Week 34: #52 Ancestors – Timeline
By Eilene Lyon
The Putterer’s great-great-grandfather, Henry Bower, passed away March 24, 1916 in LaMoille, Bureau County, Illinois, at the ripe old age of 92. His wife, Hannah Mueller (Miller) predeceased him at age 78 in January 1908. They were the parents of seven children, of whom, six married.
Emma Bower (b. 1865), the youngest daughter, remained single, living with her parents and caring for them as they aged and eventually died.
Henry, having lost his wife eight months earlier, but having real estate and seven heirs, sat down to write his will on October 1, 1908. He assigned Emma to be his executrix. Executors are assigned by will. Administrators are assigned by the court when there is no will.
Less than a month after her father’s death, Emma performed her first duty as executrix, filing the will for probate in the Bureau County court.
Probate cases can drag on for a decade or longer, but Henry’s probate is a very straightforward case that was resolved in just a little over four years. That includes a two-year gap between the second financial statement and the final settlement. It offers a clean illustration of the probate process and timeline. The documents produced can offer some clues about the decedent’s family and financial situation.
Henry’s will is very basic. He directs his funeral expenses and just debts be paid, and includes a $100 endowment to the cemetery to maintain his grave in perpetuity. He sets aside a sum of $3000 to reimburse Emma for her services to her parents. The balance of the estate is to be split equally between the seven heirs.
Sending notice of hearing to heirs: 12 Apr 1916
Hearing on petition: 3 May 1916
Witnesses on Will attest to their signatures: 4 May 1916
Emma files Petition as Executrix: 18 May 1916 (bond is waived in the will)
Emma signs Oath: 18 May 1916
Executor’s Notice to Creditors: 18 May 1916
Warrant to and Oath of Appraisers: 10 Jun 1916 (provides $800 living allowance to Emma)
Inventory of Household: 10 June 1916 (2 sets dishes $15; 2 feather beds $9, rest is very small amounts; Total $97.85)
Emma presents Appraisement: 14 Jun 1916 (Three real estate parcels, 160, 160, and 40 acres, $72,000, no liens; notes due from Martin Bower and L.N. Goetz: $2400.) Here we learn that one of the larger parcels is in Adair County, Iowa, where two of Henry’s sons, Martin and Elias, live. Later we see that son Elias pays rent on the Adair farm to the estate.
Hearing to Approve Appraisement: 3 Jul 1916
Proof of Notice, newspapers and displayed in banks & P.O., etc.: 7 Aug 1916
Proof of Notice having been advertised (May 5 – Jun 8): 8 Aug 1916
Court approval of Debt: 25 Aug 1916 (Mortuary bill)
Claim of Emma Bower against estate: 20 Feb 1917 (by her attorney R.L. Russell)
Summons to Appear 22 Feb 1917 to Henry, Elizabeth, and Anita Chambers, et al. in the matter of Emma vs. the Henry Bower estate: 21 Feb 1917 (nothing appears in the file about this hearing)
Emma’s election to take chattel ($97.85) as payment: 27 Mar 1918
Declaration of heirs, including an interview with Emma: 27 Mar 1918
Statement of monies received: 27 Mar 1918 (includes farm rent from two brothers, interest on notes, chattel, cash [bank CD], etc.)
Payments to Creditors: 27 Mar 1918 (mostly funeral stuff and estate business expenses [transportation], doctor for final illness $4, attorney $585) Interesting statement on professional fees at the time!
Order for Notice of Final Settlement: 9 Apr 1920 (notice to be given by 11 Apr for 26 Apr hearing)
Vacate judgment Emma vs. Estate: 26 Apr 1920 (Emma receiving $1000 damages. Not sure what all this is about.)
Report on Accounts of Estate, including final distribution: 14 May 1920
Emma Bower was already 51 years old when her father died. She continued to live in LaMoille and died two decades later in early January 1937.
Feature image: Bureau County Courthouse in Princeton, Illinois. (Wikimedia Commons)
FamilySearch: Illinois, Bureau County, probate records: probate case files, 1833-1931. https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2548064 Film #102046690 images 564-627.
FamilySearch: Illinois, Bureau County, probate records wills, 1837-1944. https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/2778808 Film #102629954 images 103-4.