In the back of Saginaw’s Forest Lawn Cemetary is a massive stone mausoleum where lumber baron and railroad tycoon Wellington R. Burt is entombed. At the time of his death in 1919, he was the 8th wealthiest person in America and the second richest person in Michigan with Henry Ford holding that title. He is the only one who knew why he had one of America’s strangest last wills. It had a “spite clause” where he stated his money was to be given out 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild who was alive at the time of his death. Burt was married twice and had seven children, 3 daughters from the first wife and 1 daughter and 3 younger sons from the second wife. Its believed that a feud within the family is the cause for the strange request in the will. He did leave his family members annual payments of about $1000 each except for his favorite son he left $30,000 a year and his daughter whom he was angry with for getting divorced he left nothing. He also left money for some of his servants who worked for him at his Mansion in downtown Saginaw. Most of his servants received more money than his own family. Burt’s last grandchild, Marion Lansill died in November of 1989. 21 years later his trust valued approximately a 100 million dollars and was split between 12 descendants in 2010.
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