Hungerford – in last will

In looking for 1830’s news items about the Hungerford family I came across this interesting article about a “last will and testament”, which is contained in a letter to the government of the USA. The newspapers are reporting from Washington DC and cite a letter that is being read to congress.

It is interesting to see that three newspapers ran the item as a good report but one newspaper called the letter a hoax.

The name Hungerford is mentioned but it looks like the name was changed to Dickerson per this will.

Jas. Smithson’s last will and testament that sets up the Smithsonian in Wash DC.

I James Smithson, son of Hugh, first duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth, heiress of the Hungerford’s Audley, and niece of Charles the proud duke of Somerset, now residing in Bentinck street, Cavendish square, do on this 23th day of October, 1826, make this my last will and testament…

…To Henry James Hungerford my nephew heretofore called Henry James Dickerson…

In this newspaper: Carroll free press. (Carrollton, [Ohio]), 08 Jan. 1836. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


Below are the links to the three newspapers that ran the item as a good report and a link to the one newspaper that called it a hoax.

Good reports


This newspaper calls it a Hoax