Today was a signal day in many ways: the heavens opened and a deluge fell including claps of thunder and lightening strikes that seemed to touch the ground. The verdant pastures and hills of mid-Missouri welcomed the cool temps and the rain but it played havoc with my schedule. At some point I decided that hurrying along to meet some arbitrary schedule was foolish and I stopped and enjoyed the moment–in the downpour.
Another stroke of luck was finding the volunteers at the Morgan County Genealogy Society. They are housed near the Courthouse in Versailles (say: vur sales) the county seat of Morgan County. Finding another researcher from West Seattle working furiously on her laptop in the small offices near the courthouse was a mind bending coincidence! The volunteers there used an index they had formulated to locate my great grandfather James William Smith’s (born 1851-died 1918) will and probate records.
James Will had about 190 acres in the northwest quadrant of Morgan County Richland Township. At some point the railroad (either the Rock Island Line or the Missouri Pacific) went through his land. He must have made some money assigning the railroads rights to his land. At the time of his death he had $3,910.00 in cash and all the land, livestock and implements associated with farming.
Sallie Luckett Smith, his second wife, was appointed executrix and was charged with paying all the bequests and fees which equalled $2,811.50. She got the balance remaining and the property.
To his children by his first wife, Josie Howell, Troy Deneen Smith (my father’s father (remember Mackay Idaho) and his sister, Ella Ruth Smith Floyd of Alaska he bequeathted $500 each. To his four children with Sallie he bequeathed $1,000 each less whatever cash gifts he had already conveyed to them. The son of one of his boys still lives on a parcel of the land today.
I headed to Otterville next to visit the Cemetery where Troy Deneen, his mother, Josie, and his father James Will and other family members are buried. I was very touched to see that Troy Deneen was buried with his mother. His first wife, my father’s mother, Henri Alberta, is buried in Seneca, MO and his second wife, Augusta Paetsch, is buried in Idaho.