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The 1877 Mary Fry Lovell letter to John Lovell
In 1877, John Lovell's sister-in-law, Mary Fry Lovell wrote a letter to John to ask for help in resolving a probate dispute with her late husband Edmund Lovell's estate. It appears that Edmund Lovell abandoned his wife and two children in England and went to Texas. There he married another woman and left a will designating his family in England to receive part of his estate upon his death. The will was written with the specific instructions that it was not to be opened and read until after his death. It appears that only his executor, C. H. Kendall, knew of his wife and children in England. In the process of working out the details of the will, the executor died and his brother, W. E. Kendall was to finish the process and get the money and proceeds from the sale of the property to Mary and her family in England. The widow in Texas also died during these years. From the details of the letter, it seems that the money was used to plant a crop of cotton and, according to Mary, the people in Texas did not seem to be inclined to honor the conditions of the will. Mary asked John to go or to send his sons to Texas, or at least to make inquiries so that they might be inclined to resolve the issue in favor of Mary and her family in England.
This letter gives us some details about the family that were previously unknown.
Below the letter are some details found in research which corroborates and expands on the information found in the letter.
Following is the body of the letter (original spelling and punctuation unchanged):
no, 27 Austice Terrace
June 26 1877
To Mr John Lovell
Dear Brother i hope this will find your sealf and wife famley quit well, no dought you would like to know who that addres you as Brother i must tele you i am your Brother Edmund Wife of England, I am righten this to tele you that your Brother is Dead and has have been Dead some years, he dide in the [year?] of 1868 and I never heard of it until September 1875. I received letter to say he was Dead and he had made Will, Left it in the hands of Mr C H Kendell not to be opened until after his Death. it apears he was married again and had left Widow out thear. after his Death the Will was opened and it was found he left about six Thousand Dollars in the Hands of Banking House in that Estate this C H Kendell Probated the Will and Proceded to get the Money and did get it. It Seams the Widow thear applied to the court when She found my Husban had a Wife and children in England, and he had Left we his Heers So She brought Law Sute aganest C H Kendell to clame all of the Property the Sute came off and the court gave one half to her and the Other half was to remain in the Hands of C H Kendell for the Benefit of his Heirs in England but C H Kendell was to pay ten percent annley on it to the Widow thear as Long as She Lived and at her death evry thing was to be Sold and made the most off and all of the mony was to sent to me to my Sealf and children. Last September 17th 1876 the Widow thear Dide. and we was in formed throw her Soleceter all we had to do was Send clame the Money as this Kendell had all of the Property in his Pershon. I have engaged Soleseter to act for me and he have been righten sevral Letters to the Trusteess but can not get eny thing for satfation it apears C H Kendell is Dead and his Brother by the name of W E Kendell was pointed trustess in place of his Brother over my Husban property it apears he have had it in his control bout 2 years. my Soleseter have recived quite meny Letters from him but he can not get him to send the [my?] money he have excuse on all of his Letters he [?] on last that times is so bad can not sell the [estate?] my Soleseter send for the mony that was [divided?] he very coudley tell him the mony have been spent in Planting Cotten and he Crops thear have been compleate faleur and he say the planters most if them have been runed and again he say the have keep the Estate together hoping for change for take place. he say it have been frome bad to worse and no prospect of paying the detch (debts?) of the Estate he say the crideters are putting thear clams into judgment in the DIstrict Court at nex sitting he say that he have prepared the Lovells clames to go into judgement with the rest so that all will be placed upon the same Least and then he say the crediters can do as the like to keep the Estate to gather until change take place that something may be don to realized property ot the can force the sale of it at Valatnus(?). what it will featch. and he think for the crediters to divide the precedings(?) amons them. and then he say in eny event, the Lovell Hiers interest will be carfuly be procticted. he say again as to realzing(?) eny thing now is out of the