Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In Matilda's Own Hand

Picking up from the earlier postings, in the probate of the estate of Henry Donham Lee Lambert in Oklahoma County Court, my 2nd-great-grandmother Matilda Jane Lambert O'Brien sent a letter to the court in August 1919 asking that her father's property be sold by public sale rather than private sale. Before seeing the probate file, I had never seen her signature or a letter in her own hand.
There's a lot to like about this letter. To me it shows she was a strong lady, a smart person who understood the value of land, and of the proximity of Henry's land to Oklahoma City. Perhaps she had visited in person. She wrote persuasively, clearly and politely. The court accepted her argument, and the land later sold for several thousand more than the appraised value. I'm very glad this was part of the court's file.

Matilda received two distributions from the estate, one in the amount of $1,083.66 and a second in the amount of $176.96. Had she not intervened, the amount distributed to all the beneficiaries would have been much less.

There are a few more documents of interest to share showing Matilda's signature. There are receipts for the distributions, along with a bank check, signed by Matilda and cashed at her bank in Shelbyville, Illinois. The back of the check is also copied in the probate file, showing the route that the check took through the US banking system in 1919 to Oklahoma.
There's one more post from me on the probate file. I'm leaving out description of the other beneficiaries in order to focus on Matilda. I am also going to check the files to see if there is further distribution of the land after Drusilla acquired the property in 1919.

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