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A Collection of Newfoundland Wills
William J. Browne


Will of William J. Browne
Probate date: January 30th, 1989,
Supreme Court

Last Will and Testament
William J. Browne Q.C.
St. John's, NF


  1. I hereby revoke all previous wills and codicils heretofore made by me.
  2. I hereby appoint my beloved wife Norah and the Royal Trust Company of St. John's to be the Executors of this my Will.
  3. I will that all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses be paid out of my Estate.
  4. I desire to be buried in the plot at Belvedere Cemetery where my first and second wife and daughter Mary Antonia and my son Edward are buried.
  5. I desire that funeral arrangement are to be made through Caul's establishment.
  6. I bequeath all my property, real and personal of every description to my Executors in trust for the following purposes:-
  1. To see the fulfillment of clause 3 above.
  2. To pay the following legacies:
    1. Two thousand dollars ($2000.00) to his Grace Archbishop of St. John's for charitable purposes, preferably educational.

    2. Two thousand dollars ($2000.00) to the Christian Brothers of Newfoundland for their scholarship fund in Newfoundland.

    3. Two thousand dollars ($2000.00) to the Sisters of Mercy for their scholarship fund in St. John's.

    4. One thousand dollars ($1000.00) to St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, St. Patrick's Mercy Home, Mount Cashel Orphanage, St. Pius X Church building fund, Memorial University Building Fund, Jesuit Foreign Missions, Queen's College, St. John's College, and Coughlan College in St. John's, Newman Centre in Toronto, Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Toronto, Newman Society, Oxford, England, Canadian Cancer Society Convent of the Sacred Heart, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    5. One thousand dollars ($1000.00) each to Mrs. Jean Hibbs, Mrs. Gladys Doyle, Mrs. Margaret Stamp, Janet Murphy, Miss Moya Murphy, Mrs. Bernice Grace.

    6. (a) I would like to have a scholarship to be granted to law students in their final two years for an essay on one of the following subjects to be decided by the Benchers of the Law Society whom I would wish to be trustees in this matter: 1. The importance of Equity in the Administration of Law in Newfoundland; 2. The Importance of Local Government in Newfoundland; 3. The Importance of Education in the Rehabilitation of Young Offenders.
      (b) I hereby bequeath in trust the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) to the Law Society for this purpose.

    7. (a) I should also like to have a scholarship for the best debater in a high school debating union from the high schools in the city of St. John's, the debates held annually.
      (b) I bequeath the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for this purpose, and my executors shall be the trustees of this sum until a permanent committee can be appointed to carry out the purpose of the bequest.

    8. I bequeath the sum of five thousand dollars ($5000,00) in trust for the benefit of Mount Scio Community Centre, the income from which shall be used for obtaining equipment suitable for the purposes of physical training of the young people of the Centre, the Pastor of Pius X to be the Trustee of this fund, or some person or persons designated by him.

    9. I bequest to Mrs. Margot Ryan of Ottawa, ON the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for her sole use and benefit, and a further sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for herself and her son Carson, to be disbursed at her discretion.

    10. To the Newfoundland section of the Memorial University Library I give my books about Newfoundland, including my Hansards and the investigation of the Royal Commission under Term 29, and all my books about Canada, politics, diplomacy, economics and history.

    11. To my son Father William Browne, S.J., my spiritual and religious books, including Howley's History of the Catholic Church in Newfoundland to use or dispose of as he sees fit. I think it would be desirable to keep them either at St. Pius X Church or at Gonzaga High School, or, if he should be transferred, he shall be entitled to take with him any books he might desire.

    12. I desire that my books about Ireland and books written about or by Irish authors should be put in a special reference section in the Public Library of St. John's.

    13. I bequeath my dwelling house, 97 Rennie's Mill Road, to my wife for use during her lifetime, or until she remarries, together with the furniture and household equipment and belongings, provided the rest of my family, sons and daughters and Margo and Caron may visit there at all reasonable times. I am sure that my wife will do all she can to help.

    14. If my wife should remarry or decide to leave my residence at 97 Rennie's Mill Road, the house is to be sold. She may, however, have as much furniture and other equipment as she should find desirable or necessary for any other residence to which she should remove, and take any other books or personal souvenirs she may desire. The rest of the furniture, equipment and ornaments are to be sold for the general purposes of my estate unless the executors and my children can agree upon articles going to them, except those mentioned in paragraphs XV (a) and XV (b). It should be understood that should any of my children die before me, his or her children, if any, should take the place of the parent.

