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McGregor Historical Society Notes - 1958

MACGREGOR, MYERS, EVANS, JONES, BASS, MILLER, QUIGLEY, GARDNER

Posted By: Louise Lane (email)
Date: 7/29/2005 at 10:42:16

McGregor Historical Society Notes
ALEXANDER MACGREGOR
PART VII
BY LENA D. MYERS

(Note: it has been many months since the last part of this Mac Gregor story was written, too many things have interfered, especially the moving of our Historical Museum. Now I hope I can get back to it and finish it soon.)

The last chapter was a description of McGregor’s Landing up to 1850 when it was on the way to become more than just a place for settlers to cross the river find pass on to stake claims farther west. Now in 1850 there were two general stores. Those of H. D. Evans and Jones and Bass; there was a hotel to take care of the many travelers, three warehouses along the river bank, V. R. Miller’s tin-shop, a few other shops and several houses, in fact thirteen building. The beginning of a thriving trading point was in progress.

The event which most concerned the Mac Gregor family and the community as well as the famous family quarrel which began about 1845 and was not settled for more than twenty years. Much of the following information about this feud is taken from an account written by Miss Iola Quigley about fifteen years ago. It was published in the “Palimpsest,” State Historical magazine, and later in the North Iowa Times, under the title, “the McGregor Estate.”

The events which led to this long-drawn out quarrel, begin soon after Alexander came to Prairie du Chien in 1835. He saw the possibilities of buying up land for future sale. His interest spread to his brother James who engaged Alexander to invest in land on both sides of the river and also in Illinois. Since James was then at their home in New York state he gave Alexander his power of attorney. In 1852 by this power Alexander transferred the deeds to the land around McGregor valued at $2000 to his wife’s brothers, Egbert and George Gardner. A year later James brought suit to have these deeds set aside as fraudulent. The case went to the Iowa Supreme court which denied that there was any intentional fraud on the part of Alexander yet the decision was against him and in favor of James, Jr. This dragged on through the courts until in another appeal in 1867, a re-hearing was denied.

This is just one of the many trials. It is almost impossible for a mere layman to follow the currents and cross-currents in the litigation in this controversy. Only a lawyer could decipher it. During this period the father, James Mac Gregor. Sr. and his

(missing)

This will was rejected by the New York courts and a will written before his son, Gregor, died was admitted for probate. This will named three of his sons as executors. But by this time one son, Gregor, had died and James, Jr. was living in Iowa, so only Duncan was left in New York. James protested, claiming he was still a resident of New York. Duncan resisted this on the grounds that James had forfeited his rights when he contested the will Duncan also said James was subject to “mental aberrations.” This accusation was a mistake on Duncan’s part for the court ruled that James “although of a high and rash temper” was not insane, he was not an alien and therefore might properly act as executor of his father’s estate. This case also lasted a long time.

When Gregor Mac Gregor made his will he set up a trust fund for Ann Gardener Mac Gregor and her children which amounted to $2000. Alexander’s speculations seemed to worry some of his family, so Gregor tried to fix his bequest so that “Sandy” could not spend it. Unfortunately Gregor asked James, Jr. to act with Duncan as executors of this trust fund and things began to go wrong. James Jr. always looked out for himself and Duncan was entirely different.

James told Duncan that he had loaned Alexander $1,500 to buy Burnette’s half of the ferry and $500 at another time and proposed to Duncan that the trustees let that $2000 be the trust fund. James you see, would get his $2000 at once. He said that Sandy should put the ferry in Ann’s name and the ferry profits would prove to be more than any other kind of investment the trustees could make. Duncan agreed and a few days later James told him that he had sent the money to purchase Burnette’s share of the ferry. Duncan must have, at this time trusted his brother James, but a year later when Alexander and Ann were visiting Duncan in Wilton, N Y., he learned that was the first time Alex had heard of this proposition for the trust fund. When Duncan and Alex faced James with this, he refused to go through with his own proposition. This of course brought on another long period of litigation.

The Historical Museum has a transcript of this particular case, printed in 1856. The title reads, “In the Supreme Court ( in equity, N. Y.) Ann G. Mac Gregor and others against James Mac Gregor, Junior, and others.” It has 110 ages and contains much

(remainder cut off)

source:
VOLUME NO. 102 NORTH IOWA TIMES, McGREGOR, IOWA THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 1958
___________________________________
read the 'Palimpsest' article by Iola Quigley - click on the link below:

The McGregor Estate - by Iola Quigley
 

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