Where did the money go? 52 Ancestors Challenge- OOPS

This weeks challenge posed by Amy Johnson Crow is Oops. This was a challenge to figure out someone to fit in this category but I think this ancestor fits. My 3x great grandfather, John Lafayette Shelby, born 1828 in Tennessee, moved to California in the 1850’s. He became business partners with Rodger Gibson Hinckley-my 4x great grandfather by setting up a mill together. John L Shelby married Rodger’s daughter, Ann Jeanette Hinckley around 1857. Ann Jeanette had for certain 5 children with John Shelby. They divorced sometime between 1875 and 1880.
The 1880 census shows 3 households:
1. Rodger G. Hinckley age 75, widowed, a millwright, living in Soquel, CA.
2. G A Shelby age 42, divorced, keeping house, living in Soquel,CA
John Shelby, 12, son, in school.
3. John Shelby age 52, Married, Lawyer, living in Santa Cruz
Mary H Shelby 36
Harold Bowman 13
Reginald Bowman 8

John Shelby has remarried and 2 children from his 2nd wife’s previous marriage are living with them. In 1881, Rodger Hinckley passed away. The bond between Rodger Hinckley and John Shelby must have been strong. There is a lengthy obituary about Rodger, how close the two of them were and that John Shelby purchased a section of Oakwood cemetery, had a monument erected and moved Rodger to the cemetery to be buried next to John.

So where is the OOPS in this story? Soon after Rodger Hinckley died his estate was estimated to be worth about $500.00. The administrator for the estate investigated this and found that approximately $3000.00 was missing. John Shelby and 2 other men- H Winkle and F Hageman were cited to appear in court to be examined as to the whereabouts of the money. John Shelby testified that he dug up a tin can on Rodger Hinckley’s property that contained $1700.00. As per the wishes of Rodger Hinckley, he was to use this money for the first Mrs Shelby, their children and himself as a member of  the family. He then went on to say that he told H Winkle and the two of them drove to F Hageman’s house to store the money there for safe keeping. The money was stored there for a while and then Shelby came by and took it home with him to store in a chest. He saw the money 2 days in a row and then on the third day, his door was ajar and the money was missing. Shelby was arrested for embezzlement but then was dismissed due to lack of evidence. John Shelby had to pay $1820.00 to the estate for the daughter, his ex wife, Ann Jeanette Hinckley and her/their children. The following September 1882, there was a ruling that John Shelby had to pay $3704.88 to the estate.

Whatever happened to the money that was dug up? Where did the extra $3700 come from? How did they figure out there was more money missing? I guess the relationship between John Shelby and Rodger Hinckley was strong because he knew where the money was buried. The news articles never said how it was discovered that the money was missing. Did Ann Jeanette know where the money was hidden and looked for it also? Did one of the 2 men say something? Or did John Shelby report the money was stolen from him? I still haven’t found a will but hopefully one day I will find one.


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