    15. (a) The Vietnamese painting presented to me by the President of South Viet Nam in 1957 should go to some government picture gallery, if there is one, where it is to be displayed in St. John's, but will be in trust to the provincial government for the people of Newfoundland.

    16. (b) The picture of the Sacred Heart I bequeath to my son Father Browne in trust for any religious purpose he may consider suitable.

    17. Any stamps, stamp covers or albums still in my possession shall go to my son Father Browne tp keep or dispose of as he may decide.

    18. I bequeath the works of Belloc and Chesterton and books by Christopher Dawson and Jacques and Raissa Maritain to Peter Browne and Father William Browne to be divided between them any way they shall think fit.

    19. I desire that my executors shall realize all my assets not already bequeathed:- my life insurance, (K of C, Crown Life, Confederation Life, and Manufacturer's Life), my houses on Casey Street, numbers 95, 96, 98, 100, and 102, and stocks and bonds and monies with McLeod, Young and Weir and Dominion Securities, and monies in the Bank of Montreal. 394 Elizabeth Avenue, and the Royal Bank of Canada, Water Street, St. John's, and the General Trust Company, Water Street. The proceeds from the sale of 97 Rennie's Mill Rd., when that takes place, shall be included in my assets for distribution.

    20. After all specific bequests have been paid, the rest of my estate shall be divided between my wife and children in equal shares.

    21. Amongst my books, there is a certain number of first editions of rare books which should be sold through a book dealer. Dombey and Son is one such book, but there is also one by A. A. Milne which has gone through many editions since it was first published in 1928. I leave it to the discretion of my Executors how to dispose of these books.

    22. If my wife and I should die at the same time, it shall be assumed that I shall have died first. The parts of the Will referring to my wife shall not apply, and the alternate beneficiaries shall be Marjorie Browne, Madeline Browne, Father William Browne and Peter Browne. I desire that William J. Harris, Chartered Accountant, should take the place of my wife as executor of this my Will.

    23. I desire that the Hon. Fabian O'Dea be Solicitor for my Estate.

    24. Careful consideration should be given to the disposal of Edward's numerous souvenirs and trophies of which he has a rare collection; some of them should be perhaps handed over to the University.

Signed by me, this 18th day of September A.D. 1987 as and for my Last Will and Testament

Signed: W.J. Browne

In the presence of

Who, in my presence, and in the
Presence of each other, have
Hereunto their hands subscribed
as witnesses.

Janice Pelley
c/o Royal Trust
St. John's, Nfld.

c/o Royal Trust
St. John's, Nfld.

Note: The Petition and other documents were filed by Nora Browne, physician, and The Royal Trust Corporation of Canada with the Supreme Court 30th day of January 1989. The Inventory and Valuation of the Property of said Estate was $560,321.00



The Letters of Probate from the Supreme Court of Newfoundland Trial Division, signed by Angela Williams, Assistant Deputy Registrar, reads in part: Be it known that on the on the 3rd day of Feb 1989 the last will etc. --- who died on or about the 10th day of January 1989....administration was granted to Norah Browne of St. John's aforesaid, physician, and The Royal Trust Corporation of Canada.

Another document attached is the Petition of Probate to the Supreme Court by Norah Browne, physician - it says Judge Browne died on the 10th of January 1989 having named the petitioner and the Royal Trust Company as Executors.....Will Annexed. In the next paragraph, it lists the names & addresses of every person entitled to share in the estate:

Marjorie Leahy, Halifax
Madeline Murphy, Upper Montclair, NJ
Rev William J Browne, St. John's
Peter Browne, Jacksonville FL
Margot Ryan, Ottawa, ON
Norah Browne, petitioner herein.

The Petition is signed and dated by Norah Browne only on the 30th Jan 1989. The Inventory and Valuation of the Property of the said Estate, also attached, is dated the same, but is also signed by ??? Mercer, Barrister.

All of the above came from the Probate Office in the St. John's Court House.

He was married four times! His second wife was my great aunt Mary Roache Browne and I also sent her Will and that of their son Edward P Browne - (Jim Roache)

Page Contributed by J. F. Roache

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (July 17, 2003)

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