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I am writing this letter to clarify information regarding the Bogart Scholarship.

Elbert Hegeman Bogart died on April 4, 1897 at his home on West Shore Road, off Hempstead Harbor. He was a descendant of the Dutch families who lived on the Cow Neck (Port Washington) peninsula; the Bogarts were farmers. Elbert sold 96 acres of his farm land for $45,000 in 1895 to the G.K. and J.B. King Company, for the purpose of sand mining. When he died he left an estate valued at around $100,000.

Elbert Hegeman Bogart, a farmer, is often confused with his cousin Dr. Joseph Hegeman Bogart who lived in the house which is today called Washington Manor in Roslyn. Elbert and Dr. Joseph were close friends and when Elbert died, Dr. Joseph was one of the executors of his cousin's estate. When the will was brought to the Surrogate Court in Jamaica on Sept. 17, 1897, Dr. Joseph H. Bogart was surprised to find that another will had been submitted to the court. That will was a fradulent one concocted by a con artist who had set up an illegal "will factory." The court concluded that this false will was not a legal instrument.

The original will only went into probate in 1898. Elbert Hegeman Bogart basically divided his estate to "School District No. 4, Flower Hill (Port Washington), the Reformed Dutch Church of Manhasset and the trustees of the Jones Fund for the support of the poor of the Town of North Hempstead." Mr. Bogart's will stipulated that his money was to be invested "in safe and productive securities and the income to be used and applied for the benefit of the school of said district and the promotion of the cause of public education."

Now the will was challenged by Elbert Hegeman Bogart's nephews, nieces and their descendants . A ruling on Dec. 31, 1898 declared that the monetary provision to the school district was invalid, deciding that a public institution such as a school district could not be the recipient of such bequests. That decision was appealed and went to the Supreme Court Appellate Division which reversed the Surrogate's decision. The Supreme Count Appellate Division declared that the bequest to the school district was valid, overruling the Surrogate Court's decision. Consequently, the entire estate was divided between the school district, the Reformed Dutch Church and the Jones Fund. The relatives were excluded and received no portion of Bogart's estate.

The school district of Port Washington invested the money it received from the Bogart Estate and each year gives a scholarship to deserving high school graduating students. And so Elbert Hegeman Bogart's legacy lives on to the present time. This information is from The Bogart Legacy, The Man and the Mystery. The Man and the Mystery" which was recently published in the spring 2004 issues of the Long Island Forum.

George Williams


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