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My Crazy Aunt Ida

October 15, 2010 by  

My Crazy Aunt Ida

Let’s take a break from all of the political mudslinging for a few minutes. Let me tell you the story of one of the most amazing characters to be found in the branches of the Wood family tree. I think you’ll enjoy it. And you may even learn something about wealth that thieves cannot steal and moths and rust cannot corrupt. We’ll see.

Technically, Ida Mayfield Wood wasn’t really an aunt. Not even a great aunt. Cousins who have studied genealogy much closer than I have tell me she was actually “the wife of a half-5th cousin, three times removed.”

I’ve got to admit, I don’t have the faintest idea what that means. All I know is that I found the story of Ida Wood absolutely fascinating. A century ago, she was the subject of literally thousands of newspaper articles.

At least one best-selling book was written about her and the historic inheritance case that resulted from her death. The subtitle of The Recluse of Herald Square promised “A stranger-than-fiction report of intrigue and greed that resulted in one of the most important and exciting inheritance cases in American law.” That it was, and then some.

Ida Mayfield captivated New York society when she appeared on the scene in the mid-1800s. She claimed to come from the family of wealthy plantation owners in Louisiana. Since she was young, lovely and vivacious, she was welcomed at the soirees and balls of the day. There were newspaper accounts of her dancing with Edward, the Prince of Wales, and Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate for President. She wore dazzling gowns and jewelry to balls in the New York City.

Ida was pursued by several young men but finally settled on a millionaire businessman and former U.S. Congressman, Benjamin Wood. Benjamin was the brother of Fernando Wood, the mayor of New York City at the time, and owned a popular newspaper, the New York Daily News (no relation to the paper of the same name today). For a while the couple lived the high life — elegant dinner parties and fancy balls and lengthy trips to Europe, with Ida always draped in the most fashionable clothes and wearing the most expensive jewelry.

But it turned out that Benjamin was a philanderer and an inveterate gambler. After a few years he lived apart from Ida most of the time. He continued to lavish large amounts of money on her, which she put into stocks and savings accounts.

When his fortunes turned and he subsequently asked her for some of that money back, she loaned it to him on very strict terms. When he needed even more money, she paid him $100,000 (over a million dollars in today’s money) to purchase a controlling interest in the Daily News.

Ida became one of the first female publishers of a large metropolitan newspaper. For a while she took a direct interest in the day-to-day affairs of the paper, even writing many of its editorials.

When Benjamin Wood died in 1900, Ida’s mental state began to deteriorate. She became increasingly reclusive and paranoid about her finances. The financial panic of 1907 apparently set her over the edge. She sold the newspaper for $340,000 (making a hefty profit on her investment), and withdrew all of her money from the banks.

Ida took her cash — estimated at more than $1 million (the equivalent of more than $10 million today) and moved into two rooms at the Herald Square Hotel. Her sister Mary and a woman she identified as her daughter Emma later joined her. The three women cooked their own meals and rarely ventured outside their rooms. Mary and Emma died in the late 1920s, leaving Ida alone. She became increasingly reclusive, refusing to open her door even when the bellman brought the food she ordered. She insisted that he toss it over the transom.

By 1931, Ida was 93 years old, partially deaf and nearly blind. She had not left her room at the Herald Square Hotel for several years. One contemporaneous account described her as “feeble and emaciated, weighing 70 pounds and bent over like a question mark.” She hoarded her cash, living on pennies a day. Her diet consisted mainly of toast and condensed milk. She lived in constant fear that someone would rob her.

Finally, in the fall of 1931, her closest relative — Otis F. Wood, the son of her husband’s brother, Fernando — petitioned the court to declare his aunt incompetent and make her his ward. The judge agreed and Otis Wood became her guardian. And here is where the story really gets interesting.

When Ida refused to permit Otis to go through her possessions he ordered a sedative put in her food. While she slept he had her rooms searched. What they found astounded them. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was stuffed into various pots and pans. Ida had hidden 50 $10,000 bills in a pouch tied to her waist. (The bills had been printed by the U.S. Treasury more than 50 years earlier.) There were shoeboxes filled with yellowed stocks and bonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, some with interest and dividend coupons that had not been redeemed in decades. A diamond necklace was found in a cracker box.

