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Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers Correspondence

Papers of Belle Bittick Clark (Mrs. R.M. [Reuben Marshall] Clark )

 These letters are part of the correspondence between Belle Bittick Clark and Henry R. Ferris & Company regarding the search for collateral heirs of Martha Eva (or Eva Martha) Bittick Ehlers.  By 1970, the four children of Martha and her husband, Axel Moses Ehlers, were deceased and none had children.  This company was trying to establish Martha's parentage and determine whether she had siblings, whose descendants would be entitled to inherit part of personal property valued at approximately $200,000.  Unfortunately, the company was unable to determine Martha's parents.  More information on Eva Martha Bittick and Axel Moses Ehlers may be found in the Francis-Missouri Bitticks database. [Correspondence courtesy of Mary Bittick Gallano]


Henry R. Ferris and Company

Universal Genealogical Research

229 North La Salle St .

Chicago , Ill 60601

Area Code: 312 Franklin 2-3209

June 11, 1970

 

Mrs. Dorothy Bittick

1705 Pearl

Joplin , Missouri 64801

Dear Mrs. Bittick:

We are a world-wide organization with general offices in Chicago incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois engaged in the business of locating the rightful owners of unclaimed property. Our services have been retained to establish the collateral heirs at law of one, Martha Eva Bittick, who was born in the State of Missouri in about 1860. In about 1880 she was united in marriage to Axel Ehlers. Four children were born of that marriage and all of those children as well as the said Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers and her husband, Axel Ehlers, are deceased and none have any issue in existence.

We are trying to establish the parentage of the said Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers and ascertain if she had any brothers or sisters of the full blood of half blood who have issue in existence. Such issue is entitled to inherit a substantial portion of personal property valued in the approximate sum of $200,000.00.

If you are related to the said Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers or can give us any information pertaining to her family background; that is, her parents and her brothers and sisters, if any, we certainly invite your correspondence.

Yours very truly,

Henry F. Ferris and Co.

John C. Vanek


June 22, 1970

 

Mrs. R. M. Clark

1260 N. Crockett

San Benito , Texas 78586

 

Dear Mrs. Clark:

You very interesting and helpful letter bearing date of June 11, 1970 addressed to our associate, Mr. V. Piton, 1012 Augusta Blvd., Oak Park, Illinois 60302 was forwarded to my attention by Mr. Piton for reply.

We are in the business of finding the rightful owners of unclaimed property. We are pursing research to establish and locate the collateral heirs of Martha Eva Bittick, born in or around St. Louis , Missouri during the years of 1860 to 1865. Unfortunately we do not have the names of her parents. We do know, however, that shortly after 1880 she was united in marriage to Axel Moses Ehlers, a native of Franklin County, Missouri. Several children were born to that marriage but all of them died without children, natural or adopted.

Our primary objective, of course, is to ascertain and collect documentary proof which will show if the above named Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers had siblings of the full blood or half blood. I feel reasonably certain that if she had such siblings they are all deceased. In turn, we would want to pursue research to ascertain if any of those siblings have issue, natural or adopted, in existence. In our opinion such issue could make a claim to the unclaimed property, or at least to a portion of it.

I would be grateful if you would make a thorough study of your records to see if you have any recordings applicable to the aforesaid Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers and if so I would appreciate your sending me copies of what you have.

From the information set out in your letter to Mr. Piton on June 11, 1970 I come to the conclusion that the above named Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers was not a sister to your father, Oliver Delore Bittick. I also feel she could not have been a child of any of your fatherís brothers unless she were a child of William Perry Bittick, born about 1843. Do you have any information in your files relating to the children of the said William Perry Bittick?

Page 2

What can you tell me about your uncle, Hiram Julius Bittick, born about 1845? Do you have any information pertaining to his marital status and to his possible issue?

Also, what can you tell me about your uncle Solomon, born 1855? Was he married? If so what was the name of his wife and what do you know about his issue?

You make mention in your letter of a James Bittick, born 1811. I entertain hope that possibly Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers was his daughter. Please tell me what you know about his marital status and his issue.

You also mention other persons bearing the family name of Bittick, as follows:

            Perry Bittick, born 1823

            Willis Marion Bittick, born 1836

            John Bittick, born 1836

If you have information in your files pertaining to the marital status of those persons above named please sent it to me together with such information as you have pertaining to their issue.

Knowing that you have spent a great deal of time and will spend additional time in processing the subject matter of this letter, I include:

            Check of Henry R. Ferris & Co., special account, payable to your order in the sum of $20.00, to compensate you for your cash outlays and for your services.

 

Very truly yours,

Henry R. Ferris & Co.

By John C. Vanek

P.S. During the course of our research we found that one of the parents of Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers was married more than once. Unfortunately we cannot tell you whether is was her mother or father who contracted such a marriage.


 August 26, 1970

 

Mrs. R. M. Clark

1260 N. Crockett

San Benito , Texas 78586

 

Dear Mrs. Clark:

 

We are now satisfied from our research that Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers, who was born about 1864, probably prior thereto rather than thereafter, and who married Axel Ehlers, also known as Moses Ehlers, was not a daughter of your grandfather, Willis Bittick. I lean very strongly to the line of thinking that it is quite possible she was a daughter born to one of the brothers of the said Willis Bittick and we are pursuing research to prove or disprove that thought.

I would be very grateful if, when opportunity permits, you would make a thoughtful study of your genealogical material to see if you can find any recordings which you think might be applicable to Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers.

Very truly yours,

Henry R. Ferris & Co.

By John C. Vanek


  October 15, 1970

 

Mrs. R. M. Clark

1260 North Crockett Street

San Benito , Texas 78586

 

Dear Mrs. Clark:

Belatedly but thankfully I acknowledge receipt of your letter addressed to my attention bearing date of September 28, 1970.

