Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Smiths owed tax money!

One of the surest ways to find a newspaper article about your ancestors is if they owed money to someone. I decided to check out the Library of Congress Chronicling America website tonight which now has newspapers pages imaged and indexed (by OCR) from 1880 to 1922, but only for the states of Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Of course, they have only selected papers from those states.

I noticed that they had the McCook (Nebraska) Tribune available from 1886 to 1922, so I input "Carringer" in the search box and up popped four matches. All four were a notice placed in the paper over four successive weeks (shown below in a screen shot):

The notice reads:


"Abbie Smith, David D. smith, Leva Smith, Matie Chenery, Della Carringer, ----- Carringer, husband of Della Carringer, whose first name is unknown to plaintiff, as heirs at law of Devier J. Smith, deceased, defendants, will take notice that John E. Kelley has filed his petition in the District court of Red Willow County, Nebraska, the object and prayer of which is to foreclose a lien for the delinquent taxes legally assessed and levied on lot number seven (7) in block number thirty (30) in the original town of McCook, in said county, for the years 1891, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, for which taxes said lot was sold to the said John E. Kelley, by the treasurer of said county on September 24, 1900, at a private tax sale. There is now due plaintiff on said tax sale the sum of $29.12, with 20 percent interest thereon from September 24, 1900, and an attorney's fee equal to ten percent of the amount of the decree entered herein, and plaintiff prays for a decree that the defendants be required to pay said sum or that said premises be sold to satisfy the said amount due for taxes, attorney's fees and the costs of this action. You are required to answer said petition on or before Monday the 15th day of July, A.D. 1901.

"John E. Kelley, Plaintiff.

"McCook, Nebraska, May 29, 1901."

Well -- isn't that interesting! Devier J. Smith died 1 May 1894 in McCook, and is buried there. His wife Abbie and daughter Della moved to San Diego in 1887, and son David and daughter Matie moved there in the 1890s. I wonder if they ever saw this notice or were apprised of it by a family friend or former neighbor in McCook? I wonder if they paid the tax bill, or if the lot was sold to recover the taxes? I'm the oldest living descendant of these people - I wonder if they will come after me?

The notice mentions Lot number 7 in Block number 30 - I have a map of downtown McCook in my computer files somewhere - I wonder if that is the livery stable just one block off the railroad track?

So many questions, so few answers. Isn't that always the way? Now I have another document to put in my "reasonable exhaustive search" presentation.

Isn't it amazing what a random search in an online database will turn up? Initially, I didn't bother to search for Devier Smith - when I went back and input that name in just the McCook newspapers, only these four matches appeared. I was hoping that there would be more since he resided there from 1885 to 1894.

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