We aren’t always able to get time frames when people die in locations and time periods when vital records are not recorded. In some cases, other records allow us to ascertain a specific date of death for an individual. The date a will was signed often can be a “last alive” date for an individual. But not everyone who dies leaves a valid will. Fortunately Thomas J. Rampley of Coshocton County, Ohio, left enough assets and obligations when he died in probably Coshocton County, in 1823.

The last known record presumably done while Thomas was alive was when he loaned $20 to John Salmons and a note was signed to confirm the debt. By early August 1823, Thomas Rampley was deceased.

Coshocton County, Ohio, Will Records, Volume 1, page 376:

On 7 August 1823 letters of administration were issued to James Shores by the Court of Common Pleas for Coshocton County, Ohio–indicating Thomas was dead by that date.

Coshocton County, Ohio, Will Records, Volume 2b, page 401:

The inventory of the Estate of Thomas J. Rampley, dec’d., indicated as one of the notes due Thomas one one of John Salmons “bearing date of April 18th 1823…”

Assuming Thomas was alive on the date the note was signed, he would have last been alive on 18 April 1823. He would have been dead by 7 August 1823 according to the date letters of administration were issued to settle his estate. It’s likely he had been dead at least a few days before letters were issued to settle his estate.

Court was not held every day and the Rampleys would have had to wait until the next term of court to petition that the settlement of Thomas’ estate begin. But there’s nothing in the record to indicate how long Thomas had been dead. State statute likely had terminology indicating within how many days of a death an estate proceeding had to begin.

But all we know is what is in the records. In April of 1823 Thomas loaned a likely neighbor $20. By August he was dead.

Come to think of it, we don’t really know it was a neighbor that Thomas loaned money to. There’s nothing in the record indicating where Salmon lived at the time, but it likely was nearby. He’s not a known relative of Thomas or of Thomas’ wife Christianna.

When one combs through all the estate accountings, there are sometimes more than just financial details in that list of debits and credits.




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