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George W Eccleston

Missouri, USA
Death Aug 1911 (aged 58)
Chelsea Heights, Atlantic County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Ithaca, Saunders County, Nebraska, USA
Memorial ID 175484491 · View Source
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Son of:
Burrell Eccleston of New York
Elsie "Elsey" "Ecey" (Newell) Eccleston of Virginia

His parents were married September 1, 1830 in Vermilion County, Indiana.

Step-son of
Martha (Miller) Nipple/Knipple Eccleston (b. abt. 1842 Ohio)
[Widow of John Nipple/Knipple of Pennsylvania]

Brother of:
Josiah Eccleston
Mary Malvina (Eccleston) Dailey Hoch
Jane A. (Eccleston) Hinchman Herrscher
Elsie O. Eccleston

Half brother of:
Anderson Eccleston (b. May 1880 - d. bef June 1885)
Andrew Eccleston (b. May 1880 - d. bef. June 1885)

Step-brother of:
Joseph Philemon Knipple

Former or widowed husband of:
Eliza E. (Wells) Eccleston

They were married April 4, 1877 in Saunders County, Nebraska.

Former husband of:
Ann (Murgatroyd) Eccleston of Wisconsin

They were married to each other and divorced at least three times .

They were first married in Holmesville, Gage County Nebraska on January 24, 1883.

They were married again in Lancaster County, Nebraska on December 17, 1888.

They married again in Beatrice, Gage County, Nebraska on 16 November 1897, but were living apart by the time of the 1900 US Census.

Former husband of:
Vona (Hutchins) Eccleston

They were married in 1905 in Wahoo, Saunders County, Nebraska.

Father of:
Charles Harvey "Charlie" Eccleston
Bessie Mable Eccleston
William Bert "Willie" Eccleston of Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
Published August 6, 1904
Page 2, Column 4
ASHLAND, Neb., Aug. 5.--(Special.)--George Eccleston of this city and Miss Vona Hutchins of Memphis were married at Wahoo by County Judge Charles H. Slama.

Washington DC
Published Monday, August 28, 1911
Page 1, Columns 1 and 2

Leaves Thousands to Woman
Who Aided him.


Remarkable Testament Made by
Nebraska Man.

Because She Cared for Him When
Leaves One-third of Big Estate to Mrs. Plummer,
Founder of New Jersey Philanthropy.
Children Had Renounced Him.

Atlantic City, N. J., Aug. 27.--Because she took him and cared for him when he was homeless, George W. Eccleston of Ashland, Nebr., thought to be a tramp when he arrived here clad in rags and walking on crutches, has willed $330,000 to Mrs. Claire Pauling Plummer, president of the Shut-in Society of New Jersey and founder of the Bide A Wee Home of Longport. Eccleston's remarkable will was made public to-day by Mrs. Plummer.

One week before his death Eccleston called Mrs. Plummer and told her she had been more kind to him than anyone else in years, more kind than his son and daughter, and that he had a paper he wanted her to keep and not to open until after he was dead.


Mrs. Plummer took the paper and put it away thinking possibly it might contain a bank note. After his death, she opened the envelope and found the will, which read as follows:

"I, George W. Eccleston, of the city of Ashland, County of Saunders, and State of Nebraska, bequeath to my friend Claire Pawling Plummer, of the city of Atlantic City, County of Atlantic, and State of New Jersey, who has done more for me than my own children--she took me in when homeless and helpless, not knowing she would ever receive one cent. I asked my son Charles and my daughter Bessie to make room for me; they both refused. Claire Plummer did, without question and without price.

In appreciation of this great act of kindness, I give to the three following all my property, real, personal, and mixed, to be divided between Claire Pawling Plummer, my son Charles Eccleston and my daughter Bessie Eccleston, to share equally, each to receive one-third of my estate. Should either of the heirs try to contest this will, the one contesting shall forfeit his or her share in the estate, and the portion of the one contesting shall be divided between the remaining.

I prefer and demand that Claire Pawlin Plumber shall share in the estate; I further devise that my good friend, Mr. H. S. Wiggenhorn, act as administrator and my best friend, Claire Pawling Plummer, shall act as administratrix. I solemnly declare this to be my last will and wishes. Woe be it unto him who tries to alter this document.

Signed in the presence of these Witnesses:

Did Not Know of Wealth.

Even after Eccleston's death, which occurred in Mrs. Plummer's home, and the will, bequeathing her one-third of his estate, was read, she did not know that he was rich. It was only after a visit to Ashland, Nebr., that she ascertained the extent of the property to which she is now heir. Mrs. Plummer returned from Ashland a day or so ago.

