Correspondence Relating to George Reed’s Estate

Note: Sarah Jane Busby could not write and one of her daughter’s wrote the letters that, I believe, her mother dictated. At the end of one of the letters, the daughter writes as herself, a little note to Aunt Pearl. She doesn’t sign her name though so I don’t know which one it was. Sarah and Sally were one and the same.

7:45 A.M.

Benton Harbor Mich

April 4-18-46

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am writing you again to see how you are. I am quite well and trusting you and family are the same.  The weather here is nice, only a little cool this morning.

I am sending these papers. I received this from Minnie yesterday. I am not paying any of her bills. She made it so therefor she will have to pay it. Her lawyer does not know anything about me. But if she signed my name on any of her papers I will know something about her. She is getting off easy with her lies.

When she came to me to help get a lawyer I told her then no. Because she said Ben paid $50.00 and want to know if I wanted to pay $50.00 an I told her no.  Minnie and her lawyer did not fight any case for me. George fought my case when he made his paper out the way he wanted them. She told the lawyer I did not know anything about law, and I don’t think she did either.

Will close. All send love to you and family.

Sincerely your sis Sally J Busby

_________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Jun 18-46

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. It found me not quite so well and glad to know you are the same. (Note; at first she said it did find her well.) No I was not affected by the bursting of water main.  I would love to go to Indianapolis but I am not quite up to it. I am having trouble since and bothers me quite a bit.

I won’t need to be there you have did a good job up to now and I know you will finish this job just as George would like and I know with God’s help you will come out more then (someone) (sic)

While you are out there you ask the lady what she would want to pay out for it. As long as she is the first to ask for it. And you can let me know just what you think it is worth.

What did Minnie say why she is going to Calif. and who is she going to visit. And they left her there in Detroit and they will do the same to her after her money is gone. I think she had better stay where she is at. But that is not any of my business.

I have no garden up yet and I have not got my house cleaned all up yet. Can’t get a man to take my storm windows down for me.

Did the tornado affect you any way? I just heard it on the radio.

Be good and take care of yourself. Your sister,

Sally Busby

P.S. Morris’ boy has twins girls – and a older son.

Benton Harbor Mich

Dec. 2-1946

1238  Broadway

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter this morning and was more then glad to hear from you. I am quite well. And was glad to hear that you & the family are the same. Yes I sent the receipt that the atty sent for. I don’t understand what he wants the hospital Bill for and it being paid. Pearl you have to see after my things until this estate is settled. He has not sent me any deed as yet. I have no deed yet.

I don’t know what to make of that atty. I don’t know what he is trying to do. I sent my things to him and I have not heard from him since. You know the Bond won’t be lifted until it is all settled. If George knew this is going on like this, he would turn over in his grave. I heard Minnie was gone and John went with her and I don’t know how true it is. All send love to you and your family.

Sincerely your Sis Sally

Note: There is no letter from Sarah Busby about the property not coming to her. I do not know if this was cleared up and it did go to her. The Mr. Frankovitz mentioned in this letter was the owner of the market located a block from George’s house on Kenwood.

1840 W. 20th St.

Los Angeles

Jan 1/47

Dear Pearl;

I arrived ok and the trip was very nice. The flowers are really pretty, so many are in bloom now in the dead of winter, one can imagine how it will be in the summer time. The last week has been very cold the coldest it has been in years so the people say. I have had a touch of the flu for the last week. But I am a little better now. I hope all of you folks are all right, and in the best of health. Peter seemed to take the trip very well.

Last week I heard Anny went back to Detroit after staying in Phoenix about two weeks. But I don’t think she is satisfy yet.

Say Pearl have you people heard or taken care of that rubber stock that George left. You said you were waiting for Albert to come back from Tenn. about a month ago. So I hope Grant hasn’t started any more of his tricks because I got very little of what George left anyway, I do need whatever was suppose to be mine very much.

Well that’s about all, I do hope to hear from you soon.  Tell Lou hello, and I do miss seeing him very much. Peter said hello also.

Your sister

Minnie

________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Jan. 2-1-47

Sarah Busby

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am sending you this letter and the address of the Real Estate Office addresses on the estate. I have sent for the tax and can’t get no answer. I don’t understand why I can’t hear about the taxes. I do hope you can get these things straighten out. Because that Atty is doing the same thing right over again and why is he doing it? Well, this is all. Hopen to hear from you soon. All send love to you and your family.