I am now able to tell you that the father of Martha Eva Bittick died in the St. Louis area when Martha Eva Bittick was a young child - I place his year of death in about 1870, up or down a year or two, for we definitely know that Martha Eva Bittick was born in about 1863 or 1864. Unfortunately as yet we have been unable to establish the given name of the father of Martha Eva Bittick.

We learned from sources which we deem most reliable that the mother of Martha Eva Bittick married again after the death of her first husband. This marriage took place during the decade of 1870 to 1880 - probably closer to 1870 than 1880 - but unfortunately we do not know the given name of the mother of Martha Eva Bittick or the family name of her second husband. We have reason to believe that shortly after the second marriage of Martha Eva Bittickís mother, the family moved to the State of Kansas , either in the vicinity of Wichita or Winfield. We know that Martha Eva Bittick was married at Winfield , Kansas on November 25, 1880 to Axel Ehlers. Shortly thereafter within a year or two or possibly three, Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers and Axel Ehlers moved to Carthage, Missouri where they lived for a great number of years - they had four children but all of them died without issue.

Yours very truly,

Henry R. Ferris and Co.

John C. Vanek


  October 15, 1970

(Letter No. 2)

 

Mrs. R. M. Clark

1260 North Crockett Street

San Benito , Texas 78586

 

Dear Mrs. Clark:

I fell confident that by reason of our intensive research to establish the collateral heirs of Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers, I uncovered genealogical information which I am sure relates to your family.

I am of the opinion that you had a uncle named Hiram Julius Bittick who moved to western Missouri and who, according to your letter of July 16, 1970 addressed to my attention, was married to a woman named Susan and they had seventeen children. One of these children is still living, namely:

            Cecil Bittick

            Route 3

            Russellville , Missouri 65074

I have exchanged considerable correspondence with his wife, Mrs. Cecil Bittick. He was one of the younger children of your Uncle Hiram Julius Bittick - Cecil Bittick was born in 1900. I am sure that if you will write to Mrs. Cecil Bittick, she will exchange correspondence.

We have also exchanged correspondence with Miss Letha Q. Bittick of 9945 East 61st, Raytown , Missouri 64133 . Miss Bittick informs us that she is the only child of Otto Bittick, deceased, and that her father, the said Otto Bittick, was born of the first marriage of Hiram Julius Bittick who was your uncle. She states that Otto Bittick was born in 1882. She further informs us that after the death of her paternal grandmother, her paternal grandfather remarried a much younger woman and from such marriage additional children were born. She stated that her paternal grandfather was the father of seventeen children born to the two marriages. Miss Bittick further stated that her father, Otto Bittick, did not get along with his stepmother - he left home as a young man and severed family ties.

Page 2

Miss Bittick further informed me that the following named persons are her fatherís half brothers and half-sister:

            Cecil Bittick

            Route 3

            Russellville , Missouri 65074

 

            Mrs. Eula Bittick Reno

            207 West Cedar

            Jefferson City , Missouri

 

            Raymond Bittick

            Jefferson City , Missouri

            (Exact street address unknown.)

I believe that our genealogical research is in harmony when I state that your uncle, Hiram Julius Bittick was born in the St. Louis area in about 1845, the son of Willis Bittick, who was born in or around St. Louis in 1813. The said Hiram Julius Bittick was the third of eight children born to the said Willis Bittick.

 

Yours very truly,

Henry R. Ferris and Co.

John C. Vanek


  October 19, 1970

 

Mrs. R. M. Clark

1260 North Crockett Street

San Benito , Texas 78586

 

Dear Mrs. Clark:

Today I learned from a most reliable source that the mother of Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers was married twice. Her first husband was the father of Martha Eva Bittick and from all indications he died about 1870, up or down a year or two in or around St. Louis , Missouri . Some time thereafter the mother of Martha Eva Bittick married again, probably in or around St. Louis but possibly in the State of Kansas .

Our informant, who I again state is very reliable, believes that the family name of the second husband was Prather. I would be grateful indeed if you would check your Bittick genealogical family history to ascertain if the family name of Prather appears therein.

 

Yours very truly,

Henry R. Ferris and Co.

John C. Vanek


  This was the last correspondence from Henry R. Ferris and Co. to Belle Bittick Clark. In 1972 she writes:

 

San Benito , Texas

May 17, 1972

 

Henry R. Ferris and Company

228 North LaSalle Street

Chicago , Ill. 60601

Attention: John C. Vanek

 

Dear Sir,

During the year 1970 there was considerable correspondence between your company and myself, in reference to the estate of Martha Eva Bittick Ehlers.

During that time I contacted a number of families who are now asking what disposition was made of the some $200,000.00 that was in court, while heirs were being sought.

So, I would appreciate it if you could advise me what disposition was made of this estate.

Early in January 1971 I was in Carthage Missouri , at the graves of the Ehlers, also talked to a woman who was a special friend of Mrs. Ehlers, belonged to the same church, and other organizations, but this woman, and she was sure her mother was unaware that Mrs. Ehlers had a step father, or any other relatives. I learned on that visit to Missouri that your organization had had people there trying to find out something so I didnít write you about this.

Carthage is only about twenty miles from our home in Joplin . My father was a minister, well known in the vicinity, and not doubt he preached at times in Carthage , and that would have been in the newspaper. So, Mrs. Ehlers could have known and gotten in touch with my father, during those years. There must have been something that she didnít want people to know about her past, surely.

 

Yours very truly,

Mrs. R. M. Clark

1260 North Crockett

San Benito , Texas

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