CHARLTON -- One of Charlton's most historic homesteads is owned by a cat named Teddy Bear.

When Dorothy Corbin died in 1996, she had a provision in her will that her pets -- at that time a horse, a dog and two cats -- be allowed to live out their days on her colonial property at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Packer Road about eight miles west of Ballston Spa. She left $500,000 in trust for their care, neighbor Deborah Herrin said.


But Buddy the horse, Bruno the dog and a cat named Willie have followed their doting owner to their great reward. This leaves Teddy Bear living in his house with a caretaker hired by Trustco Bank of Glenville.

Herrin said Teddy Bear has a special tattoo to prevent anyone from replacing him with a look-alike when he dies. But she's never seen her neighbor. She's just been told he is an inside cat and is about 10 years old now.

No one was home when a reporter from The Saratogian tried to meet Teddy Bear.

'It may seem kind of goofy to us,' town historian Laura Linder said. 'But these animals were important to these people, and they wanted to make sure they were taken care of.'

Corbin's husband was a General Electric Co. executive and left money to charities, including Union College, in his will, Herrin said.

But the situation leaves Herrin and others in town with a lot of questions. What becomes of the house and property when Teddy Bear dies? Will the barn, thought to be the oldest wood-framed structure in town, be preserved? What can be done about what they call the deteriorating condition of the house and buildings? Who is responsible for what Herrin says is a failing dam on the property that is draining a pond they share?

Herrin wants to bring those questions up to the Charlton Town Board at its monthly agenda session on April 26.

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