When Kasper Rzeszut died unexpectedly in 1917 he died intestate – without a will. On one of my trips to the Glastonbury Town hall I noticed in their land records that they had an old property transaction under then name “Est. Of Kasper Zesut”. Since this meant he owned land it was also possible he had other assets that may have required the creation of a Probate file when the court tried to settle his estate.
The CT State Library and Archives in Hartford have court records going back hundreds of years. They have a card catalog dedicated to Probate records up to 1920. I checked the Z drawer and was amazed to find an index card for Kasper.
The index card indicated his Probate file contained seven documents – one of which was an inventory of his estate. I’d actually see an inventory of what Kasper owned?
Since the actual court documents were held offsite I had to fill out a short form requesting the archive be pulled and brought to the library the following Monday.
On Monday I went back to the Library and asked to view the materials. I had to hang my coat up and put my laptop bag in a closet. Due to the age, condition, and value of the documents in the Archives they are concerned about theft and damage. I had my portable scanner with me but was informed I couldn’t scan the documents or make photocopies. This was a major letdown. Fortunately I had my digital camera with me and was allowed to take photos of the documents.
The Archives handler gave me Kasper’s Probate Packet – it was pretty exciting to be holding 90 year old documents relating to my Great Great Grandfather whom I had never known.
Following is a sampling of some of the documents:
Kasper Rzeszut 1917 Probate Packet
Kasper Rzeszut Probate Bond
Kasper Rzeszut Application Of Administration
Kasper Rzeszut Tax Assesment On Estate Inventory
Hartford Times Clipping Stapled To Document Inside Probate Packet
There were a few more items all with varying degrees of redundancy. Once you filter through the legalese the point of the documents are that my great grandfather Anthony petitioned the court for Anna to become Administratrix of Kasper’s estate which consisted of a double mortgaged 6 room home and shed on lot 60 in the Grassmere area of Glastonbury, two cows and a calf, and some household furniture. The home and property had an equity value (value above the mortgages) of $152, the cows and calf were valued at $60 and the furniture valued at $25.
Prior to the resolution of the estate Anna was required to post a sign near their property and document in a local newspaper that any claimants against the estate had ten days to file their claim. Anna placed the order in the June 12, 1917 edition of The Hartford Times. An actual clipping from that edition of the Times was stapled to the documents. No claims were filed.
Kasper’s funeral expenses were $150.00.
Annie signed her name with an “X”.
Kasper’s name is sometimes spelled with a “K” and sometimes with a “C”.
I’m no legal expert but it looks like Annie and her children all inherited equal parts of Kasper’s property. Per the land records in Glastonbury it looks to be the case as the land seemed to be bought and sold amongst the siblings over the course of several years.
While there was nothing revelatory in the documents it was interesting to find out he had farm animals. I shouldn’t have been surprised as Kasper’s occupation on the Ship’s Passenger List was “Farm Laborer”. It was also cool to hold documents that my Great Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather signed.
Hopefully the Archives will someday (soon!) digitally scan these old documents to make it easier for people to view them without worrying about damaging the originals.