Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Half of an Old Mare called Van Dora

In 1992, I did some research in Muskingum County, Ohio in hopes of finding something about the notorious (according to my grandmother) William B. Jones, my 4th great grandfather.

The obituary of his widow, Elizabeth, stated that she “moved to Columbia City in 1845. Her maiden name was Helms and she was born in Pennsylvania, April 3d, 1804. At an early age she removed with her parents to Ohio, where in 1825 she was married to Wm. B. Jones who died in 1843.”

The death records for four of their five children give the name of their father as either William B. Jones or William Jones. The obituaries of two of the children state that they were born near Dresden, Muskingum County and two others give just the county. The Obits also provide some conflicting information regarding their father with one stating "Through a bad business deal the family competency was lost and the father died in 1843." Another simply states “the father died in Ohio.” And yet another obituary says that “she came with her parents to this county and settled on a farm three and one half miles southwest of Columbia City. Mr. Jones had lost all of his property through the failure of a friend for whom he had been a bondsman and he came to this county to build up his fortunes anew.”

I had found several tantalizing bits at the courthouse in Muskingum County back in '92 – an entry in an administration docket referring to his estate case (No. 2173) and an entry that the estate inventory had been filed on June 11, 1844. But nothing more. No further entries. No estate packet. There were many other estate packets on the shelves, but his was not found. I also checked the Index to Deeds and found entries where the same land was being sold in two different transactions. However, for whatever reason, at that time I did not pull the Deed Books to look at the land records.

Yesterday at the Family History Library was a good day... some answers were found, and, as usual, more were raised, and many remain regarding Mr. Jones.

Apparently, some records from Muskingum County are held by the Archives of Ohio University in Athens, including the “Inventory Records 1828-1909” where, on pages 390-391, I found an entry for the estate of William B. Jones.

John N. Ingalls, Danl C. Bruce, and William Johnson were appointed appraisers of the estate on March 28, 1844. The last land transaction that I found for William B. Jones was on May 8, 1843 where he and his wife Elizabeth were selling land to Zachariah Ogle.

It appears that there were some notes owed and cash on hand of $16.90 and “The deceased having left a widow Elizabeth Jones we the undersigned appraisers have set off to her the following described property without appraisement as directed by the statute.”
“Three Beds & Bedsteads & Beding, one Family Bible, All the cooking utensils the same not exceeding absolute wants of the family. All the books in the family Library the same not amounting in value to the sum of Fifty dollars. All the wearing appariel and clothing of the deceased. The cloths wearing apparrel & ornaments of the widow, one spinning wheel, six chairs, six knives & forks, six plates, six cups and saucers, one milk pot, one sugar dish, one Tea pot, Twelve spoons, one Table.”
The appraisers each received a fee of one dollar each.

Beneath that section is a schedule of “the property belonging to the estate of William B. Jones deceased set off by the undersigned appraisers for the support of Elizabeth Jones his widow and Maxey A. Jones, Catharine B. Jones, Dewitt C. Jones, Curtis W. Jones & Mary E. Jones his minor children for the term of one year from his decease.”
“Names of Articles. One Cow. 7.00 one Common Cupboard 6.00 one Bureau & Book Case 8.00 one settee 3.00, one pr andirons 27 'h, a field of Wheat supposed to contain 40 acres 175.00 one Bee pallace & Bees 5.00 Two Beds & Beding 11.00, Five old chairs 62 'h one old churn 2.5 one half of an old mare called Van Dora 17.50. one grind stone 1.50. one coal stone 1.50. cash 12.00”
Total valuation of the estate of William B. Jones was $248.75

When I read that last line of the list of articles, I first thought it said “one hag” then I enlarged the image on the reader a bit and saw that it said “one half” and started giggling. I pulled Carol over to read it and we've been giggling, snickering and laughing about it ever since! Nothing like a little humor to brighten the day... and in honor of that old mare, my van (my home away from home) is now known as Van Dora!!
On page 391, the appraisers certified that “the above is all the property belonging to the deceased suitable to be sett off to the above mentioned widow and children for their support and maintainance for the term of twelve months next following the death of her said husband and that in our opinion the further sum of Seventy six Dollars and twenty Five cents is absolutely necessary for their support during the above named term and recommend that the same be paid to her in money by the administrator.”
Chauncy A. Pardy was the administrator of the estate of Wm B. Jones and he “made oath that the annexed Inventory is just and true, that it contains a true statement of all the estate and property of said deceased which has come to the knowledge of said Chancey A. Pardy and particularly of all money, bank bills or other circulating miedium belonging to the deceased and of all just claims of the deceased against him or other persons according to the best of his knowledge.” Sworn to and subscribed before me this 11th day of June AD 1844. A. Wilkins, Deputy Clerk.


So there we have it. William B. Jones did not make the journey to Indiana. Exactly where and when he died is still not known but this document provides that “definitive link” between him and his children. The land records I obtained today still need to be reviewed to see what was going on with them. In the meantime we have some Questions unanswered or raised anew:

  • When did William B. Jones die?
  • Where is he buried?
  • What did William B. Jones do for a living?
  • Who has the Family Bible?
  • Where are the rest of the documents relating to the estate?
  • Is he going to be one of my “end of line” ancestors? Where do I go from here? When listed, census records for William's children indicate that he was born in Virginia, but there is no clue as to where in Virginia!
  • And, last but definitely not least; Who owned the other half of the old mare called Van Dora?

Page 390 of the Inventory Record of the Estate of William B. Jones.
As always, double-click on the images to view a larger version.

Page 391 of the Inventory Record of the Estate of William B. Jones.

Information from newspaper clippings and the obituaries of his widow and children reveal that William's family left Muskingum County on October 23, 1845 and arrived in Whitley County, Indiana on October 31st. You can read more about their journey in the post on Grandma Jones and in the Index to Posts on the Jones family.

Also, for a good chuckle, go read Carol's post to see what other adventures we had yesterday...


Carol said...

We did have an interesting day, didn't we??

Greta Koehl said...

Now I'm going to be wondering about the other half of that mare....

Susan Clark said...

Wonderful! And I'm with Greta - which half do you suppose she got?