I’ve been doing some digging into my 2x great grandmother Sarah Scott’s family. Ancestry.com last year added wills and probate records to their collections, and as luck would have it, they have  probate records online for Sarah’s parents, Jesse M. Scott and Senia P. Malone. I found a lot of information on Sarah’s parents and siblings in these records!

For genealogical research, the most useful page from the probate records was a Petition for Letters of Administration, dated 28 October 1901. This document not only provided Jesse Scott’s date of death, but also provided a list of his living heirs.

Jesse Scott Date of Death
Jesse M Scott’s date of death in the Petition for Letters of Administration.

Per the Petition, Jesse M. Scott died on 18 November 1880 at his home in Cleburne County, Alabama, leaving no will. His estate was “administered by one J. M. Scott,” his son James M Scott. Ancestry has inventory records for Jesse’s estate dated February 1882 showing property that was “exempt from administration, set apart and delivered to Mrs. S. P. Scott, the widow of said decedent”. It lists such things as “all wearing apparel of the deceased, $10.00. All wearing apparel of the widow, $10.00. Yarn and cloth on hand, $3.00. Books, $1.00. Family portraits and miniatures, $……….”, no value, or perhaps priceless.

Jesse Scott Inventory 1882
Excerpt from Jesse Scott’s estate inventory, 1882.

Except for property that was used to pay debts, Senia Scott inherited a “widow’s dower consisting of 240 acres of land”, per the 1901 Petition.

Senia was enumerated on the 1900 census for Cleburne County, Alabama, as a boarder living with Newman and Lee E. Albright. In fact, Newman was her grandson, the child of Senia’s daughter Nancy Caroline Scott and Madison Albright.

Senia Scott 1900 Census
Senia Scott on the 1900 census for Cleburne County, Alabama.

Jesse’s estate again entered probate following Senia’s death. I haven’t found a precise date for her death. It occurred sometime during the 16 months between June 1900, the census, and October 1901, the Petition for Letters of Administration. Per the Petition, “… said widow, S. P. Scott is now dead and said dower is now subject to administration as assets of the estate of said Jesse M. Scott.”

The reason for the Petition was that James M Scott had been discharged as administrator following the original settlement of Jesse’s estate in 1882 and was by 1901 believed to be living in Oklahoma Territory, and therefore unavailable. (It’s also likely James was already dead by 1901.) Senia’s death had created a need for a new administrator to be appointed to settle the dower. The Petition had been submitted by one W. H. Barnes.

The Petition goes on to say “the names, residences, ages and condition of the heirs and distributees of the estate of said decedent, so far as your petitioner knows  or believes, are as follows, to-wit:”

Heirs and distributees, Petition for Letters of Administration, 1901.
Heirs and distributees, continued in the right margin.

“John H. Scott”. Jesse and Senia’s son, John Henry Scott, then residing at Muscadine, Cleburne County, Alabama.

“Nancy Albright”. Daughter Nancy Caroline Scott, who had married Madison M. Albright. Also then residing in Muscadine.

“Sarah Graham, residing at Watts, Ark.” Daughter Sarah Scott, who was then the widow of Jesse F. Graham. Watts is a populated place in Searcy County, Arkansas.

“Mary Anderson, residing at Roberty, I.T.” Daughter Mary Ann Scott, who had married Lewis James Anderson and was then living in Indian Territory (today part of Oklahoma). Mary and Lewis can be found on the 1900 census residing in Township 8, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. On the census page, the name given of the nearest incorporated town is Utica Town. Roberta is a tiny unincorporated community located about six miles northwest of Utica.

“John Willis Lee Scott, residing at Idor, Ala.” The city of Ider is located in DeKalb County, Alabama. John was Jesse and Senia’s grandson. His parents were Willis Lee Scott and Margaret Nunnelly.

“J. M. Scott, residing at Shawnee, O.T.” Son James M. Scott, who resided in Shawnee, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma Territory.

“John W. Scott, whose residence is to petitioner unknown, Martha Jane Brown, Rosewood, Ala., Mary Elizabeth Killgore, Sackville, Ga., the last three named are the heirs and duly heirs of Thomas Scott, deceased”. William Thomas Scott was the eldest son of Jesse and Senia. He died while serving the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. His wife was Elmina P. Little and the three named above were their children.

“…the children and duly heirs of Eliza J. Pounds, dec’d, to wit: Neuman Pounds +  Lou Pounds, each residing at Camanchia, Texas…” Eliza was a daughter of Jesse and Senia who had married Early Andrew Jackson Pounds. Their children Newman and Lou were adults by 1901. Newman was living with his wife and children in rural Comanche County, Texas. Lou was staying with a cousin named Lula Munn elsewhere in Comanche County.

“…and the children and duly heirs of Sene Eviline Barnes, dec’d, viz: Jesse Barnes, Bennett Barnes, Ida Barnes + Sarah Barnes, each residing at Chualla, Tex. All of said  heirs are  over the age of 21 years, except the two last named, and are all of sound mind.” Sene was a daughter of Jesse and Senia who had married James Martin Barnes. The petitioner, W. H. Barnes, was likely related to James. The 1900 census recorded Martin Barnes and family in McNairy County, Tennessee. There is an unincorporated community in McNairy County called Chewalla, and that is likely what was meant by “Chualla, Tex.”

Pettition for Letters of Administration - Jesse Scott 1901
The full Petition for Letters of Administration, 1901. Click to expand.


Ancestry.com. Estate Case Files (Cleburne County, Alabama); Author: Alabama. Probate Court (Cleburne County); Probate Place: Cleburne, Alabama. Name: Jesse M. Scott. Probate date: 28 October 1901.

Ancestry.com. Wills, 1867-1937; Minutes, 1869-1944; Author: Alabama. Probate Court (Cleburne County); Probate Place: Cleburne, Alabama. Name: Jesse M. Scott; Probate date: 8 February 1882.

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Muscadine, Cleburne, Alabama; Roll: 9; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0136; FHL microfilm: 1240009

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Township 8, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; Roll: 1852; Enumeration District: 0115; FHL microfilm: 1241852