The discoveries made newspaper headlines around the country. Typical of the coverage was this story from the Brooklyn Standard Union of October 7, 1931:

“RECLUSE, 93, HOARDING MILLION DEFIES TREASURE SEARCHERS

“A frail but spirited little lady of 93 years, once the belle of mid-Victorian days, today stomped her defiance of searchers spurred by discovery of nearly a million dollars in currency she hoarded in her hotel room ‘because she was afraid of banks.’”

Otis Wood told reporters that he wanted to move his aunt to better quarters. In the meantime, he hired guards to patrol the hallway outside her room 24 hours a day. Ida refused to move and, because of her failing health, Otis was reluctant to use force to relocate her.

Ida died five months after the story broke. A will was found, in which she left everything she owned to her sister and her daughter. But both women died before Ida and neither left a will. The New York Surrogate Court referred the case to the city’s Public Administrator, the official charged with settling the estates of people who died without valid wills or verifiable heirs.

Within weeks more than one thousand people named “Wood” or “Mayfield” had filed claims on the estate. Joseph A. Cox, counsel to the Public Administrator, was assigned to conduct an investigation into the family lineage of Ida Wood.

It took Attorney Cox several years to unravel the mystery of Ida Wood’s antecedents. After a search that took him from boxes of dusty documents found in Ida Wood’s hotel room, to an overgrown grave in Massachusetts, to a bakery in Ireland and long-ago births in England, Joseph Cox told the court he had discovered the truth:

“Ida Mayfield” was in fact Ellen Walsh, the daughter of Irish immigrants. She was born in England and raised in Massachusetts. She was not related to anyone in Louisiana; in fact, as far as he could determine, she had never visited the state. Instead, she had left home in Massachusetts in 1857, a lovely and determined lady of 19 years, whose wit, beauty and vivaciousness bought her entrée into New York society under her assumed name.

The various Woods and Mayfields were understandably upset by the news and filed suit to get “their fair share” of the estate. The subsequent trial before Surrogate Judge James A. Foley resulted in the finding that Ida E. Mayfield was a false identity assumed by Ellen Walsh, who died with no direct heirs. Therefore, the court awarded her estate not to descendents of the Wood family, nor to the hundreds of Mayfields who claimed they were related, but to Katherine Sheehan and nine other living relatives of Ellen Walsh, an Irish lass who ran away from home at age 19.

In addition to Sheehan, two O’Donnells, three Kennedys and a McEnearney, Murphy, Gallagher and Reynolds each received a share of the estate valued at about $90,000. Again, this would be the equivalent of around $900,000 in today’s dollars. It would be a hefty sum today. During the depths of the Great Depression it was a staggering amount of money.

After he retired, Joseph A. Cox wrote the story of his quest to find the truth about Ida Mayfield, nee Ellen Walsh. The Macmillan Company published The Recluse of Herald Square in 1964. I found a copy of the first printing, signed in September 1964 by the author himself, on Abebooks.com, my favorite source for used books. It is from that account, as well as newspaper stories of the day, that this column has been drawn.

I hope you found the story of Ida “Ellen Walsh” Mayfield Wood interesting. And that at least for a few moments, it helped you forget the cares and concerns of our world today. And who knows? Faced with today’s market worries, it just might encourage you to hide some loot yourself. As you know from last week’s column, personally, I prefer gold.

And here’s another idea: Why not do some genealogical research into your own family tree? Unless you do, you’ll never know what heroes and scoundrels you might find there.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

— Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of PersonalLiberty.com. He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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  • Anthony

    Remember when they used to hide their cash in mattresses?

    • Al Sieber

      Out here in the west it was usually hidden under a fence post.

      • independant thinker

        I have been told it was common to hide it under the front step in the Ozarks.

  • s c

    Chip, thanks for the change of pace. There’s much to be said for being eccentric. It adds a dash of unpredictability, and can make people think.
    Anthony, do you remember when a dollar was worth having? Some people who endured the Depression had good reasons to be suspicious of banks. In some ways, we have more reasons to be suspicious of banks now (especially banks that are enslaved via a short leash known as ‘full faith and credit’).

    • Anthony

      SC —

      I remember penny-candy and 10cent Action comics.

      I also remember when a gallon of gas was only 26cents.

      What does that tell you…..

