Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Emma E. Lord Estate  

1906 31 May - Mrs. Lord's Estate

    Mrs Lord's estatem so far as known to her friends, consists of thehome for which had recently refused $4,500, a $2,600 mortgage on a farm and a balance of $1,400 due on certain property sold by her some years ago

    Against theres assets in an incumrance on the residence property, two loans said to aggregate about $800. and some small accounts about town.

    An application for the appointment of John Buswell as administrator has been made and his bond was filed. It is probable that he will be appointed.

    Assuming that there are no heirs the question of the disposition of the estate is an interesting one.

    The legal claims will of course have preference, and the residue will go to the state unless testimony is produced to establish beyond doubt in the mind of the court that Mrs. Lord had expressed her wishes in the matter of legacies.

    It is claimes that such evidence can be produced; that she had repeatedly stated to friends that she intended to bequeath her property to Mrs Anna Butler and Jonas Smith.

    It is also claimed that she had many times declared her pupose to release the mortage of $1,400.

    As there are apparently no direct heirs to Mrs Lord's estate -- the state will --- be better off for the --- can be event- --- --- imporper --- whose who --- friends -----

1908 - Feb. 6 Oliver Crook has filed a suit for $10,870 against the Emma E. Lord estate, claiming Mrs. Lord intended that he should inherit her property
    1908 - Oct 29 - Oliver Crook has dismissed his suit against the estate of Emma Lord

1910 - May 12 - Heir to Lord Estate
    Mrs Emma Lord Left a Daughter whose Existence Was unknown in Culver.

    Public interest has centered this week on the appearance in town of an heirto the supposed heirless estate of the late Mrs. Emma Estelle Lord.

    The heir is no less than a daughter of Mrs. Lord - Mrs. Mattie Estelle Commons of Muncie.

    Nor even the oldest and most intimate of Mrs. Lord's frieinds in Culver suspected in their 18 years' acquaintance with her that she had a child living - or, in fact, a relative of any degree. This is what she always maintained, and everybody accepted it as true.

    Capt. Oliver Crook, who was her business advisor for many years, had been informed that there was a child by a first marriage, but he was given to understand that the child was dead.

    Mrs Lord's motive for wishing this impression to prevail is not known - possibly she believed such was the case; but she was of a dispostion which is termed eratic, it does not excite wonder as would be the case with persons who do things in the ordinary conventional way.

    The discovery of the living child came about in this manner. Nor long ago Capt. Crook in looking over papers left by Mrs. Lord found a picture of her taken when she was a young woman. He recalled, too, the name of a family names Waynemyer living in OHio whom Mrs. Lord had mentioned as friends of her early days. He gave the information to Attorney J. C. Capron of Ft. Wayne who communicated with the family and sen on the picture for identification. The Waynemyers replied that the picture was that of Janet Hoover, and gave such other that the following is now estabished:
      Jant Hoover, at the age of 16, married Jason Brewer at Knightsown,Ind.

      A daughter Mattie Estella, was born.

      When the child was about two years old Mr. and Mrs. Brewer separated, Mr. Brewer retaining the child.

      Mrs. Brewer went to Indianapolis and entered a school.

      Later she bought a boarding house businees of a woman named Sewell and assumed the name of Emma Estella Sewell.

    Why she did this the daughter is unable to say. It will have to be charged, for the lack of a better explanation, to the unusual ways she's showed at times of doing things.

    In the course of the time she married R. K. Lord, an educated Englishman of roving dispostion and sporting proclivities.

    Mr. and Mrs. Lord came to Lake Maxinkuckee and Mr. Lord ran a steamboat on the lake for several years. His suicide by drowning is still fresh in the minds of our citizens. Mrs. Lord then took hold of affiars and showed considerable capacity as a business woman. She managed successibely the boat line, the Colonnade hotel, a fam and a millinery store.

    At the time of her death from apoplexy, four years ago, she left some property, the proceeds of the sale of which - $8,000, it is saind - have been paid into court. How much has been paid on outstanding obligation is not known, but Mr. Capron is not investigating and it is hoped that there will be a nice little sume for the daughter whose identity seems to be clearly established.

    Mr. Brewer is living in Beloit, Ohio.

    Mrs. Commons, who came to Culver on Saturday and remained until Tuesday the guest of Capt. and Mrs. Crook, is about 35 years age, the mother of a son of 15. SHe is an intelligent, attractive young woman, bearin so strong a resemblance to her late mother that the likeness is noticed by all who have met her. For the past nine years she has been employed in a suit and cloak house in Muncie. She says:
      "I was brought up by a stepmother whom I love dearly, but I always felt a hunger to known and find my own mother.

      My father put her completely out of his life after the separation and I think never cared to know where she went. I do not think he knew or cared whether she was alive or dead.

      I have always felt that some day I would find her and I never let go of that thoughi.

      I once heard that she was in Cincinnati and I placed an inquiry in the papers there, but nothing cam eof it. I have been even consulted clairvoyants in the hope of getting a clue, and I never went anywhere on the cars or into a strange town that I did not scan the faces of women hoping to see someone who resembled the pictures I had of her at home, for I felt sure that it I did meet her something would tell me that it was my mother.

      I have a picture of her enlarged from a tintype exactly like the one that Captain Crook found after her death.

      Why my mother never tried to find me I don't know and will never find out, but I do know that I wanted to find her.

      Of course I am sorry that this has all been cleared up after she has passed away, but I am glad that her identity is no longer a mystery.

      I have no recollection of any mother except for my stepmither, but she has always treated me as her own child. Still it is natural for a child to want her very own mother.

    Mrs. Commons; appearance at this time is very opportune as the estate is about to be closed, and in default of the appeatance of an heir the property would have gone to the state.

