The Last Will & Testament of a 12 year old

Imagine being twelve and writing your last will and testament. What circumstances would lead a girl to do this? While we may not know the answer, what we do know is that Dorothy Charlotte Bentley of Daysland, Alberta could read and write, and that she possessed a lot of things, including a savings account. We know this because we have the document in the Galt Archives (19931010000)... and thanks to our fabulous volunteer Audrey Peters, who transcribed it verbatim, you can have a read for yourself:

The last Will and Testament
of  Dorothy Charlotte
Bentley aged 12 years old 
Daysland, Sep 20

I bequeath to my darling Mumsie all my dresses & petticoats and red shoes and stockings. And I bequeath to Lettice the rest of my clothes and all my dollies on the bargain not to give one away and my little pearl necklace with just the two strings of pearls on them. and I bequeath to my best chum Pearl Dumont my necklace with the three strings of pearls on them. and I bequeath to darling father my books called American Indian Fairy tales, Cast up by the Sea, Rip Van Winkle. and I want father to get my money out of the bank and to keep 40 cts of it, and I want Mumsie to have 85 of it and Sidney to have 15 cts and Lettice to have 15 too. and I bequeath to Sidney my blue cup and saucer with the dark blue edge round it and the flowers on it & Mumsie my little red cup & saucer with the gold in side it & Lettice my dollies dishes & the plate that matches her little cup & I bequeath my cup with love the giver on it & to Sidney my little corner & Grims fairy tales in the green cover & Helens Babies & Gullivers travels & the little lame prince.

I bequeath to mother Ozma of Oz & the Wizard of Oz and the Marvelous land of Oz & the little book in the white box in the book case and the Whispering winds & the last of the Huggermuggers & read them mummy cause I loved them. & I loved and I bequeath to darling Nunny my little daysland maple leaf pin and my picture with the green paspeartout [passe-partout] round it and the four little kittens in it and my and the verses under it and I bequeath to dear grandma my picture of kittens with the gilt edge my little wee bible and I bequeath to Effie my middle bible and the long panneled picture of cats in it.

I bequeath to Jean my book called kidnapped and my picture & I bequeath to Pearl my little pearl pin & my picture & I bequeath to every one of my great friends my picture.

I bequeath to matter my little old old plate and I want mother to divide all my other things between whom she thinks would like them & to keep most of them for our family.


I want these things done just as I saeid.

We've also searched high and low with the help of Audrey for the books Dorothy refers to, and believe these may be representative of her own collection: