Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: U is for Utz


My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 

is for Utz.  Montello Utz.

Montello Utz was the only son of Fountain Utz (pronounced Fon-TAIN) and Frances Brown, born about 1830.  For many years various members of the Utz family were neighbors to my Jollett, Eppard, and Rucker ancestors in the Naked Creek community that straddled both Rockingham and Page counties.  In fact, their farms often formed one border of land purchased by my 3G grandfather Fielding Jollett and land purchased by his sons James Franklin and John Wesley. 

Page Co, VA Chancery Cause Utz vs Jollett 1869-024 
available online Library of Virginia
(click on image to enlarge)

But poor ol’ Montello was evidently not very popular with the Jolletts, nor them with him.  In 1867, Montello agreed to pay John W. Jollett $150 for a gray horse that John Wesley promoted as a superior workhorse able to pull anything hitched to it.  Montello was skeptical but felt compelled to purchase because he trusted Jollett’s good word.  After all, John Wesley Jollett was a respected community leader and preacher.  However, the horse did not measure up, and, in fact, was deemed worthless.  Montello tried to return the horse, but John Jollett refused to take it back, much less forgive the loan.  This led to a lawsuit between the two in 1869.


In 1873, a large number of Montello’s neighbors brought suit against him.  Most were seeking payment for loans they had made to his father, Fountain Utz.  John Jollett was suing for the rest of the payment and interest on that deadbeat horse.  The complainants requested the Court sell Montello’s land that he had inherited from his father in 1861 since he had no personal property that would satisfy the debt. 

And so for the next several years (at least through 1882), the Courts were busy selling off Montello’s property and settling all those judgments.

click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge




















So when I found a listing (no photo) on Findagrave.com for Montello Utz, I wasn’t surprised to learn that he is buried at the Western State Hospital Cemetery in Staunton, Virginia.  Why not?  The former name was “Western State Lunatic Asylum.”  I’m sure Montello’s legal problems would have made anyone crazy.


With unabashed admiration for my utterly unequal colleagues, I issue this ultimatum for you to unite with umpteen users at the A to Z April Challenge to uncover some uncanny and unconventional blogs that will be unveiled to you.




© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It is an unusual one. I'm sure the family must connect to the Utz family in Pennsylvania that started the Utz potato chip company.

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  2. It is interesting that U r researching so much to know about ancestors and yes Utz is a new name to me :)
    good luck

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    1. There are not many Utz families in the area where I live, but it's more common in Pennsylvania.
      Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Fascinating and those legal problems would drive anybody crazy, poor man.

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    1. I agree. When I saw that memorial on Findagrave, I just shook my head. Yeah, no wonder he ended up there! Losing the family fortune must have been devastating.

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  4. Hi Wendy, Montello Utz is a unique name. Legals problems are quite a torture. Feel bad for Montello.

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    1. It is an interesting name. You could snag it for one of your stories!

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  5. Poor Montello! And all he had left was a bad horse. Yes, no wonder he lost his mind.

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    1. It's shameful that a preacher tricked him into this deal.

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  6. United in an Upwelling of eUphoria surrounding Ur Unappreciated ancestor's Untimely end!

    Jemima
    #TeamDamyanti
    Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April

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    1. HA -- are you available for "Y"? Thanks for visiting!

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  7. Aww, this is a sad one. Poor Mr. Utz. He should have gone with this gut and not bought that lazy horse, I am embarrassed that John Jollett talked him into buying a crap horse.

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    1. I guess Montello never heard "Caveat Emptor."

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  8. I SO love your paragraphs at the ends of your posts, using the letter of the day! Quite brilliant. Sounds like Montello was in the wrong place at the wrong time, so sad. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I enjoy coming back to yours...

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    1. Yes, Montello got suckered into that deal, poor guy. And then for his dad to die before paying off his debts -- what nerve!

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  9. This is such an interesting blog. I can't imagine how Montello got through this. Your last line cracked me up. :-) Thanks.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. Well, apparently he didn't get through it too well!

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  10. My, my, it was a dead beat horse deal gone from bad to worse. Amazing to find those court postings and I bet a surprise to find old Monty on Find A Grave. I know I have been surprised to find folks there that revealed some surprising and shocking information. I always forget to comment about your last line with the use of all those in this post 'U's....very clever...you are a word meister.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. From bad to worse is right! Yep, Findagrave can offer up some dillies!

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  11. You must have done a lot of research for this blog. It is amazing.

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    1. Believe it or not, I trashed my original "Utz Family" post when I looked at those lawsuits. It was a bit of a drain plowing through handwritten legal jargon but the story was more interesting than what I had to start with, so I didn't mind the extra work. Thanks for the kind words.

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  12. Romi is right, and the way you write it is so real and it is as if we were living in the time!

    jean

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    1. Oh Jean, what a compliment. Thanks!

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