1910- Dec 8 - Romance In Court
    Daughter of Late Mrs. Emma Lord Establish Claim to Paretnage and to the Estate

    Readers of the Citizen will remember the appearance here last May of Mrs. Mattie Estella Commons of Muncie, Ind., and her claim to be the daughter of the late Mrs. Emma Lord.

    She presented such proofs of her heirship as to concinve Capt. Crook and his wife, who were Mrs. Lord's nearest friends, that her clain was perfectly valid.

    Mrs. Commons then began court proceedings to recover her share of the estate.

    The case was on trail in Plymouth last week and resulted in the granting of her petition.

    At the time of the death of Emma Lord after a sale of her effects, the estate amounted to something Over $8,000.

    Just what will remain after the final settlements are made, is not known. [The Democrat estimates the amount at $1,000]. Two reports have been made by Attorneys Hess of Plymouth and McConnell of Peru, who settled the estate, but these have never been approved by the court.

    It is possible that other litigation may follow to clear up the state.

    The credit fot the happy outcome of the case is due entirely to Capt Crook, who worked persistently in following up the clues.

1911, Nov. 30 - The Lord Case on Trail Several persons went to Plymouth yesterday as witnessess in the matter of the Lord estate. The daughter of the late Mrs. Lord is suing for her protion of the estate and for an accounting by Administrator Shugrne.

1911, Dec 7 . - Lord Estate Case Ended
    Circuit court has been occupied since Wednesday, says Saturday's Plymouth Democract, with the settlement of the Lord Estate.

    The daughter of the late Mrs. Lord is suing for an accounting by the administrator.

    At the Novemebr 1910 term, after a sensational trail, Miss Marrie Commons of Muncie proved her idenity and furnished sartisfactory evidence to Judge Benetha, who officially recongnized her as the long-lost daughter of Mrs. Lord of Culver and heir to the estate of about $9,000 The heir and complainant now comes into court and asks for accounting of sums paid out in the settlement of the estate, alleging excessive charges in attorneys' fees and undue expenses incurred by the administrator.

    The case as it was tried a year ago attracted wide attention.

    Two tintypes of a baby girl, taken when the parents separated, proved that Mrs. Commons, employed in a Muncie department store, was the daughter of J. W. Brewer, living at Beloit, O.

    Mrs. Common's mother, after being divorced from Brewer, married Ralph Lord, and the fact that she had been the wife of Brewer was kept a secret by Mrs. Lord, even from her husband.

    Lord committed suicide in Lake Maxinkuckee.

    In the spring of 1906 Mrs. Lord died suddenly of apoplexy, leaving an estate of $9,000.

    There was no will and Mrs. Lord always maintained that she had not a living relative.

    Mrs. Commons left her father when she married and had not seen him again until a few days ago.

    After Mrs. Lord's death a search was started by Capt. Crook to find an heir. Capt Crook had been told by Mrs. Lord that she had a daughter, but that the child had died in infancy. He also recalled the name of an Ohio family whom Mrs. Lord had spoken of in connection with the past.

    This information given to Attorney J. C. Capron of Ft. Wayne started the investigation.

    Brewer knew where his daughter could be found but had kept silent all these years.

    The case was concluded Tuesday and Judge Bernetha is expected to give his decision today.

    Among the expesnes which the heir contended were excessive was $1,800 paid to Administrator Shugrue's attorney's and $1, 800 for administrator's fees.

    It was agreed between the parties the amounts allowed Mrs. Anna Butler and Jonas Smith as compensation for services to Mrs. Lord should stand. A new angle in the case was presented by Attorn

    ey Capron who got himself into an embrassing postion before the court. Capron, as attorney for Mrs. Commons, made the point that the release of the mortgage on the steamboat property to Capt. Crook was obtained by fraud, though he was formerly the attorney of Crook in the transaction.

    The court stopped him in his arguement and showed him that he must abandone one position or the other.

    The judge's action caused a sensation in court, and some attorneys did not hesitate to declare that Mr. Capron has laid himself liable to disbarment

1911, Dec 14 Judge Bernetha has postponed his decsion on the Emma Lord estate matter until Dec. 28 The parties are trying to make a settlement out of court, and th decision was deferred pending the result.

Mar 21 1912
    The Lord Estate Settled

    Judge Harry Bernetha has settled the celebrated Lord case, which had been hanging fire in court for serveral months after it had been tried.

    He orders that the administrator and attorneys turn back a total of $2137,35 which they had charged for their services.

    The sumof $100 whch had been allowed or given to Mercia Bayless was sustained by the judge.

    The court also found that while the Crook claim might not have been established under the law, yet there were ample reasons for the administrator effecting a compromise and settlement of the four suits then pending by Mr. Crook against the estate , and therefore should stand.

    Administrator Shugrue had charged for his services $2,000 - which claime was reduced to $681,35, and he was required to turn back the remainder of $1318.65.

    The attorneys for Shugrue had charged $1500 for their services, bu the judge thought that $698 was enough, and ordered that the difference of $802 be returned to the estate.

    A charge of $17 had been made for posting notices which the judge thought not proper under the circumstances, and this must be returned also to the estate.

    The total of fees lopped of was $2137.65.

    The court did not mention Jonas Smith's nor Anna Butler's claim because the heir, Mrs. Commons, had withdrawn her objections and exceptions and therefore they were not concerned.

    The court criticised John Capron somewhat severely and was inclinded to believe that when he testified on the witness stand that the administrator, Judge McConnell and Oliver Crook knew that the claim was fraudulant and groundless that he, Capron, was not stating conditions as they really existed, but was controlled by his interest in having the Crook claim set aside; and the court said that as to the matter of Capron's conduct he desirded more time to consider it.

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