Saturday, November 22, 2008

"To Hell With The Man Who Breaks My Will"

Will in the widow of his Caldwell store.
Below: inside his store (Will on the right. Unidentified person on the left). Caldwell, ID (photo got deleted. Have to find it again). 

The last will & testament of Will Steunenberg dated 5/9/1907. Some of you may have seen it before as moving up from the picture section at the end of the blog and adding a transcribed version. Certainly weighing on Will's mind as he wrote this would have been the untimely deaths of his brothers Frank and AK Steunenberg coupled with the passing of his father and family patriarch Bernardus Steunenberg. All were gone within an 18 month period beginning with that awful night of December 30th, 1905 when Governor Steunenberg was assassinated. Ancil Keppel “AK” died of a serious illness on March 16, 1907 and Bernardus Steunenberg passed away a short time later on March 29th 1907.

The following is a transcribed copy from the above 1907 diary along with a few additional entries of interest. Will was the second oldest of the ten children of Cornelia and Bernardus Steunenberg and the oldest brother of Governor Frank Steunenberg. He was a shoemaker by trade and owned the above pictured shop in Caldwell, ID. He was born 3/26/1857 in Holland, MI; died August 12, 1946 Caldwell, ID.
A few words are difficult to discern although eyes better then mine could probably figure it out. Will kept a daily diary throughout his adult life and typically made short and to the point notations on each calendar day. Most indicate the weather, lodge activities, visits to family, playing cards, results of hunting/fishing trips and daily personal and business expenses. The last will and testament appears in the memorandum section of the 1907 diary. The diaries are in the possession of my cousin Bill Crookham of Caldwell, ID and several were loaned to me for examination.

The names referenced in his last will and testament are of Will’s remaining seven Steunenberg siblings. I have attempted to use punctuation, capitalization and spelling as per the original. A few items in parentheses have been added for clarification or comment purposes.
May 9th 1907 (Memoranda section of the diary)
In case anything should happen to me, I would like Jo & Deal (sisters Josephine and Delia) to have the property on Gospel ridge 9 blocks and house in block 33 Dorman’s addition. (space) The ¼ share I own in the home property Block (space) to go to John. let Charley (his brother Charles Benjamin Steunenberg often referred to as “C.B”) & George (Steunenberg) divide my share of the shoe store equally between them. If there is any Money left give Lizzie & Grace (Elizabeth and Jennie Grace Steunenberg) One hundred dollars each & divide the balance equally among you all. see that the guns get good keepers. And if any of Frank’s Boys ever show any tendency to guns & will take care of same; give them the gun that belonged to Frank the 30-303 savage.Don’t blow in (spelling?) money foolishly on funeral Just plain. and remember no mourning goes, Just be Jolly & forget and don’t drag my carcass to a Church I would like the K.P’s (Knights of Pythias) & Odd Fellows to Plant me if they can do so without making blunders & would like for Prof. Boone to make one of his nice sensible talks, No Preaching goes (spelling?). And give Boone $25.00 for his trouble.
Let John, Charley & George see that my wishes are carried out.
W. L. Steunenberg
To Hell with the Man who breaks my will.

Transcribed by John T. Richards Jr.

Other samples of the entries in the 1907 diary include:
3/15 – went to A.K.’s in evening & stayed all night at A.K.'s… A.K. very low.
3/16 – don’t see how A.K. can get well…A.K. died at 5 min to 12
3/19 –A.K. was buried by the IOOF Grand Lodge officers and the canteen assisting…it was a very large funeral considering the muddy & sloppy roads.
3/29 – Father died at 1:15
4/21 – rode out to the cemetery
4/23 – went home and found John and Charlie looking over Frank’s papers.
7/28 – The jury acquitted Haywood this morning of having anything to do with Frank’s murder.
10/27 – went fishing with T.W. Boone 

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