Gaines v. De La CroixAnnotate this Case
73 U.S. 719
U.S. Supreme Court
Gaines v. De La Croix, 73 U.S. 6 Wall. 719 719 (1867)
Gaines v. De La Croix
73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 719
1. As the law stood in Louisiana in October, 1813, testamentary executors could only sell at public auction after due advertisement of the property, and the purchaser at a forced sale did not acquire a good title unless the formalities prescribed by law for the alienation of property were observed.
2. A purchaser of property from an executor of a will of one date who has at the time strong reasons to believe, and had recently declared solemnly that he did believe that a later will with different executors and different dispositions of property had been made, is not protected from liability to the parties interested under such later will, if established and received to probate, by the fact that the executor of the first will made the sale under order of court having jurisdiction of such things. He purchases at the risk of the later will's being found or proved and established.
3. If the later will is found, it relates back as against such a purchaser and affects him with notice of its existence and contents as of the time when he purchases.
4. Facts stated which affect such a purchaser with notice.
As we have mentioned in the preceding case, Daniel Clark died on the 16th day of August, 1813, and his last will not being found, letters testamentary on the will of 1811 were granted to Richard Relf, who remained sole executor until 21st of January, 1814, when Beverly Chew was included in the trust. De la Croix made two purchases of slaves of Relf while thus acting as sole executor. The first purchase was on the 16th of October, 1813, and the last on the 11th of December, 1813.
The will of 1813 being established and received to probate, Mrs. Gaines filed her bill against De la Croix. De la Croix, it will be understood, was the same person so frequently mentioned in the preceding case as Dusuau De la Croix, or the Chevalier De la Croix, one of the persons whom Clark appointed executor of his will of 1813 and tutor to his daughter Myra.