H. S. Wiggenhorn, named in the will as administrator, is president of a bank in Ashland. After reading the will, the son and daughter, who live in Spokane, Wash., decided not to contest.

Eccleston, who was a remarkable character, had been in sanatorium after sanatorium and home after home, from San Francisco to Maine, before he was finally picked up by the Salvation Army at Atlantic City as an outcast, and he looked the part. When the Salvation Army turned him over to Mrs. Plummer's institution, the Bide a Wee Home, he made the statement, which she did not believe that he had more than $500 and was able to pay $8 a week for board and treatment.

Strangely enough, the second day after he became an inmate of Bide a Wee Home he produced the $8, digging it up from some recess in his ragged clothing. This greatly encourage Mrs. Plummer, who became quite proud of the new patient, for this was the biggest price for board the home had ever been able to get.

However, somebody bothered Eccleston and he let out a streak of profanity that made the air blue.

Said He Wanted a Home.

Mrs. Plummer talked forcefully to the old man and told him that if he had to swear like that he could not stay. Eccleston answered that he did not want to stay; he did not want to be in any sanatorium, but desired to be with some family where they would be kind to him.

This aroused Mrs. Plummer's sympathy, and after consulting with Mr. Plummer, she offered to take him to her own home. So Eccleston was moved to the private residence of the Plummers, in Hartford terrace, Chelsea. There Mrs. Plummer got a surprise, when Eccleston asked her to order a day nurse and a night nurse, and added that he thought he could afford it.

The nurses moved in and the sick man seemed to improve, but not for long. Suddenly he had a turn for the worse, and a month after he had moved into the Plummer home, it was seen that he was very weak and was near death. While Eccleston was in his last illness, Mrs. Plummer did many small things to make his daily lot easier.

Eccleston talked to Mrs Plummer, so that by the time the end came, sh knew he had some money, and thought possibly it might be $20,000. But she was not prepared for the revelation she received when she went to Nebraska with his body, as he requested.

Is Now Worth $330,000.

She is now able to announce that her share of the estate is not less than $330,000. Eccleston had one producing mine that is bringing in $500 a week, and has been for years. He had adjoining mining properties, not yet developed, on the same lead that probably are equally valuable. He had stocks valued at close to $200,000. The amount of cash in various banks was $60,000. Besides, he is owner of the finest farm on the Wahoo River, in Nebraska, worth $50,000.

Charles, the son, is a saloonkeeper in Spokane, Wash., and the daughter, who is single, lives in a small town in the same section of that state. The mother had been divorced and the children sympathized with her. This accounts for their alienation from Eccleston. "I don't want this money for myself," said Mrs. Plummer to-day, "but I want it for Bide a Wee home. I intend to give every bit of it to Bide a Wee."

This money may be available within a year. Probate in Nebraska takes one and one-half years, as a rule.'

Keokuk, Iowa
Published September 8, 1911
Page 2, Column 4 and 5
Will Inherit Fortune.

"SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 8, -- Chas. H. Eccleston, a business man of Spokane has received advices that his father, George W. Eccleston, who died at Longsport, N. J., a month ago, supposedly penniless, left property in Nebraska and other states valued at $1,000,000. One-third of the estate was bequeathed to the Spokane man, the rest being shared equally by Miss Bessie Eccleston, who resides near North Yakima, Wash., and Mrs. Claire P. Plummer, founder of the Bide-a-Wee home at Longport, where the elder Eccleston pass his last days. Eccleston separated from his wife and children abut 20 years ago and wandered about over the United States and Canada, until last fall when he made his home with his son for several months and leaving as mysteriously as he came. Nothing was known of his whereabouts by his children in this state until the announcement was made of his death. The elder Eccleston traveled thousands of miles on railroads all over the continent without paying a penny for transportation and was known among his cronies as "the millionaire tramp" and "the richest bum on the road."'

Omaha, Nebraska
Published September 25, 1911
Page 4, Column 5
"Charles H. Eccleston, a businessman of Spokane, has received advices that his father, George W. Eccleston, who died at Longport, N. J., a month ago, supposedly penniless, left property in Nebraska and other states valued at $1,000,000."

Chicago, Illinois
Published April 16, 1912
Page 8, Column 2
"Mrs. Claire Pawling Plummer,
head of Bide-a-Wee home, Atlantic City, has won her suit for one-third of the $500,000 estate left by George W. Eccleston, a supposed vagrant. She befriended the man."


