[Marin County Obit Board]

Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Monday, January 12, 2015 at 07:17:00 :

Mill Valley Independent
Friday, April 8, 1910
Page 1

Word has been received here that through the death of Henry Legay in Paris, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Wilkins of San Rafael, whose beautiful new home in Irwin Street is one of the features of the city, have come into a fortune of $1,400,000. They have also inherited some valuable works of art including paintings, and Greek statuary and a splendid library – from Legay’s magnificent home in the Avenue de l’Alma, and the Wilkins present stay in the French capital is for the purpose of settling up the estate.

Legay was well known in San Francisco, a generation ago. He retired in 1872 from the hat business, in which he made a large fortune. From here he went to Europe, where he started in the commission business as a purchasing agent for wealthy Americans in the Rue Scribe, Paris. He left behind him on this coast one sister, a Mrs. Boyd, the mother of Mrs. J. C. Wilkins of San Rafael, and of Mrs. Henry Van Wyck of San Francisco.

Shortly after his arrival in Paris, Legay adopted a young girl, whom he brought up in every respect as his daughter, and who, if she had lived, would doubtless have inherited the bulk of his fortune. As she died at the age of 18, he turned all of his attention to his favorite niece in California, whom he had never seen, but whom he fancied bore a strong resemblance to his adopted child. On his death he consequently willed to her the greater portion of his estate, valued at $2,000,000, cutting off with a much lesser amount a niece who made her home with him in Paris.

Wilkins and his wife are still in Frances straightening out their affairs. They will shortly sail for home, however, and will come directly to California, to reopen their home in San Rafael. They will bring with them all of the paintings, books and statues included in the legacy for the further adornment of their new house. Willkins is well known in business circles in San Francisco, having extensive lumber interests throughout the state.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins are equally known in social life in San Francisco as in San Rafael, moving as they do in the most exclusive circles. Mrs. Wilkins has also always taken a special interest in charitable affairs, being one of the foremost workers in this field in Marin County. … Call

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