Will Records Volume A, 1886-1918; Will Books, pp. 122-123
In the matter of the Estate of Celim Porter -- Deceased
Last Will and Testament
filed for record the 16th day of June AD 1898
John F. Rosenwald / Judge of Probate
In the name of God, Amen I, Celim H Porter of Big Stone City in the county of Grant and State of South Dakota, being of sound mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life, do therefore make, ordain, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament.
First, I order and direct that my executrix, hereinafter named, pay all my just debts and funeral expenses as soon after my decease as conveniently may be.
Second, After the payment of such funeral expenses and debts, I give, devise and bequeath to my wife Clara E., all my real estate, personal property notes goods, and any other valuable thing during her natural life, except that she shall pay to George C., my oldest son Ten Dollars to Frank F., Ten Dollars when he becomes of age, to my son Roy Bernard Ten Dollars when he becomes of age, to my daughter Cora, Ten Dollars when she becomes Eighteen years of age, and to my son Willis L., Ten Dollars when he becomes Twenty one years of age, and it is further my will that Willis L., shall have the undivided one half of about Eleven acres of Land in Lac qui Parle County in the State of Minnesota as recorded in Book "U" on Page 261 [or is it 26 comma ?] and was deeded from Purlee Baker [Boke ? Boker? Bake?] a widower to CHPorter being the maker of this Will, on the condition that my son Willis L., shall remain with his mother Clare E., until he is Twenty one years of age, and for the faithfulness of his labors in her behalf he shall receive this 1/2 undivided above described Eleven acres.
Third, I bequeath and give at the death of my wife Clara E., an equal division of all my property which may remain after her death to my Four herein named sons and my daughter Cora M. or to their heirs all of my remaining property
Fourth - I hereby bequeath to my wife Clare E., all my right and interest whether it be in cash, notes, lands buildings or any thing else of any valuation or considerations, everything and anything that I may become heir to from my father, Homer before or after his death
Lastly, I make, constitute and appoint my wife Clara E., without Bonds to be executrix of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, the Eleventh day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety Eight.
[signed] Celim H Porter [word "seal" with looped circle around it]
This Instrument was on the day of the date thereof, signed, published and declared by the said testator Celim H Porter to be his Last Will and Testament in our presence, who, at his request have subscribed our names thereto as witnesses, in his presence and in the presence of each other.
M. McNamara residing at Big Stone City So Dak
SRGold residing at Big Stone City So Dak
Clara E Porter residing at Big Stone So Dak
The FamilySearch index to the Minnesota Will Records led me to the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul who kindly sent me a copy of my Great-grandfather's will for $40. A very nice note was added, saying that they do not have Probate Court case files and to look for them in the Lac qui Parle courthouse in Madison, Minnesota.
According to family notes, Great-grandfather Celim died 23 March 1898, just 11 days after this will was written. I should try to find a more formal source for his death.
My records would give the children named these ages when the will was written: George 25, Frank 23, Roy 19, Cora 16, and Willis 14. I'm surprised that Frank is not yet considered "of age." According to Clara's entry in the 1910 census, she had had a 6th child, but I don't have any additional data.
I would like to find land records for the family in South Dakota and Minnesota. I knew they were in South Dakota by 1884, but this will is the first indication I've seen for Minnesota. Big Stone City, South Dakota is directly across the state line from Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota.
Line of Descent
Dr. Daniel Porter = Mary
Dr. Daniel Porter = Deborah Holcomb
Capt. Thomas Porter = Mary Welton
Ashbel Porter = Hannah Norris
Thomas Porter = Abigail Bates
Homer Thomas Porter = Dolly Ann Bates
Celim Homer Porter = Clara E. Davison