Johnson v. Gillett

Decision Date30 September 1869
Citation52 Ill. 358,1869 WL 5447
PartiesMADISON Y. JOHNSON, Administrator, etc.v.ORLIN H. GILLETT.
CourtIllinois Supreme Court


APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Jo Daviess county; the Hon. BENJAMIN R. SHELDON, Judge, presiding.

Orlin H. Gillett, who was administrator of the estate of Benoni R. Gillett, deceased, presented a claim on his own behalf, against said estate, for allowance in the county court of Jo Daviess county. An administrator pro tem. was appointed to defend the estate. The following orders were entered of record in the county court, concerning said claim:

“Now at this day, the court took up the claims of O. H. Gillett against the said estate of Benoni R. Gillett, deceased, for $1900.86, as a balance due him. D. W. Jackson, Esq. appeared for the administrator, and M. Y. Johnson, Esq. appointed by the court administrator pro tem. to defend the interests of said estate, and objected to said claim being allowed, and after hearing the evidence and the arguments of counsel the court took the case under advisement.”

And afterwards, the following order was made:

“In the matter of the claim of Orlin H. Gillett against the estate of Benoni R. Gillett, deceased, for $1900.86, having taken the matter under advisement, the court this day, after due deliberation, rejects the claim.”

Subsequently, Orlin H. Gillett removed the cause into the circuit court of Jo Daviess county, by certiorari under the statute, where such proceedings were had that the claim was allowed. The administrator pro tem. thereupon appealed to this court. The other matters concerning which questions arise, are set forth in the opinion of the court.


Mr. D. W. JACKSON, for the appellee. Mr. CHIEF JUSTICE BREESE delivered the opinion of the Court:

It appears by this record, that, on the sixth of October, 1868, Orlin H. Gillett, administrator on the estate of Benoni R. Gillett, deceased, by letters of administration granted him by the county court of Jo Daviess county, in April, 1848, filed an account in his favor against the estate, amounting to nineteen hundred dollars and eighty-six cents, as a balance due him. The appellant, representing one of the heirs at law of the intestate, was appointed by the county court, to defend against this claim and to take care of the interests of the estate, when, upon investigation by the court, and after due deliberation, the claim was disallowed.

The cause was brought to the circuit court by certiorari under the statute, the time for taking an appeal having expired.

In the circuit court, appellant entered a motion to quash the writ of certiorari for reasons which appear in the record. The court denied the motion, and this is the first error assigned.

It is a sufficient answer to this, to say, that no exception was taken to this ruling of the court, and consequently its merits are not before us for consideration.

The next point is, that there was no judgment of the county court, from which an appeal or certiorari would lie.

An inspection of the record from the county court, shows that no formal judgment was rendered in the cause, not even for the costs, but the claim presented was, by the consideration of the court, rejected. This was absolute, and was, in effect, a judgment against the claimant.

It was held long ago, by this court, that no particular form was required in the proceedings of an inferior court to render their order a judgment. It is sufficient if it be final, and the party may be injured. Wells v. Hogan, Breese (2 Ed.) 337.

In the case before us, the order rejecting the claim was absolute and final. It concluded the claimant, and could be pleaded in bar to any claim for the same cause the administrator might afterward set up against the estate, so long as it remained upon the records of the county court. It was such a final order, and tended so to injure the claimant as to be the basis of an appeal.

Having disposed of the preliminary questions, we now come to the merits of the controversy.

The question is, did the administrator establish by his proofs before the circuit court an indebtedness by the estate of Gillett, to him, to the extent found by the circuit court, or to any extent.

It is the acknowledged duty of all courts, when the claims of an administrator are preferred against an estate he represents, that all matters pertaining to it, and to the administration of the estate, should be closely scrutinized. Such is the relation he bears to the estate, and to all the parties interested in it, that courts can hardly be too careful and scrutinizing, so that the true facts and the real condition of the estate, and the acts and doings of the administrator, can be readily seen and easily comprehended by those in interest. It is a lamentable fact, that in some of the county courts having jurisdiction of such matters, sufficient caution is not used, and their records will show the discharge of many an administrator on final settlement, who has never rendered a full account of his stewardship, or such an one as could be understood by an heir or creditor, if examined within even a brief time after such settlement. We do not remember many cases where an administrator has pursued the law in stating and proving his account, or wherein a county court has applied the rules of law to him.

We understand, from the briefs of counsel in this cause, that the administrator claims to have made a final settlement of the estate, having paid and satisfied all claims against it, except his own, and for which he is seeking an allowance, to enable him to procure an order of court to sell the real estate, he having, in the payment of these claims, exhausted the personal assets.

It appears from the record, that the administrator was cited to appear before the county court, at the February term, 1868, to make a final report and settlement. At this term, it was ordered that he make such report on the 9th of March, 1868. This not having been done, he was cited to appear to make such report and settlement at the...

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15 cases
  • Martin v. Masini
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 21 Diciembre 1967
    ...v. Peach, supra, 78, 218 N.E.2d 507. Also see: Village of Niles v. Szczesny, 13 Ill.2d 45, 48, 147 N.E.2d 371 (1958); Johnson v. Gillett, 52 Ill. 358, 360 (1869); 6 Nichols Ill.Civ.Practice, Sections 5901, 5907, 5917 and In Peach, we treated the dismissal of the complaint the same as the di......
  • Smythe's Estate v. Evans
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court
    • 20 Abril 1904
  • Peach v. Peach
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 6 Julio 1966
    ... ... In Johnson v. City of Rockford, 26 Ill.App.2d 133 at page 137, 169 N.E.2d 534 at page 536 (2nd Dist.1960), the Court stated: ... 'An order providing that ... It is sufficient if it be final, and the party may be injured.' Johnson v. Gillett, 52 Ill. 358, 360 (1869) ...         More recently, the Supreme Court in Village of Niles v. Szczesny, 13 Ill.2d 45 at page 48, 147 N.E.2d ... ...
  • Connelly v. Dooley's Estate
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 27 Mayo 1981
    ... ... Accordingly, the order is final and appealable. Johnson v. Gillett (1869), 52 Ill. 358; Martin v. Masini (1967), 90 Ill.App.2d 348, 232 N.E.2d 770; Peach v. Peach (1966), 73 Ill.App.2d 72, 218 N.E.2d 504 ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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