Monday, May 5, 2014

The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 2:
Petition, Exhibits 'A' and 'B', Petitions, Decree

In the previous post I introduced John Froman's intestate orphan's court record and presented Administrator's Bond and Inventory.  Jacob Seyler was declared the administrator of John Froman's estate and an inventory was taken.  This post presents several petitions made by Jacob Seyler on December 16, 1872, and the court's decree.

Petition of  Administrator of Estate (who is Jacob Seyler)
On December 16, 1872, Jacob presented the following information to the judge.  This petition appears to be a statement of the situation as it was, not a request for something.
  • John Froman died about one year ago leaving to survive him his widow, Catherine, and seven children:  John, Lizzie, Jacob, Theressa, Adam, Augustus, and Catherine.
  • S. W. Mannheimer had been named the guardian of the children
  • The personal estate of John Froman was insufficient to pay his debts as noted in "inventory hereto attached marked 'A'."
  • An account of his debts was presented in "Schedule B."
  • John Froman owned real estate in West Salem Township, Mercer County.  The plot of land was 3 acres but "the interest of intestate being one undivided half deed no improvements." 
  • John Froman also owned "four sevenths of about One hundred Acres in Beaver Township Crawford Co Pa . . .  bounded by lot set apart for widow of intestate. . . ."

Exhibit 'A' (December 14, 1872)
No personal property

Exhibit 'B' (December 14, 1872)
B. Heardein                                  $160.00
A. Seifars                                          6.10
? Willowford                                      6.10
Irvin Fell                                           6.10
O. A. Irish                                         5.80
R. Liuenger                                      46.98
J. Morford                                          9.50
C. Froman                                      150.00
D. Lemuger                                      28.50
Leiminger & Duncan                           3.62
H. Froman                                        40.00
S. W. Mannheimer                           112.00
W. Maxwell                                     228.00
A. Fell                                                7.00
J. Seyler                                           10.00
Probable expense of administrator  100.00
Total                                               919.70

Petition (December 16, 1872)
  • Jacob Seyler, S. W. Mannheimer, and Elias Ostheimer stated that they were held and firmly bound to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the sum of $1600.00.
  • Jacob Seyler applied to the Orphans Court for an order authorizing him to sell real estate in Mercer County and for "a decree authorizing him to raise a certain sum" by the sale of real estate in Crawford County.
  • The petition was granted "if the said Jacob Seyler shall faithfully appropriate the proceeds of such Sale according to his respective duties" as administrator of John Froman's estate.

On December 16, 1872, Jacob Seyler stated
  • that John Froman died intestate leaving a widow and seven children. 
  • that John Froman's personal estate was insufficient to pay his debts.
  • The property John owned, located in West Salem Township, Mercer County, was bounded on the north by lands of Jacob Seyler; on the east by Jacob Seyler; on the south by land of J. Bach; and on the west by the property of Martin Zint and contained "about three acres the interest of intestate being one undivided half acre no improvements."
  • The 100 acres of property owned by John Froman in Beaver Township, Crawford County, was bounded on the north by land of A. Allen, on the east by public road or H. Reedler; on the south by the lot set apart of John's widow, Catherine; and on the west by land of Johnson and Odell.
  • It would require the sale of all the property to pay John's debts.

Jacob Seyler asked the court to order "a sale of the premises situate in West Salem Township Mercer County which will bring about Sixty Dollars" and also for a decree authorizing him to raise the balance of the funds needed to pay John's debts (which, he stated, "will be about Eight Hundred and Fifty Dollars") from the real estate in Crawford County.

The Decree
On December 16, 1872, the court repeated the decree three times on different court forms in varying but similar language.  It decreed that Jacob could sell the property to pay John's debts but first required him to give "bond with sureties" in the amount of $1600.00.  He was to raise the sum of $850.00 from the sale of the real estate.  He was also required to give "due public and timely notice of the sale of said Estate in Mercer and Crawford counties by publication in at least one newspaper published in Each one of the Counties aforesaid for three successive weeks the last insertion to be at least ten days before the day of sale and also by written or printed handbills posted in at least six of the most conspicuous places in the vicinity of said Estate not less than twenty days before the day of sale...."

Notes, Thoughts, Questions
  • In the 1870 U.S. census John Froman was listed as 29, a coal miner, with $1 real property and $283 personal estate.  What changed between 1870 and 1871 regarding the amount of property he owned and its value?  How did he obtain real estate valued at about $850.00?
  • Exhibit A indicates that he had no personal property.  Does that mean that the property retained by his widow, Catherine, was all the personal property he owned?
  • I don't know what to think about all the debt.  Was he indebted to "the company store" and borrowed money from friends and family to keep up with needs and/or wants?  When looking at the inventory there doesn't seem to be much excess, little in the way of want versus need as far as material goods.
  • John appears on the 1860 U.S. Census with Caspar Froman, age 7, and Henry Froman, age 10, (as well as Werner Froman, age 58).  John was listed as 20.  Could C. Froman and H. Froman on Exhibit B be Caspar and Henry?  Could they be brothers?  If C. Froman is Caspar, where would a 17-year-old boy obtain $150.00?  Could C. Froman be Catherine Froman?  Would Catherine have had money to call her own?
  • Exactly how much property did John Froman own in West Salem Township?  One document described it as "about three acres The interest of intestate being one undivided half deed no improvements."  In another it was "about three acres the interest of intestate being one undivided half acre no improvements."  It is 1 1/2 acres or 1/2 acre?

Considering that Jacob Seyler was required by the court to advertize the sale of both properties in one newspaper local to each property for three weeks before the sale date, it's possible (though maybe not likely) that one of those newspapers exists on microfilm and that I might be able to find a copy published on the date of the announcement.

Other posts relating to John Froman and his intestate court file:
Of Orphans and Widows
Petition for Guardianship for Theressa Froman
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 1:  Administrator's Bond and Inventory
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 3:  Sale of Real Estate, Accounts, Inventory of Children



  1. Interesting list of debts. I wonder if you can figure out who the people are. Maybe the list includes lawyers, the undertaker, etc.

    1. That was my thought, too, Wendy. I assumed they were from Mercer County, Pa, and did a quick search for a few of the names in the 1870 census. With only a last name and first initial and hard-to-read handwriting, I'm not sure I found anything helpful -- at least not yet.


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