Fatal Fortune: The Death of Chicago's Millionaire Orphan

By Virginia A. McConnell | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
The Will Contest

This young man was raised to manhood that he might make a will
and then be killed
.

—Judge Harry Olson

Before Darl and Julie could get their hands on the Fatal Fortune, they would have to emerge victorious from the will contest now filed by nine of Billy’s cousins (all related to his father). The grounds would be undue influence because of Shepherd’s fiduciary relationship to Billy; invalidity because not all the witnesses were in the presence of each other when it was signed; and invalidity because the witnesses were servants in the employ of Shepherd.1 In the event the cousins were unsuccessful, Isabelle Pope was waiting in the wings to file her own suit for a widow’s share. Her agreement with the cousins was that, whichever party was successful—Isabelle or the heirs—they would split the estate in half.

The cousins were all in the Eaton family, relatives of William McClintock Sr. through his sister—including his niece Maude Eaton Walker, who had come to visit Emma after her uncle’s death. Billy had met only two of these cousins in his lifetime, and it was asserted that he strongly disliked one of those two.2 It was the old story of relatives coming out of the woodwork

-125-

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Fatal Fortune: The Death of Chicago's Millionaire Orphan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - The Fatal Fortune 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Grifters 17
  • Chapter 3 - The Avenging Fury and the Confidence Man 35
  • Chapter 4 - Hippodrome 59
  • Chapter 5 - The State of Illinois V. William Darling Shepherd 73
  • Chapter 6 - Defending Darl Shepherd 91
  • Chapter 7 - Was It Oysters or Murder? 105
  • Chapter 8 - The Will Contest 125
  • Chapter 9 - Epilogue 133
  • Notes 143
  • Selected Bibliography 167
  • Index 169
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