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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.