Why Could the Sheriff Not Find Great-Grandma Fannie Neill in 1908? Part 3

It struck me as odd that great-grandma Neill could not be found by the Hancock County Sheriff in February of 1908 when he came to their residence in Walker Township. It seemed odd that she’d be off helping a sister with a baby or something and leave her husband behind with two children under the age of five.
As in most cases, a complete reading of the records gives one a better picture–and also makes it clear that there’s always more going on than what gets left behind on a piece of paper.

The packet of court papers in the 1908 Hancock County, Illinois,  partition suit involving the family of Riley Rampley is rather large. Sometimes when a file is rather large, it can be tempting to gloss over certain items, particularly when a document appears to be full of legalities. That’s when details can be missed. The image that is a part of this post comes from the “Decree Appointing Commissioners to Make Partition,” filed in June of 1908.

The initial filings in the case indicated that Charles Neill was the tenant on the Rampley farm with a lease expiring on 1 March 1908. This order indicated that Neill (and probably his family as well) was still on the farm on as of June 1908. The compounding factor here is that Charles Neill’s wife, Fannie, was a member of the Rampley family herself.

There is no mention in the court papers as to when the Neill family actually moved from the farm. It is also not mentioned how the Neills reacted to the litigation involving the property on which they were living. Their reaction is not difficult to imagine.

Stay tuned….


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