George Ruddell (son of Isaac and Elizabeth Bowman Ruddell)
His Last Years and Probate of His Estate
George Ruddell's story from 1780 to 1830 is well documented. He and his wife, Theodosia Linn (her father’s will spelled the name Linn, but as we all know, spellings were often in question) were captured by the British and Indians at Ruddells Fort in 1780. They spent about three years as prisoners in Canada, where their oldest daughter, Sarah, was born (Detroit, according to her marriage contract with Nicholas Auger in Missouri). The family returned to Kentucky and remained there until about 1796, when they moved to the New Madrid area of Missouri – at that time still under Spanish/French ownership until 1803. They survived the earthquake of 1811, but lost a chunk of their property when it fell into the Mississippi River. They moved to the Batesville area - of what is now Arkansas - in about 1815. Daughter Sarah, sons George and Cornelius remained in New Madrid, daughter Elizabeth Ruddell Summers married Thomas Wagnon and moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Sons John and Abraham moved to the Batesville area with George and Theodosia. Theodosia died September 30, 1830 and was buried near Batesville, Arkansas. Most researchers, including a Bible record, incorrectly report George's death as 1846 in Batesville, Arkansas. But after Theodosia died, there was one more chapter in George’s exciting life, as shown below.
1834 George applied for and received a Land Grant in Texas (when it was still part of Mexico)
Land description in what will later be Cherokee County was given and title awarded May 4, 1835.
1836 George deeded ½ of the land grant to Jeremiah Strode, Mar 10, 1836
Source-Nacogdoches Courthouse, Nacogdoches, TX. Deed Book C page 106, No. 90
This indenture made and entered into this tenth day of March in the year of our Lord 1836 between George Ruddell of the one part and Jeremiah Strode of the other part both of the District of Nacogdoches and State of Coahuila and Texas. Witnesseth that the said George Ruddell for and consideration of the said Strode having located & surveyed and being at al the expense of procuring a title of grant for one Scitia or league of land being the same the said Ruddell now lives upon now the said George for and in consideration above named do grant bargain sell and convey and by these presents hath granted bargained sold and conveyed unto him the said Jeremiah Strode his heirs and assigns the upper half of said Scitia or league which is situate lying and being the greater part in D. G. Burnett's grant (__?__) on the river Neches on the South and James Bradshaw on the East. The title made to said George by George Antonio Nixon and bears date 3rd Mar 1835, which make a part of this deed now the above and hereby sold and conveyed or intended to be is bounded as follows (towit). Beginning…(there follows the legal description.)
In testimony whereof the said George Ruddell has set his hand and seal together with his 5 witnesses this day and year first written.
George Ruddell seal
trs. John Teal, A T Burchaud, Isaac Ruddell, Wm. I Harding, James Bradshaw
1837 George's Death in Texas and Probate Proceeding
The exact date of George's death can't be determined from the records found so far, but the Probate Records of Nacogdoches County give an "earlier than" date---and tell an interesting story about the settlement.
Page 10 of Vol A July 31, 1837 James Bradshaw requested for Letters Testamentary on the estate of George Ruddell, dec'd. Action was continued to a special term.
Page 14 of Vol A Sept 25, 1837 Same result---put off to a special term
Page 16 of Vol A Oct 7, 1837 Continued until next regular term
Page 17 of Vol A Oct 30, 1837 On Estate of George Ruddell. Petition of James Bradshaw for testamentary letters on said estate and also to have George Ruddell's will proven and admitted on record. Court granted that will be admitted after proof.
Page 16 of Vol A Nov term, 1837 Re Estate of George Ruddell. In the Probate Court for the County of Nacogdoches at the regular November term, 1837 Personally appeared in open Court Leonard Williams who after being duly sworn deposeth and saith that he was present when George Ruddell signed and executed the annexed will as his own free act and deed for the purpose therein mentioned and further on oath the said deposeth and declares that he saw Wm. Whiteley and Nevels Washburn sign said will as witnesses to the same and further that the said Leonard acknowledges his own signature. Subscribed in open court.
(Although there are a couple of references to the "annexed will" we have been unable to find a copy at Nacogdoches courthouse on three separate trips from Austin.)
