28 May 2009

A MI Supreme Court Case in Livingston County

A case decided by the Michigan Supreme Court, per Michigan Reports: Cases decided in the Michigan Supreme Court of Michigan, from 27 December 1917, to 31 January 1918, Volume 199, mentioned a Backus of Livingston County, Michigan. The suit was Lee vs. Lee; "Bill by Gertrude Lee and others* against Joseph Lee.... ."
*sons Marshall Lee & Carroll Lee

The family of Joseph Lee as enumerated in the 1880 Census:

1880 Census, MI, Livingston Co., Marion Twp.
Joseph B. LEE Self M W 52 ENG Farming ENG ENG
Esther LEE Wife M W 42 ENG Keeping House ENG ENG [nee Leary]
Lucy LEE Dau S W 17 MI At Home ENG ENG [Lucy m. Kinsley Winchell]
George LEE Son S W 14 MI At Home ENG ENG [m. Gertrude Baldwin]
Mary LEE Dau S W 12 MI ENG ENG [m. Charles M. Potter]
Ida LEE Dau S W 10 MI ENG ENG [m. Floren Backus, son of Hiram & Cecelia Backus]
Celestia LEE Dau S W 4 MI ENG ENG [ m. David Force]

[Daughter Martha Lee was already married to Frank Henry Burnett by 1880]

In 1910, Joseph Lee was living with his son George:

1910 Census MI, Livingston, Marion Twp.
Lee, George W., 43, m1, 15yrs
", Gertrude, wife, 34, m1, 15yrs, 3children/2living
", Marshall D., 10, son
", Carroll, 1/12, son
Lee, Joseph B., father, 81, widowed

George Lee died 15 July 1912 ; that's when the trouble started. The deal was that only son George and his wife Gertrude (nee Baldwin) would work the family farm in Livingston County, Michigan, and Joseph Lee, the widowed father, would live with George & Gertrude and split the farm's earnings. In Joseph Lee's will, ownership of the farm would pass to George upon Joseph's death, and money given to each of Joseph's daughters.

When George Lee died his widow, Gertrude, and George's father Joseph managed the farm for two years before deciding that it was too difficult. The farm was rented out and items were auctioned off. However, George Lee had been the lynch pin in this agreement and things started to unravel after his death.

The widowed Gertrude (Baldwin) Lee m. 2nd, Frank Burden on 25 Oct 1916, and was found as "Gertrude Burden" in the 1920 census:

1920 MI Census, Livingston Co.
Burden, Gertrude, 42, m
Lee, Carroll, 9
", Marshall, 20

In 1920, Joseph Lee was 91 and living with his daughter Mary and son-in-law Charles Potter:

1920 MI, Livingston Co., Marion Twp.
Potter, Charles M., 57
", Mary E., wife, 57
", J.R., son, 16
Lee, Joseph B., father-in-law, 91, wid, Eng Eng Eng

The above-referenced Supreme Court case identified each of Joseph Lee's daughter's by their married names & there were other items of genealogical interest. I was doing "Google" searches on the Backus family [finding Ida Backus], but found the case of interest even though Ida played a minor role. I didn't trace this family any farther, but wanted to highlight the genealogical information found in a court case online.

No comments: