The Bladon Testament isn’t very clear. After all, it was written by somebody who was transcribing dictation from a man on his deathbed. The ailing man, Thomas, is unmistakably trying to inform his descendants of a wrong done to his family. In fact, it seems that he is hoping that someone will be able to right that wrong.
You see, almost 200 years ago, way back in merry olde England, a fellow named John Smith was awarded Freehold Land in the city of Birmingham. Back then, you had to do something awesome for Queen Victoria to be granted land like that. What did Mr. John Smith do? We don’t know. But anyway, he kept the land in his family and chose not to do anything with it because the poor were living on his property and he did not want to uproot them.
Time passed and John’s wife decided she wanted to go to America to visit her daughter, Caroline. While she is visiting, she gives the deed to her land to a New York City lawyer, Mr. Betts, for safe keeping. However, what Mrs. Smith does not know is that this deed is a “bearer bond” – which means that whomever possesses the bond possesses the land -- and that lawyer is a dishonest man. You know what happens next…Mr. Betts declared that the deed was lost! Sadly, Mrs. Smith dies in America never to return to her home in Birmingham, England. Curiously, the property was never sold. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what is on that land now?
Actual testament in case you’re interested:
To whom it may concern:
To the best of my knowledge I would like to leave truth in regard to my blessed grand-parents. Thomas Bladon was born March 12, 1822 Birmingham, County of Warwick. He was the son of a builder, Thomas Bladon – year 1842 – Birmingham, County of Warwick. He died about 1843-45 (His father was a builder). My grandfather, Thomas Bladon served from March 12, 1836 to 1843, a full term of seven years, with John Bettridge and A. Jenners. Japanners, which was his trade. My grandfather's uncle, John Bladon, was a donator to Bladon and Blenheim School, England. He died in 1808 at the age of 82 (in August of that year). John Bladon had a sister, Mary Bladon, a spinster, who was one of the founders of the Boy's Blue-Coat School, England. Her name was on the role of honor in that school. She was also one of the lady Maids of Honor to Old Queen Victoria, England. She had a memorial ring made while in Buckingham --- Palace in memory of her brother, John Bladon. We have the same ring still in our family. John Bladon had a seat in the House of Parliament, England. My grandfather, Thomas Bladon lived in Birmingham, County of Warwick. He also lived in Harborne, County of Stafford. He married at the age of 23 on May 8, 1846 to 1849 (Batchelor Jappaner in Birmingham) on Page 181 in parish church, Caroline Byrns,a widow, aged 24 who lived at 25 New Church Street. She was the only daughter of John Smith, a builder, born May 16, 1797, Birmingham, County of Warwick. Caroline Smith B. Bladon was my grandmother born February 24, 1821, daughter of a builder. Mrs. John Smith Vernon came to visit her only daughter about 1864. She came to America on a visit,leaving her freehold property in Birmingham. She died December 25, 1866 in New York City,(E. 37th St.). The people taking rates of grandmother's property are in no way related to my ancestors, who were original owners of John Smith's property, Tax Sheet Dated Nov. 9, 1840 for Mrs. John Smith, Asylum District for (Mihs) as John Smith, Esq., Overseers of the Poor.
My sister, Miss A. B. Kenny gave the tax sheet to Lawyer F.H. Betts in 1901, Broadway, N. Y., for advice. He then told her the papers were lost. (Book 1905) Mother and sister said it would surely come back to the family being it was freehold property. Smith had a crest and coat of arms in family. We know property was never sold to our knowledge. My mother was the only grandchild born Ellen Lauren Bladon, England, 1847.