George P. Richardson Letter (1860)
Scope and Content: One letter written by George P. Richardson (1785-1868) to his brother-in-law, Dr. John Bush (1792-1876), a physician in Vasselboro, ME, dated February 24, 1860 describing a court case involving a widow and her dower-rights.
Biographical Note: George Partridge Richardson was born on Jan. 7, 1785 in Woburn, MA. He was the son of Bartholomew Richardson and Hannah Partridge (Hannah was the niece of Duxbury resident and benefactor, George Partridge). In 1810 he married Charity P. Bush (1789-1832) in Boston where he was an established master mariner. Shortly thereafter he moved to the Partridge Farm in Duxbury where he became a successful merchant. His children by Charity were George (b. 1811) Martha (b. 1815), Sarah (b. 1819), Charity (b. 1823), Harriet (b. 1826) and Hannah (b. 1829).
After the death of his first wife George P. Richardson married Hannah A. Bush (1801-1868). There was one child by this marriage, Parker C. Richardson (b. 1836). George P. Richardson died at age 83 on October 19, 1868.
Duxbury, Feb. 7, 1860
Doct. J. Bush
Your much esteemed favor under date 20th inst was duly rec’d by Saturdays mail, and I will endeavor to reply to the business part of it, leaving to Wife to reply to the sentimental.
Since our last interview the Widow has petitioned to the judge of Probate to have her dower i the real estate set off to her, and after an expense of some ten or dozen dollars, found that was not the way to proceed, and so backed out. In the mean time our Adminstrator seeing this to be an intirely [sic] new case, and so many conflicting opinions among men of sense and even lawyers, under which law the estate should be settled, that he resolved to petition the judges of the Supreme Court to issue their decree in the case, which will be binding, and without Appeal, upon all the parties concerned, and I must confess I can see no other safe way for him to proceed, although it will cost a Year’s time to come for the judges to pass upon it, which we must all regret, but we must remember we did not seek it. The widow first breaking the will, and Appeals to law, and the heirs must defend themselves and their rights as best they can, after showing that they were always willing to grand her an ample provision, let the law be what it may.
Some contend that (like yourself) that the estate should be settled by the existing law, when the will was made and others as the law was when Josham died, under which the widow now claims, and others agree (and I among the number) as the law exists when the Judge of Probate orders distribution, among those entitled by law to receive it. But I have some intimation, very recently, that the widow is tired of waiting, and shows some signs of wanting now to compromising with the heirs and if so, we stand ready to avail ourselves of any favorable flaw to that end.
With many strong wishes for the health and happiness of You & Yours, I am as ever yours truly
Geo. P. Richardson
P.S. Please now listen to what Wife has to say.