I remain

Sincerely your

sister

Sally

__________________

Sunday  2-6-1947

1238 Broadway St.

Sarah Busby

Dear Pearl:

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. glad to know that you and family are well. Every one here is quite well. Only I am have some trouble with my knees.

No I have not received any mail from Atty Grant since the last of October. You was supposed to look after this estate so you had to see this estate was carried out as George wished it. Now you know when you brought the Deed the old one the transferred was supposed to be attached to it. Here he sent money to see if I would let the people have it. I wrote to Davis and  they did not answer either. It looks like you are letting them handle it to beat me out of it. Now you say if you could you would go to Indianapolis and see about it yourself. Why don’t you and see after it. You was paid for that until the estate was finished and anyone received their part. What is wrong now? Where does Bonding Co. located at? I sent about the taxes and they turned it over to Grant. I don’t intend to stand it, but I will understand it. Why are you so afraid that I will lose this property? You told they it was only worth $2,000 and have him sell it. And George told you to watch Grant. Now what is he trying to do? You must have taken your eye off of him. What is the matter that Grant does answer your letters? There is not any bills. I want to hear from you at once.

I remain

sincerely your

sis Sara Busby

__________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Mar. 3- 12th -47

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am writing you again to see how you are. I am quite well and trusting you and family are the same.

The weather is quite nice here now only a lot of water. How is it in Detroit? Nice I hope.

Pearl, you said in your letter everything would be settled up in ten days. I have received no papers as yet of any kind and I don’t know just what to think about this Mr. Grant. I don’t see why they can’t make him settle up this matter. I am going to make another stop. I want to know what they are holding up that deed and transfer. I want to know what the hold is. I can’t hear a word from Atty Grant. When you write to him he won’t answer you and why and he has never sent the rent money at all. and I want to know. Will you be so kind as to write where George paid his taxes and find out for me how much it is. Because this is a stumbling block there somewhere. I hope I hear from you before the last of the week because this is not settled up with until I get my papers.

This is all family send love to you and family.

Sincerely

Your sister Sally,

Answer soon.

PS and Atty Grant said I owe him some money and I want to know what I owe him any money for. Please tell me.

1840 West 20th St.

Los Angeles California

April 7, 1947

Dear Pearl,

This morning I received three checks from Townsend and Townsend for $4.19. I thought we were getting interest from the stock but it seems that he sold the stock and that is all we get. I am sending you the letter so you will understand better. When you have finished reading it please send it back to me and also the other letter that I sent you some time ago.

How is everyone? I hope they are all well. Harold’s baby is just fine. She is a very big baby. I heard Marie had her baby, girl, March 9th.

I dreamed of you the other night. You sent Henry to tell me to come for three days to help you make Gladys’ birthday party. I thought it was such a queer dream. There was you and Albert an another man there, but there was a mist between us and I couldn’t see too clearly. Well, that’s all for now. Everyone is fine here, Minnie

________________

Benton Harbor, Mich

April 4-22-47

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. This leaves me quite well and trusting you are still improving.

Yes, I receive a letter from Minnie and a check of $4.19 and she never told me the stock was sold. She said the atty sent it to her to send to me. and she told you that the stock was sold.

My Atty said it was not sold. Because he received a letter from stock Co. and it is not sold. And is that the first check you received?

As Grant I have never heard from him. And find out about the taxes from me and see about that transfer, you tell Minnie that I received the check because I have no address of hers. This is all and we all send love to you and family. I would like to get this all straighten up before there is a lot of scandal. Because people know you handled it. You know what I mean.

Aunt Pearl Excuse this writing I am in a hurry and tired. I worked my day and night too till 11:00 P.M. and I am so tired I don’t know which way I am going.

Will answer at once.

Sincerely

Your

Sally

George Reed Probate Record – 1946

Today I am posting the Final Report of George Reed’s Estate file.  It includes the names and locations of his five surviving siblings. Two sisters, Josie Campbell Robertson and Lilly Louise Reed Shoemaker, predeceased him.

It has the address and location of the family home on Kenwood Avenue, and the amounts and location of his funds. It names monies that had been paid out and to whom it was paid.

George was a laboring man all of his life. He couldn’t read or write.  It amazes me that he was able to leave so large a sum at his death. There were no family stories of George being a bootlegger or gambler. My aunt Barbara mentioned that he owned other property but there is none listed here.

My uncle Hugh Cleage, who looked like George Reed, according to my aunt Barbara.

