Monday, September 8, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Post 234: 1929 Hearing and Decree in Devier J. Smith Probate File in Red Willow County, Nebraska

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme years ago called "Amanuensis Monday."  John offers this definition for "amanuensis:" 

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is a 1929 hearing, and resulting Decree of the Court to define heirship of the estate of Devier J. Smith in Red Willow County, Nebraska:

The transcription of this document is (handwritten portions in italics):


02  In the Matter of the Estate of  }                          DECREE #1992
03  Devier J. Smith, Deceased.    }

04  On this 30th day of December, 1929, this cause
05  came on for hearing to the Court at the hour of 10 o'clock
06  A.M., on the Petition of John E. Kelley and the evidence.
07        The Court finds that Devier J. Smith departed
08  this life intestate in Red Willow County, Nebraska, on
09  December 24, 1900.
10         The Court further finds that at the time of the
11  death of said Devier J. Smith he was seized in fee of the
12  following described real estate, situated in Red Willow County,
13  Nebraska, to-wit:
14  Lot Seven (7), in Block Thirty (30), in the Original Town of
15  McCook;
16         The Court further finds that subsequent to the death 
17  of Devier J. Smith the Petitioner became the owner of said real
18  estate by purchase and conveyance thereof to him, the said
19  John E. Kelley.
20         The Court further finds that more than two years
21  have elapsed since the deathj of Devier J. Smith and that no
22  application has been made in the State of Nebraska
23  for the appointment of an administrator, wither by the heirs of
24  said deceased, or by persons claiming to be creditors of his
25  or otherwise.
26         The Court further finds that the heirs and next of
27  kin of said Devier J. Smith at the time of his death were as
28  follows:  his widow, Abbie A. Smith; a son David D. Smith 
29  and two daughters, Matie Chenery and Della A. Carringer.
30         It is therefore Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed and
31  Determined by the Court; that Devier J. Smith died intestate;
32  that the Petitoner, John E. Kelley became the owner in fee
33  of the above described premises by purchase and conveyance to
34  him.  That there are no creditors of said estate; that more

35  than two years have elapsed since the death of said Devier
36  J. Smith; that the sole heirs at law and next of kin of said
37  Devier J. Smith at the time of his death were as follows:
38  his widow, Abbie A. Smith; a son David D. Smith and two 
39  daughters, Matie Chenery and Della A. Carringer, and as such 
40  heirs inherited the said above described real estate, to-wit:
41  Lot Seven (7), Block Thirty (30) in the Original Town of
42  McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska.

43                                                            A. L. Zink               
44                                                           County Judge.
45 {seal}

The source citation for this record is:

Hearing and Decree, by John E. Kelley, 25 November 1929, Estate of Devier J. Smith file folder No. 1992, Red Willow County, Nebraska, Probate Court, McCook, Nebraska (accessed 11 July 2014 by Chris Christensen).

The first paper in this probate file was displayed and transcribed in Amanuensis Monday - Post 230: 1929 Petition for Determination of Heirship of Devier J. Smith Estate (posted 11 August 2014).  I also explained the "back story," how I obtained images of this probate file, and Devier J. Smith's relationships in the first blog post.  Several other papers were provided in Amanuensis Monday - Post 233: More Papers in 1929 Devier J. Smith Probate File in Red Willow County, Nebraska (posted 1 September 2014).  This post completes the transcription of the papers in the probate file of Devier J. Smith.

I think the explanation for this probate record (35 years after the death of Devier J. Smith on 1 May 1894) lies in the newspaper record described in My Smiths owed tax money! (posted 28 January 2010).  The newspaper 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."

On 23 November 1902, another item appeared in the "Equity Cases" section of the McCook newspaper, which reads:

"John E. Kelley vs. Abbie Smith. Dismissed."

But why did John E. Kelley file the petition to determine heirship of Devier J. Smith?  I think it was because he did not have a deed to the property.  In order to sell the land, he needed a deed, but, apparently, no deed was recorded when he paid the delinquent taxes and was awarded the property in 1901 at a private tax sale.  He required a court record that identified the previous owner, who died intestate, and decreed that he was the legal owner of the property.  

copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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