Roland Mather’s Will admitted to probate

05/14/1897 |


Roland Mather’s will was admitted to probate today.  The estate was estimated to be valued at $2,000,000.

Neat little tidbit

$2,000,000 is big all on its own, but here it is in 2021 dollars:  $64,350,361.

Put into context

Mather was a member of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, and he had been very generous with them – he wrote them a check to finish the steeple back in 1875.  He didn’t leave any bequests in his will to the church, however:  even though he had been very generous to charities in Hartford, giving approximately $500,000 during the course of his lifetime, he left bequests in his will to three charities, none of them local. 

The church was not entirely absent from this process:  the probate judge appointed Atwood Collins an appraiser of Mather’s estate.

Questions to pose

The Courant article reported that, during the year just prior to his death, he had made arrangements to take care of some of his relatives who he did not mention in his will.  The article also noted that It seems likely, then, that he’d also made arrangements to leave gifts locally as well – in just over a month from this date, his daughter Julia Turner would buy the clock for Asylum Hill Congregational Church in his memory.  Still, why not give something specifically and directly to the church?

Speculating without evidence

It is noteworthy that Mather had given the money for the steeple, which was designed and constructed to have a clock, but then did not give the money to install the clock at that point in time.  It seems possible that Mather anticipated – or even expected – that other members of the church would step up and contribute funds to finish the job.  If that’s the case, it’s impressive he held out 24 years waiting for someone else to fund the installation of the clock.


Unattributed, “Major Roland Mather’s Will,” Hartford Courant, May 15, 1897, page 3.

Roland Mather

Asylum Hill Congregational Church


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