McCaffrey v. Manogue - 196 U.S. 563 (1905)
U.S. Supreme Court
McCaffrey v. Manogue, 196 U.S. 563 (1905)
McCaffrey v. Manogue
Argued January 17-18, 1905
Decided February 20, 1905
196 U.S. 563
The policy of the law in favor of the heir yields to the intention of the testator if clearly expressed or manifested. The rule of law that a devise of lands without words of limitation or description gives a life estate only does not apply, and devises will be held to be of the fee where it is plain that the testator's intention was to dispose of his whole estate equally between his heirs, and there is no residuary clause indicating that he intended passing less than all of his estate, and all of his heirs at law are devisees under the will.
The question involved in this case is the construction of the will of Hugh McCaffrey, deceased. It was duly admitted to probate, and recorded in the Supreme Court of the District. It is as follows:
"Washington, District of Columbia"
"April Thirtieth, 1896"
"In the name of God, being now in good health and sound in mind and body, I hereby certify and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby annulling and revoking any and all wills previously made."
"I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary A. Quigley house number 301 at southwest corner of 11th and C Streets Southeast, being in lot number 5 in square 970, with the store and dwelling, stock and fixtures, and lot on which it stands, also houses numbers 13 and 15 6th Street Southeast with lots on which they stand, being parts of lots 19 and 20 in square 841, also any money in bank to my account at the time of my death, also any money due to me, also any building association stock. She is to pay funeral expenses and any other legal debts I may own, also to care for my lot in Mount Olivet Cemetery."
"I give and bequeath to my son, James B. McCaffrey, house number six hundred and two (602) East Capitol Street and lot on which it stands, being in lot number ten (10) in square number eight hundred and sixty-eight (868)."
"To my son, William H. McCaffrey, I give and bequeath house 604 East Capitol Street, being in lot number ten (10), in square number eight hundred and sixty-eight (868) and lot on which it stands."
"To my daughter, Lizzie Manogue, I give and bequeath house number fourteen hundred and twenty-three (1423) Corcoran Street, N.W., and lot on which it stands, being lot number fifty-four (54) in square number two hundred and eight (208)."
"2. To my son, Francis T. McCaffrey, I give and bequeath house five hundred and nineteen (519) East Capitol Street, and
lot on which it stands, being part of lot number(20) in square eight hundred and forty-one (841), also my horse and buggy."
"And to my grandson, Frank Foley, I give and bequeath house number one hundred and twenty-one (121) Eleventh Street, S.E., being in lot number fourteen(14), square number nine hundred and sixty-eight (968), and lot on which it stands."
"To my grandson Joseph Quigley, I give and bequeath my watch and chain."
"I hereby name and appoint as executors of this my last will and testament, John E. Herrell and Patrick Maloney."
"All the real estate herein described is located in the City of Washington, District of Columbia."
"Hugh McCaffrey. [Seal.]"
The devisees in the will were the only heirs of the testator.
On the tenth of July, 1897, Mary A. Quigley died, leaving surviving four children, the appellants Catherine L., Margaret, Mary, and Joseph Quigley. Edward Quigley, her husband, also an appellant, survived her. She left a will, which was duly admitted to record, by which she devised all her estate to Catherine L. and Edward Quigley, in trust for her children. Francis T. McCaffrey, son of Hugh, and one of the devisees in the latter's will, died October 20, 1898, leaving as heirs at law his brothers and sisters, the children of his deceased sister, Mary A. Quigley, and his nephew, Frank Foley. He left a will, by which he devised and bequeathed all of the property to his sister, Lizzie C. Manogue, and his brothers William A. and James B. McCaffrey, "absolutely and in fee simple, according to the nature of the property, as tenants in common, but not as joint tenants." At the time of his death, he was seized and possessed of the real estate devised to him by his father.
James B. McCaffrey has sold and conveyed the lot devised to him to the respondent George W. Manogue. Upon an attempt to sell the property devised by Francis T. McCaffrey, a doubt was raised as to the extent of the interest devised to him
and the other devisees by the will of H. McCaffrey -- whether an estate for life or in fee simple. This suit was brought
"to have it determined what estate each of the said devisees took thereby, and to have their title quieted as against any person or persons who may claim adversely to the same as heirs of said Hugh McCaffrey, or under such heirs."
It was decreed by the trial court that only life estates were devised by the will, and the decree was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 22 App.D.C. 385.