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“…and bequeath my watch, piano and books to my son Stephen Tyng Mather…”



On June 27th 1864, at St. George’s Church in New York City, the Reverend Stephen Tyng married Stephen Mather’s parents. At that time, Bertha Jemima Walker was 20 years old. Joseph Wakeman Mather was 44.


Within a year the couple moved to San Francisco and Stephen was born there on July 4th 1867. A second son, Josie, was born January 18th 1869.


At the age of 26 Bertha was committed to the Stockton State Hospital for “the evidence of insanity is she desires to destroy herself; imagines that she is deserted by God and mankind and that she ought to die…” Bertha was discharged three years later on June 30th 1873. She returned to

New York and by 1880 was living in Brooklyn with her sister, Sophia.


In May of 1882 Bertha J. Mather wrote her last will and testament with the following bequests…


First, I give and bequeath my watch, piano and books to my son Stephen Tyng Mather, now living with his father Joseph W. Mather in the City of San Francisco, State of California.


Second, I give and bequeath my writing desk to my son Joseph W. Mather, now living with his father…California.


Third, I give and bequeath my sewing machine and all my clothing to my sisters Elizabeth M. Turner and Sophy A. Taylor…


She goes on to bequeath the balance of her estate to “my said two sons Stephen and Joseph share and share alike.” She then provides that if one son should die, the other would receive the full share.


In April of 1891, Bertha wrote a codicil that said: “…My son Joseph in said will named is dead…I do hereby appoint my said son Stephen Tyng Mather to be the sole Executor of my said will as foresaid…”


Bertha remained in East and died on August 19th 1899 at the age of 55. Bertha is buried in the Mather Cemetery. It is unknown if Stephen received any of the items in his mother’s bequest.



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