      • libertytrain

        I remember when gas was 16 cents a gallon. I’m not that old.

        • s c

          I can remember when a glass of beer sold for five cents (I was too young to buy it, though). I can remember when an individual’s word meant something. America had real Republicans and real Democrats. Doctors weren’t in the back pocket of what became Big Pharma, and a degree was more than a piece of paper. People knew there were jobs to be had, and teachers were allowed to teach.
          Times have changed. And they are changing again.

          • libertytrain

            Although I don’t remember the beer, I couldn’t agree with you more on all of this. Times have indeed changed, and not for the better.

        • JLC

          Liberty — How about gas at 8¢ a gallon. or 13 gallon for a dollar?

          • libertytrain

            Probably before my time :)

          • JEM

            I bought many a loaf of bread for a dime.

      • Bobby

        Anthony, I pumped gas for .09 cents a gallon back in 1959 while working in a Gulf Oil service station after my high school classes.That was for regular grade and was 98 octain leaded gas.

  • Angel Wannabe

    OMG, This reminds of a man who lived two country roads away from us. We all kinda grew up with George Bunn, no one really knew his real name.!__He lived for many many years in delapidated gray clapboard house, which look more haunted than anything. Piles and piles of trash, old cars parts were piled up to the second story of the house. Numerous fines were filed from authorities, to get him to clean up the place, but he ignored them. History says he had a sister, who for years tried to get George out of the house, to move in with her, but he refused!__He had no car, only a 1940′s bicycle with a wire basket tied on the back, front and sides of the bike, for his collections from the local dumps. Rumor had it, when he became ill and the EMT’s had to enter the house to treat him, that the floor boards were only held up by, piles and piles of news papers. In the winter, he apparently created a cubby hole, where he stayed constantly within the trash and news papers, and his only method of warmth was light bulb left on. We saw George for 25 years or more. Until we saw in the paper one he had died. It took his sister now well up in years and her family, more than two years to clean out the house and the property. Inconclusion, in just one old suitcase, they found $95,000 dollars. They found more, but never disclosed the total! George was part of the landscape around here for many years.__ Yes the eccentrics!!__We’ve had a few in the family too, but wuite to George’s extent. Thanks for sharing that story!

    • Angel Wannabe

      sorry spelling, it should have said, “we’ve had a few eccentrics in the family, but not quite to up to old George’s extent.”

    • Robert S

      When I was young back in the 50s there was a hobo who lived inside a car in the junkyard outside of town. He used to sell scrap metal for a living. When he died they found over 250,000 dollars in the car. The owner of the junkyard ended up with the money.

  • william e zimmerman

    When the terrorists drop a nuclear bomb on America,I hope that they do not cuss and that they use perfect English

    • Soldier

      Nice to see where your priorities lie. I hope you die from radiation poinsoning over the course of a few years to draw out your suffering. Have a nice day.

      • s c

        Soldier, like most progressives who can’t think their way out of a wet paper sack, that yahoo has never allowed for the possibility that he could be in the middle of ground zero when or if such a thing ever happens.
        I wonder if he can say “DUH” all by himself. Where do all these alinsky disciples come from?

        • Soldier

          “When the government robs from Peter to pay Paul, they can always count on the support of Paul.”

          – I forget and am too lazy to look up who said this quote. Please don’t sue me, or I will join the slave, “non-elitist bastard” class of citizens a bit before my time.

          • Mike

            It was 20th century progressive George Bernard Shaw, promoting the robbing of Peter to pay Paul.

    • Robert S

      Why are you so obsessed with terrorists?

      • s c

        RS, not everyone is obsessed with terrorists. If you’re indifferent to them, take some into your home. Think of them as people who are ‘misunderstood,’ deprived or disadvantaged. Maybe they’re “victims” and they need protected status. Let us know what happens so we can compare notes. Can’t wait to hear how the experiment goes.

    • JoMama

      Yeah……..??…………….what kind of sh*t is that??

