05 February 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Family matters in the estate of James and Mary Lou McCormick

SERIES NOTE: Amanuensis Monday is a genealogy blogging prompt used by many in the blogging community. The word, according to Google, means: "A literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts."
My sister, her husband, and I are going through old family letters together. This is a wonderful sharing experience between our family. We hope anyone who is interested will benefit from our work and that there will be many more letters to come.

These letters are from a dialog about the settlement of the James Caldwell McCormick and Mary Louisa Haines McCormick farm in Burlington, New Jersey.

The letters were kept by my great grandfather Clifford Caldwell McCormick Senior, and include communication with his brothers about the matter. They are a good example of the typical family ups and downs, including some anger about the settlement, likely due to a lack of open communication.

                                                         Columbus M.d
                                                         4-10-46.
Dear Cliff:
    Well I guess I am finally over the sale, but was I
tired. I have been half sick ever sinse. Mostly cold.
The sale amounted to $1837. gross. It was after 8 oclock
when we finished. It was so late that Jim, Tein(?) + I all
went up to Merle’s for supper and then we were so
tired that no one was hungry. I think every one should
have a sale every 2 years so that there wouldn’t be so much
junk accumulate. The next one I have, I think I will
have a fire instead.
    Settlement has not yet been made on the Farm.
The man buying it has to get his money from another
who getting a G.I. Loan. And “Uncle Sam” sure takes
his time.
    The old photographs and other things, including
Ches’ (?) arrow heads I have taken care for you.
    I have not been in the House for over a week
now.

            Be seeing you
                    Char.

Letter includes:
Mentions: Jim (probably son James Caldwell McCormick)
(click to see relationships, photos etc. in FamilySearch Family Tree)

[another letter below] 

P.S.                                          208 Lore Ave.
He owes me                            Hillcrest.
$125.00 and I                          Wilmington 253.
have the cancelled                   Deleware.
checks.                                     Nov. 25, 1946

Dear Cliff:
    I agree with you. We should send a note
to Char requesting him to reimburse us for
the money we advanced towards mother’s
hospital expenses, and have been on the
verge of doing so a number of times.
    Month’s ago, I wrote myself some thoughts on
the whole matter and have been carrying them
around with me ever since. They are somewhat
as follows:
    The three of us were supposed to be paying
an equal share towards the hospital expense.
Whether they were equal doesn’t matter. The
fact is he wasn’t repaid for what he paid in
and we were not.
    That I should like to see a photographic
copy of both the wills so I could see the
signatures of mother and witnesses.  We would
also learn something about the erasure that
is mentioned on the typewritten copy of the
second will.
    That the will was rewritten after the sale
of the household goods and farm implements
to cover his actions and pre-empt any
attempt on our part to ask for an accounting.
[page break]
2
 Which was some small phraseology
inserted by his lawyer.
    That I think Char, as executor, should be
asked to produce the Elgin watch. Maybe the
hospital thought it wise to keep it in case
there was an unpaid balance. Who knows?
    About the will again – I think if we are
not permitted to see the originals (or photostats)
of the two wills, we could assume that there are
none and apply for letters of administration, but
I’m afraid its much too late for this action.  
    Denbo, the shyster, if he so desired, could
easily make us copies of “a will” without
there really being a signed original.
    You know mother was in no condition
to comprehend what was in the will (the 2d)
if she did read it and sign it. If she
questioned any part of it, Char would have
advised her that it had to be that way and
she would have trustingly believed him.
    Char always claimed he assumed fathers debts.
As far as I know we were never informed how
much these debts were. But we could have been
let in on the secret. Although I for one would
not have offered to help pay them, for as I see it,
they were incurred for him and perhaps in part
by him, as he was the one using the farm. At
one time Char said he was paying off the debts.
I think this was while working as guard.  Maybe
the debts were a couple of hundred maybe several
[page break]
3
thousand. But I would say that not
much of it was paid off by the toil of his
hands, as you know there was a tractor,
trucks, autos, and many, many farm imple-
ments that were not offered at the sale as
they were disposed of long before.
    At any rate he’ll end up far better off than
I am. By the way the farm settlement must
have been made by now. Do you know?
    I just had a new heater installed the
middle of October. It is a gas-fired boiler
and does a good job. Hope the fuel bills wont
be too high when the cold weather comes.
Cost me $515.00 installed. Had to cash a lot
of bonds to pay for it, but the cleanliness and
convenience are wonderful.
    Back to the other again. It all adds up to
this:   I have not enough bonds or bank
balance to take any kind of legal action.
Which would also mean many trips to Burlington
and Mt. Holly and time off from work and it
might take a long, long time.
    But I am still mad and shall not visit
them in Columbus nor invite them here.
If they come while I am at home, they’ll have
to settle up before they’re admitted. I’ll not even
send them a Christmas greeting. But I’ll tell you, I hope,
he has a merry Christmas with “that woman” I know
I couldn’t have. See how mad I am?
        Yours Ches
                (over)
[page break]

Maybe this is a P.S.
Understand I’d like to do something too.
But I don’t believe we can recover
enough from the estate to pay us to
take legal action.
    As to the money we advanced,
maybe we can recover that, which would
be a help. Of course he isn’t entitled to it.
We paid for his divorce, so to speak.
Yes I was 52 on the 23d. Spent
most of the day cleaning and painting
the car.
Got a letter from Aunt Annie. She is in
Philadelphia for the winter. She wrote that
Jimmir Nieb(?) has closed his roadside stand
for the winter and that he and Char are
going into cement block business. Its not
clear to us whether its Char Sr. or Jr.
            Ches.

Letter includes:
Aunt Annie, there is an Aunt named Anna on both the McCormick and Haines side.
(click to see relationships, photos etc. in FamilySearch Family Tree)

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