quisting. Dear Brother this is contens of the Last Letter recived on 20th June. I wanted to know if you could healp me in eny way in getting the Mony my Solesetor think if we have some one thear that could go and Look after the Estate and this W E Kendell we shuld soon get the mony I spose it would be asking to mutch of you to go. or one of your sons to take it in Hand for us if the Trustess knows thear is Brother near them what I am thear might be somthing don I do not see what right the Trusteess had to spend the Money in planting cotten I am begin to think they do want do us out of Lot the or keeping it for thear sealves. I rote to you when I recived the First Letter but you never got it as it was the rong address. I had this from my Daughter Mary She and her husband is in Manchester It was grate pettey(?) we did not hear of this when the ware out thear. Dear Brother i shuld Like to get Letter from you and Let me know what you do think bout it I have sent you the Copies of the Will that you may know exat conditin this W E K profest to be my Husban grate Frend he say that he promesse him before his Death that he would see that I shuld get the Mony or his children or his relatens Mr W E Kendell say he know it was my Husnad only wish that I shuld have his Mony to keep me in my old Age I am fraid I shall never get it. I would mutch rather of see my dear Husban then all of the mony it was what pleased the Lord that we ware not to meate in this world I trust we shall meate in the one above war thear will be no more sorrow for eny of us. war my Husban was settled the name of the place was Fort Bend County of Richmund Texas [unreadable] tell you the name of the Soleseter. W E Kendell engaged was Harcort what the or??wing i think is for thear sealvs not for me and my children
P S I recived Letter from the excusuor of Will of the Late Mr Lovell his name is Allus Housfor Texas he say Kendell and Harcort shuld pay over the mony on demand of my solesetor he say the amount [unreadable] had was 3-400/00 Dollars it seams the have it in thear Hands and theor dewing as the like with the property i was thinking if you rote to them the would take more notice(?) So dear Brother I will tell you what is on the Will as I recived it. Left by E G Lovell not to be opned until After his Death unless withdrown by Lovell him sealf. Filed for Probate in this Country Office of Fort Bend County on this the 1 Day of August 1870 F B County
Richmund Texas May 30, 1868
this is my Will and Wish if my Wife shuld out live me she will have that property and Mony I am prossessed of as Long as she remain my Widow of she shuld Marry she will forfet and lose all that belong to me with the exception of three Hundred Dollars that Kendell shall pay to her out of bove property after her marring within three months C H Kendell shall sell and dispose of the said property and send the procentings to my Heirs in England Kendell shall collet what is dew to me and pay all that i am owing if my Wife shuld die witch she is my Widow Kendell shall sell and dispose of my Property the Best way he can to make the most of it and see that my Heirs get it I do give and convay throw C H Kendell all the mony and property that belong to me to my Hiers after my death witch is Mary Lovell and her tow Daughters if eny of thear hiers ore Dead it will go to those that or Living three Hiers to have equel part Mrs Lovell is the Daughter of John and Elizabeth Fry of Winscombe this is my Last only wish E G Lovell Richmond
P S your Brother Gorge and his Wife is still Living my Daughter Sylvia is gone to see them on my nex I will Let you know how they or getting on
I must conclud with my Daughter and my one kindert regards to you all From your Affuet Sisternaw
Here are links to the images of the original pages:
In doing a little research, it was discovered that E. G. Lovell is listed in the 1860 Census for Fort Bend County Texas with a wife Mary Lovell. His age is listed as 42, which matches the age of Edmund Lovell. He is listed as E G Lovall and his wife Mary Lovall. They are both from England. She is 40 years of age at the time of the census.
The marriage of Edmund is shown as taking place on 26 Apr. 1856 in Galveston, Texas and his wife's name is Mary Painter.
Back in England, an interesting note is found in the 1851 Census record for Mary Fry Lovell and her family. She is living with her aged parents at the time of the census. She is listed as being 34 years of age and her "Rank, Profession or Occupation" is listed as: "Pauper, Husband Emigrated." Her four children (two from a marriage before her marriage to Edmund Lovell) are John Nipper age 12, Elizabeth Nipper age 10, Sylvia Lovell age 5 (she was really almost 7), and Amelia Lovell age 4. From this, it is evident that Edmund left England somewhere between 1847 and 1851.