George was strict with the younger family members that came up under his care. My aunt Barbara said that his niece Bessie, ran off as soon as she could to escape the restrictions. My grandmother Pearl was a few years older and seems to have thrived there.  I have no photo of him, only that he “looked like Hugh.” My uncle Hugh, not his brother Hugh. I take that to mean that he was short and wiry and brown skinned. There were no particular stories about him. I wish that I had talked to my grandmother about him.

Next up will be letters exchanged between the lawyers (both of whom were well known black attorneys in Indianapolis), the sisters (Minnie and Sarah) and my grandmother Pearl.

 

 

George Reed Funeral – May 31, 1945

George Reed Funeral

“Funeral Services for George Reed, 73, colored, who died Monday at the home of Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Cleage, Detroit, were held today at the C.M.C. Willis mortuary, with the Rev. J.A. Alexander, pastor of Bethel, A. M. E. church, officiating. Burial was in Crown Hill. the body was accompanied here by Dr. and Mrs. Cleage and Henry Cleage, Detroit. Mr. Reed became ill here a year and a half ago and was taken to Detroit where he lived with his sister, Mrs. Cleage. Survivors, besides Mrs. Cleage, are two other sisters, Mrs. Sara Busby, Benton Harbor, Mich.; and Mrs. Minnie Mullins, Detroit; and two brothers, Clarence Reed, Chicago, and Hugh Reed who has lived in the West several years.”

George was actually closer to 78. He appears in the 1870 census as three year old George Ray with his mother Annie Ray.

 

 


Last Will and Testament of George Reed

You can read about George Reed’s life at this post George A. Reed

George Reed 1873 – 1945 – Tombstone Tuesday

Hi folks: (HAPPY NEW YEAR) Part 2

"Albert B. Cleage"
My father

Page two of the New Year Eve letter my father wrote home in 1944.  This part deals with a cinema class he was taking. I will have to post his theory, which he explained in a previous letter home, soon.

Everything is O.K….(pursues its petty pace from day to day etc.) Last week one of my Cinema Professors turned over his class to me and I delivered the lecture of the evening! Honest….I turned in my thesis on CINEMA DESIGN with my own personal theory of HOW and WHY.  He said he didn’t agree with my point of view but insisted that I take the lecture hour to explain my ideas…After I “explained” we argued until after ten o’clock and he asked permission to continue the discussion of my theories next week.  I very graciously granted the permission.  Doris “visited” the class that night.  She has her class Wednesday afternoon from four until six… then we eat supper at the Student Union, usual with Lee and Naomi (whom I have mentioned before)… then she goes to the Library until about eight and then comes over and looks at the picture we have in connection with the class…well Wednesday she got out Soroyan’s book instead of studying her lesson as I had instructed her to do…and came over to the projection room to wait until the picture.  Instead of the usual order the prof. reversed the order and we had the film first…and then the “Lecture” and when he “announced” that I would deliver the lecture she came on into class.  I had to sit on her (practically) to keep her from fighting the man when he tried to disagree with “our” ideas. (Quite a woman!)  (note from my mother written in here: I am not Mary V’s sister for nothing!!  Eh, Barbara!)

Well, I guess that’s all the news for the present… We received the BOX.  Thanks!!! There is one thing I want to know…WHO PICKED OUT THOSE “HOLLYWOOD FASHIONS” FOR ME?  THAT NYLON SHIRT…THOSE OUTSIZE TIES WITH THE BOLD DESIGNS!!!! I would presume that Pee-Wee and Gladys picked them out…I can sort of smell their fine Italian hands…THEY ARE JUST WHAT THE “FILM FOLKS” WEAR OUT HERE… fit right in and that…I’m gona put on my shirt and tie and visit the Studios one of these days soon…won’t have no trouble gettin’ in…they’ll think I’m one of the stars.  I ain’t kiddin’ the folks out here go for that flowing Art in dress…and Hollywood leads all the rest.  Everytime one of the men from Hollywood used to visit school to lecture I’d think he was a light Negro who had slipped in…until Moore introduced him as this Director or that Camera-man…etc.

Well so-long

P.S. Is anybody sick?  I dreamed some sort of nightmare this afternoon about somebody being sick…seemed like Louis had something wrong with his hand or something…probably just something I ate.  How is Uncle George?  Tell him we’ll probably see him before next New Years (we hope!)

P.P.S. Junior Doc. – How about a carton of Cigarettes from your black market – Can’t get none hardly here! (Will send cost by return mail!)

