A newspaper article too good not to share. If only they wrote articles like this these days…
This article appears to be from the Peoria Star, Peoria, Illinois, and is in a scrapbook created by the Princeville Heritage Museum, Princeville, Illinois.
Susannah was the younger sister of my ancestress Rebecca DeBolt Lair, and Peter Auten was a local banker referred to by Rebecca in her will as “my good friend.”
SHE BANGED THE BANKER
Old Maid of 85 Years Vigorously Demands Her Rights
Sunday, May 24, 1903
Unwedded and unloved Miss Susannah Debolt has lived in this vale of tears for 85 long years, but not for (---) is this vale a tearful one. Far from it, good Gonzago.
This antique spinster is still a woman with a vigorous constitution and a strong mind, although it runs on an eccentric. Fourscore and five years have not debilitated her spirit though they may have somewhat warped her mentality. She lives alone in Princeville, chiefly in communion with the spirits of those whom she knew in her youth and mature womanhood, and so intimately has she become associated with them that she has very little respect for those who still inhabit this tenement of clay.
In the exercise of his judicial duties, it devolved upon Judge Slemmons to journey to Princeville yesterday and formally adjudge her incapable of caring for her estate, which is valued at about $4,000. The judge found her another Meg Merrilies, her eyes, undimmed with the rime of years, still flashing in anger and her tongue fluent in invective. She has a particular aversion to Banker Auten, the Princeville capitalist and by a peculiar circumstance he was appointed her conservator. During the judicial proceedings she created a dramatic scene by rising suddenly in her seat and after overwhelming the luckless banker with a torrent of abuse she seized a yardstick and brought it down on his venerable head with a resounding whack. It was a yardstick made in the good old days when articles of that sort were substantial and a ridge immediate arose on the banker's bald head to indicate the point of contact and to render its interior works incapable of striking a balance for the remainder of the day.
Through the rest of the examination the old lady sat erect in her chair and with the yardstick by her side, as a queen might sit upon her throne grasping her imperial sceptre. From that time on the judge and examiners were studiously respectful in their demeanor toward her and felt relieved when the ordeal was over.
The old lady has outlived all her near relatives and the proceedings of yesterday were taken in order to give her proper care and attention for the remnant of her days.