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An English Baronet

An English Baronet image
Parent Issue
Day
24
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Washtenaw county has ifs linghsh baronet, who has according to the Marqnise de Foiitenoy, beeu made the victina of a gross and shamefnl pieee of iBJustice iu the Euglish courts for which there seenis to be 110 remedy. He is a meinber of the well known Reade family, of which Charles Keade, the fanious novelista author of "Never Too Late to Mend," is also a ruember. The story of injustice as given by the Marquise de Fontenoy in the Chicago Tribune reads like a novel. The Sir George Reade mentioned in the letter is George C. Reade, of Webster township, in this county, the son of Sir John Reade or John Stauthrope Reade, who settled in Doxter towushipin 1837. He was named after his uncle, the baronet mentioned iu the followiug article. As a boy, the Sir John Reade, of this county, was, as a neighbor expresses it, "a little frisky" and his father brought him to Michigan and loeated for him KiO acres of land on Sectioa 17, in Dexter township. The deed was made in such a manner that Sir John could never dispose of the property. On this he built a loe house aud soon war ds married Louisa Walton, who was also, of Dexter. They had tour . children. of whom George C. Reade, the Sir George referred to ín the following artiele was the oiily son. While Sir John Reade was obliged to rely upon his own resources, he was very poor and his family were often lacking in the com orts of life, but after his father's death, he went over to England, when he rernained for about a year returniug with enough money to buy a good farm iu Webster township, of ÍS40 acres. He was well educated, took great pride in his penmanship and was a writer of poetry, of which he was fond. Odo of his daugbters, Mts. Green, lives on N. Main st. , in this city. He lived the industrious life of a farmer and was a good Americau eitizen although iu line for an English baronetcy. But here is the story as told by the Marqnise de Foutenoyw the Chicago Tiibune: "Sir George Reade, who makes his home in ihis country at Howell, Livingston county, Mich. , and who has not ouly an Americau mother, bufc likc.wi.se au American wife finds bimself by a decisión just reudered by the Bnglish coarts the victim of a gross and shamefnl piece of injustice, for which there appears to be as matters staud now, no legal remedy. "There are few stories more dramatic or romantic than that of the fortunes of this old Osfordshire family, which has so rnany affiliations in the United States. "Sir Johu Reade, the sisth barouet of the line, (an tmcle of the Webster Sir ohn), after losiug his only sou, his wife, and two out of the three of his laugbters, happened iu a lit of passion ;o strike his butler a blow which mocked the man down stairs, injuring nm fatall y. There was but one witness of the deed, Ja footman of the name of John Wakefleld, who immediately after the death of the butler was pronoted to the latter's pïace, aud trom hat time forth assumed conlidential relations with his master. ïhere was no inquest held uutil three rnonths ifterwards, and when the body was exhumed for the purpose it was found o be so decomposed that an open verdict was retuined, neither medical exjerts uor jury being willing to asserl 'or certain whether his death had been lue to violence or not. "The was thereupon restored to ts grave, and the widow, ernbitterec oy her failure to receive justice, causee the following epitaph to be written on her husband's tombstone: 'It was a mortal hand that did the deed. ' "Tbeiiceforth Sir John shut the gates of his grand old Oxfordshire country seat, Shipton Oourt, against all his friends, kiusnien, and aequaiutauces, restricting hiniself entirely to the society of the man Wakefield, frorn whoin he was never seen apart. In ■act, Wakefield allowed no one to have any access to him, and when the baronet died it was found that he had bequeathed every stick of property, Shipton Court, the heirlooms, and the possessions, in fact, everything of which be could dispose to his butler, Wakefield, stipulatiug that the latter should assnrae the name of Reade and the family coat-of-arrns. "Of course this will, which disinherited the old baronet's only surviving danghter, an epileptic, as well as his grand uephew and successor in the baronetcy, Sir Chandos Reade, now dead, aroused an immense amount of scandal and opposition. The hnbecile Miss Reade was cited by the eourt of probate to oppose her father's will on the ground of use of undne influence. But, being a lunatic, and in charge of a keeper, she failed to respond and al lowed judgment to go by default. '"Sir Chandos Reade, not being himself heir at law, nor "committee" of he woman, was not iu a position to ask for a reyoke of the probate. He die nine years ago, and was sncceeded by tie present baronet, Sir Georgp Reade, who, as stated above, makes him home in this conntrj. "Sir John Reade - that is to say, the baronet who, throngh the muDslaugbter of his butler, placed hiruself in the power of bis inau Wakefield - (lied iu Jauuary, 18(58. His imbecile daughter survived him until Nov. 15, 18!)?, when in these letters I called the attention of Sir George, cut in Michigan, to the f act that the moment had come for him to sue for his rights. "There was no time to lose. For, according to an act of Parliament placed on the statute book in 1874, and destined to give to wealthy merchants, financiers, and manufacturers an indefeasible title of lands that they had purchased, all claims are 'barred after 30 years. "At the time when Miss Reade died there were jnst lacking weven weeks to complete the term of 30 years from the moment of her father, old Sir John's, deatb. "If during those seven weeks Sir George had filed his claim for the recovery of the Reade estates in England, and for the revooation of old Sir Johns will, iie wonld donbtless have won his case, and been today placed iu possession of his ancestral home and domains. ''But, unfortnately, these letters do not seem to have met his eye until too late and it was onJy a month after the expiration of the seven weeks in question that he instituted legal proceedings in England, which have nowjbeeïr thrown out of court on the grouud4tht they are barred by the statute of limitation enacted in 1874. "Of course. thero is the excuse that Sir George was ■ on this side of the Atlantic and did not hear of Miss Reade's death in time. But the English conrts, adhering to the letter rather than to the spirit of the statute have declined to accept this excuse as a valid plea. The estáte, therefore, remains in the possessiou of the Wakefields, who now bear the name of Reade. "The footman who terrorized his master by threats of brmging him ; to the scaffold into bequeathiug him his property, is now dead, and it is his sou whojs the present master of Shipon Hall" SPg -JlSiW "i,' "The first thing that the forraer raenial did on iuheriting the property 'rom the old baronet was to pxt up at auction all the family portraits by ineller, Romney, and other old masers, most of which were purchased by ;he American diplomat Meredith ïeade, a lineal descendant of that Sir faines Reade, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and whose son ettled on this side of the Atlantic. "Shipton coart and the estáte were )urchased in 10Ö3 by Sir Compton ïeade, the first baronet of the line, who had defended his other ancestral iome in Berkshire for Kiug Charles uutil it was burnt over his head by he troops of Oliver Crcmwell. "There are inonumeiits of eight laronets of this line in old Shipton Dhurch, and one of tbem figures in listory as one of the chief lieutenants of the first and great Duke of Marljorough. "The Shipton court estáte comprises two livjugs of the Ohurch of England. That is to say, the son of the former jutier is responsible for the appointnient of the rectors of two important Tud densely populated parishes. He goes by the name of Mr. Joseph Eeade, ïaving dropped the faruily name of Wakefield. "