Saturday, June 20, 2015

Estate Records: The After Story of Joseph Niehaus, Indianapolis, Indiana

       Estate proceedings…a way we continue telling our life story after we've departed.  In Joseph Niehaus's case I have those documents that include some culminating details that he would, undoubtedly, be content with. I thought I would pass along this additional episode.  And, of course, I just have to add a few comments about his "after story."Joseph Niehaus, with one of his Lark family grandsons.  We believe this was taken at the West Street residence.  His daughter, Minnie, wrote on the front of the photo holder.
     Heinrich Josef Niehues (Joseph Niehaus) was born 11 February 1848 in Lage, Westphalia (Germany).  He emigrated to America about 1886 and lived the remainder of his life in Indianapolis, Indiana, expiring on 1 May 1921.  He and his wife, Gertrude Wilmsen, had 12 children.  The family moved to their home at 1135 South West Street in about 1890. Joseph set up his rug weaving loom in the home, having operated a business in Germany.  The West Street home is where both Gertrude and Joseph said their last goodbyes, she preceding him in 1895.  But that's not the end of the Niehaus home place. You'll see through his estate records how Joseph and Gertrude's legacy on West Street stretched on, totaling over 60 years. 
      I'm posting below the records of court proceedings between Sept, 1921 and July, 1922, that I located in the Marion County courthouse. The Claim and Allowance Docket from the court indicates that there was some earlier activity, in May and June of 1921, when Bernard Niehaus, the oldest living son, was bonded and approved as administrator.  But the bulk of the story is told in these documents.
    Joseph's "after story" begins with the court proceeding of September 19, 1921, when the record says:
"…And the court having heard the evidence and being sufficiently advised in the premises finds that the personal assets of said estate are insufficient to pay and discharge the debts and liabilities thereof, and that the real estate in said petition as hereinafter described is liable to be made assets in the hands of said administrator to pay such indebtedness….ordered by the court that the real estate of said decedent in said petition mentioned and described as follow (legal description of Niehaus home on West Street, see below)…be sold by said administrator at private sale, subject to the taxes of 1921, for not less than the full appraised value thereof for cash. ..."
     Niehaus Home, S. West St, Indianapolis, IN.That brings me to the legacy of the family home that I mentioned above.  The court proceedings on September 23, 1921, entitled "Order Confirming Sale of Real Estate", (below) confirms that Rose Lark, Joseph's daughter, purchased the home for $1,600, "that being the highest and best bid therefore, and the full appraised value thereof."  This transfer didn't change the makeup of the residents in the West Street home.  The Lark family lived with Joseph in the home since the marriage of Rose Niehaus and Ralph Lark in 1908.  And Rose stayed until her death in 1952.  The Larks' purchase of the home from the estate insured that the Niehaus family home established in 1890 was in the family for over 60 years. 
     There's interesting information within the legal jargon of Joseph's estate proceedings. The court records include a list of Joseph's heirs, all of his living children and, in the case of his two deceased children, the grandchildren who were heirs, and their legal guardians.  There is an accounting for each expense by the administrator from May, 1921 through May, 1922.  For instance, the accounting for claims and allowances listing, among other items, the total costs of court proceedings = $26.40.   .
     After all was said and done, the "after story" of Joseph Niehaus was one he could be pleased with.   His estate was settled without any concerns or issues.  For instance, the list of estate claims shows the Lauck Funeral Home was paid $278.85, settling his funeral arrangements.  And we all know that Joseph and Gertrude are buried side by side in St. Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis, two miles from their home.  R.I.P.
    I am posting three pages of the eight pages of estate proceedings below, including the sale of the real estate.  Also below is my transcription of all of these court records. (Click on a page to view larger.)
    If you would like to have a look at the other originals, all of the court records are viewable on my Scribd page  -- Click Here:    
    Niehaus Estate, 1921, Sept 19Niehaus Estate, 1921, Sept 23Niehaus Estate, 1921, Sept 19, pg 2imageimageimageimageimage

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