A few notes about Emily Throckmorton’s probate case

Before I found this case, I had no idea that Emily (Salisbury) Throckmorton existed. Finding this case in the Morrow County probate records sent me hunting for evidence that she indeed was married to my ancestor, Archibald Throckmorton.

I first looked for a record that would show Archibald and Emily getting married during the nine-year window between the death of Archibald’s first wife (Ruth Simpson) in 1871 and Archibald’s own death in 1880. This search turned up a  marriage record from 1874. Not only was that document created during the correct time frame, it also matched the place I would have expected to find Archibald living: Morrow County, Ohio. Archibald had lived in the small Morrow County village of Sparta with his first wife.

My next step was to see if I could find Archibald and Emily living in Sparta on the 1880 census. I did. The Archibald (or “Archie,” as he was listed on that record) was the correct age (75) to be my ancestor. The census also showed that “Archie” was unable to work or carry out his normal activities due to rheumatism at the time when the census was recorded in June that year. My Archibald could have been quite ill in the summer of 1880, since he would die that September.

The probate records also listed “C.W. Throckmorton” as executor of Archibald’s estate. The only “C.W. Throckmorton” I have found in Morrow County in the 1880s was my second great-grandfather, Charles Wesley Throckmorton. Although I have not exhaustively researched Archibald’s children yet, I currently believe that Charles Wesley (or “Wesley” as he was known) was the only one  of Archibald’s sons living in Ohio at the time of his death.

Altogether, these various facts lead me to believe that the Archibald Throckmorton referenced in Emily’s probate case was actually my third great-grandfather. With that established, I could move on to analyzing the case itself.

Emily asked the probate court to more than double the amount of money she was to inherit from Archibald’s estate. She was set to receive $250, but asked for an additional $275. Ohio law relating to wills stated that, once medical and funeral expenses were paid, there was an expectation that a widow (and any children) would receive sufficient funds to get them through the first year after the deceased’s passing from the estate. In the end, her inheritance was bumped up to $319. These amounts did not intuitively seem to be that much, even adjusted for inflation. I checked. In 1880 dollars, $319 is equivalent to $6,905 in 2009 dollars (the online  calculator I used didn’t go all the way to 2010).

The idea that $319 would get Emily through an entire year was based on the idea that she had inherited Archibald’s house.  As a widow, she might earn income by renting portions or all of that house.  The house was her “dower,” not to be confused with a dowery.


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