Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
George Washington, our first President, wrote his Last Will and Testament shortly before he died. One of the provisions included was the gift of a sword to each of his five nephews. The gift was an heirloom treasured by each family. One nephew’s family needed funds. That sword was sold to Andrew Carnegie, who gifted it to a museum. The remaining four swords were donated to the Smithsonian by the other nephews’ families.
This is the section of Washington’s Will referring to the nephews:
“To each of my Nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington and Samuel Washington, I give one of the Swords or Cutteaux of which I may die possessed; and they are to chuse in the order they are named.—These Swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheathe them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self-defense, or in defense of their Country and its rights, and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands, to the relinquishment thereof.”
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