Saturday, February 21, 2015

Family History Writing Challenge Day 21

The estate of Charles K. Dickson was settled in 1890, and James Eads and Barton Bates were discharged as executors of the estate. The final settlement indicated that they were owed over $46,000, and there is nothing showing that they were ever paid for their services. The estate of Murdoch & Dickson was still open as of 1914, forty-three years following the death of Dickson, which necessitated the dissolution of the firm.

Isaiah Williamson
But what happened to Murdoch Farm, the 226-acre property that John Murdoch lost on the courthouse steps in 1878 due to his inability to pay the loan he took out against the property? Isaiah Williamson bought the farm at auction on Wednesday, May 22, 1878 for $23,000. Williamson, the man to whom Murdoch owed the money on the loan, was a Philadelphia businessman who began investing his money in real estate and promising enterprises. By 1880 he was one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia. Perhaps that is why he could hold onto property in the St. Louis area for the amount of time that he did. It is possible that he hired people to farm the lands in the meantime. Because it wasn't until April 2, 1888 - nearly ten years after he bought the farm - that he sold 222 and 577/1000 acres of the property to James S. Farrar through a Deed of Record at a price of $66,000. The remaining acres were exempt, with three acres going to the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Co., and 1/2 acre going to a Mrs. Bluitt because Murdoch had given the land to her. (It would be interesting to know if she was once one of the slaves that he owned.)

On that same day, a Deed of Trust indicates that James S. Farrar sold the property to Charles T. Farrar and James T. Blair as parties of the second part, with Isaiah Williamson as party of the third part. James S. Farrar was for a number of years a judge in the St. Louis County court system. In 1875 he then went into business with Charles T. Farrar, forming Farrar & Co. The business specialized in buying and selling real estate, collecting rents, and negotiating loans secured by real property.

Charles T. Farrar had big plans for the old Murdoch Farm.

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