June 21, 1908


Had Been Buried Alive in Louisville
and Wanted to Be Cremated in
a Wideawake Town -- Copy
of Will Here.

One of the most extraordinary documents ever sent to Kansas City for recording was received in the probate court yesterday from Louisville, Ky., to be made part of the abstract of the site and property at the southwest corner of Eighth and Woodland, the site and property at the southwest corner of Eighth and Woodland, the old Woodland hotel. The document is a copy of the will of the late William F. Norton, Jr., executed August 6, 1902, while the maker was residing in Louisville. He has since died. The Eighth and Woodland property is being sold and in order to complete the record of the title the buyer has called for a copy of the Norton will. The document sent here for filing is a typewritten copy. It begins with verse from Prior, Byron and Shakespeare, and after identifying itself, it reads:

In case I die in Louisville, in which dead town I have been buried for so many years, I wish a special Pullman car to be engaged to carry my body to Cincinnati for incineration in that city, taking the receptacle that will be found in my rooms, Nos. 19, 20, 21 and 22 Norton block, in which my ashes are to be placed.

I wish the buffet of the Pullman car to be well stocked with nice things to eat and to drink, so that my friends who will do me the honor to see me started on that long journey may not want for anything to ease their hunger or slack their thirst.

"As it takes about two hours to cremate a body, I wish my executors to engage the Bellstedt band, the best band in Cincinnati, of forty musicians, at $200, to render a fine concert composed of my favorite musical selections, a copy of the programme to be found in the same envelope containing my will.

"It will be noticed that there are two intermissions of fifteen minutes each indicated on the programme. During those intermissions I wish my friends who will be witnesses to my incineration to invite the musicians to drink with them to my 'bon voyage; in Montebello brut champagne, several cases of which will be sent from the Pullman car to the crematory."

From this point the will becomes normal, providing that the ashes of the remains go in a bronze urn, which should be placed on top of a monument in the grave yard at Russellville, Ky., and peremptorily directing that there be no religious service or other service whatever. No bond was to be required of the executors, no sale made, no proceedings excepting statutory ones in the probate court and no inventory taken. The document then shows that Norton willed to "my faithful old servant, Eugene Hines, the sum of $3,000 which will be enough to last him, with care;" to Miss Augusta Savage $10,000 provided she be unmarried at the time of the testator's death and to Dr. M. Sweeney, for services, $13,000. The residue was left to Mrs. Ann E. Norton, mother, "unless I should marry and be survived by a wife," in which event the widow would get one-fourth the net income of the estate, the remaining three-fourths to go to the children, if any.

There is nothing accompanying the official copy of the will to signify whether or not the extraordinary provisions were complied with, but G. W. Norton, a cousin, and M. W. Brower, a life-long friend, are named as executors and enjoined to carry out its provisions in every particular.

The estate is worth about $4,000,000.