Monday, August 8, 2016

Amanuensis Monday - 1896 Letter of Resignation from Executor of Elling Erickson Natvig (1820-1896) Estate

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 the 1896 letter of resignation from one of the named executors of the estate of Elling Erickson Natvig (1820-1896) of Cottage Grove, Dane County, Wisconsin to the other executor:

The transcription of this letter is:

                                           Valton, May 10th, 1896
T.S. Leland
London, Wis.

Most Esteemed Friends:
                                                          Your letter of April 26th re-
ceived about a week ago. The reasons I have not answered are
two: One is, that Betsy has talked of going down there, but now
she has given it up; the second is that I was so surprised when I
heard hat we were to have a share or inheritance from Elling
Natvig. This is something I had never dreamed of, so I hardly
know what I am to write about. But this I do know that I cannot
acvt as executor, and I positively refuse to act, so I will have to
leave that with you for you to do as you think best. Betsy thinks
that you and Solfest could settle it amongst yourselves, without
having any probate, but you will have to do as you think best for
all parties concerned. I do not want to have anything to say
in the matter. You must excuse me for answering your letter in
Norwegian. I thought it would make no difference between you and me
and I am aso poor at spelling the English language that it would be
difficult for you to read it. I have made up my mind to make
you a visit this summer, but I have been so poorly all spring that
K have had to leave everything in the boys' care and at times we
are now having, it is very difficult to go anywhere. We have had
so much rain that we have at this time just finished mowing our
oats. This will be all at this time.
With friendly greeting, from us all,
                                                                Thos. Johnson
State of Wisconsin }
                               } ss
Dane County         } N.P. Stenjam, being first duly sworn on oath,
says that he has translated the annexed letter into English, and
that the above is a true translation of the same.
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this 12 day of Oct. A.D. 1896. N.P. Stenjem
    1. Henderson
      N.P. Wisconsin
The source citation for this letter of resignation is:

Dane County, Wisconsin, Dane County Probate Records, "Dane County Probate Records, Box 159 - 160," Box 160, images 1076-1108 of 1335, Estate of Elling Erickson Natvig, image 1087, letter of resignation from Thos. Johnson to T.S. Leland, "Wisconsin, Wills and Probates, 1800-1987," digital images, ( accessed 10 September 2015).

Thomas Johnson is the husband of Britha "Betsy" (Solfestdatter) Johnson, the step-daughter of Elling Eriksen Natvig.  He lived in Valton, Sauk County, Wisconsin, while Elling Natvig lived in Cottage Grove, Dane County, Wisconsin - about 84 miles away (Valton is northwest of Cottage Grove).  It would probably be a two or three day journey to travel in good weather.  

Why did Thomas Johnson not expect anything from Elling Eriksen Natvig's estate?  Because he married a step-daughter of Elling Natvig's, not a natural daughter. Of course Britha was a natural daughter of Elling's wife, Anna Ellingsdatter Natvig. This makes some sense, since he raised the three step-daughters after their natural father died and Elling married their mother, Anna Ellingsdatter (1812-1901) in 1845 in Sogndal, Norway. Anna's first husband was Solfest Johannessen (1812-about 1845) of Sogndal, Norway.  

One of the interesting features of the will of Elling Eriksen Natvig (1820-1896) is that he left money to his three step-daughters and their heirs, and also to his wife and one of his own natural daughters, but not to his two sons or to another natural daughter.  

Elling Eriksen Natvig and his wife, Anna Ellingsdatter Natvig, are my wife's second great-grandparents.  Persons who have one or both of these persons in their ancestry would be Linda's 3rd cousins (if in the same generation) - close enough for DNA matches to appear if the cousins have tested their autosomal DNA.


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