Last Wills and Wishes of the Famous

Florence NightingaleNot all well-known personalities in history or the entertainment world leave behind a fortune comparable to the notoriety they enjoyed when in their prime. In this article, you will encounter details of wills belonging to historic figures, such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Karl Marx, and Florence Nightingale.

Karl Marx (1818 , 1883)

It was the ideas of Marx that played an important role in the development of modern communism and socialism. Marx suffered failing health for the last months of his life. Bronchitis and pleurisy would finally become his downfall. When he died, on March 15, 1883 in London, his estate was worth $500. Two days later, family and friends in London buried his body in Highgate Cemetery in London. Only 11 mourners attended his funeral.

Friedrich Engels (1820 , 1895)

Unlike Marx, the co-founder of communism faired better than his counterpart. Engels left behind $50,530 when he died. In his lifetime, he worked with Marx to produce the infamous “Communist Manifesto.” After Marx had died, Engels spent years editing other publications penned by Marx. Throat cancer took Engels and upon his request, his body was cremated and his ashes scattered off Beachy Head.

Mary Baker Eddy (1821 , 1910)

The founder of the Christian Science religion died in 1910 and left behind an estate worth at least $2 million. She willed it to the Mother Church of Boston, the parent church of Christian Science. Her sons contested this part of the will and were unsuccessful. Eddy also left $10,000 to each of her grandchildren, and set aside $100,000 for a trust fund for the education of Christian Science practitioners.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 , 1892)

Tennyson is recognized as one of the most popular poets in the English language. He lived and wrote during a time when Queen Victoria was ruler, and was one of her favorites. The poet enjoyed a long life full of writing and was still penning poems in his eighties. On October 6, 1892, Tennyson died at the age of 83. His body was buried at Westminster Abby with a memorial erected in All Saints’ Church in Freshwater. It is said that his last words were “Oh that press will have me now.” The estate of Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson was valued at $114, 414.

Florence Nightingale (1820 , 1910)

When it comes to nurses, one of the most famous in history is Florence Nightingale, who believed that God had called her to become a nurse. The Christian universalist quickly earned a reputation for playing an important role during the Crimean War, where she made an impact with the wounded soldiers. Her dedication also led to her nickname of ‘The Lady with the Lamp” because she was often known for making rounds in the middle of the night.

Another highlight of her career was the establishment of the first secular nursing school in the world. Nightingale was 90 years old when she died peacefully in her sleep. Westminster Abbey offered to have her body buried on the premises, but her relatives declined and placed her body in a graveyard at St. Margaret Church in East Wellow, Hampshire. After her death, it was revealed that Nightingale had accumulated $72,256.