Chapter Five, Part Four of “The Genealogy & History of the Original Bohemians (Czechs) in Cleveland, Ohio, USA” Searching for the Genealogy of Our Adam Family!
In the last Chapter we had just read the following single sentence describing the estate inventory for J. R. Adam as it was filed in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1867:
“The intestate left no personal property whatever.”
Not much to go on and it had us all wondering if this might be the end of the line working J. R. Adam.
We Find a New Challenge in the Very Next Sentence.
Several of us admitted this was the first time we had seen such an inventory being actually recorded. Then we received our next shock when we read that the inventory, such as it was, had been attested to by an Administratrix by the name of “Bettie Adam”.
On the page following the inventory was an “Administrators Statement”, also attested to by Administratrix “Bettie Adam”. This form only included the one fact that she paid debts owing to five individuals (Mr. John Miller, Mrs. B. Figures, Jno. B. McEwen, Dunnavant, and H. Metz) incurred by J. R. Adam which totaled $438.00 and stated:
“I have paid out for the deceased, the following amounts, from my own individual monies:”
Now who was Bettie and why was she paying these debts personally?
Our first search for Bettie Adam in Nashville provided our answer. In an 1871 edition of the City Directory for Nashville there is only one Bettie Adam, listed as a widow living at 359 S. Cherry (more on the importance of this address in a moment). Additionally, right above Bettie’s entry we find A. J. Adam, matching not only Alfred John Adam, Barbara’s son, but also at the same residence of 359 S. Cherry. So it certainly appears that this Bettie Adam was in fact Barbara Adam.
Our staffer reported that due to the reported lack of any estate, beyond debts owed, she was tempted to not look any further for any additional wills that may have been written by other members of the Adam family, but thankfully, in her usual focus on thoroughness, she did. She told us she was not only pleased to find a will for Barbara Adam, but was actually quite surprised by what was in this will. Then she recalled the earlier words of Leopold Levy in his interview with Hugo Chotek and had one of those terrific ‘Ah-Ha’ moments we all love in genealogy. She recalled what Leopold told Hugo:
“He (Adam) made a good living and earned substantial revenues from his wife’s estate, which the state had failed to confiscate. He lived life trouble-free and comfortable…”
Dated August 6, 1883, this will runs four pages long and identifies only two heirs, son, Alfred, and daughter, Melanie. The following are some of the bequests included in it:
A farm in Davidson County given to son, Alfred and should he die first, then to pass on to daughter, Melanie. She adds this statement to this bequest: “My object in making this bequest is to secure to my son a home for and during his lifetime; his habits of life have been such that it is my duty to secure and guard against a possible contingency in the future and to provide for him a home for his natural life…”
Another farm of 375 acres in Williamson County, Tennessee, which she further described as “the farm in Williamson County is the half my husband bought from T. B. McEwing it is 750 acres in all, but half of it I bought of Mrs. Figuens.
“His father’s diamond pin, his seal ring, his wedding ring, a pair of silver candlesticks, a silver snuff box, a silver knife fork and spoon, one set of silver tea spoons (6).”
A double tenement house and lot on College Street, Nashville.
House and lot on North Cherry Street, Nashville.
House and lot on N. W. corner of South High
House and lot South High Street.
Horses, buggies, and tack.
Life insurance policies of a thousand dollars.
A large variety of personal property including furniture, music, jewelry, silver, books, china, and more.
The notation that daughter, Melanie, “her father gave her the Piano and stool”.
Our staff member made the understatement that ‘this was a decent estate for 1883’ and indeed it was! We also noted that one of the properties was on College Street in Nashville, which, in those days, was ‘the’ prime location to live in Nashville.
Our staffer continued telling us that she next came up a will for Melanie Adam, which was probated on March 24, 1910. This will provided some terrific new facts, several confirmations, as well as a snapshot of daughter, Melanie.
After the usual boilerplate first paragraph, Melanie directs her executrix to do the following:
“…have my inscription placed upon our monument just below that of my brother, and a marker placed at my grave exactly like the ones at the graves of my parents…”
This gave us an ideal indication that there might well be a family plot and monument for the Adam family in Nashville. Additionally, it tied in well with the Standard Certificate of Death used by the City of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee in the early 1900s, which had located for both Alfred and Melanie.
On Alfred’s death certificate, filed November 24, 1907, as we noted earlier, his death was attested to by Miss M. Adam, of 117 – 9th Avenue South, Nashville. Second, on the death certificate filed March 20, 1910 for Melanie Adam, we see her ‘Former or Usual Place of Residence’ listed as 117 – 9th Avenue South, Nashville, tying M. Adam of Alfred’s death certificate with that of Melanie. We also noted Melanie’s death is attested to by Miss Ella Hyronemus, who is also listed, not only as a beneficiary in Melanie’s will, but also named as her Executrix.
Also included in this will was the fact that Melanie wanted her library of books kept intact, that she wanted several bequests to go to a variety of charitable organizations, trust money left to Mount Olivet Cemetery ‘the interest to be used in keeping up the family plot and monument’, money for Masses to be said ‘for the repose of the souls of John, Barbara, Alfred, and Melanie Adam’, and these two which really caught our eyes:
“To Mother Xaver of St. Bernard Academy, I leave $200.00, she to select a memorial for my brother and myself and place same in the chapel of the convent.”
“To Mrs. Johanna Gassner of Teplitz, Bohemia, I leave $500.00 as a token of affection.”
Our staff member informed us that she had already reached out to St.BernardAcademy. While it is no longer operated by the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters do still have a Convent with a chapel in it. She is still awaiting a reply on her inquiry regarding the possible continued existence of the plaque referred to in Melanie’s will.
The bequest to Mrs. Johanna Gasssner of Teplitz, Bohemia was a most intriguing find and we all had the same thought …”Perhaps this was a relative still back in Bohmia!” As such the request was made of our contact in the CzechRepublic and that research is presently underway.
But what of Gustav?
What about Gustav? The answers soon in the next Chapter, coming soon!