Sunday, September 27, 2009

Episode 4

The following is Episode 4 of 8 written in the summer of 1995 and shared with our three daughters, to begin sharing with them our ancestors stories. We have shared many stories in the meantime, and regularly keep them up to date on our research.

I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.

Episode 4

Cedar County Probate Records

On a return trip to the Cedar County offices in Tipton, June 1995, we started with the probate records. We found (and made copies, in part):
1. John Dolan Estate records from 1852.
2. James Dolan probate listing all heirs at death, 19 Jan 1891.
3. Will of Amanda E. Dolan, listing family members.
4. Estate records of Harriett Bolger, death on 12 Sep 1912, listing surviving heirs, with ages and addresses.

(1) The Probate records of John Dolan disclosed a number of relationships of interest. First, a legal notification on behalf of his surviving widow, Rebecca, lists his children. At the time, we knew most of the names but had not yet confirmed the relationships:

In the Matter of the Estate of John Dolan;
To Jeremiah Dolan, George W. Dolan, William Dolan, Julianna Dolan, John Dolan, Charles Dolan, Almira Dolan, Amanda Jane Dolan, Melissa McSparren, Phillip McSparren, Harriet Bolger and Michael Bolger. You are hereby notified that there is now on file in the Office of the County Judge of Cedar Co, Iowa, a Petition of Rebecca Dolan, widow of the late John Dolan...
It goes on to provide for her clear claim to five contiguous forty acre land parcels in western Cass Township, a total of 200 acres. Included in the record is a report of survey of that property prepared by Robert Gower on 27 Oct 1852. Signatures on a document acknowledging receipt of the notice are:
Michael Bolger as Guardian for Charles Dolan (census records show he worked as a farm laborer for his brother-in-law, Michael)
Michael Bolger for Harriet Dolan "By M. Bolger, her husband"
Rebecca Dolan as Guardian for Almira Dolan and Amanda Jane Dolan [Note that this Amanda Jane Dolan is younger and a different person than Amanda (E) Dolan noted in the next report.]

(2) George B. Dolan filed the final report on the James Dolan estate on 5 Sep 1891. It listed heirs as (copy of actual attached):
name age address
Amanda Dolan, widow 71 Tipton, Ia
(Real estate left to her: W2NE4, Sec. 15, Twp. 80, Range 3, 80 a.)
G.P. (Pitt) Dolan 37 Washington, Ia
Sally Filson 35 Tipton, Ia
Arabell Boon 30 " "
George B. Dolan 27 " "
Charles Dolan 50 Concordia, Kan.
Melvinia Peacock 47 Mapleton, Iowa
Charlotte Zeifing 45
Jessie Bolger 23 Coon Rapids, Ia
Wallace Dolan 22 " " "
Lenard Dolan 18 " " "
Ollie Dolan 14 Lisbon, Ia
Susan Lucinda Paton 22 Lebam, Wash
Rachel Ann Tamas 19 Willipa City, Wash
Omi Aqum Dolan 11 " " "
(date of last birthday-minor-7 Mar 92)

Lists such as this are extremely useful in discovering or confirming ages, married names, locations of people and land transfers that may not be recorded anywhere else. Since some of these are the direct heirs alive at the time of decedents death, it also suggests or confirms when some of their parents died (that is, when the children of the deceased had died). Such listings also give clues to the existence of grandchildren and their names, not previously identified.
For instance, age 71 for Amanda Dolan would suggest a birth year for her of 1820. We earlier had her (Amanda E. Stratton) marriage record to James Dolan, on June 8, 1851, where she stated her age as 30, suggesting a birthdate of 1821. He stated his age as 39 for the marriage record. This would suggest a birth year of 1812. [Recall the 1850 census listed his age as 43, a birth year of 1807.] His biography in the History of Cedar County stated his birthdate as 12 Oct 1806, which matches the information on his gravestone.
Now, for the children. The first five were the children of Nancy Harris (she died in 1846): Melvinnia, Josiah, Charles, Harley, and Charlotte. Note that Melvinnia has married a Peacock. Josiah has died and is represented by his children, Jessie Bolger, Wallace, Leonard (correct spelling), and Ollie. Charles is living in Kansas. Harley has died, and appears to be represented by his children, the last three listed. Charlotte has married a Zeifing. Amanda's children by James are: G.P. (commonly known as Pitt), Sally (married to a Filson), Arabell (married to Cyrus Boon), and George B. Listing of each of their ages makes interesting comparisons with census data and other sources, of course. Now, knowing the married names of some of the females, they can be identified in census records, often along with the full name of their husband, their children, and, their ages: entirely new information!

