Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A Namesake Puts in his Claim


Do you enjoy reading through pages after pages of legal documents and court records? If it weren't for an insatiable curiosity about my ancestors, I certainly would have to answer: "No." However, researching with the motto "no page left unturned" came with a payout for all that dull reading, at least in answer to my question about Clinton Metzger. There was a claim filed in court in Knox County, Ohio, by Joseph Metzger's namesake son which may provide an explanation.

Before we discuss that claim, let's first go back to the senior Joseph Metzger, son of my mother-in-law's second great-grandfather, Michael Metzger. Supposedly, Joseph was father of this Clinton Metzger, at least according to three DNA matches of my husband's account at Yet, I couldn't find any record to affirm that Joseph had a son by that name.

Joseph complicated matters by dying in 1885—before drawing up a will. That left his wife Rachel and all his surviving children without any legal guidance as to how to divide up his property. Dying intestate presented a further problem for this family, for Joseph had been married twice and there were signs that the blended family might not have been on the best of terms.

Joseph's namesake son was appointed as administrator of his estate. In addition to his duties in that role, the younger Joseph apparently had second thoughts about the agreement set out in the court ruling, for he filed a claim, notarized on May 15, 1886, stating that, prior to his father's death, the senior Joseph had had his son tend to duties around the family farm, for which he ought to have been paid, over and above his portion in the inheritance.

It is in reading the names listed in the suit that I begin to see a clear path to answering my question about Joseph's children. Though the newspaper insertion is hard to read, check the names in the transcription below. We'll need to deconstruct this list further.

HENRY METZGER, resident of Terre Haute, Indiana; Charles Metzgar, of Grand Forks, Dakota; and James Metzger and Clinton N. Metzger, of Kingston Center, Delaware County, Ohio, and all creditors interested in the estate of Joseph Metzger, deceased, late of Knox County, Ohio, as heirs or creditors, will take notice, that I have presented to the Probate Court of Knox County, Ohio, for allowance to me against the said estate, certain claims, one of $36.00 and interest from April 1, 1885, and one of $147.32, in all $183.32, for work and labor done by me for said decedent during his lifetime, &c., at his request, and that the testimony concerning said claims will be heard by said Court, on the 24th day of June A.D. 1886, at 10 o'clock, a.m., or as soon thereafter as the same can be heard.

Newspaper clipping above from the Ohio newspaper, The Mount Vernon Republican, published 26 May 1886; image courtesy (see image #2025 for notarized claim dated 15 May 1886, and image #2030 for newspaper insertion and publisher's statement).


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