Updated July 25, 2020
“One month before his death, Charles Kruse was leaving for the county hospital, which he never expected to return.” Kruse gave G.W. Brusseau a package with a few in intimate belongings, the key to his house, and the note.
Oakland, March 15 (?)
“This is my gift of Deed all is in my possession to Mr. G.W. Brusseau after my daet”
Only Man He Trusted
Kruse only had one friend whom he trusted, according to Brusseau’s attorney. Kruse helped care for the hermit for 13 years, he never had the money to pay Brusseau for his labor but intended to see that he ultimately receive the his property.
Brusseau saved the 10-acre plot from being sold for taxes and the paid off the mortgage. It was claimed.
In March of 1923, Kruse applied for admission to the county infirmary on the grounds he was penniless. He had cancer.
Following Kruse’s death at the county hospital, preparations were being made to bury him in the potter’s field. Brusseau stepped in and said he would pay for his funeral.
Brusseau purchase plot in Mountain View cemetery with bordered on his property.
He could see the grave from his porch.
Fight for Estate
The case was brought to the attention of Judge George Samuels when Brusseau filed a petition for probate of the paper as the last will Kruse.
Because of the omission of the completed date, Judge Samuels refused probate and granted administration letters to Albert E. Hill, a Public Administrator.
Thrown Out As A Will Upheld As Deed
In June 1923, a petition was submitted to the Almeda superior to record the scrap of paper as a gift deed. In this claim, Judge James G. Quinn decided that Kruse never intended the piece of paper as a will but intended to constitute an immediate conveyance of land as a deed.
In the meantime, Brusseau had lost a third suit filed against the estate for reimbursement for his unpaid labor.
The public administrator appealed to the California Supreme court for a decision on the title to the property.
Dying Hermit’s Note Valid
In May of 1927 the Supreme court affirmed the decision of Judge JG Quinn that the note given to Brusseau from Kruse constituted a deed to the 10-acres of land.
A Bit of History
Charles Kruse owned and lived on 10-acres of land in Hayes Canyon since 1888.s.
The property bordered on William J. Dingee’s land, and in 1888 Dingee sued Kruse for $93 to cover the cost of a fence.
Kruse, for many years, peddled flowers to florists’ shops in the Eastbay.
After his death, it was discovered that he was the owner of one of the largest nurseries in Alameda county. Hidden behind a high fence and tall cypress hedges were the nursery and the tiny shack he lived.
The 10-acres was valued at more than $10,000 in 1923.
In about 1898, George Washington Brusseau purchases a 2-acre lot at 3200 Edith Street (now 4901 Harbord Drive).
In 1926 Brusseau lived in a cottage known as the “Bat House” because of the number of animal skins tanned and nailed to the outside walls.
He farmed the land with the help of Jimmy, his faithful plow horse. He also had many dogs.
He intended to restore the rose gardens, which brought fame to his friend Charles Kruse and Oakland.
Brusseau lived there until his death in 1953
And now this…
This changes the whole story or it is just wrong?
Please Note: The dates and addresses vary from article to article. I tried my best to get it right. Oh well…
- Dingee’s Fence –Oakland Tribune Feb 28, 1888
- Sheriff’s Sale –Oakland Tribune Feb 11, 1892
- Summons for Suit – Oakland Tribune Aug 08, 1894
- Pauper Found Worth $10, 100 – Oakland Tribune Apr 10, 1923
- Undated Will Causes Tangle – Oakland Tribune June 23, 1923
- Lack of Year in Will Date – Oakland Tribune Feb 28, 1926
- Fight For Rich Recluses Estate – Oakland Tribune Mar 11, 1926
- Court Ruling Makes Life More Rosier – Oakland Tribune Mar 20, 1926
- Date on Will May Cost Man His Land – Oakland Tribune Feb 28. 1928
- When We Get Our $50,000 – Oakland Tribune May 12, 1926