*******

My father’s brother Louis at some point in his medical career had to have a skin graft to his finger because of radiation burns he received while giving x-rays. I don’t know when it happened but it would be interesting if it happened around the time of my father’s dream. I will have to see if anyone else remembers.

Uncle George was my grandmother Pearl’s oldest brother.  He became sick and moved from Indianapolis to live with my grandparents around this time. Uncle George died in May of 1945 in Detroit.  My father was appointed to St. John’s Congregational Church in August of 1945.  I’m not sure when my parents left Los Angeles but I don’t think it was by May so I doubt my father got to see his Uncle George before he died.

George Reed 1867 – 1945

George Reed was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s oldest brother. He gave his birth date as January 10, 1867, in Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky.  He never married and had no children but as the oldest in a home without a man, he became the man of the house.  He never learned to read or write and earned his living as a laborer.  We have no photographs of him.

George is found in the 1870 through 1910 Census with his mother Anna Reed and various siblings.  After Anna died and Pearl married I haven’t found him in any census but I did find him in the Indianapolis City Directory again in 1930. Turned out, George was not listed in the 1920 or the 1930 census due to the census taker stopping at the end of the 2800 block of Kenwood (both times).  George does appear in the 1930 and 1940 Indianapolis City Directory at 2730 Kenwood Avenue.  Pearl married in 1910 and mother Anna died in 1911, which means that George lived at 2730 Kenwood, alone, for over thirty years.  Today the 2700 block of Kenwood is a parking lot.

George is listed as 3 in the 1870 census and 13 in the 1880 census.  This would make him born in 1867.  George is listed as 28 in the 1900 which would make him born in 1872, same as on his death certificate.  Clearly there is a five year discrepancy in his age as reported on various documents.

According to my aunt, George migrated to Indianapolis as a young man of 15 to work at the Van Camp Canneries in 1887.  Since there are two colored George Reed’s in Indianapolis during the 1880s we need to be careful here.  Our George is listed in 1891 at 11 Willard Ave.  There is a George E in 1889 and a George in 1888 in the City Directory that also may have been him.  I believe that George did arrive in Indianapolis in 1887, however he would have been twenty years old and not fifteen at that time. During the next several years the whole family followed George to Indianapolis.

 My Aunt Anna told me that a friend of her parents called them from Indianapolis in 1945 to tell them that George had been found wandering around disorientated.  My grandparents went and got him and he stayed with them in Detroit where he died later that year.  He died on May 28, 1945.  His body was sent back to Indianapolis by train and he was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.  There is a simple marble slab with his name and dates on it.  I visited once.  You can see it here.

Click to enlarge

George Reed Funeral

“Funeral services for George Reed, 73, colored, who died Monday at the home of Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Cleage, Detroit, were held today at the C. M. C. Willis mortuary, with the Rev. J. A. Alexander, pastor of Bethel A. M. E. church, officiating. Burial was in Crown Hill. the body was accompanied here by Dr. and Mrs. Cleage and Henry Cleage, Detroit. Mr. Reed became ill here a year and a half ago and was taken to Detroit where he had lived with his sister, Mrs. Cleage. Survivors, besides Mrs. Cleage, are two other sisters, Mrs. Sara Busby, Benton Harbor, Mich; and Mrs. Minnie Mullins, Detroit; and two brothers, Clarence Reed, Chicago, and Hugh Reed, who has lived in the West several years.”

According to the Administrator’s Final Report there was $18,462.91 (Worth $243,814.95 in today’s dollars.) on deposit at the Railroad Men’s Building and Loan Association.  He had a dividend on a savings account for $193.50 in 1945 and another $195.24 for 1946.  Royalty from Rubber Stock came to $3.00, which brought his assets to $18,854.65.  He also owned a single home at 2730 Kenwood, Ave.  Included in the $1,025 costs for the administration of the Estate are $9.65 railroad fare to carry his remains back to Indianapolis and $75 to the Hoosier Monument Company.

George Reed 1873 – 1945

George Reed was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s oldest brother. Their mother, Annie Ray Allen Reed, was a single mother for most of her life and George was the man of the house. His resting place in Crown Hill Cemetery looks very peaceful.

Thanks to Megan Heyl and her husband for taking this photograph.
Thanks to Megan Heyl and her husband for taking this photograph.

Last Will and Testament of George Reed

You can read about George Reed’s life at this post George A. Reed

George Reed Probate Record