The Peculiar Will of William E. Frazer

An introduction to the families mentioned in the articles which follow:

William E. "W.E." Frazier (also spelled Frazer) was the son of James & Catherine A. "Kitty" Brawner Frazier. Despite his being described as an "old bachelor" in the first article, Mr. Frazier was only thirty-two at the time of his death, having been born in December, 1826, and departed this life in April, 1859. He appeared in the 1850 Adair County census as 23-year-old Wm. E., unmarried, a merchant, in the household of his mother, Catherine A. Frazier, his father having died in 1842. Catherine died in 1868.

His sister Ermine Frazier, mentioned in the articles as Mrs. Geo. M. Page, married (Dr.) Page on December 20, 1837. In Death Records of Adair County, Kentucky, and Russell, Casey, Green, Cumberland, & Taylor Counties Prior to 1900, noted Adair County genealogist and historian Michael C. Watson excerpted her obituary from the December 27, 1899 News thus:

"Mrs. Ermine Page died 13 December 1899 at her Barren County home, aged 81. She was born and reared in Columbia, the oldest of the children of James and Catharine Ann Frazer who lived and died here. Her husband was De. George M. Page. She has 3 sisters yet living: Mrs. Elizabeth Curd of Columbia, Mrs. Kate Alexander of St. Paul, Minn. and Mrs. Ada Reed of Taylor County."

Dr. Page's obituary appeared in the October 7, 1903 News and read thus:

"Dr Geo. M. Page, aged eighty-seven, one of the best known citizens in Southern Kentucky, died at Lucas, Barren county, last week. He was a native of Virginia, coming to Kentucky in his early manhood and located at Columbia. Here he married Miss Ermine Frazer, a sister of the late Thomas Frazer. He was a man of scholarly attainments, well posted in history and literature, and was a fine conversationalist. His wife died several years ago. He is survived by five children, three sons and two daughters."

In 1880, Dr. & Mrs. Page (aged 64 & 62, respectively) resided in Louisville with three of their children: Sam, 42; William 30; and Estelle, 24. (It is somewhat curious that the first article, below, states that "The children of Mrs. Page were nearly all born after the peculiar will was written [about 1859]...")

Another sister, Adeline S. "Ada" married Henry Clay Read; she died in St. Paul, Minn., in 1901. Mrs. Read's obituary (Adair County News, September 11, 1901) noted that she was a native of Columbia & was the youngest child of James and Kitty A.Frazier; that her usual residence was with her daughter who lived in Taylor county; and that she died in St. Paul while visiting a son who lived there. Her survivors were two sisters, Mrs. T.T. Alexander, of St. Paul, and Mrs. E.L. Curd, "of this place" (Columbia); and all five of the children she had mothered: Jas. F., Frank and Henry Read, of Fort Smith, Ark; Wm. C. Read, of St. Paul; and Mrs. James T. Caldwell, of Taylor county.

The sister mentioned in Mrs. Read's obituary as Mrs. E.L. Curd was Elizabeth L. Frazier, born 1821 and died 1902, the widow of James H. Curd, to whom she was wed in 1841. Her obituary (Adair County News, February 19, 1902) named her living children as Dr. T.H. Curd, Middlesboro (Ky.); Mrs. M.G. Sale, Paducah; Mrs. W.R. Carter, of Texas; and Mrs. Anna Poore & Mrs. Bettie Tupman, place(s) of residence not given.
The sister mentioned as Mrs. T.T. Alexander, was Ellen Catherine "Kate" Frazier, who married Thomas T. Alexander in 1849. The July 31, 1907 News stated that Judge H.C. Baker of Columbia, Mrs. Alexander's nephew by marriage, had received "last Wednesday" (July 24th) a telegram from St. Paul, informing him that Mrs. Alexander had died the previous evening. The obituary noted that Mrs. Alexander was 78 years old that her death "...removes the last one of the older members of the descendants of James and Kitty Frazer, a very familiar name to the people of Columbia and Adair County." The Alexanders had no children, but they reared Judge T.T. Alexander's nephews, Herschel Clay "H.C." & Ben Lee Alexander after the deaths of their parents in the middle of the 19th century.

W.E.'s brother Thomas H. Frazier was born in 1831 and died in 1888. His first wife, Dorothy, died in 1863. They had two children: a son, W.E., a son, and and a daughter,, Lucy W., died in 1864, age two years. By his second wife, Flora, he had at least seven children: sons J. F., J.M., and Thomas H.; and daughters K.A., Jennie, Flora and Elizabeth.

Another sister, Margaret Frazier, married Zachariah Wheat in 1845 and was deceased by 1850. They had one child, a daughter, Laura, who was born in 1846 and died in 1862.
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The Peculiar Will:

The Adair County News, February 8, 1905

(reprinted from the Glasgow Times, edition unknown, probably mid to late January, 1905)

Litigation Long Drawn Out

Hon. H.L. Porter returned [to Glasgow] last week from a professional trip to Adair county, where he filed a petition seeking to dispose of a case which had been on the docket of the Adair Circuit Court since 1859.

