Richland Co., Ohio


Probate Records

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Petition to Construe John Sherman's Will

Myron M. Parker and W.S. Kerr, Executors, Ask Court To Make Rulings on Certain Parts of Dead Statesman's Will


Submitted by Amy


Another suit has been filed in common pleas court by Myron M. Parker and Winfield S. Kerr, executors of the will of John Sherman, deceased, asking that the court construe certain sections of the will.  The defendants in this case are Mary Sherman, Hoyt Sherman, Philemon Tecumseh Sherman, Charles H. Sherman, Charles M. Sherman, Henry Sherman, ------ Carter, et al.  Kerr & LaDow are attorneys for the executors.  The petition covers about 15 pages of typewritten matter.

The plaintiffs allege that they are the duly qualified executors of the last will of John Sherman, deceased, and are now engaged in the administration of said trust.  Testator died on Oct. 22, 1900, and his last will and the codicil thereto was duly admitted to probate in the probate court of Richland county, Ohio, in November, 1900.  The will contains among other provisions the following:

"As the property I own has been mainly acquired since my marriage to Cecelia Stewart Sherman, and my highest obligation is to her, I wish to secure to her an ample provision, during her life, with reasonable means of a bequest at her death, therefore, I hereby give, devise and bequeath to her as follows:  All my furniture, books, clothing, chattels, and live stock and carriages wherever they may be at my death (except such books and papers as may be here and otherwise disposed of) to have and to hold in her own right without inventory and with power to dispose of as she deems proper.

I give and devise to her in fee simple all that part of the southeast quarter of section 20 in Madison township, Richland county, Ohio, known as the Stewart farm and not disposed of at my death, my interest being three parts thereof and her interest by inheritance, being one part.  This bequest is to include all sums due or accruing at the time of my death on contract for the sale of any of said farm."

And the following bequest: 

"And in addition of bequest to her the sum of $5,000 payable promptly upon my death."  

And the said last will and testament contained the following bequest to the said Cecelia Stewart Sherman 

"and the further sum of $20,000 to be disposed of by her by will or other gift at her death."

The plaintiffs say that the said Cecelia Stewart Sherman died June ---, 1900, and prior to the death of the testator.  The testator died seized of a large amount of furniture, books, clothing, chattels, live stock and carriages, and that he died seized of the undivided three-fourths of the 104 acres of land in the southwest quarter of section 20 of Madison township, Richland county, Ohio, being that part of said quarter section referred to in the above quoted portions of the will of the testator.  The testator died owning a large amount of personal estate, an amount amply sufficient to pay the legacy of bequest of $5,000 and of $20,000 in the provision of the will above quoted.

The plaintiffs say that they now are in doubt as to the above provisions of the will of the testator and that they are especially in doubt as to whether said legacies and bequests lapsed because of the death of the beneficiary prior to the death of the testator or not.  That they are in doubt as to whether, is said legacies lapsed, they are carried by the residuary clause of the will or whether the property therein described and bequeathed becomes a portion of his estate and should be distributed according to the law of descent and distribution.

The plaintiffs say that the sole heir at law of the testator, John Sherman, deceased, and Cecelia Stewart Sherman, deceased, is Mary Sherman McCollum [McCallum], an adopted daughter, and that said Cecelia Stewart Sherman died in testate, leaving said Mary Sherman McCollum her sole heir at law.

Wherefore the plaintiffs ask that the said defendants may be required to answer and set up any claim they may have under said will or otherwise in regard thereto:  that the same may be determined and settled;  and that the court give judgment and direction in regard to the true construction of said clauses of said will and as to what plaintiffs' duties are in the premises and for all proper relief.

* Note:  Larry has pointed out that Mary Sherman's maiden name was McCallum, not McCollum.  [22 January 2004]

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