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INGLEHART V. STANSBURY, 151 U. S. 68 (1894)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Inglehart v. Stansbury, 151 U.S. 68 (1894)

Inglehart v. Stansbury

No. 144

Argued December 6-7, 1893

Decided January 4, 1894

151 U.S. 68


If land is conveyed to a trustee to hold for the benefit of a married woman for life, and then to convey to an infant in fee, and upon a bill in equity by the tenant for life against the remainderman and the trustee, and after the appointment of a guardian ad litem for the remainderman, part of the land is sold for the payment of repairs and taxes, and partition is decreed of the rest in equal moieties in fee between the tenant for life and the remainderman, and part of the land set off to the tenant for life is sold by her, and, by decree upon a bill by the remainderman, after coming of age, against the heirs of the trustee and of the tenant for life and the purchasers, the proceedings in and under the partition suit are set aside, and a new trustee appointed to convey the whole land to the remainderman, the heirs of the original trustee cannot appeal from this decree without joining the other defendants on a summons and severance or some equivalent proceeding recorded in the court rendering the decree.

This was a bill in equity in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia by Ida May Stansbury to enforce a trust under a deed dated June 10, 1870, by which Gustavus R. Dixon and Ada Georgiana Amanda, his wife, conveyed land of his in the City of Washington to Joseph Inglehart, his heirs and assigns, in trust for the sole and separate use and benefit of the wife during her life or widowhood, and no longer, with remainder in fee to the heirs of the body of the husband, and, in default of such heirs, then (as the plaintiff contended and the court below held) to convey the land in fee simple to the plaintiff, then Ida May Campbell, not quite fourteen years old, living with her parents, and no kin of his, but a cousin of his wife, and about seven years younger than she.

Gustavus R. Dixon died December 1, 1871, leaving his wife, Ada, but no issue, surviving him.

Upon a bill in equity, filed July 23, 1873, by Ada Dixon against Ida Campbell and Inglehart as trustee, that court, after appointing a guardian ad litem for Ida, and with his chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 151 U. S. 69

and her written consent and that of her parents and of Inglehart, ordered part of the land to be sold by a trustee appointed for the purpose for the payment of repairs and taxes on the whole, confirmed his sale thereof, appointed commissioners to make a partition of the rest of the land in equal moieties in fee between Ada Dixon and Ida Campbell, and on May 6, 1874, decreed that the return of the commissioners be confirmed, and that said Ada and Ida each hold in severalty the moiety set off to her. The purchaser at the trustee's sale conveyed to Floridan Trautman, and a part of the land set off to Ada Dixon was conveyed by her to John G. Thompson, who entered into possession thereof and received the rents and profits.

Ada Dixon married William H. Davis, November 2, 1874, and died February 26, 1888, leaving an infant son and heir.

Ida Campbell became of age July 10, 1877, and on June 23, 1881, having meanwhile married Charles J. Stansbury, filed the original bill in the present case against Inglehart, as trustee under the deed of Gustavus R. Dixon, to compel him to convey to her in fee all the land included in that deed, and against Thompson to cancel the deed to him, as casting a cloud upon her legal title. To that bill Thompson filed a demurrer, which was sustained, with leave to amend the bill. On April 14, 1882, before the hearing upon Thompson's demurrer, and not having himself pleaded to the bill, Inglehart died, leaving infant heirs only.

Ida afterwards from time to time filed other bills by way of amendment, supplement, and revivor, joining her husband as plaintiff, making Inglehart's infant heirs, Ada's second husband, Davis, and her infant son and heir, as well as Thompson and Trautman, defendants, and praying that all the proceedings upon the bill for partition be declared null and void for want of jurisdiction in the court, and that those proceedings, as well as the deeds to Trautman and to Thompson, be set aside as clouds upon Ida's title, and that some proper person be appointed as trustee in Inglehart's stead, to convey all the land to her.

Guardians ad litem were appointed for the infant heirs of chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 151 U. S. 70

Inglehart, as well as for the infant Davis, and respectively answered in their behalf, submitting their rights to the protection of the court.

Trautman answered, alleging that he purchased in good faith, and William H. Davis and Thompson answered, denying the plaintiff's title to a conveyance or right to relief. A general replication was filed to the answers of the defendants.

The court, upon a hearing in general term on pleadings and proofs, entered a decree for the plaintiffs, as prayed for. 9 Mackey 134. Inglehart's heirs, by their guardian ad litem, alone appealed to this Court. Thompson was a surety upon the appeal bond.

The appellee moved this Court to dismiss the appeal on the following grounds:


"That the appellants are parties to the suit only as heirs at law of one Joseph Inglehart, who held as trustee only the legal title to certain real estate mentioned in the proceedings, without beneficial interest of any kind therein, and that his trust was and is at an end, and that the appellants have therefore no beneficial or appealable interest in the premises and no interest whatever of any kind in the result of the suit."


"That the appellants were joint parties in the suit with other persons who had beneficial and substantial interests therein, and said other persons have not been made parties to the appeal, and there has been no summons to them and severance, or any other equivalent action."

In opposition to this motion, affidavits of Trautman, of Thompson, and of the guardian ad litem of the infant Davis, who was also one of the attorneys for all the defendants, were filed in this Court, stating that the appeal was taken in behalf of Inglehart's heirs alone, and no separate appeal by any other defendant, because, although the aggregate value of the whole land in question exceeded $5,000, the value of the part claimed by each was less than that amount, and because said guardian and attorney was of opinion, and Trautman and Thompson were advised by counsel, that the appeal in behalf chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 151 U. S. 71

of Inglehart's heirs was for the benefit of all the defendants, and that Trautman and Thompson paid all the costs and expenses of that appeal.

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