  • Bitter Libertarian

    Just like the Old Guy I tried to buy a Truck from. This 1970 GMC Pick up is sitting up on blocks, a tree is growing through a hole in the wooden bed, and the blocks & Truck are sinking into mother earth…nope he wouldnt sell…”Gonna fix er up soon”. 10 years later…its still there, sunk another few inches…tree is bigger. I stopped in again…nope..hes “still planning on fixing er up”. Nice guy, shame hes in a moto scooter on oxygen now and cant even get to the truck LOL. :P It is a story to tell :)

  • Mary Ann Gillispie

    That was an intriguing story…thanks for sharing it. Gold is the only thing we can horde, because the “the powers that be” have destroyed the dollar…and our Constitutional Republic.

  • mary

    Chip that was very interesting about Ida and a nice change of pace. Thank you for sharing.

    • patricia

      Thank you also for sharing that story about your Aunt Ida…our elderly people should be our national treasure. You see, they not only have the history and many have lived it but are willing to share it with others. Your Aunt Ida was, I believe what we would call …”eccentric”. Wonderful article.

  • CabotAR

    Enjoyed the story & think we should ignore the politicians dirty campaigns & think of each other. Thanks for the article.

  • Elissa

    Chip, great story! Mine is not nearly so tremendous, but interesting nonetheless. My mother was really “into” hats, shoes, and purses. She had a walk-in closet bigger than most people’s bathrooms! When she died, my father and I were going through her things before donating them. Apparently she had a sort of “superstition” to never put a purse away without some money inside (she’d been a teen-ager during the Depression, which may have influenced her). As we went through each purse, we found amounts ranging from $20 to $50 in each one. By the time we were done, there was nearly $500 scattered on the bed! This was in 1998, while the dollar still had a LITTLE value, so it was quite a “haul”! As a side note, when we entered the year 2000, it was a melancholy time for me because her life was relegated to the “last” century, sort of like leaving her in the dust and watching in the rear-view mirror. I now take comfort in thinking that each year, instead of increasing the distance between us, is actually bringing me closer to seeing her once again.

    • Angel Wannabe

      Elissa, I hear ya there, my Grandmother passed away, and while my Mother & I went through her belongings, we found $1500 in a bag of potatoes!_$200 in a coat that was my Grandfathers who died 7 years before!__We had to look through everything and I mean everything!__$20 dollar bills in Magazines!___lol

    • Pamela

      How sad an outlook on your future? Do you think your Mother would want you to have such a grim way of looking at her death? I lost My Mother in November of last year, and am still very disturbed and haunted by it, (it wasn’t an easy passing), but I don’t believe for one minute that she would want me to look at the rest of my life waiting until the day when I will see her in Heaven. I’m pretty certain she would be very angry with me for not enjoying the time God has given me to spend with my Children and our Family, whom she loved also. She would want us to try to be happy and to try to make our world brighter and not so grim. I’m not meaning to make you angry, I was just very sad when I read what you wrote because I was really taken aback that you think your Mother would want that kind of life for you as I am sure she wouldn’t. Sorry, I just had to say please don’t do that to yourself!

      • Fay

        I agree. My Mother died the end of Feb. couldn’t go to Washington State to attend the funeral I live in AZ. I talked to My Mother as often as I could and She kept telling Me not to worry if I couldn’t make it to the funeral (She had colon cancer) just know that She would be out of pain and I should just keep on with My life. she would have been 88 in early Feb. I helped pay for funeral and head stone and talked a lot to My Sister who lived just a few miles away from Mom. some of My children went to funeral. I live each day as happy as I can and pray alot . I am 66 and a Mother of 4 a Grandmother of 7 and a Great Grandmother of 9 looking forward to holding more Great GrandBabies doing Geneology and loving all those GrandBabies and doing as My Mother requested enjoying what I do. Enjoy Your life just for the record I have arthritis thru out My body and Fibromyalgia also. never give in to the pain keep going do as much as You can. do not look forward to the day You will join someone in Heaven but enjoy Your time on Earth. My Beloved Husband died 13 years ago I thought I would die but didn’t He also asked Me to enjoy life. You can overcome a lot of things with the right attitude. even cancer I did. Enjoy life for Your Mothers sake

  • Soldier

    Here, fellow students of the subject “getting laid 101″, is a text book example of an early application of [offensive term removed].