Page 35 of Vol A January term, 1838 Re Estate of George Ruddell
James Bradshaw has petitioned for Letters Testamentary said estate. In the Probate Court for the County of Nacogdoches at the January term 1838. Personally appeared in open Court Thomas Williams who after being duly sworn deposeth and saith that he was present when George Ruddell signed and executed the annexed will as his own free act and deed for the purposes therein mentioned and further that he saw William Whiteley and Nevels Washburn sign said will as witnesses to the same and further that the said Thomas Williams signed the annexed will himself and does acknowledge his signature to the said will. Attest D. Lacey Signed Thomas Williams. Put off until a special term Feb 13, 1838.
Page 36 of Vol A Probate Court Special term, County of Nacogdoches, Tuesday the 13th day of Feb 1838 Said Court set according to notice given at the last regular term in Jan. Present his honor Charles S Taylor, Judge of Probate.
No.1 Petition of George Ruddell, Cornelius Ruddell Sarah Ruddell children and heirs of George Ruddell dec'd. Protesting against the Validity and Probate of said George Ruddell's will. Petition granted. It is the opinion of the Court that George Ruddell in freeing the negroes and in the same instrument disposing of his real and personal property to them, thereby invalidated his will.
Estate of George Ruddell dec'd. James Bradshaw Petition for Letters Testamentary on said Estate dismissed.
No. 2 Petition of Geo. G. Alford for administration on Estate of Geo. Ruddell dec'd. In this case petition granted for Temporary subject to confirmation at the next court. Let Letters of Administration issued unto the petitioned as prayed for in the foregoing Petition upon his giving bond with security to be approved of by court in the sum of Ten thousand dollars and taking the oath required by law. Done in vacation this 13th of February 1838.
In the probate wrapper in the Nacogdoches Court house were several items:
1. A certified copy of an Administrative Bond of $10,000 given by George G. Alford---Charles H. Sims and George Allen, securities as required by court prior to issuing Letters Testamentary for Ruddell's Estate.
2. Certified copies of the Inventory and appraisment of the personal Estate of Geo. Ruddelldeceased. Fees $1.50
Appraisment of the Estate of George Ruddell late of Nacogdoches Deceased Made this 13th day of March AD 1838. By the undersigned apprais__ duly appointed by the Honorable Probate Court in and for the County of Nacogdoches.
3. We have a copy of the inventory and sale.
4. John Ruddells Assignment, etc to Abraham Ruddell. Fees $1.00
A lengthy document - relevant portions are transcribed below:
This Indenture made and concluded this 16th day of December in the year of Christ one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine by and between John Ruddell of Independence County State of Arkansas of the first part and Abraham Ruddell of Jackson County and State of Arkansas of the Second part Witnesseth that whereas the Father ot the above named parties (George Ruddell) departed this life in the Republic of Texas in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and thirty Seven leaving a large Estate in Lands and Negro's and personal property in the Republic of Texas. The particular amount and discription of which the parties are unacquainted) Now be it known that I John Ruddell of the first part for and in consideration of five hundred dollars lawful money of the United States of America to him in hand paid by the Said Abraham Ruddell the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have bargained sold assigned and conveyed released and acquitted and by these presents do bargain and sell, assign, and Convey, release and acquit unto the Said Abraham Ruddell of the second part his heirs and assigns forever all his interest and claim right and title to all and every description of property now in the Republic of Texas belonging to the Estate of Said George Ruddell deceased.
And be it known that whereas the said Abraham Ruddell heretofore executed to the Said John Ruddell a power of Attorney Authorizing Said John Ruddell to constitute and appoint John Caldwell of Independence county aforesaid to transact all business and to do all things necessary to be done in settling with said Estate and securing his Abraham Ruddell’s Share of said estate of his Father George Ruddell deceased.
And whereas the Said John Ruddell Constituted and appointed Said John Caldwell the true and lawful Attorney of Said Abraham Ruddell and the Said John Ruddell to ask for and receive demand and collect and to do all things that might become necessary for them to do in the settling of Said Estate and receiving their portions as heirs of said George Ruddell deceased. And whereas the said John Caldwell their attorney aforesaid never acted or did anything about or concerning said Estate and whereas he said Caldwell has departed this life Therefore Be it known that all powers of Attorneys heretofore given to said Caldwell by said John Ruddell are hereby and by these presents revoked and be it Known that I John Ruddell party of the first part do hereby Constitute and appoint (in consideration of the premises above named) the Said Abraham Ruddell of the second part My true and lawful Attorney in fact to ask for and receive Sue for and Collect to give all necessary receipts, and to make execute and deliver all necessary conveyances and to do all other acts and things in and about the premises that I might lawfully do in and about the premises in Settling the said estate of my Father George Ruddell deceased. And receiving my portion of said Estate which is in the Republic of Texas which portion that is coming to me as heir I have by these presents conveyed to said Abraham Ruddell and his heirs forever and this power of attorney is to enable and authorize said Abraham Ruddell to do anything in and about the premises that may be necessary to convey my interest in said Estate to all property within the Republic of Texas to the said Abraham Ruddell and his heirs forever And I by these presents ratify and confirm all acts and things that my said Attorney may lawfully do in and about the premises as fully and completely as if I were personally present at the doing thereof. And it is expressly understood that the said Abraham Ruddell is to have no recourse upon said John Ruddell if for anything and about these premises.
