Monday, February 17, 2014

Petition for Guardianship for Theressa Froman - Amanuensis Monday

From the Orphan's Court, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, come the documents below.  Catherine Saylor Froman's husband, John, was dead.  She had seven children who, for reasons I don't yet completely understand, needed the protection of a guardian.   She petitioned the court on December 16, 1872, requesting that they appoint a guardian.     
Catherine Froman's Petition
To the Hon the Judgs [sic] of the Orphan’s
Court of Mercer Co Pa
     The petition of John Lizzie
Jacob Theressa Adam Augustus
& Catherine Froman Miner
Children under 14 years of age
of John Froman Decd.
   by their mother Catherine Froman
respectfully represents that
they have no one legally authoriz[ed]
to take charge of their Estate
which consists of about one half
of one Hundred Acrs [sic] of land
about to be sold for payment of
debts & therefore prays the
court to appoint some
suitable person             her
                     Catherine  X  Froman

Mercer County ss
     Catherine Froman being
duly sworn says the facts
above set forth are true to
the best of her knowledge
Sworn to this }          her
13 Dec. 1872 }      C.  X  Froman
W Buck J P     }         mark

Bond - Guardian of Theressa Frauman  
Know all Men by These Presents:
     That we,       S. W. Mannheimer     of Mercer County, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the sum of      one hundred      dollars, lawful money of the United States, to which payment well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, and each of us by himself, for and in the whole, our heirs, executors and administrators, and each of us firmly by these presents.  Sealed by our Seals, dated this      Sixteenth      day of      December      A. D, 1872
     The condition of this obligation is such that if the above bounden      S. W. Mannheimer     guardian of      Theressa Frauman      [sic] minor child of     John Frauman     [sic] late of Mercer County, deceased, shall at least once in every three years, and at any other time when thereunto required by the Orphan’s Court for the County of Mercer, render a just and true account of the management of the property and estate of said minor under his care, and shall also deliver up the said property agreeable to the order and decree of said Court, or the directions of law, and shall, in all respects, faithfully discharge his duties of guardian of said
     Theressa Frauman    
then the above obligation shall be void, otherwise it shall be and remain in full force and virtue.

Witness at signing [two blank lines].
                                                                           S W Mannheimer    [L. S.] 

Thoughts, Observations, Etc. 
  • This is the first of those four fat envelopes from the Orphans Court, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
  • Both Tressa's first and last names are variations of the names in family records.  We recognize her as Tressa Froman but this document gives her names as Theressa Froman (on the first page) and Theressa Fromman (on the second page).
  • Considering that there were 7 children, $100.00 each in bond seems like a lot of money.  In fact, The Inflation Calculator tells me that $100.00 in 1872 was equal to $1889.08 in 2012.
  • Records like these are new to me.  Why did the guardian have to give the court money?  Taking on the responsibility of  seven children seems like enough of a commitment without having to give over $100.00 for each child.
  • Who was S. W. Mannheimer?  I found S. W. Munheimer in the 1870 U.S. Census, living in Greenville Borough (New Hamburg post office), Mercer County, Pennsylvania.  He was 29 years old, a D. G. Merchant who owned $3500 in real estate with a personal estate valued at $13,500.  Enumerated with him in the same household were Ellie, 20; Nettie, 1; Lizzie Savers, 16; and Raphael Munheimer, 23.  He was born in Germany and was a naturalized citizen.  I also found Saml W. Mannheimer, in the 1880 U.S. Census.  He was 37 years old, a cigar manufacturer, living in Cincinnati, Ohio, again with Ellen and Nettie, plus a son, Charles.  Was he a friend of John Froman?  They were nearly the same age.  Was he was a relative, perhaps an in-law?  Did they come from Germany together?  And what is a D. G. Merchant?
  • The only information I gather about John Froman from these pages is that he died before December 16, 1872; that he (probably) owned "about one half of one Hundred Acrs [sic] of land" and, because those acres were about to be sold, he was probably in debt.

There's so much more I want to know.  I hope the other file is helpful.



  1. DG = Dry Goods
    I think it was standard procedure to assign a guardian when there was no man in the house, even if the mother was still there. (You know how stupid and helpless women were in those days ha ha.) I can't say for sure, but I imagine the money the guardian gave the court was held in escrow in case the guardian failed to perform. The court could then use that money to take care of the kids.

    1. Ahh! Very helpful information, Wendy. There were several other people involved with "D.G." in one of the census records I looked at for S.W. Mannheimer. Dry Goods certainly makes sense.

      Do you happen to know about when guardians were no longer assigned to fatherless children? I'm thinking of Emma Doyle who became a widow with 2 children in the early 1900s, and whether I should try to find a file for her/her children, too.

      Thanks for the helpful information, Wendy. I appreciate it.


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