Joseph Moore Estate

Wednesday, January 17, 1906
Decatur Daily Review
Decatur, Illinois

Big Contest on Question of Moore Estate Tax.

(Review Special Service.)

Clinton, Ills., Jan. 17—Attorney General W. H. Stead's opinion on the taxability of rent notes not yet due will probably be tested by the supreme court. Attorneys for the heirs of Joseph MOORE say they will take their objection so the inheritance tax on $51.—probably [sic] be tested in the supreme court if the county court approves the report of the appraiser.

Hearing on the report began Wednesday morning. Joseph E. JOHNSON, appraiser for the inheritance tax of the Moore estate, filed his appraisement. Herrick & Herrick were present to represent the executor, George M. KINCAID, Berry & Morrissey of Bloomington to represent the widow, and R. W. Miller of Virginia to represent the RUSSELLs, Joseph Moore's grandchildren, of Jacksonville.

Clinton attorneys are inclined to laugh at the attorney general's opinion.

Monday, March 26, 1906
Decatur Daily Review
Decatur, Illinois

Suit Filed to Partition Estate of Rich DeWitt County Man.

Bloomington, March 26.—George M. KINCAID, trustee under the last will and testament of Joseph G. MOORE, deceased, and Mrs. Sabina MOORE, widow of Joseph G. Moore, on Friday afternoon, a short time before the close of business hours, filed a suit in the circuit court against William F. GUERNSEY and others to partition the estate of the late Joseph G. Moore, one of the wealthiest residents of Farmer City.

The property involved is more that $300,000, and some big questions are involved in this suit, principally what disposition will be made of the numerous bequests of Mr. Moore's will.

Mr. Moore was one of the best known residents of Farmer City and DeWitt county. He died in July, 1905, leaving an estate approaching a half million dollars. His land alone, which was his chief asset, was valued at more than $300,000.

This real estate was located principally in McLean county, in West and Bellflower townships, although there was a quantity of valuable property in DeWitt county.

Mrs. Sabina Moore, the widow, was not satisfied with the terms of the will and in the probate court of DeWitt county some time ago relinquished her rights under the will, and elected to take her share as fixed by law. As Mr. and Mrs. Moore had no children, her share was half of the entire estate.

Joseph Moore was a frugal and an upright man, and his ideas about the amount of money necessary to live well on were probably not in accord with his wife's ideas, and that was what brought this suit filed on Friday. The wife was left by the terms of the will the sum of $2,000 yearly during her life. It was provided that if she was not satisfied with this the court might allow her not to exceed $5,000 a year.

Joseph Moore left two living brothers and a sister, and four children by a deceased sister. He made generous provision for them during their life. He gave $2,000 to the Farmer City library, and $500 to each of the churches of that city, which means that the Methodist Episcopal, the Methodist Protestant, the Christian, the Catholic and Presbyterian congregations will each receive a very nice little gift. This provision of the will is somewhat remarkable, as most men in giving to churches allot all of their money to a single denomination.

Mr. Moore left several annuities. To Martha BOOTH he gave $1,000 a year for her natural life; provided that she remained with and took care of the widow, Mrs. Sabina Moore. Joseph DENNEY, a farm tenant of Moore's, got $500 a year for his life. One thousand dollars is to be given annually to a sister, Phoebe. Nelson TULL drew a prize of $500 in cash. Provision was made for a monument not to cost over $3,000.

The will provided that McClean county lands are to be held in trust during the lifetime of the following persons: Mrs. Sabina Moore, Martha Booth, Addie E. WILSON, who got $500 cash; the sister, Phoebe HITT; the brother, George H. MOORE; the brother , Albert H. MOORE, and Joseph Denney.

Upon the death of the foregoing persons the McLean county lands are to be sold and the proceeds equally pided among the heirs of the brothers and sister and the deceased sister.

After payment of the specified annuities and bequests the income from the McLean county lands was to be paid equally to the children of the brothers and sister and those of the deceased sister.

The will provides that the DeWitt county lands are to be sold and the proceeds used for the erection and equipment of a magnificent township high school at Farmer City, to be known as the Joseph and Sabina Moore school.

The testator also gave a tract of land of ten acres on which the school was to be located and provision is made that in case the ground is not used for school purposes in three years that it is to revert to the estate.

The will also stipulates that Nelson Tull, an old friend of Moore's, is to have charge of the erection of the school building, and that all orders for payments shall be audited by him.

Under the bill in this case the question is raised as to whether after the widow receives her half of the property whether all of the bequests shall be shared to meet this new condition or whether they shall be paid in full. By cutting the large estate in two it is manifest that the money will hardly be sufficient to go around, as the maker of the will intended, and the court is asked to pass on that question.

Whether the Farmer City school will be jeopardized by this proceeding is another matter of most vital interest to Farmer City people. It is a matter for the court to decide whether half of the DeWitt county lands go to Mrs. Moore or whether she is to take her share entirely from the McLean county lands. There are many phases of this case which will make it one of the most intricate and interesting pieces of litigation of this character which has been before this court for many a day.

There will be several attorneys on both sides of the case, and it may be that there will be a stiff fight, while on the other hand it is a possibility that the heirs may be pleased to get what is left after the widow takes her share and will make no serious fight. Where the hottest rub will come in is on what shall be done with the distribution of the property after Mrs. Moore gets her share, and around this point will be the chief fight in the case.

Submitted by Sheryl Byrd