Sunday, March 23, 2014

52 Ancestors: #12 - A Curious Probate for Casper Kluthe

This blog post was inspired by Amy Johnson Crow 's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge.  Learn more at her blog.
Casper Kluthe was a German immigrant who seemed to live an upright, and straightforward life.  He was born in Germany in 1836, and left there early in 1872 with his sister Angela and cousin Theresia, headed for St. Louis to his brother, Conrad.  A few years later, Casper headed for Nebraska to homesteaded land. 
There he married a widow, Mrs. Maria (Heimann) Koester, who had three children – daughters Mary and Theresa, and son John.  Casper and Maria went on to have two sons.  The ages of the Koester girls aren’t known, but John Koester was two years old when his mother married Casper Kluthe, and he was eight years old when she died.  I don’t know what became of the Koester children, but they did not continue on in Casper’s household after the death of their mother, and I’m guessing they were reared by grandparents or other relatives.
Three years later, Casper married Katie Kleine, herself a German immigrant, and she raised his two sons from his first marriage in addition to the couple’s son and daughter.  Casper died in 1902, age 66 from asthma, and his youngest child was 14.  He named his wife as executrix of his estate.  Simple, right?
In May of 1910, eight years and one month after Casper’s death, up pops John Koester, filing a claim against the estate for $500.  His claim indicated that this was the amount due him from his mother’s estate, but did not mention any property that his mother may have brought into the marriage to Kluthe.  Katie Kluthe objected to the claim, and a court date was set.  When the day of the hearing finally rolled around, no one was showed up for court, and the hearing was rescheduled.  This time, Katie Kluthe and her attorney were present, but John Koester did not appear.  After an hour, they proceeded without him, and it was ruled that Koester was in default, evidence showed this was not a just claim, and the claim was barred by the statute of limitations.  Koester was ordered to pay court costs.
         This raises a few questions -

         What does this say regarding the relationship between John Koester and the Kluthes?
What was Koester’s point in filing this claim and then not showing up for court, twice?

Why did John Koester wait 8 years to file his claim against the estate?
Why did Koester feel he and his sisters were entitled to any part of the estate?  Did their mother leave assets that became the property of Casper Kluthe  after her death? 

Checking land records might help in determining if Maria Heimann Koester’s first husband owned property.

Did Casper Kluthe maintain a relationship with his step-children?  Was the claim filed because they were disappointed to have been left out of the will?
I would love to have ten minutes to talk to these people…

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