Casefile Clues

14 December 2006

Are you assuming too much?

When one is unfamiliar with the laws of an area it can be easy to assume things that simply are not true.

Nancy Rampley and her youngest son sued all her other children (and his siblings) in the early 1900s over the title to her farm in Illinois. One could look at this as a great disagreement between Nancy and her son and the other children. That was not the case.

Nancy's husband died leaving no will. Nancy and all her children owned the farm jointly. Nancy wanted to sell the farm and move to town. The only problem was her youngest son was a minor and unable to sign of his own accord. Consequently Nancy and the youngest minor child had to sue the rest of the family. It was the only recourse they had due to his age.

What I originally thought was a huge family squabble was really the result of the youngest child's age, the law at the time, and Nancy's unwillingness to wait to sell the farm and move to town ;-)

Michael