St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Get Ready for the Tax Man

I'm always digging around to find more evidence of my ancestors.
Recently, I was looking at some old estate records from 1864. I find
it rather interesting that one bed, one pillow, and one blanket would
be listed as belonging to the deceased. Especially since his wife
has been reported dying the month before he did. I still need to
confirm her date of death. Tis a pity her headstone is not listed as
being with the family. Now, she was his second wife and they were
married only about 30 years. So you would think she'd be there with
the family. Two of the three children they had are buried at the
cemetery, although there are no remaining headstones. Their third
child died in New York, I believe. In fact, dear cousins, if you
know where Addison HENRY is buried, please let me know. I know his
widow and child are listed as living in Galway, New York.

To complicate matters, Grandpa James's first wife was also named
Sara. And their children are most definitely buried in adjoining
plots. Ahh, another day.

Anyway, in looking at James estate details, I find there are several
monetary notes listed. Back in 1864, about $10,000 was a lot of
money to have loaned to people. One note was to his son and the
other note was to a name I don't recognize. Guess I should look at
that name and see if I can determine any reason why Grandpa would
have loaned money to a potential non-relative.

The estate file also contains a sworn document from a son-in-law of
James in which he states he heard James say repeatedly that his bed
and bedding were to be equally divided by his daughters who had
remained in the area. My first question is how does one divide one
bed and one pillow? Guess they got that all straightened out.

One of his sons- in-law was the attorney of record for the estate.
Convenient for everyone. In this file, I also found a statement from
the Tax Collector's Office from 1869. The paper was to the United
States for Internal Revenue. The items on the tax bill are for
income, Billiard Tables for private use, carriages, plates and gold
watches. So way back when, the government wanted to know if you had
a gold watch, and if so, it appears you would have had to pay tax on
it. Of course, who would have guessed that a billiard table, of all
things, would be considered tax worthy by the federal government.

My suggestion of the day is to look at everything. Look at the
actual files in the estate. Don't just look at an abstract. You
could miss something vital. Also, take time to look at the local tax
records. Who knows. Maybe you'll find something that is time worthy
in your search.

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