The petition filed by Mr. Porter last week seeks to have finally distributed a bequest made by W.E. Frazer, a wealthy old bachelor, who died in 1859. Leaving one-sixth of his estate, valued at $50,000, to his sister, Mrs. Geo. M. Page, who died at her home at Lucas, this [Barren] county, in 1899. By the terms of W.E. Frazier's will the bequest to Mrs. Page was to be held in trust for her until she became reconciled to and on friendly terms with her brothers and sisters. A codicil provided that, if, within one year after the death of Dr. Geo. M. Page his children were not on friendly terms with the brothers and sisters of the testator then living, the part of his estate set apart to Mrs. Page should be distributed among the other brothers and sisters or their descendants.

Dr. Geo. M. Page died in 1903 [see obituary, above], and the period fixed in the will which his children were to become friendly with their uncle and aunt, whichever might be living, has passed. The children of Mrs. Page were nearly all born after the peculiar will was written, and, therefore, could have no cause for animosity or hatred toward any of their relatives, never having seen them, or heard from them except at long intervals when one came to Barren county to visit their sister. The only one of the original devisees now living is Mrs. T.T. Alexander, wife of Judge T.T. Alexander, deceased, and she has been a resident of St. Paul, Minn., for more than twenty-five years.

The bequest of Mrs. Page consists of about $6,000 in cash and some valuable town lots and farming lands in Iowa. The heirs of Mrs. Page whom Mr. Porter represents are Mrs. W.D. Burton, of this place [Barren Co.]; Dr. J.H. Page, of Medill, I.T. [Indian Territory, now Oklahoma]; Miss Estelle Page, Mr. Wm. Page, whose residence is unknown; Mrs. S.A. Koetter, of Bowling Green; Mrs. W.T. Claypool, Mr. Lee F. Jewell and Mr. N.W. Jewell, of Pageville, and Mr. Sam P. Jewell, of this place. [The last three named individuals as well as Mrs. W.T. (Anna C.) Claypool were Mrs. Page's grandchildren, the offspring of her daughter Anna Elizabeth who married J.F.F. Jewell. It's unclear if Mrs. S.A. Koetter were a daughter or a granddaughter, possiblly Maud Jewell.]
Mr. Porter was employed as an attorney in the case exactly thirty years ago. The case has been to the Court of Appeals and has been the source of a great deal of litigation in the lower court. It will come up for a final hearing in the Adair Circuit Court in April. -- Glasgow Times.
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Despite the proclamation in the article above that the suit would be settled at the April, 105 term of Court, it was exactly one year (less one day) later that this article appeared in the February 7, 1906 News -- but note the last sentence.


The Heirs of Mrs. Ermine Page Win Before Judge J.S. Kelly.

A suit that has been in court since 1872 was settled at a special term of the Adair Circuit Court, last week. Judge John S. Kelly, of Bardstown, sitting by appointment.

Hon. Logan Porter, of Glasgow, and Judge W.W. Jones and Hon. J.F. Montgomery, of the local bar, appeared for the heirs of Mrs. Page, and Judge H.C. Baker was the attorney for Frazier heirs. The suit was brought by plaintiffs to recover the amount of money due Mrs. Page. Mrs. Page is dead, and it is her children and grandchildren who instituted the suit.

It is a long story, as the trouble which led to it commenced in 1859. At the time W.E. Frazer, who was a wealthy merchant, of this place, died, but before his death, Mrs. Page and her brothers and sisters became estranged, and she with her husband, Dr. George page, removed to Barren county, and all communication ceased between the two families.

In the meantime, W.E. Frazer, who was rapidly declining, died, leaving a will, cutting out Mrs. Page unless she became reconciled to her mother, brothers and sisters. When Mr. Frazer died Mrs. Page came to Columbia and stayed several days, and her attorneys claim at that time all differences were adjusted, and an amiable reconciliation made. The defendants deny, but Judge Kelly decided by reason of Mrs. Page's visit at the death of her brother, and the further reason that one of her daughters had written letters to Mrs. Kate Alexander, an aunt, appraising her of the death of her mother, (Mrs. Page,) showed a disposition to become friendly, and that the heirs of Mrs. Page were entitled to their mother's part and he so decided. There is six thousand dollars in trust and judgments amounting to $12,000 against the other Frazer heirs.

The case will go to the Court of Appeals.
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(Part of the litigation, undated but apparently prior to Mrs. Page's death, may be viewed at's+executors%22&source=web&ots=4fxcrUVF4n&sig=V6pdCUJO-HV6EBAZEf2s2IFgzJs#PPA588,M1 .

This also has the pertinent part of Mr. Frazer's will and the attendant codicil.)