Page No. 35
Lyons Township, Mills County, Iowa
June 29, 1860
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Burwell [Burrell], 52, m, farmer, New York
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Elsie [Newell], 45, f, w, Virginia
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Josiah, 17, m, w, Missouri
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Milvina [Malvina], 15, f, w, Missouri
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Eliza A. 13, f, w, Missouri
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Jane A. 11, f, w, Missouri
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], G. W., 8 m, w, Missouri
EGGLESTEIN [ECCLESTON], Elsie O., 3, f, w, Iowa

Page No. 9
Township N 14 Range N 9, Ashland P. O., Saunders County, Nebraska
August 11 and 12, 1870
ECCLSTON [ECCLESTON], Burrel, 62, m, w, farmer, New York
ECCLSTON [ECCLESTON], Elcy [NEWELL], 55, f, w, Keeping house, Virginia
ECCLSTON [ECCLESTON], George, 17, m, w, farm laborer, Missouri
ECCLSTON [ECCLESTON], Elcy O., 13, f, w, Iowa

Page No. 1
Marble Precinct, Saunders County, Nebraska
June 10th and 13th, 1880
ECCLESON [ECCLESTON], Burrell, w, m, 71, farmer, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
ECCLESON [ECCLESTON], Martha [NIPPLE], w, f, 41, wife, married, keeping house, Ohio, Ohio, Pennsylvania
ECCLESON [ECCLESTON], Anderson, w, m, 1 month (May), single, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio
ECCLESON [ECCLESTON], Andrew, w, m, 1 month (May) single, Nebraska, Pennsylvania

1885 Nebraska State Census
Page 8 D
Enumeration District 699
Green Precinct, Saunders County, Nebraska
June 5, 1885
ECCLESTON, George, w, m 32, married, farmer, Missouri, Missouri, Missouri
ECCLESTON, Anna [MURGATROYD], w, f, 23, married, keeping house, Wisconsin, England, England
ECCLESTON, Chas., w, m, 1, single, Nebraska, Missouri, England
WATERS, Peter, w, m, 21, Laborer, single, farm laborer, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana

1885 Nebraska State Census
Enumeration District No. 700
Page No. 13
Wahoo Precinct, Saunders County, Nebraska
June 9, 1885
EGGLESTON [ECCLESTON], Burrell, w, m, 76, farmer, married, New York, Vermont, --?--
EGGLESTON [ECCLESTON], Martha [MILLER], w, f, 46, wife, keeping house, married, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
KNIPPLE, Phylemon, w, m, 18, step-son, single, farmer, Illinois, Germany, Ohio
MILLER, Sarah, w, f, 42, sister-in-law, single, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania

Clear Creek Precinct, Saunders County, Nebraska
June 16, 1900
NELSON, Emel A., head, w, m, Apr. 1871, 29, married 12 years, Illinois, Sweden, Sweden, Farmer
NELSON, Engrey, wife, w, f, Oct. 1867, 32, married 12 years, 6 children, 4 living, Sweden, Sweden, Sweden, immigrated to USA in 1886, in USA 14 years
NELSON, Douglas, son, w, m, Aug. 1887, 12, single, Nebraska, Illinois, Sweden
NELSON, Henry, son, w, m, Aug. 1888, 11, single, Nebraska, Illinois, Sweden
NELSON, Helmie, daughter, w, f, Sept. 1891, 8, single, Nebraska, Illinois, Sweden
NELSON, Ethel, daughter, w, f, Apr. 1997, 3, single, Nebraska, Illinois, Sweden
McClure, James, boarder, w, m, May 1877, 23, single, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, farm laborer
ECCLESTON, George W., boarder, w, m, Oct. 1852, 47, married Missouri, New York, Virginia, Retired farmer

Beatrice (city of), Gage County, Nebraska
June 4, 1900
ECCLESTON, Ann [MURGATROYD], head, f, w, Sept. 1862, 37, widow, 3 children, 3 living, Wisconsin, England, England, housekeeper
ECCLESTON, Charlie, son, w, m, Dec. 1884, 15, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, laborer
ECCLESTON, Bessie, daughter, w, f, Jany. 1886, 14, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, student
ECCLESTON, Willie, son, w, m, Sep. 1892, 7, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, student

Green Precinct, Saunders County, Nebraska
April 28, 1910
ECCLESTON, George W., head, m, w, 54, divorced, Iowa, Indiana, Indiana, own income

Family Members





  • Created by: Sebastian
  • Added: 18 Jan 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 175484491
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George W Eccleston (Oct 1852–Aug 1911), Find A Grave Memorial no. 175484491, citing Indian Mound Cemetery, Ithaca, Saunders County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Sebastian (contributor 46550973) .