1914

“Margaret T. Burke (alias)
Filed Feb. 27, 1914
Allowed Mar. 19, 1914

Be it remembered that I, Margaret T. Burke, of the Hyde Park District of Boston in the County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainties of this life, Declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all wills and codicils heretofore made by me. After the payment of my just debts and funeral charges, I give, devise and bequeath as follows:

First: To Michael J. Burke, a son of my deceased husband, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, the sum of one dollar in money. Second To Margaret Gannett, a daughter of my deceased husband, of Dedham in the County of Norfolk and said Commonwealth, the sum of one dollar in money. Third: To Mary A. Jordan, my niece, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, the sum of one hundred dollars in money. Fourth: To my daughter, Julia G. Burke, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, all of the money deposited in the Hyde Park Savings Bank in book numbered 13970 said deposits according to said book being made in the name of Margaret T. Bourke. Fifth, To my daughter, Mary R. Burke, of said Hyde Park District of said Boston, all of the money deposited in the Dedham Institution for Savings in book numbered 18658, being deposited according to said book, by Margaret B. Burke. Sixth: To my said daughters Mary R. Burke and Julia G. Burke, all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal and wherever situated, in equal shares, to them and their heirs and assigns forever. Thereby nominate and appoint my said daughter, Mary R. Burke, to be the executrix of this will and hereby request that she may be exempt from giving a surety or sureties on her bond as such. In testimony whereof I have this third day of February A. D. 1914, hereunto set my hand.

Margaret T Burke (her mark)
Boston, Massachusetts. On this third day of February A. D. 1914, Margaret T. Burke signed the foregoing instrument in our presence declaring it to be her last will, and at her request in her presence and in the presence of each other, we three do now hereunto subscribe our names as witnesses hereto.
Katherine J. Donahue, Charles H. Galligan, Percy A. Hatzmen”