Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Court Clues - Postlethweight/Postlethwait Family

When I was compiling a book on Crittenden County estate records [1] several years ago, I came across an entry in Crittenden County Court Order Book[2] that stated Mary Postlethwait was appointed guardian for the infant heirs of Jonathan Postlethwait[3].  That was good information  as Jonathan Postlethwait left no will and there was no settlement of his estate.  There was no death certificate for Jonathan in 1858 or any other year so this entry in the court order book gave us an approximate death date.

Sometime later another record was found that provided much more information and had me doing a happy dance. Circuit Court case files are housed at the Kentucky Dept. for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort. Included among the Crittenden Circuit Court records was case file  #151, Mary Postlethwait: Petition for Sale of Land - also filed 26 October 1858. Coincidence?  Not at all. She was first appointed guardian to the children and then, as guardian, she filed the petition.

This case file contained several items of interest:
1.  It gave the death date of Jonathan Postlethwait.
2.  He said he died intestate (left no valid will).
3.  It identified the petitioners as his widow and his only children.
4.  He said he owned land in Crittenden County.
5.  It mentioned she planned to move from Kentucky and where.

Any one of those items would have been great to know, but knowing all of them was wonderful!

Let me tell you about Case File #151. Mary Postlethwait filed for herself and as guardian and next friend of her infant children Sarah Postlethwait, Martha Ann Postlethwait, Luvenia Postlethwait, Susan Postlethwait and John Thomas Postlethwait and stated that Jonathan Postlethwait departed this life intestate on the 11th day of June 1852, leaving the petitioners as his widow and children and only heirs of the decedent.  At the time of his death, Jonathan owned two tracts of land on the waters of Crooked Creek in Crittenden County, the first one containing about 140 acres  and the other containing 80 acres.

According to Mary, her late husband left very little personal property. The farms were in bad condition and the rent from them was insufficient to support and educate the petitioners. Mary Postlethwait stated her father and all her brothers had either already moved to Missouri or were planning to move there. She wanted to go to Missouri also as her father and brothers could assist her in raising her family and she could get more and better land there. She prayed for a decree to sell the above-mentioned land.

Samuel Ashley, who was likely Mary Postlethwait's father,  gave a deposition in which he stated he was well acquainted with the parties to this suit and also with the land to be sold. He verified that Mary Postlethwait was the widow of Jonathan and the children named were the only children of the decedent.

Mary and her children did leave Kentucky. It seems Mary, now known as Polly, had married Wm. Canalton and was living with him and her two youngest children, Susan and John on the 1860 Ray County, Missouri census.  Living next door was the family of Samuel Ashley.

I haven't followed Mary Postlethwait and all of her children, but do know that her daughter, Sarah E., married John Monfort and died in 1931. She is buried in Pisgah Cemetery in Ray County.  Sarah E. Monfort's brother, John Thomas Postlethwait, died in 1924 and is buried in St. Clair County, Missouri.

Samuel Ashley moved from Missouri to Colorado, where he died 7 October 1900 and is buried in Saguache County. His obituary states he was born 18 December 1817 Coffee County, Tennessee and moved to Kentucky at the age of 12 years. In 1858, he moved to Missouri and then to Colorado in 1865[4], when this was still Colorado Territory.

By putting all of the information together from the county court order book and the petition filed in Circuit Court, I have a much better picture of the Jonathan Postlethwait family. The information on Samuel Ashley was helpful, too.

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Estate Records 1842-1865, (Evansville, IN:Evansville Bindery), 2011.
[2] Crittenden County Court Order Book 2, p. 318, filed at a called term of court 26 October 1858.
[3] The 1850 Crittenden County census shows Jonathan Postleweight as age 32 born Kentucky and Mary Postleweight as age 34 born Tennessee. Children listed are Sarah E., Martha A., Nancy L., Rachel S. and John T. Postleweight. Apparently some of the children went by their middle names.
[4] Find A Grave, Samuel Ashley, memorial #27993521, http://www.findagrave.com, accessed 22 May 2016.

Published 28 June 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

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