Here is a second newspaper account of Mary Jane Thorn’s will. It seems that people were intrigued by the instructions she left for her tiara. It must have been coveted by all, and she wanted to make sure that there was no favouritism displayed. One had to buy the others out of their shares if they wanted to wholly own it.
Of the many curious wills which have in the past gained publicity through being heard in the Surrogate’s Court, or filed in the Surrogate’s office in New York, that of an aged woman named Mary Jane Thorn, which was recently admitted to probate, is one of the most singular. Fifty years ago, this lady was one af the leaders of, and the brightest light in the finest circles of New York and Parisian society, alternately; and from her intellectual worth, winning manners, and superior culture, was given in Parisian society the title of “Lady” Thorn, a title which followed her to this country, and even clung to her up to the time of her death.
Lady Thorn was a niece of William Jauncey, and by his will became legal heir to a large amount of real estate, which he possessed. For many years prior to her death she, in company with her family, spent the summer months at The Pequot House, New London, Conn. The last summer she spent there, it was remarked by her acquaintances that the remarkable vigor, which she had retained up to that time was rapidly leaving her, and soon after she died, at the advanced age of 90 years.
The family mansion in this city was on Sixteenth street, west of Broadway. Being an old house of a peculiar, quaint style of achiteeture, it presents a somewhat weird appearance to the present generation. Her husband, Col. Thorn, a man of great elegance and grandeur of deportment, died in 1859; and, although there is nothing by which to fix the exact amount of his wealth, he was believed to be a millionare. The connections made by the marriage of her children were of an extremely high character. Three of her daughters married distinguished courtiers of the late Napoleon, one of whom was one of that monarch’s most valued friends. Below is one of the most peculiar clauses in the will:
I direct my executors to cause my diamond tiara to be appraised and valued, and to offer the same to either of my aforesaid children—-Alice, Angelina, Ellen and Eugene —for the purchase of the same at the appraised value; and, if more than one want to purchase, then to sell the same unto that one of my children who will give the largest amount of money therefore ; and the proceeds of the same to be divided among my four children aforesaid. If none of my children are desirous to purchase the said tiara, then I direct my executors to sell the same and distribute the proceeds as aforesaid.