Early v. Bradfield's Ex'x

Decision Date01 December 1936
Citation99 S.W.2d 190,266 Ky. 395
PartiesEARLY et al. v. BRADFIELD'S EX'X.
CourtKentucky Court of Appeals

Appeal from Circuit Court, Ohio County.

In the matter of the estate of George Bradfield, Sr., deceased wherein Lydia Early and others filed claims against Mrs Renfrow, executrix of the estate of George Bradfield, Sr. From a judgment refusing to allow the claims, claimants appeal.


T.F Birkhead, of Owensboro, for appellants.

Otto C Martin and M. L. Heavrin, both of Hartford, for appellee.

RATLIFF Justice.

George Bradfield, now deceased, resided at Owensboro, Ky. About the year 1908 he became acquainted with one Miss Lydia Puckett, appellant herein, who was about 19 years of age. It appears that an intimate friendship developed between them and they lived together for several years. At the time they became acquainted, and for some time previous thereto, Bradfield was married and had a daughter, Ethel Bradfield, now Mrs. Renfrow, the appellee herein.

In November, 1915, a male child was born to Miss Puckett, whom she named George Bradfield, Jr., and accused George Bradfield, Sr., of being the father of the child. Bradfield never denied being the father of the child and contributed to its support until the latter part of the year 1917, when he ceased having any relations with Miss Puckett.

In August, 1919, appellant appeared before a justice of the peace of Daviess county and filed her affidavit stating that "she believed that George Bradfield had committed the offense of failing to support his infant child under 14 years of age," etc. Pursuant to this affidavit the justice of the peace issued a warrant for Bradfield charging him with the offense indicated in the affidavit. The warrant reads as follows:

"It appearing from the within affidavit that there are reasonable grounds for believing that George E. Bradfield committed the offense of failing to support his infant child under 14 years of age on or about the ___ day of August 1919, in Daviess County, Kentucky, you are commanded, therefore, forthwith to arrest the said above named person and bring him before me in Owensboro, Kentucky, to be dealt with according to Law. You are commanded, also, to summon as witnesses the persons indicated hereon.
"Given under my hand this the 18 day of August, 1919.
"J. F. Hite, Justice of the Peace."

In September, 1919, an order was entered dismissing the warrant. The order reads:

"Orders Made During Examination Dismissed by agreements of all parties concerned. This Sept. 12, 1919.
"J. F. Hite, J. P. D. Co."

At the time the warrant was dismissed, Bradfield paid appellant $100, but she insists that that sum was paid for back payments, and the real consideration for the dismissal of the warrant was that Bradfield promised and agreed with her that he would support the child, George Bradfield, Jr., if she would not institute bastardy proceedings against him. Some time subsequent to the year 1919 and before the death of Bradfield, Miss Puckett married a man named Early, and she is also referred to in this record as Lydia Puckett Early. However, Bradford made no payments pursuant to the alleged contract, or otherwise contributed to the support of the child, except that in 1931 he gave appellant $2 with which to pay for some medicine. About the year 1918 Bradfield and his wife separated and were divorced and he continued to live at Owensboro until the year 1931, when he became in failing health and then went to his daughter's home in Ohio county and resided there with her until his death, which occurred in 1933. He left a will devising to his daughter, the appellee, all his property and named her executrix of the will.

In 1934, appellant filed with the appellee her claim against the estate of Bradfield for the sum of $1,680, claiming that he failed to comply with his agreement to support the child. She asked for $10 per month from the date of the alleged contract in 1919 up to the time of Bradfield's death in 1933.

In support of appellant's claim she filed the affidavits of herself and her brother, Joshua Puckett. Appellee refused to pay the claim and filed her petition in equity in the Ohio circuit court to settle the estate and made appellants, Lydia Puckett Early and George Bradfield, Jr., party defendants. At first Lydia Puckett Early filed the claim in her own name, but she later filed with her answer to the petition the joint affidavits of herself and her son, George Bradfield, Jr., making him a party to the claim, alleging that the contract was made for his benefit.

Appellee, the executrix, filed her reply denying the alleged contract and affirmatively pleaded various defenses, among which was that if the alleged contract was entered into it was void for lack of consideration. The issues were made and the court referred the case to the commissioner to audit the accounts of the estate and hear proof of claims. The commissioner heard proof and made his report recommending that the claim of appellant be allowed. Exceptions were filed to the commissioner's report, and upon a trial of the case the court sustained the exceptions and refused to allow the claim or any part thereof. Hence this appeal.

Numerous reasons are argued for appellee in support of the judgment, among which is that the alleged agreement relied on by appellants was without consideration and, therefore, void.

It is the settled rule in this state that a bastardy proceeding is a civil action prosecuted in the name of the Common-wealth for the benefit of the bastard, and any agreement made by the father to support the bastard in consideration that the mother will not institute bastardy proceedings against the father, or that she will dismiss such proceeding already instituted, is a valid contract and enforcible (Smith v Wagers' Adm'rs et al., 238 Ky. 609, 38 S.W.2d 685; Bowling v. Bowling's Adm'r, 222 Ky. 396, 300 S.W. 876; Clark's Adm'x v. Campbell, 212 Ky. 341, 279 S.W. 327), provided, however, the mother has a legal right to...

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10 cases
  • Hehr's Adm'r v. Hehr
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • 9 Diciembre 1941
    ... ... Clarke v ... McFarland's Executors, 5 Dana 45, 35 Ky. 45; ... Early v. Bradfield's Executrix, 266 Ky. 395, 99 ... S.W.2d 190. Intermediate of these cases are many ... ...
  • Hehr's Adm'R v. Hehr
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court — District of Kentucky
    • 9 Diciembre 1941
    ...the mother refrain from prosecuting a bastardy proceeding. Clarke v. McFarland's Executors, 5 Dana 45, 35 Ky. 45; Early v. Bradfield's Executrix, 266 Ky. 395, 99 S.W. (2d) 190. Intermediate of these cases are many others. See particularly Clark's Adm'x v. Callahan, 216 Ky. 674, 288 S.W. 301......
  • Duff v. Com. for Use and Benefit of Duff
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court — District of Kentucky
    • 23 Marzo 1962
    ...intended, and has been so construed, as a limitation on the time within which the proceeding may be instituted. In Early v. Bradfield's Ex'x, 266 Ky. 395, 99 S.W.2d 190, it was held that the mother of the child had 'no legal right to invoke the Statutes' when the child was more than three y......
  • Botnick v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • 4 Diciembre 1936
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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