In our first look at John Martinson’s probate records, we saw the petition for probate that included a list of his heirs, the property that he owned, and the request made by his son Andrew that Lars Martinson, John’s brother, be appointed administrator of the estate. The petition was filed with the court on February 12, 1901.
The next document in the file is the court’s March 2, 1901 decree appointing Lars as the administrator. The decree required him to post a bond (the amount is unclear, either $1000, $7000 or $9000) and take an oath. By March 4, Lars had completed his inventory and submitted it to the court.
First he inventoried John’s real estate holdings. His real estate assets were the Section 24 farm (possibly rented out to my great-grandfather Gust Rudeen) and a lease on another farm in Section 22 in the Richland precinct. The map below shows these parcels (along with John’s original homestead farm and some of the other farms associated with John’s mortgage debts, see below).
This map is a little bit busy, so you might have to zoom in to make sense of the labels. And you can change the base map to an aerial photo if that helps you get your bearings.
As far as I know, only the original John Martinson homestead farm has remained in the family continuously (now owend by Glen and Lu Otto; Lu is descended from John’s daughter Ellen Carlson).
Next, the inventory lists all of John’s “chattel property” (a fancy name for personal property).
According to the 1900 census, John and Nilla were living with their daughter’s family – Hugo and Ellen Carlson. So it’s not surprising that their personal inventory is relatively small. I am even more curious now about his cause of death; 67 years old is awfully young to be retired and living with your daughter. I’m guessing that his health must have been poor prior to his death.
The rest of the inventory details his mortgage debts and various loans he had made to friends and family. This is quite interesting. I’m not sure it’s possible to discern the reasons behind all these financial arrangements.
John held five mortgage debts, the locations of which are shown in orange on the above map:
- 80 acres for his brother, Swan Martinson (I only realized in the last few days that there are OTHER Martinson siblings besides Lars who came to Saunders County – so much more to explore about this family!) – $129 still owed
- 160 acres for his son Andrew Martinson – $476 still owed
- 160 acres for his son-in-law Hugo Carlson (husband of Ellen) – $1800 still owed
- 200 acres for his son Nels J. Martinson (could also be his brother Nils, will sort this out later) – $3000 still owed
- 80 acres for his son-in-law C. F. Mostrom (husband of Ida) – $1429 still owed
Based on the rest of the file, it seems like the persons listed above are making the mortgage payments but John holds the debt (I’m not really sure how all of this worked back in the day….)
Lastly, John has loaned money or established bank accounts for the following individuals:
- A.G. Anderson, $117.20
- Karl Odman, $200
- Pete Hallberg, $150
- N.O. Pearson, $155
- Mrs. Augusta Engstrom, $350
- H. Hallberg, $375
- E. C. Hanson (son-in-law), $335
- Andrew Carlson (could be brother-in-law of Lars Martinson), $1260
- H. F. Carlson (son-in-law), $300
A couple of weeks after the inventory was filed with the court, two additional claims against the estate were submitted. I imagine that these were debts that were perhaps inadvertently excluded from the inventory. The two claims were:
- $2,622.33 owed to his daughter, Matilda Martinson
- $1,908.25 owed on mortgage to his son-in-law, Hugo F. Carlson
It would take a couple of days of research at the Saunders County courthouse to sort out who owes what to whom, and whether the Hugo Carlson claim is different from the mortgage listed above or some other deal entirely.
And I’m not sure it really matters from a genealogical point of view. Suffice it to say that John Martinson had a pretty sizable net worth and had enough resources to act as a banker for his friends and family.
In the next post, we’ll look at some provisions made for his widow and the receipts and expenses during the year following his death. An interesting surprise turned up – stay tuned!