  • James Moore

    Had a job delivering newspapers in the early 50′s. One old man on my route was a really nice guy, but I was afraid of him and his house. Wife was deceased. He was retired from the railroad. Kept telling my parents that he was “rich”. They laughed at me. In 1960, they sent me his obituary from the local paper. Can’t remember the amount, but he had left it all to the Catholic church. A huge amount. My mother commented that I always told them he was rich. He would loan me his BB gun every now and then.

  • FreedomFighter

    Found out I was distantly related to a sitting chief a ways back, means nothing but it is interesting knowing ones roots.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

    • Angel Wannabe

      Us too FF, one of my Grandfathers was Shaman, a Holy Man, of the Lenape Tribe.

    • Ruby

      Of course, it means something. My maternal great great grandmother was also native american. And, supposedly, the daughter of an indian chief. Something we haven’t been able to prove. But adds another layer of intrigue to our geniology.

      • Angel Wannabe

        Ruby__http://www.ancestry.com/?o_xid=21837&o_lid=21837

        hope link works!
        See if any of your relatives are on this site, ya never know!
        If link doesn’t work, google http://www.ancestry.com

    • Arthur Curtis

      That’s cool! My grandmother’s grandmother was full blooded Shawnee. Most likely not any ranking member of the tribe though. I’m a typical good old American mutt consisting of American Indian, German, French Canadian, Brit, spanish and I’m sure further back are other ingredients as yet unidentified. All those different nationality genes must be why I argue with myself all the time. No matter what though I am an AMERICAN, not a hyphenated one either, and most of all proud and thankful to God to be here!

      • Angel Wannabe

        ME TOO ARTHUR, I’m a regular Heinz 57 here!!!__lol

  • Eric

    Chip,

    What is the name of the book and the author you gave the subtitle for?

    • Anthony

      COPIED from the Article —

      After he retired, Joseph A. Cox wrote the story of his quest to find the truth about Ida Mayfield, nee Ellen Walsh. The Macmillan Company published The Recluse of Herald Square in 1964. I found a copy of the first printing, signed in September 1964 by the author himself, on Abebooks.com, my favorite source for used books. It is from that account, as well as newspaper stories of the day, that this column has been drawn.

  • BrotherPatriot

    Fun Chip…thanks for the write!

  • ONTIME

    Let me impart to all of you the uninspired story of a school boy named Roy.

    In class one day as Roy sat at his desk, the teacher decided to play a bit of a psychological game with the students by first telling them she thought many of them were smart and then invited any of them who thought they were stupid to come to the front of the room and stand beside her. Roy did so promptly after looking around and as he stood next to the teacher she asked, “Roy, are you stupid?” Roy said No Ma’am but I didn’t think it was right that you were up here all by yourself.

    NO, I am not related to Roy…

  • http://www.TomBlairEA.com Thomas Avery Blair EA

    I have a story that relates somewhat to that of the author and will share it in this way:

    In 1986 a very senior lady came to my tax office without an appointment and inquring about my fees for tax return preparation. She was wearing mis-matched shoes, a ragged denim house dress, and a ratty old woolen coat with different-sized and colored buttons. She wore a pair of eyeglasses that looked like “granny glasses” of the 1960′s, her now-graying hair was tied back into a bun, and her eyebrows were exceptionally long and flowing in a wide variety of different directions.

    She introduced herself as “Annie” and she said her friends called her “Worm Annie” because she stated to me that she earned a meager living by selling and delivering bait (including worms, of course) to area fisherman along the banks of the Muskegon (Michigan) River.

    I intentionally low-balled my fee because I suspected she was indigent, or, at the very least quite poor financially, and she immediately accepted my quote and then promptly asked for a further 10% “senior citizen discount.” This woman knew how to haggle…and I later discovered just how good she really was at it.

    I completed the initial part of the tax appointment interview and completed the basics of full name, social security number, age, marital status (single, of course) and address, and then asked to see her social security benefits statement.

    As I posted the information into my worksheets (I handled tax preparation in those days manually) I proceeded to then began asking her about her income. I discovered that she had 29 bank accounts, nine brokerage accounts with five different brokerage houses, and owned six rental homes, plus her bait and delivery business. She spoke very little, talked only about income amounts, and would not say anything about amounts in the various accounts…but she did have a list of every income, its amount and its’ source, and every expense on every rental property and for her bait and delivery business. She wound up paying taxes on an a taxable income of $226,348!

