Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lawsuits concerning Christian RUSMISEL's Will

Christian RUSMISEL (son of Adam) died 7 Sep 1860 near Mt. Solon in Augusta County, VA. His will was proved 22 Oct 1860. Settlement of his estate did not take place until after the Civil War, so the estate suffered. His son, George, and son-in-law, Asher ARGENBRIGHT, were executors. The lawsuit was abstracted by Richard ARMSTRONG.

1864, Oct.: After the War Between The States, a suit was filed by Rachel M. Rusmisel Powers, alleging that she was compelled to accept Confederate notes for her portion of Christian's estate. This money, she said, was worth four cents on the dollar. The complaint by Rachel, states that in October 1864, as well as she can remember, Asher Argenbright came to the home of David Propst, her brother-in-law, where she was then staying. He brought to her a sum of money, in Confederate notes, which was her inheritance. She stated she refused to accept the money, and that Argenbright said he would compell her to accept the money, that she was legally bound to accept it. The complaint reads: "Deceived by these statements, she, being an uneducated female & ignorant of law & of all kinds of business, was finally persuaded, in the absence of her friend, to sign a paper acknowledging the receipt of the so called money.

A complaint [against George Rusmisel and Asher Argenbright as executors of Christain Rusmisel's will] , brought by John I. Rusmisel, and his sisters, Martha M., Marian E., Mary Cupp, Catharine Staubus, Rachel Powers, Rebecca Propst, and Pricilla Staubus, state: At the time of Christian Rusmisel's death, he owned a tract of land containing 170 3/4 acres, valued at at minimum of $35 per acre (worth $5,976.25). His personal property was offered for sale on February 7, 1861, and due to the uncertain times, the land was not sold. The land was held by the executors until February 1863, when it was sold to Jonas Lowman in aprivate sale. This was a violation of the will of Christian Rusmisel, who asked that it be sold at public auction. At the time of the sale, the executors received $3,000.00 in Confederate notes, with the balance to be paid in two installments; one on March 15, 1864 ($1,915.00) and the final one on March 15, 1865 ($1,915.00). At the time of the sale (February 1863), the Confederate notes were worth 20 to 25 cents on the dollar ($600 - $750). At the time the second payment was made, the notes were worth only about 4 cents on the dollar ($76.60). The third and final payment was never made. It was further stated: "That at the date of this sale your orator John I. Rusmisel was a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware, your orators Solomon Staubus and wife were living in the State of Indiana and your oratorex Martha M. Rusmisel was an infant, none of whom knew of the sale of the land, or have very received one cent of the purchase money from the

Executors. The rest of your orators, trusting the matter to the Exs. receipted to them for small sums of Confederate money as it was offered to them, not knowing or examining into their rights..." John and his siblings asked that the sale be set aside and the land be sold at public auction.

1871: Rebecca V. Propes, wife of David Propes, made a deposition, in which she states she has read the deposition of Rachel M. Powers regarding the $500 paid to her by Asher Argenbright..."I was present at the time of that transaction, which occurred at my own house -Rachael was then staying with me, and her memory is wholy at fault as to what really occurred - the true facts are these - Mr. Argenbright brought her five hundred dollars in confederate money. She made no objection whatever to receiving it - she receipted to him for the above amount, taking one Hundred thereof for her present individual use and advised with him as to what she ought to do with the remaining four hundred." Mr. Argenbright was going to Harrisonburg to invest some money in a Confederate bond. "She then requested him to take her four hundred & do likewise with hers. Mr. Argenbright on that occasion so far from using any threats to compel Rachael to receive the Five Hundred dollars, did not even try to pursuade her in fact there was no occasion for him to do so, because Rachael expressed no hesitation in giving him the receipt for the five hundred dollars, directing him to invest the four hundred above stated in a Confederate bond for her use in her own name. She said nothing whatever at the time about Confederate money not being good, and the whole transaction between both parties at the time was fair honest and voluntary. My husband and myself took our portion also in Confederate money, receipting just the same as Rachael did..."

1871: George Rusmisel, in a deposition, stated that Rachael asked them (the executors) to sell the cow she was bequeathed, and that she did not express any desire to retain any of the items bequeathed her, but would rather have the money for them. They were therefore sold, and the money given her.

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