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New Jersey Wills - October 19, 1898 - John S. Compton
Much Interest Taken In The Compton Will contest
The Will Was Taken UP in Court at Freehold Last Thursday and the Suit Will be Tried before Judge Collins in January
The contest over the will of John S. Compton of Belford came up in court last Thursday, and the matter was referred to the circuit court for trial before Judge Collins and a jury. The suit will probably be tried in January. Edmund Wilson, who is the counsel for those opposing the will, wanted this course pursued, and William Pintard, who represented those favorable to the will, wanted the case decided by Judge Conover.
Those who oppose the will claim that Mr. Compton was not mentally competent to make a will at the time it was drawn, and when the case comes up for trial it is expected that many of Mr. Compton's peculiarities will be set forth. Mr. Compton was a man of strong personal character, but was eccentric. Some of his relatives claim that in his early life he spent a great deal of time and money trying to discover perpetual motion; and that, when he failed in this, he took up the project of endeavoring to make water run uphill by means of a mechanical device, without the use of power. However this may be, he accumulated a fortune which ten years ago was estimated at $10,000; but which since his death had been seen to be nearer $20,000.
In 1893 Mr. Compton was thrown from his wagon and was injured. Some persons assert that after he recovered they noticed a change in his mental activity. In the summer of 1896 he was stricken with paralysis. A few days after he was stricken he made a will in which he left all his property to be divided equally among all his brothers and sisters or their children.
About a month after this will was made, he made another will, which is the one in dispute. In this second will he left the coal and lumber business, which he owned at Belford, to his nephew Joseph Clark, who had conducted it for a number of years. All the rest of his estate he left to his sister, Mrs. Huldah Clark, with whom he had lived for many years. She was to have the use of the property as long as she should live, and at her death it was to be divided equally among his brothers and sisters or their children.
These facts were brought out at the preliminary hearing last Thursday. When it was decided to have the case tried by Judge Collins and a jury, Joseph Clark, who was the executor of the will, was made administrator of the estate until the suit should be settled. He stated that the personal property of the estate, including mortgages, book accounts, stock of lumber and coal, etc., was $5,100, and he gave a bond of $10,000 as security that he would not dispose of the estate during the pendency of the suit. Mr. Compton was so well known throughout Middletown township that a great deal of interest is taken in the suit.
Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, October 19, 1898
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