Franz Karsten Meier is buried at Black Walnut Cemetery. He was 84 years old when he committed suicide on 18 Nov 1903. Betty Kluesner told the story that “He put his initials on a Maple tree that he wanted to be buried under.” It does not appear that Meier was interested in spending money on a gravestone instead of bequeathing it as directed in his will. No gravestone was discovered during the cemetery restoration 2020-2021.

He was a laborer on William Kluesner’s farm for years. Franz shows up on the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census documents with the Kluesner family. On the census documents, Frantz stated that he was born in Hanover, Germany, as were his parents. Franz was a bachelor, so there were no direct descendants to locate.

In a St Charles Daily Banner-News article on 19 Nov 1903 about his death, it was reported that Franz had a sizeable estate “for one in his circumstances.” His probate file was located at SCCHS with documents about his estate and his heirs. We found that his estate was valued at $2,717.13 in 1903. This amount would be worth over $80,000 today. In the file were documents which revealed that his three nieces who were bequeathed 2/3 of his estate sought to invalidate the bequest of the final 1/3 which was to go to an old friend of Franz’ who turned out to be his half-brother. The three sons of the half-brother who died years before Franz succeeded in retaining their bequest.