Death of David Carson
After seven years in the Soap Creek Valley, David Carson passed away from an unknown illness at age 52. Due to the unexpected and sudden nature of his passing, he left behind no will. The Probate Court appointed a neighbor, Greenberry Smith, as the administrator of the Carson estate.
Smith did not recognize Letitia and her children as David Carson’s beneficiaries, meaning they would not be entitled to inherit the lands they already lived on. In January 1853, Smith held a public auction of David's estate and all of the family’s belongings. Letitia spent $104.87 of her own money to buy back what property she could, including her bedding, cookware, and a few heads of cattle. Everything else from the Carson farmstead was sold away, leaving Letitia and her children homeless and penniless.
Archival Sources declaring Greenberry Smith as the administrator of David Carson's estate.
Archival Sources illustrating the appraisal and sale of David and Letitia's personal property
Dec 7, 1852, Oregon Probate Court record Appraisal of late David Carson's property
This document provides a list of the stock, agricultural implements, and household furniture belonging to the estate of David Carson, as well as their appraised value, as decided by Jacob Modie and David D. Davis appraisers for the Oregon Probate Court. This first page lists David Carson's belongings including steer, oxen, heifers, calves, a bull, cows, hogs, a horse, wagon, log chains, gun, pot metal, cupboard ware, two trunks, bedding, books, one clock, watch, and one spade. The total of these belongings is equal to $1446.50. Many of the items listed here are later seen in the sales that Greenberry Smith organizes.