    I completed that tax return for $35 just as I promised I would (and yes, that was after the 10% senior citizen discount). It turned out that she was 93 years old, never married, no children and no living relatives that she knew of from her native Ireland.

    I never saw her again because she passed away that very same summer, but the Muskegon Chronicle reported her passing and named her “Worm Annie.” The newspsper further reported in another article about her passing that upon inspection of her tiny home by the attorney named by the probate court to handle the estate was found hundreds of thousands of dollars, mostly in one-dollar bills, stuffed into walls, ceilings, mason jars under the floor and buried in her back yard. She had boxes stacked in very neat rows that contained records of her business and income since 1935.

    Her wealth, at least from what I later heard, was confiscated by the State of Michigan, and it totalled “considerably above $1 million”.

    Now I remember all this because this little Irish lady had negotiated a deal with me that shocked me in both my mind and my wallet…and she was also the very first tax client that gave me a a “tip” for my trouble: One 1943 35% silver content “War Nickel!”

    • libertytrain

      Oh, that was a fun read – poor thing might have enjoyed her funds if she knew no one but the government was going to get to use them.

  • David

    Looks to me like she was doing okay for herself, living longer than most people doing what she wanted to do and that was to hide from this insane government. Of course everyone was wanting to help the “poor” little lady, right, sure they were !!!!!

  • Marlene

    Be careful what you research for. This is what I wrote 2 days ago:

    ‘What a revolting development this is’, to quote Jimmy Durante. I just read the article about this relationship this morning. I’ve long known that John Smith and the Roosevelts, as well as Sarah Palin is part of my family tree, but this latest makes me cringe as I have absolutely no use for the man and his destruction of my country. Sarah’s maternal great-grandfather and my paternal grandfather were brothers. In fact, her mother’s oldest sister, Helen, is my Dad’s (deceased) favorite first cousin. Her mom wasn’t even a twinkle in her parents eye when I met them and her aunt Colleen and Uncle Pat (deceased). I really was taken by Colleen and had an immediate crush on Pat – I was about 8 years old. I’ve been proud of Sarah’s accomplishments and think she’s a strong woman, worthy of our heritage. Wish I could say the same for that man in the White House. Obviously, you can’t choose your relatives but you can reject those you feel are misfits. Hear that, ‘Barry’? My oldest brother is probably fist-pumping over this news but I have to excuse him. He has ‘fuzzy’ thinking and it gets worse with age – 84. It is a shame that our politicals stances keep us so far apart but, so goes life. Geez Louise, ain’t life grand?

  • libra

    HOW TRAGIC THAT SO MANY OF OUR ELDERS BECOME SO FEARFUL AND RECLUSIVE–NOT SPENDING ANYTHING ON THEMSELVES AND DIE IN POVERTY LIKE CONDITIONS.. WE NEED TO UPDATE THE LAWS AS THEY PERTAIN TO THE ELDERLY TO PROTECT THEM FROM THEMSELVES AND OTHERS WHO WOULD ROB THEM.. IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A PERSON DECLARED IMCOMPETENT AND GET THEM HELP TO PAY THEIR BILLS, GET PROPER NOURISHMENT LIVE IN PROPER CONDITIONS AND PROTECT THEM FROM PREDATORS. I SAW WHAT HAPPENED TO MY MOTHER WHO FOUGHT ALL EFFORTS FROM HER FAMILY TO HELP HER AND THE ATTORNEY WHO USED HER AS AN ANNUITY BECAUSE SHE GAVE HIM DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY.. HE ENDED UP WITH ALMOST HER ENTIRE ESTATE. HE DID NOT HAVE A GUARDIANSHIP OR A CONSERVATORSHIP AND IN PENNSYLVANIA WAS NOT SUBJECT TO COURT SCRUTINY. WHEN PA. THE STATE LEGISLATURE VOTED DOWN A LAW THAT WOULD HAVE PLACED ANYONE WITH A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY UNDER COURT JURISDICTION.. ANY BANKER WILL TELL YOU THAT IT IS COMMON FOR THE ATTORNEYS TO MANAGE TO GET AN ESTATE THEY ARE TO OVERSEE AND THE ATTORNEY WALKS OFF WITH THE ENTIRE REMAINDER LEAVING THE BENEFICIARIES OUT IN THE COLD EVEN IF THE ATTORNEY HAS TO WRITE A NEW WILL FOR A DEMENTED OR DEATHBED CLIENT. THE LAW IS VERY OBSCURE ABOUT THE” BEING OF SOUND MIND” CLAUSE GIVING A CORRUPT ATTORNEY LEEWAY TO SOME NEFARIOUSLY WRITTEN DEATHBED WILLS.

