177 U.S. 133 (1900), 109, Bristol v. Washington County

Docket Nº:No. 109
Citation:177 U.S. 133, 20 S.Ct. 585, 44 L.Ed. 701
Party Name:Bristol v. Washington County
Case Date:April 09, 1900
Court:United States Supreme Court

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177 U.S. 133 (1900)

20 S.Ct. 585, 44 L.Ed. 701



Washington County

No. 109

United States Supreme Court

April 9, 1900

Argued January 22, 1900




The personal property of a citizen of and resident in one state invested in bonds and mortgages in another state is subject to taxation in the latter state, and the amount of the tax is a claim against the property of the person taxed which is a debt that may, in case of death of the person taxed, be proved against his estate in the state where the mortgages and loans are contracted subject to the statutes of limitations of the state.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Circuit Court for the District of Minnesota, allowing a claim in favor of Washington County, Minnesota, against the estate of Sophia M. Bristol, deceased.

Sophia M. Bristol died testate, naming James Bristol as her executor, and her will was duly admitted to probate in Wyoming County, State of New York, where said James and Sophia M. resided. Thereafter Mr. Bristol applied to the Probate Court of the County of Ramsay, Minnesota, for the admission of the will to probate there and the issue of letters testamentary to him. This was done, and subsequently the County of Washington exhibited its claim against said estate, whereupon Bristol filed his petition in the Probate Court for the removal of the action instituted by the filing of the claim into the circuit court of the United States, and it was removed accordingly. A repleader was awarded by stipulation, and a formal complaint and answer filed. The matter was heard by the circuit court, a jury being waived according to law, and the court made the following findings:

I. That Cyrus Jefferson was the father of said Sophia M. Bristol, deceased, and died in November, 1883. For fourteen years just prior to his death, he was a citizen and resident of the New York, and during said time loaned and invested

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large sums of money to various persons residing in Minnesota, upon their notes, payable to his order at said Stillwater, secured by mortgages on real estate in said Washington and adjoining counties in the State of Minnesota; all said loans and investments were made and the notes and mortgages taken by and through William M. McCluer, the agent of said Cyrus Jefferson, who resided at the City of Stillwater, in said Washington County, during all the time hereinafter mentioned, and who, with full authority from said Cyrus Jefferson, made all such loans and took and retained all notes and securities and collected and reloaned both the principal and interest of said loans at said City of Stillwater, in Washington County, Minnesota, and kept the same permanently invested in that way, as nearly as practicable, save as to such moneys as said Jefferson drew from time to time to pay his debts and living expenses.

II. Prior to May 1, 1883, said William M. McCluer at said Stillwater, by the direction of said Jefferson, but otherwise with the same power and under the same authority and in the same manner, loaned of said moneys of said Cyrus Jefferson to persons in Washington County sums aggregating eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000), taking notes and mortgages therefor in the name of and payable to said Sophia M. Bristol at said Stillwater, and retained the same as her agent, and handled and collected and reinvested the same in the same manner as he had those of Cyrus Jefferson.

III. After the death of said Cyrus Jefferson and on December 18, 1883, all the other notes and mortgages held by said McCluer as agent for said Cyrus Jefferson were transferred, assigned, and passed to said Sophia M. Bristol as her share of the estate of her said father. She thereupon employed said William M. McCluer and Charles M. McCluer, both of whom then at all times herein mentioned resided at said Stillwater, as her agents at said City of Stillwater in and about said loaning business. She gave to them all the authority before that time exercised by said William M. McCluer for her father, Cyrus Jefferson, as aforesaid, and also gave to them a written power of attorney empowering them or either of them

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to satisfy and discharge or to sell and assign any and all mortgages then or thereafter in her name in the States of Minnesota or Wisconsin; all of said notes and mortgages of said Sophia M. Bristol, including those received by her as her share of her father's estate, as well as those taken in her name by said William M. McCluer prior to the death of her father, as aforesaid, were still left by her in the hands of her agents in Stillwater, Minnesota, and said agents continued as before to make collections of both principal and interest due on said notes and mortgages, to satisfy and discharge mortgages, and to make new loans and investments upon like securities with the moneys so collected by them for said Sophia M. Bristol, and kept all of her moneys received or collected by them prior to transmittal or reinvestment of the same, and while in their hands, deposited in bank in said Stillwater as their money, and having all notes and mortgages received by them for such loans made payable at their own office in said City of Stillwater, said mortgages being upon lands in Washington and adjoining counties in Minnesota.

IV. In March, 1885, all of such notes then in the bands of said agents were delivered to said Sophia M. Bristol, and thereafter all new notes as taken by said agents in.said business were sent to Sophia M. Bristol and kept by her at her home in New York, but were payable as before at the office of said agents in Stillwater, Minnesota; all mortgages securing such notes were retained by said agents, and said notes were returned to said agents at Stillwater by said Sophia M. Bristol from time to time whenever required by them for the purpose of renewal, payment, collection, or foreclosure of securities; that the said William M. McCluer and Charles M. McCluer continued as agents for said Sophia M. Bristol, collecting money becoming due upon said notes and making loans in her name, sometimes under the direction of James Bristol, her husband, but generally upon their own judgment; that they remitted money to Sophia M. Bristol when she called for the same, and what was not received by her was invested in new loans, as aforesaid.

That said Sophia M. Bristol did receive from the proceeds

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of said collections at various times large sums of money through said [20 S.Ct. 587] agents, and all moneys collected were always subject to be sent to her or paid out in any way she should order.

V. In the month of August, 1890, said William M. McCluer died, and thereafter said Charles M. McCluer continued to act as sole agent for said Sophia M. Bristol at said City of Stillwater, Minnesota, with the same power as before exercised by him and said William M. McCluer, except that in November, 1890, Sophia M. Bristol revoked said power of attorney which authorized said agent to satisfy mortgages of record, and thereafter executed satisfactions of mortgages herself.

VI. Said loaning business was so carried on by said Sophia M. Bristol by and through her said agents at the City of Stillwater, Minnesota, in the manner aforesaid until her death, in the month of August, 1894.

VII. Said Sophia M. Bristol had no taxable property in said Washington County during any of the years hereinbefore or hereinafter mentioned other than the loans and indebtedness mentioned, which were secured by mortgages upon lands in Minnesota, and which were under the charge and management of her said agents, who, during all said years and during all the time within which the taxes hereinafter mentioned were assessed and levied, resided and had their office and transacted said loaning business at the said City of Stillwater, in said county and state.

VIII. That the moneys originally sent by said Jefferson to said William M. McCluer and invested and reinvested by said McCluer, and afterwards by said Sophia M. Bristol kept and retained in the hands of said William M. McCluer and Charles M. McCluer as her agents, were so sent, retained and kept in the hands of said agents in the City of Stillwater, Washington County, Minnesota, in and during each of the years when the taxes hereinafter mentioned were assessed and levied against said Sophia M. Bristol, as hereinafter specifically set forth, as and for a permanent investment and business under the full control of said agents, and said property...

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