05 November 2014

Items Set off for the Widow of James Kile

In an earlier post about the estate settlement of James Kile of Mercer County, Illinois, it was noted that there were crosses after certain items on the inventory. There was no indication on the inventory what the crosses were for.

A reader made a comment that was in line with my suspicion: the marks were an indication of what items were set off for the widow. Sure enough, the "inventory of personal items...set apart to the widow" on 16 April 1852 contained exactly those items that were marked on the inventory--except for the $6 lot of corn.

Apparently there were a few items that the widow ended up not needing or wanting. It's also possible that those items were not allowable to her by state statute, had exceeded the value of items she could be allowed, or that she was concerned that the money from those items would be needed to cover the debts of the estate. There is no notation as to why six of the items were on the list only to be later relinquished. In some cases state statute was fairly specific as to what property could be set off from the estate as the widow's award.

The widow, Elizabeth Kile, is named only once in the entire set of estate documents for her husband. She is mentioned several others times simply as the widow.