Sally Gustin sent me this blog post a while ago, and I have had it in my back pocket waiting for a day to publish it. I chose to do so today. Sally is a descendant of the Estel family that has been the subject of several stories on this blog. In fact, Sally has been the author of previous blog posts about that family. The story she shares here is of a type that I enjoy, simply because of the characters that are highlighted. As I research for stories, I understand that it is so much easier to find information about males than it is to find material about females. If you want to also consider the fact that the females are unmarried, that adds another level of difficulty. Sally tells the story of two unmarried ladies who are part of her family tree. I find this story very interesting, especially with regard to the items included in their wills. Thanks, Sally, for your contributions to this blog and your support for our historical society and museum.
For most people, creating a will is easy. You leave everything to your spouse and/or your children. But what if you have none of either? This is a look at what Tante Lena and Tante Anna chose to do.
The only 2 daughters of Emanuel Frederick Estel & Wilhelmina Kramer Estel to live to adulthood were Anna Wilhelmina Estel & Helena (Lena) Estel. Neither would ever marry.
Anna was born April 30, 1858 and died on Sept. 17, 1947.
Lena was born on July 28, 1867 and died on Oct. 4, 1946.
Lena worked in St. Louis as a housekeeper/nanny for what were considered at the time rich families. Anna was the one who stayed in her parent’s home, as many unmarried women would do in the early 1900’s.
They both would be buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery of Perryville, MO.
When Ancestry.com came out with a collection of Last Wills and Testaments, I found both Anna & Lena’s there. This is an insight into what an “old maid” of that time decided to do with their assets. Here are what I consider the highlights. I’ve edited out the more “routine” stuff:
Will of Lena M. Estel
- I bequeath to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other States (a Missouri Corporation) the sum of One Thousand Dollars for the benefit of pension fund for Lutheran Ministers.
- I bequeath to Ella Arbeiter, Euphemia Tiehes, and Mildred M. Biehler, my nieces, the sum of One Thousand Dollars each.
- I bequeath to Thelma Estel and Vera Marie Estel, my nieces, the sum of Six Hundred Dollars each.
- I bequeath to Gladys Newbeck Estel, the sum of Two Hundred Dollars.
- I bequeath to Mrs. Clara M. Estel the sum of Two Hundred and to Mrs. Tillie (Mathilda) Estel, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars.
- I bequeath to Lydia Mau Bishop [Note: Lydia apparently was the daughter of her cousin, Emma Weiland Mau. Emma was orphaned in 1870, at the age of 14, and came to live in the home of Lena’s parents], Portland, Oregon, the sum of Two Hundred Dollars.
- I bequeath to Sophia Estel, a cousin, General Delivery, Saint Louis, Missouri, the sum of One Hundred Dollars.
- I devise my undivided part of the lot or real estate owned by me and situated at the corner of Jackson and North Streets in the City of Perryville, Perry County, Missouri, and being the real estate now leased to Lawrence and Tlapek (?) Motor Company, as follows, to wit: One-half of same to Estel D. Tiehes; one-fourth of same to Rudy Valle Tiehes, and one-fourth of same to Harold Elwood Tiehes; but said real estate is devised under the following specific conditions, to wit: Said real estate shall not be sold or encumbered until after a period of ten years from the date of my death; if either of said named persons leave the church to which they now belong during said ten year period then his or their part of said real estate shall vest in the other or others named in this paragraph; if either one or more of said named persons precede me in death then his or their part shall vest in the other or others living at the time of my death.
How nice that she left money directly to the females in her family. However, she also seemed concerned about the religion of her nephews.
Last Will of Anna W. Estel
- My brother Paul Estel – $300.00
- Lena M. Estel – $500.00
- Brother Gust (Gustav) Estel, his daughters Thelma and Vera M. Estel – $300.00
- Rudolph E. Estel – $300.00
- Mrs. Marie Fischer – $100.00
- The Pastor who is to bury me – $500.00
- Legacies to Mr. Seul (?) in Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., for Mission in St. Louis – $800.00
- For our Convalescent Home in St. Louis Lutheran – $500.00
- Rev. G.M. Kramer 133 Metairie Lawn (Lane?) in New Orleans for his negro congregation – $100.00
- For Lutheran Altenheim in St. Louis, MO – $300.00
- For Koch Hospital in St. Louis for needy sick – $100.00
- Brauers (?) Negro Hall on 4th and Shoute (?) Ave. for poor children/negro children – $200.00
- Articles Lena Estel is to have: my sewing machine, my best clothes, and my folding bed with all that belongs to it.
- Then Dr. Lottes for his work and efforts – $7,500.00 [see notes below]
- Also designate something for the old college – $200.00. Only designate interest to be used for repairs, located in Altenburg, Perry Co., MO now already over hundred years old.
- For our Lutheran Orphanage is Des Peres near St. Louis, MO – $200.00
Note: Anna added a codicil to her will, directed to the main beneficiary of this will, Dr. Ed Lottes, who was the husband of her cousin, Phoebe Estel Lottes. He was a dentist in Altenburg for many years.
Nov. 14, 1943
My dear Ed. Lottes,
You know for some time already that you are to be executor of my testament.
Ed I want to give $200.00 for the old college. They are to place this into a fund and use only the interest for repairs. I have written into my testament for Mary Fischer, who now lives with Paul Katts in St. Louis, MO designating $200.00.
7,500.00 I have designated for Dr. Ed. Lottes in my testament for your labor and efforts.
I wish to be buried from Ed. Youngs, have selected coffin, dress and all I need.
I have sufficient money in the two banks Perryville Bank (Mr. Harry Phillips bank) and in the Home Trust bank deposit certificate of which there is money in these banks to promptly pay all my expenses.
The officiating Pastor at my funeral shall receive $500.00. Should my relatives want some of my things, then send them with M. A. Wunderlich to Jacob, Ill. and pay all expenses for the transportation. It is beautiful weather now. May God protect you all. I am so often reminded of the beautiful hymn:
Let me go, let me go
That I may my Jesus see,
My soul is filled with the desire
To eternally Him to embrace
And to stand before his throne
God grant this.
With sincere greetings and much love to all of you.
Your devoted aunt, Anna W. Estel.
If anyone is wondering if Anna’s things were taken to Jacob by Mr. Wunderlich, here is a piece of evidence that they were:
Anna and Lena are included in this group photo of Estel females.
L-R: Mathilda Schneier Estel, Lena Estel, Ella Estel Arbeiter, Caroline Rowold Arbeiter, Rose Arbeiter Holcumbrink, Anna Estel, Margaret Schlimpert Estel. Location: Jacob, IL