While most people create an estate plan as a way to leave assets or heirlooms to specific friends and family members, others decide to bequeath a quirkier, more imaginative legacy.

Solomon Sanborn was a hat maker and a proud patriot from Boston, Massachusetts. When Sanborn passed away in 1871, his will directed that his body be left to science, along with a few unusual stipulations.

Sanborn left his body to Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a close friend and professor of anatomy at Harvard University. The conditions required that Dr. Holmes carefully remove the skin from Sanborn’s body, tan the hide, and use that skin to make two drums. These drums would then be inscribed and gifted to a local musician. The musician was then subject to another set of terms.

The musician was required to travel to Bunker Hill every June 17th to drum the tune of Yankee Doodle at dawn. The remainder of his body was to be turned into fertilizer and used to grow an American Elm. With these requests, Sanborn was still able to celebrate the anniversary of the revolutionary battle at Bunker Hill in his own unique way.

As we prepare to celebrate our freedoms and our country this 4th of July, it seems only fitting that we remember a man who took his patriotism, and his last wishes, to the extreme.

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About the Author: Aaron R. Shahan is an attorney at Atlas Law, PLC. Aaron dedicates his practice to virtually all aspects of estate planning, elder law, and probate.

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