Wilburn T. Petree died in Denver, Colorado on September 4, 1860. He was there while on his way west to prospect for gold. His dying message, as recorded on his wife's tombstone, was "Tell Father to take care of my wife and children."
His father, John Petree did just that. Evidence that he quickly began the process can be found in Cherokee County Ordinary Court records. He applied for temporary administration of his son's estate in January 1861, and obtained permanent administration in April of that year.
There is considerable confusion about Wilburn's name. On the the court records cited below he is called William. However, the memorial to him on his wife's tombstone calls him Wilburn. At any rate, he was the oldest of John and Mary Petree's children. He left a wife, Nancy Eveline (Edwards) Petree, and three children: Julie Ann, John Cleveland, and Villa Rica, (Villy) who died at the age of nine years. Nancy later married Robert Heuie McMillian on April 8, 1889.
Cherokee County, Georgia Court Records, Book B, Pages 191-2
John Petree application for temporary letter of admin.
To the ordinary of Cherokee County Ga as clerk.
John Petree respectfully showeth that Wm T Petree, a resident of said county until his death which happened on the 4 day of September 1860, has left a considerable estate real and personal and without a will, said petitioner shweth further that on account of the length of time requiring by said law to advertise for permanent letters of administration & the circumstances of said Wm T Petree Estate grate loss and injury may happen unless temporary administration is granted immediately on estate ... petition showeth that he is one of the next of kin Wm T Petree and claim to be appointed such administration on this ground. In conclusion he would state further that the estate of Wm T Petree is worth at least two thousand dollars, this the 18th of January 1861.
(signed) John Petree
The application of John Petree for temporary letters of administration on the estate of Wm T Petree, late of Cherokee County, being beofre me for action & being satisfied that his application should be granted, it is therefore ordered that temporary Letters of Administration on siad Wm T Petree's estate issue to said John Petree be giving bond and security in the sum of five thousand dollars with approved security in terms of law, and that he take the usual oath of office.
Given under my hand & official signature
(signed) James Jordan, ordinary
Ex officio clerk
Georgia, Cherokee County
To the ordinary of said county
The petition of John Petree, Administrator of William Petree showeth that Wm Petree late of said county on the 4 day of September 1860 departed this life, you petitioner has been duly appointed his administrator that as such admit it is his duty to see that the allowance due under the act of 1838 and the various amendments to it is set apart. Therefore he prays the court as the act of 1856 require to appoint five discreet persons to set apart to the widow and children of William Peterson (a clerical error, perhaps?) he having left a widow and three children for the space of twelve months from the death of said William Peterson (?) either in money or such other property as may be selected by the widow & also to set apart for the widow a sufficent amount of house hold furniture for her & the children use & further to require said appraisers to return to ... for record their proceeding.
18 January 1861 (signed)John Petree
Cherokee County Court Records, Book B, Pages 352-3
Petition of John Petree for letters of Admin.
Georgia, Cherokee County
To the ordinary of said county, The petition of John Petree respectfully showeth that Wm T Petree resident of said county departed this life on the fourth day of September 1860 leaving your petitioner as his next of kin & also leaving a large estate of real & personal property worth the sum Two thousand dollars & at the time of his death the said Wm T Petree was entirely intestate as your petitioner believes & herein alleges. Therefore he prays the usual citation in such cases to issue in order that he may obtain permanent letters of administration on Wm T Petree estate and your petitioner will ever pray. February 20, 1861 (signed) John Petree
At Chambers Cherokee Court ordinary
February 20, 1861
The above petition of John Petree that he may obtain Letters of Administration having been read & considered by me ordered that usual citation issue. (signed) James Jordan, Ordinary
Georgia, Cherokee County
To all whom it may concern, John Petree having in proper form applied to me for permanent Letters of Administration on the estate of Wm T Petree late of said county, this is to cite all & singular the creditors & next of kin of Wm. T. Petree to be and appear at my office within the time allowed by law & show cause if any they can why permanent administration should not be granted to John Petree on Wm T Petree Estate.
Witnessth my hand & official signature
20 February 1861
(signed) James Jordan Ordinary
Order granting administration
Cherokee Court of Ordinary
April Term 1861
Citation having been duly issued & published requiring all & singular the next of kin & creditors of Wm T Petree deceased late of said county to appear at this term & show cause if any they could why permanent Letters of Administration should be granted to John Petree of said county & and the parties so cited making no valid objections in the premise, It is ordered by the court that letters of Administration issue to John Petree as administrator of Wm T Petree upon his giving bond & security in the sum of five thousand dollars with Josiah Spears security & taking the usual oath of office.
(signed) James Jordan, Ordinary