  • smeghead

    Eric Ambler had an excellent book called “The Schirmer Inheritance,” which tells of a similar case.

  • Elector Murp

    Chip, loved your Aunt Ida story. I too had an Aunt Ida who passed away at age 90. I received a lock of her vibrant red hair upon her death since I was only one in family who had red hair also.

    Please do more “genealogy” columns.

  • Al Sieber

    Has anyone heard about the Mexican drug cartels putting 15 snipers along the Vekol Valley drug smuggling route out here in Ariz. for people ripping off their drugs? it was on CBS news this afternoon. dan az.or DaveH if you heard anything post it.

    • s c

      Al, that’s not really a surprise. All it takes is an incompetent government and a non-leader in the White House for such a thing to happen. Much of that could be cured with military snipers deployed in certain areas (complete with air support, drones, land mines, dogs, bounty hunters and LEADERS who have the will to be LEADERS).
      I have family out your way. Let me do some checking, and then I can compare notes.

      • Al Sieber

        sc,thanks for the reply, there’s about 3 mining camps in my area and everyone is armed to the teeth. I can’t believe this president let’s this criminal activity goes on.

  • Pete from Australia

    Great stories, really enjoyed reading about the eccentrics. We had a few in the family, so struck a chord or two. Thanks to all.

  • mike

    great story , i understand the reason for hiding loot. we live in uncertian times and a lot of americans including myself are losing confidence in our currency and the government.i dont expect any help from government,I HAVE NO DEBT! i dont trust banks or stocks any more,so what else does one do with ones wealth to protect it? WHAT WEALTH?

  • http://none Debbie Lindsey Bryant

    This is my first adventure EVER to do anything like this. I really liked the story about Chip Wood’s aunt. And I really liked reading about ya’lls different things to say about it PLUS all the different stories ya’ll had. I especially liked the ones about the wonderful Native Americans. I have a special place in my heart for these people. Sorry to be so boring………….

    • Mike In MI

      Debbie Bryant -
      How dare you presume to apologize? Look, we all had a “first time”
      for entering into this zoo. Who knows, you may have a moderating influence or maybe down in there somewhere there’s a fire and a passion with some interesting, insightful and winning point of view that sets somebody to reflecting on his/her own position. It’s all part of the mix.
      Whatever you have to offer – jump in and be prepared to teach, learn and participate fully. Don’t hold back. At least you can write clearly and understandably – which is far above some that enter this dogfight.
      Welcome.

  • CabotAR

    Remember the old days when hard times hit America again. Forget buying gold/silver. Invest in canned food. Buy a can of beans for $1 today & eat the same can in 3 yrs. (expiration date is usually 3 yrs.) when that same can is $3. Just buy an extra $10 when you go to the store & keep going until you have a year’s supply. Best investment you can make nowadays as our ancestors always knew.

    Also, need to read a book just out that’s about history calling on us to possibly one day fulfill our true destiny. It’s about Americans who take a stand. It may happen & this seems so real. I recommend it.
    http://www.booksbyoliver.com

  • http://sparkysma@earthlink.net Penny R. Freeman

    Great article and it does make you remember some of what you have read and heard about from the past. One question-Whatever happened to Otis? I don’t think you ever said what happened to the fellow, wasn’t he given anything for his efforts in trying to care for Ms. Ida?

  • LiarsMustBeDefeated

    Current U.S. price inflation based on the consumer price index (CPI) is 1.5% and the Federal Reserve wants to see this number increase to 2%. The truth is, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses geometric weighting and hedonics to artificially manipulate this number lower than the real rate of inflation in order to keep American’s social security payment increases as low as possible so that politicians in Washington have more of your money to spend. Based on the way the U.S. government previously calculated price inflation before the BLS’s latest tactics to manipulate the CPI as low as possible, NIA believes current year-over-year price inflation is at least 5%.

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