Levi Garret chewing tobacco fortune and why Sheaffer families in 1930’s were trying to stake claims

Levi Garret chewing tobacco heiress Henrietta E Sheaffer-Garret dies in 1930 with no Will and thousands of Sheaffer’s rush to file claims on 20 million dollar fortune!

1938 Sheaffer claim on Garret Estate

1938 Sheaffer claim on Garret Estate

During my research on the Sheaffer line I came across legal papers with a detailed history of the Sheaffer family history for the sole purpose of trying to collect on a multimillion dollar fortune tied the Levi Garrett Chewing tobacco estate! Henrietta E Sheaffer (different versions of her spelling have been documented) married Walter Garrett heir to the Levi Garrett Chewing tobacco fortune. They never had any children and after Walter’s death the fortune passed onto Henrietta. Walter over the years had urged Henrietta that upon his death she make sure she had a Will written up so her family would not come out of the woodwork to get their hands on it. As Walter passed Henrietta never did get a Will and when she passed away on November 16, 1930 in Philadelphia the estate was sent to orphans court as there were no heirs! Since Henrietta’s maiden name was Sheaffer there were thousands of Sheaffer families in the U.S. and world-wide trying to claim they were the next of kin to Henrietta. This Estate was worth some 20 million dollars in 1930 and swelled to over 40 million by the late 1940’s when it was finally settled. Miley T Sheaffer II and his sister Anna Thompson led this group of Sheaffer’s in their claim on the fortune. In 1938 they filed their claim with a detailed account on how they were the rightful heirs. They claim Henrietta was the daughter of my first Ancestor in the Sheaffer tree Johan/John Sheaffer otherwise known as John Christian Sheaffer. They lay out their claim with names of all children of John Christian and a little history of John Christian. They were never able to get a claim on the estate and so I have always been skeptical on this relationship. I have never found any evidence that shows Henrietta as being included in this family and have reason to believe the tree they drew up that includes her is false. I have documented all others in this version but never her? I have therefore never included her in my tree and until otherwise proved wrong will not. John Sheaffer has been documented on several records including bible, church death records, obituary, children death certificates, and never have I seen a mention of Henrietta? I also have obituaries of most of John Sheaffer’s children and again no mention of Henrietta? It sure would make a great story if we were, but I believe wholeheartedly that she is unfortunately not in my line of Sheaffer’s. And to those who are curious as to who was finally awarded the claim??? A cousin from Germany was finally awarded the estate but he was well into his 80’s by the time it was settled. After all the taxes and Lawyer fees were taken out, the fortune passed that was passed to him was considerably less than it was when she passed away in 1930. You can read about this fascinating case at the Pennsylvania State Library in a very large and thick book titled “The Garret Estate”

Pennsylvania Death Certificate

Pennsylvania Death Certificate

Sheaffer Family Genealogy

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