Friday, February 08, 2008

At the Courthouse in Peru

Sometimes, the more you find, the more confused you get. More information found = more questions. Or so it seems. My trip to the courthouse at Peru on Thursday wasn't all that fruitful in regards to definite information on Peter and Christina Wise. However, it is more than I had before.

I looked through the Deed Index Books for Peter and/or Christina Wise from 1850-55 and 1874-1890. They were still in Wayne County, Ohio in 1850. Peter died in 1875 and Christina in 1884. The record below was the only one found for Peter. There were none for Christina. Based on the fact that Peter still owned land in 1870 (as shown in the census he had real estate valued at $1000) I didn't check the years 1855-1873, however, considering the fact that he paid more than $3,000 for his land, I should probably go back and check those years as well. That said, I have come across several instances where land transactions weren't recorded until many years later, especially if the transaction was with another family member, so it could be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The first, and only, land transaction that I found for Peter Wise in Miami County, Indiana was signed on April 13, 1854 and recorded on page 249 in Deed Book "H" and filed for record September 26, 1854.
John Bowers, of the County of Miami and State of Indiana... for the sum of Three thousand and Six hundred dollars to him paid by Peter Wise of the County of Miami... The South West quarter of Section Seventeen (17) in Township twenty nine (29) North of Range five (5) East containing One hundred and Sixty Acres more or less.
One of the ladies in the County Clerk's office helped me with trying to locate estate records. We checked the will books first but neither Peter nor Christina were listed. We next checked the estate books. There was an entry for Christina, but nothing for Peter. The entry for Christina referenced a file number, an inventory book, and an order book but we were unable to locate any of the particular books that were mentioned.

However, there was just a little bit of information available in the book we found (Estate Book 1, page 273). Just enough to make you wonder. It gives Christina's date of death as April 24, 1884 (her grave marker has April 25th). She lived in Gilead. The estate inventory was filed July 15, 1884 and was valued at $3,891.33 which, I think, is a fairly sizeable sum. The inventory was recorded in Inventory Record 5 page 208. I sure would like to find that inventory! There was a reference to Order Book 9 but no page number was given. The final report was given on October 25, 1887.

There was a list of four claimants:
Rosanna Hate, July 10, 1884 $80 and November 11, 1884 $80
Luella Culbertson, November 11, 1884 $62 and November 11, 1884 $62
William Kircher, November 11, 1884 $1405.66 and July 5, 1885 $1339.50
John J. Mohler, January 9, 1885 $735.09 and March 25, 1885 $662.00

That last man listed, John J. Mohler, is the husband of "Mrs. Ella Mohler" who is mentioned as a sister in the obituary of Eliza Wise Hoffman. Are the others related in some way as well? We don't know if this was a settlement to the heirs or simply claims against the estate. If this was a settlement to the heirs, why aren't the other children and/or grandchildren of Peter and Christina included?

One of the items that I copied at the Wabash Library was the plat map for Perry Township, Miami County from the "Combination Atlas Map of Miami County" which is a reprint of the 1877 atlas, which is 2 years after Peter's death. These maps include the name of the landowners for each parcel. The 160 acres of land that Peter Wise purchased in 1854 (noted above) was listed under the name of M. Thomas, not Christina Wise.

There is a William Kercher in the 1870 (age 42) and 1880 (age 53) census for Perry Township, Miami County, Indiana. With him in 1870 is his wife Catherine, age 38, and daughter Lulla, age 10. In 1880 his wife Catherine is 51 years old, born in Ohio and parents were born in Pennsylvania. Listed with them is John A. Culberson, age 22, son-in-law, and Luella Culberson, age 20, daughter. Could Catherine Kercher, born 1829-1832, aka Mrs. William Kercher, be a daughter of Peter and Christina? And Luella Culberson/Culbertson their granddaughter?

Last Sunday, while at the Allen County Library, I copied the pages from the Wayne County, Ohio Marriage Index 1813-1898 that listed the "Wise" marriages. Among the women listed is Rosanna Wise who married Jacob Hale on March 20, 1851. Is this the Rosanna "Hate" listed in Christina's estate record? Is she a daughter of Peter and Christina? I questioned the surname Hate at the time thinking that would be an terrible name to have! But the clerk looked at it too and agreed that it was indeed Hate. There is a Jacob Hale listed in the 1860 census in Seward Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana, which is just a few miles north of where Peter and Christina lived. Jacob is 32 years old and was born in Pennsylvania. Listed with him is 33 year old Rosanna Hale who was born in Ohio, 5 year old May A. Hale who was born in Indiana, and 7 year old Luther Wade, also born in Indiana. I've done some quick searches but have not located Jacob and Rosanna Hale in any other years in Indiana, but I haven't checked any spelling variations yet either.

So, where does this leave me? What I got is a teaser, just a hint of what could be in the record books - if they could be found. I suspect the four claimants are related to Peter and Christina, so there are those names to investigate further. And that is something.


Lidian said...

Sometimes the more you find out, the less you know - looks like you have got some interesting research to do and I'm going to be following your search with great interest. Reminds me of my Moses V. Williams in Chester co, Pa whose bankruptcy records (1825) have him owing money to loads of people, some known relations and some - question marks.

The more we know, the more we want to find out! Good luck with the Wise/Hoffmans!

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Solving mysteries like these often lead to big discoveries. I hope tracking down more info. on the four people with claims leads you to more on Peter & Christina. But it would have been nicer if all of the records were right there!

Becky Wiseman said...

Lidian - so true. Fitting the pieces of the puzzle together is a challenge, but the bigger challenge is to find the pieces!

Apple - I think I've got some leads to find living descendants of Peter and Christina. I'm really, really hoping that one of those family members has the missing pieces to help put it all together. I think this is one of those "head bangers" you mentioned in a comment on one of my other posts. It's like, yeah, it would be nice if the records were there, but the challenge makes it more meaningful when the goal is reached, assuming that it will be, eventually!


I would love to be digging right
along side you in the Wabash library. I am lucky they have some
online obits, I found quite a few
people in that index which are
indirectly related to me.