Updated: 18 May 2008
STATE OF MICHIGAN
The probate court for the county of Cass
in the matter of the estate of JANE W. ADAMS
To James Newcomb of the village of Marcellus.
(This was followed by a full page of non-essential legal jargon. Ulysses S. Ely was the Judge of Probate)
I, Jane W. Adams of the village of Marcellus, Cass County, Michigan being of full age and of sound mind, do hereby make, publish and declare this my last will and testament, in the following namely:
1. I direct my executor hereinafter appointed to pay out of my estate as soon as may after my decease, all my just debts, and my funeral and testamentary expenses.
2. I give and bequeath to my daughter, Mary, the sum of one hundred ($100.00) dollars...
3. I give and bequeath to my son Ross my carpets and his choice of one bedding and bedding for the same. Also I give him his choice of three rocking chairs.
4. To my grandson, Harry, I give the fourth rocking chair.
5. To my eldest grand daughter, Helen Mabel Adams, I give and bequeath her second choice of one bed and bedding for the same.
6. To my son Archie I give and bequeath one feather bed.
7. To my son Ross I give and bequeath my book case and also the contents of the same.
8. Should I at my death still own the horse and buggy which I now have I desire that my daughter Effie have the same.
9. I desire that the balance of my household goods, not herein mentioned and specified to be equally divided between my children.
10. What money I should have on hand at the time of my death, after all my just debts are paid, and the legacy of one hundrend dollars is given to my daughter Mary, I desire that the balance be equally divided between my children.
11. I give and bequeath to my children in equal shares my farm of eighty acres in Porter Township, Van Buren County, Michigan, it is my desire however that the buildings be on the part which my son, Chester, receives as his share.
12. I give and bequeath to my son Ross, my house and lot in the village of Marcellus...
13. All the residue of my estate of what-so-ever kind and where-so-ever situated I give, devise and bequeath to my children in equal shares.
14. Lastly, I appoint James Newcomb, of the village of Marcellus, Cass County, Michigan, the executor of this will hereby revoking all former wills by me made.
Signed by Jane W. Adams Witnessed by Thomas Vincent and Otis Huff.
Comments of Jane's will (made by John "Jack" K. Adams)
2. One wonders why Mary received $100.00 and also becomes a shareholder in any remaining money.
3. It seems that Ross received the lion's share of her estate, note No. 7 and 11. The house that he received is the one that sits directly across from your church (St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church on Dibble Street), on the north west corner facing on Dibble Street. There is a puzzle here. Harry was born in 1891 on the farm. The three girls were born in 1895-97 and 1900 in a house on Dibble about half way between the railroad station and the house of Jane's on the corner. At some point in the early 1900's they lost that house and moed in with someone else, and later moved in Grandmother's house, as my mother, Hazel, put it. Anyway, by 1921 the entire family, including me, was living there. Whether they moved in while Jane was still alive, or after her death I don't know. How they acquired it from Ross I guess we will never know. My grandmother was the sole owner, we moved from there about 1926 to Detroit and she rented it till the late 30's at which time she sold it for $900.
5. My aunt, Helen Mabel, was, according to my mother and this is not a jealous thing, a favorite of Jane's, when Helen was old enough she did a lot of reading and writing for Jane as she couldn't read or write, or so the story goes. I have no proof of that. Maybe Jim (Adams) knows.
8. She gave my grandmother, Effa Mae, her horse and buggy. Since they lived in town I wonder what use she would have for it and what she eventually did with them. The house across from the church had a small barn behind it as did many other houses in town so maybe that would be a practical bequest.
12. What was her thinking when she gave Chester his portion with the buildings on it? 80 acres divided by 5 is 16 acres. I don't think that 16 acres is enough to make anyone a living, and if Chester farmed the entire 80 acres he would have to share the profits with the other four.
All very confusing but interesting. It probably made more sense than we know, we later generations have little conception of how things were a hundred years ago.