(3) The will of Amanda E. Dolan, second wife of James Dolan, made 15 Jun 1897, about a year before her death, leaves whatever she had left to her children and heirs, only. In her six paragraph will, the first paragraph gives her granddaughter Susie Filson the sum of $20.00. The second paragraph lists several grandchildren to whom "I give and bequeath nothing": Amanda Rohads, Mrs Lue Finefield, Mrs Doray Windes, Masid McConnick, Will Slater, Laura Filson, Friddie Filson, Casper Filson, Harry Filson and Rolf Filson (spelling interpretations from hand written documents probably include some errors).
Paragraph 3, 4, and 5, specify that after "payment of all my lawful debts and funeral expenses," one half of the entire estate goes to Arabell Boon, one fourth to G. Pitt Dolan, and one fourth to G.B. Dolan. G. Pitt Dolan is appointed sole executor in paragraph 6.

(4) Harriett Bolger died 12 Sep 1912. [Note her name is spelled with either one or two "t"s in various places at various times.] Her daughter, Mary, Mrs. Milton Vincent, with whom she was living in West Liberty at the time of her death, filed the initial report asking that William T. Negus, a grand son, be named administrator. It listed the surviving children and heirs:
- Fleeta, born in 1851 and died in 1852, was not listed.
1. Mrs. Rosamond Negus (married David Negus, Feb 28, 1878), age 58, West Liberty, Muscatine Co, Iowa.
2. Mrs. Mary Vincent, age 56, West Branch, Cedar Co, Iowa.
- Nina, born in 1858 and died in 1879, was not listed.
3. Thomas Bolger, age 51, Coon Rapids, Carroll Co, Iowa.
- Sarah, married J.J. Larkin about 1888, had died, her children are listed below.
- Catherine (Katie), born 1867 and died 1885, was not listed.
4. Michael Bolger, age 42, Webster City, Iowa.
5. G.A. Larkin, age 23, grand son, Olwein, Iowa.
6. Anabel Larkin, age 20, grand daughter, Olwein, Iowa.
7. John Larkin, age 18, grand son, Olwein, Iowa.
8. Frank Larkin, age 16, grandson, Olwein, Iowa.

A Waiver is signed by Rosamond Negus, Thomas Bolger, Mrs. Mary Vincent, Glenn A. Larkin, Michael Bolger, John Larkin and Frank Larkin.
The assets of the estate, noted in the Final Report filed 20 Dec 1913 by Wm. T. Negus, consisted of a certificate of deposit in West Branch State Bank of $300.00, a checking account balance there of $76.88, and a real estate mortgage due her of $1,500.00. With interest and $34.27 rent collected on real estate, the total assets were $2,048.67. Taxes and funeral expenses were $241.73 while the monument ($100) and other administration fees totaled $222.50. The net estate was to be paid out as follows:
1. To Mary Vincent One Fifth $ 316.89
2. To Rosamund Negus One Fifth 316.89
3. To Michael Bolger One Fifth 316.89
4. To Thomas Bolger One Fifth 316.89
5. To Glenn A. Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22
6. To Mabel Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22
7. To John Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22
8. To Frank Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22

The report states then: "He reports that he is ready at any time to make distribution in accordance with the above but he shows that the last two heirs named are minors and they have no guardian to his knowledge."
A Notice follows whereby the Administrator proposes that the $79.22 due each of the minors be deposited with the Clerk of Court until they are "of age." "The expense of service of this notice to be deducted from your respective shares." They apparently did that.
Later, two forms were filed for each. The first was an "Application of J.G. Larkin for order to pay over funds" and then an "Order to pay over funds" that noted the said J.G. Larkin "became of age on April 25, 1915," and is entitled to the $78.17 ($79.22 less cost of service!!) plus $2.60 interest earned or $80.77. Similarly, Frank J. Larkin filed similar papers when he became of age on April 25, 1917, and received $80.87!!!!!!!!!! (I enjoyed that part.)

There remains the question of whether John Dolan and James Dolan were related. It seems almost certain they would be cousins or nephew-uncle, if not brothers. A lady in Cedar Rapids was "going to write a family history on the Dolans" about ten years ago, but she was killed in a car accident, or something. We have written to a couple in Cedar Rapids who is supposed to know more, but have received no reply to date (they are probably dead, too). Ann Beach, who we knew in high school (daughter of Irene Rees, granddaughter of Thomas Bolger), supposedly also has more Dolan information. She lives in Redfield, Iowa. We will be contacting her one of these days.
We visited Webster City to find Michael Bolger, the younger. This report in another episode.

Family is forever! ;-)

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