In testimony thereof I John Ruddell party of the first part have hereunto set my hand and Seal this day and year first above written
Signed sealed and delivered in presence of us
5. Abraham hired the law firm of Rusk and Henderson to bring suit against G G Alford to force Alford to allow partition of the land.-Aug. 9, 1841
There is an undated page of notes, probably attorney's notes, in the wrapper.
Cover sheet titled A Ruddells Obligation
George Ruddell died in Nacogdoches County G G Alford administrator on the estate
The heirs are Sarah Summers Elizabeth Waggoner Cornelius George John and Abraham Ruddell
George Teal was once a brother in law of John Ruddell Abraham Ruddells son will prove the kinship etc
John Beaty and Rachel Beaty living in Harrison County will prove the kinship etc
We found the following information while trying to unravel the new names. An obituary in the Arkansas Gazette on July 16, 1822 reports "Nancy Teal, wife of George Teal, died after a short illness" - and an internet posting on Ancesty.com shows George's first marriage was to an "unknown Caldwell." This could explain the relationship between George Teal and John Ruddell, since John's first wife was Susannah Caldwell.
Another internet posting in Ancestry World Tree Project shows John Beaty married Rachel Summers in Cape Girardeau, MO in 1821. Rachel was born November 15, 1803, daughter of Andrew Summers and Nancy Ewing. Since we know Elizabeth Ruddell Summers Wagnon married Andrew Summers in 1801 in Cape Girardeau, it is probable that Rachel was their daughter and a granddaughter of George Ruddell.
6. Statement from Isaac Ruddell of Houston County, TX. (The 1850 census of that county actually lists two Isaac Ruddells, one age 39, born Missouri, married with 5 children. The other, 35, living in the William Hayes household, birthplace "unknown." Since both are in Houston County, it's impossible to speculate which one is Abraham's son.)
The Republic of Texas
County of Houston
Before the undersigned personally appeared Isaac Ruddell being duly sworn deposeth and saith that Abram Ruddell and John Ruddell were sons and heirs of George Ruddell deceased and that at the time of the death of the above said George Ruddell he had six heirs living to the best of his knowledge and belief. Sworn to and subscribed before me the 7th day of Decr 1842. Issac Ruddell
Spenser Townsend J. P.
Settlement of the Estate dragged on for several years. Alford, the administrator, bought the shares of Sarah Summers, Elizabeth Wagnon, and George and Cornelius Ruddell. He petitioned to sell the entire ½ league; Abraham sued him to have the land partitioned - he wanted his 2/6th. The court finally appointed a commission to divide the land between Abraham and Alford and the division order was approved Sept. 21, 1844.
Shift to the Regional archives in Jackson, MO, where records for the surrounding counties are very nicely preserved. In son Cornelius Ruddell's probate packet (he apparently died about 1841) was the following paper:
Inventory of the real and Personal Property of the Estate of George Ruddle Sr , dec'd.
Real property belonging to the said deceased (to wit) 320 acres of land situated in County of New Madrid, State of Missouri in Lesieur Township two or three miles below Pt Pleasant situated on the bank of the Mississippi River particulars not recollected.
George Ruddell, Administrator Aug 13, 1839 (almost certainly George Sr.’s son)
There is another entry in the probate book May 14, 1848 Geo. Ruddle Admr of Estate of Geo. Sr. decd. Securities Cornelius Ruddle and William Summers
Apparently, there was some of George Sr.’s property remaining in New Madrid.
George’s daughter, Elizabeth Wagnon, continued to live in Washington County, Arkansas until she died in 1879.
The mystery is: who were the “three children” George claimed came with him to settle in Texas?