Uncle Dock's Money Has Been Found!
Roumlous W. Mc Fry, better know as "Dock," and bestknown as "Uncle Dock" by most of his heirs, was thethird child and second son of Esther Jane McFry.Jane died beforeany of her four children.Dock's older brother Walter McFry andhis sister Molly McFry both preceded Dock in death.Dock, likeJane and Molly, never married. He was survived only by his youngerbrother, George McFry, and the heirs of his brother Walter.Dockdid not leave a Will.The Probate Court of Calhoun County, Alabama,administered the distribution of his estate among his heirs,when Dock died in 1935.His bills were paid and the remainderof his estate was equally divided between his brother George,and the heirs of his brother Walter.In spite of the many claimsto the contrary, it was a 50-50 split.Those who doubt that factneed only go to the Clerk of the Court's Office in the Court Houseat Anniston, Alabama, and ask to see Equity Case # 3594.I havepersonally seen the file, and have copies of the cancelled checksmade payable to various heirs.
For those who contend some unfairness surrounded the divisionof Dock's Estate, I will readily admit, some of the claims presentedagainst his estate will cause one to lift an eyebrow.For example,one "would be heir" remembered in January of 1936, thatin November of 1904, he had hauled "7 loads of corn"for Uncle Dock, and had not yet been paid $7.00 owed him!Thatsame individual had about 125 more such memories that spanneda 31 year time period and came to a total of $1191.00, which wasowed him, to which he duly swore before a notary,and presentedto Uncle Dock's Administrator a bill for payment.It's in thefile!
After Dock's bills were paid, the remainder [$36,096.71, less$1500.00 "...said sum...fixed by the Court as a reasonablecompensation to the ...Administrator...for services...and fortraveling expenses incurred..."] was equally divided betweenGeorge and Walter's five children.Well, not all of it!HarryMcFry, the Court Appointed Administrator didn't find ALL of UncleDock's money.That's what this article is about.
As Audrey grew up, notices from a bank in Birmingham, Alabama,addressed to R. W. McFry, Route 2, Piedmont, Alabama, were deliveredto Larry McFry, [Audrey's father] at Route 2, Piedmont, Alabama,long after Uncle Dock had died.Apparently the mail carrier knewtwo things: R.W. was dead.Larry was a relative of R. W.Inthose days, the post office never would have thought of sendingthe notice back to the bank.
As Audrey remembers, the notices were sent saying "bringin your little black book and we will update your account."No one knew where the "little black book" was, norconsidered it possible that anyone could obtain the money withoutthe book.So, years went by, Audrey married, Larry died,andeventually notices from the bank stopped arriving.But all ofus continued to remember that Uncle Dock had money in a bank inBirmingham.
In the early part of the 1970s decade, Audrey and I decidedto look for Uncle Dock's money.We think it was probably theyear 1973.We had been living in Australia, came back to theU.S.that year, and probably needed money pretty badly.We weregrasping at straws.Anyway, we went to "a" bank inBirmingham.I don't remember the name.Audrey thinks it was"Federal something or other!"We both remember twothings distinctly.It was a very huge bank, plush in every way.But we were never invited to "sit down."We stoodand talked with a bank employee.The gist of what he told uswas, after twenty years of inactivity, the bank was required bylaw to turn over such accounts to The State of Alabama.Further,after "X" number of years, The State of Alabama wouldput the money into the State Treasury and that would be the endof it.The twenty years would have ended in 1955, and it wasthen in the 1970s.Surely, the State had closed the matter.So we gave up on pursuing the matter further.
In early July, 2002, Lucy Baxley, Treasurer of The State ofAlabama, had an article ran in newspapers across the state abouta scam currently effecting the operation of her office.People,businesses, or whatever, were offering citizens of Alabama theservice of finding "their lost money" for a fee.Ms.Baxley wanted citizens of Alabama to know, her office handled"Unclaimed Property" and under proper procedures suchfunds could be claimed by rightful owners FREE OF CHARGE!Sheeven gave an internet address [www.treasury.state.al.us] whereby one could search for lost funds, and file claims online, forunclaimed property.Just on a whim, I visited that internet site,found the search engine, and typed in "McFry."Thevery first name to pop up was "McFry, R. W. , Estate of."Well hell!I'd found Uncle Dock's money.
While online, I was given Claim No. 471338, for Property ID804736, with Holder ID9896 that had been reported to the Statein 1973, by CITY FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION.God, whata coincidence!Audrey and I were looking for the money in early1970s, at a bank in Birmingham.In 1973, the money was reportedto the State by a bank in Birmingham.
The unclaimed property currently carries the title "Estateof...."How did that designation get attached to the account?I can just see Uncle Dock going into the bank, opening an account,the clerk asks him in what name shall the account be opened, andhe says, "Estate of R. W. McFry."Really!How didthat get on the account?Did the State check Vital Statisticsto decide?Get a copy of Uncle Dock's Death Certificate and you'llwonder if it really is him - "RUMBEL MCFRYER."That'swhat his Death Certificate states.How do we know it is his DeathCertificate?We knew Dr. Hamilton, the attending physical, personally,and the informant was Audrey's Grandfather.We also know thedate of death, the place of burial,and other particulars.Sowe are fairly sure, it is Uncle Dock's Death Certificate.Butif you didn't know those things, how would you ever guess "RumbelMcFryer is really Roumlous W. McFry?But some genius figuredout, R. W. was dead so this money belongs to his Estate.
How much money are we talking about?Well, we figure it musthave been a pass book savings account.Why else would the noticeshave said, "we will update your record."So an interestbearing account, that must have compounded on some repeating basis,which drew interest at some rate for approximately forty years[known to have been at least 38 years] would come to a whoppingtotal of ... of.... $1010.73, in 1973 when it was reported tothe state.How much did Uncle Dock put into the account?Ifhe made a one time contribution of $100, received interest at6% for about forty years, it would grow to slightly more thanthe amount held by Unclaimed Property.A hundred dollars wasa lot of money in the early thirties!Maybe no one stole anything.But so many coincidences does make one wonder.
So much for who stole what.What now?As for the plans Audreyand I have, the money will forever remain in that limbo of "unclaimedproperty."If Audrey could get her part off the top, itwould only be $12.63.But alas, that can never happen.We wentto the Unclaimed Property Office in Montgomery.The amount willnever be more than $1010.73.The State DOES NOT pay interest.They will pay the amount reported to them. We are convinced,they will be happy to write a check in the amount of $1010.73payable to The Estate of R. W. McFry, and present it to whomeversays they have a right to receive it.But who could cash thecheck?Judge Murray, Judge of Probate for Calhoun County informedus, since there was a Final Probate Decree on Uncle Dock's Estate,it will take "a special appeal" to get the case reopened,and have someone appointed as an administrator for this "unclaimedproperty."He said, "I feel sure, it will require theservices of a lawyer.A layman might get it right, but I seriouslydoubt it."So there is at least $500.00 of the money gone,if not all of it.In addition to needing a lawyer, there mustbe "bonding of the administrator."Then of course therewill be a fee for "filing the probate."There wouldhave to be compensation to pay the administrator's expense offinding approximately 100 - 150 heirs.Finally, any money leftwould be divided along the lines of the original probate, halfto Walter's heirs, and half to George's heirs.You couldn'tbuy a coke with what you'd get.
So, there you have it.Now you know, Uncle Dock's money isin limbo!
Written by B. B. Simpson, August 9, 2002, firstname.lastname@example.org