Within two weeks of Daniel Dill’s death, his friends back in Mobile had organized to take the reins of his estate and begin the probate process. A relative of Daniel’s, Bolin Smith, was apparently the consensus choice to be the administrator.
I have searched high and low to figure out exactly how Bolin was “kin” to Daniel. I surmise that he is not related to Daniel through Daniel’s mother’s side (the Quaker Browns), but that’s no more than a hunch. I think he is related to Daniel either on the Dill side, or on Daniel’s late wife’s side (and she was also a Dill – more about her soon I PROMISE). Figuring out Bolin’s ancestry would be a great help in figuring out Daniel’s ancestry too. This isn’t particularly relevant to the overall story here however, so I’ll just leave that for future research.
Bolin lived in Lowndes County, Alabama [reference image 1008 of probate file on Ancestry.com – see source citation below1] – about 150 miles north of Mobile near Montgomery. He handled the initial part of the estate administration, but bowed out after only a month. I’m sure it was difficult to handle Daniel’s affairs from so great a distance. But the court probably felt duty-bound to first appoint a relative to get the probate case started and Bolin apparently felt a duty as well. He was appointed as administrator ad colligenda on June 13, 1855 [ref 998]. That meant he had the authority to protect Daniel’s assets but had no power to distribute them to the heirs.
Bolin first traveled to Bladon Springs to settle Daniel’s bill at the hotel where he died. He also settled up on some funeral expenses and some doctor’s bills [ref 1361]. From the doctor’s bill we learn that Daniel was sick for three days before he died, receiving visits from the doctor “morning, noon and night” [ref 1359]. This kind of suggests that he was sick in bed and may have died from something other than his rheumatism.
Bolin also undertook an initial inventory of Daniel’s assets [ref 1001]. The major assets were his house and store at 40 Dauphin Street and his three slaves: Sam, John and Nancy. One of the slaves, John, is noted as being in Lauderdale Springs. This is another resort much like Bladon Springs, but is located farther to the east in Mississippi. I have not been able to determine why John was in Lauderdale Springs, unless perhaps he accompanied Daniel to a visit there and stayed behind for some reason. Also included in the inventory are Daniel’s confectioner tools and more than 100 glass jars – probably used for display of candy and sweets in his store. The rest of the inventory is the usual stuff – a couple of gold watches, some furniture, etc.
Several people owed Daniel money, including a brother Andrew Dill – identified as an heir. This is consistent with what we already know – that my 4x-great-grandfather Peter Dill had brothers that included both a Daniel and an Andrew. Daniel had also invested more than $400 in the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. The M&O Railroad was to extend from Mobile, Alabama to Cairo, Illinois (the mouth of the Ohio River). Daniel also had over $350 in the bank and Bolin found another $88 in a trunk [ref 1234].
Bolin presented his findings to the court on June 23 – just ten days after his appointment – and then requested that Mr. E. B. Gould be appointed as the administrator [ref 1005].
A week later on June 30, 1855, the judge approved the appointment Mr. E. B. Gould as administrator [ref 1007]. According to Gould’s own petition,
Your petitioner has for several years been the agent of said deceased and has in his frequent attacks of sickness attended to his business and your petitioner prays that your Honor could grant this letter of administration in chief of said Dill estate.
As we saw last time, E.B. Gould owned a drugstore in Mobile. According to census records2, he was 37 years old in 1855. He was married and had a wife and several children.
There’s something else you need to know about Mr. Gould. He may have had money trouble. He had filed for bankruptcy in 18423. He also failed to pay taxes during most of the time that he handled Daniel’s estate, and eventually sold his business with years of back taxes unpaid4.
It leads to a suspicion that he had motives other than friendship when it came to handling Daniel’s affairs. We’ll be reviewing his handling of the estate in coming posts.
1All references to the probate file are image numbers from Ancestry’s online version. See Original Will Records, Daniel Dill, Pigeon Hole No 85, Files 9-41, 1814-1946, Index, 1813-1957; Author: Alabama. Orphans’ Court (Mobile County); Probate Place: Mobile, Alabama.
21860 Census record for Edwin B. Gould, Census Place: Mobile Ward 6, Mobile, Alabama; Roll: M653_17; Page: 476; Family History Library Film: 803017.
3Applicants – Bankrupt Act 1842, From the Merchants & Planters Prices Current By Sanford & Wilson – Mobile, Feb. 26, 1842 Vol.Iv No.25. Accessed August 2, 2017. http://genealogytrails.com/ala/mobile/newsbankrupt.html.
4Alabama Supreme Court. Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama. West Publishing Company, 1907, p. 1839. Google Books link.