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United States Supreme Court

80 U.S. 66

Rice  v.  Houston

ERROR to the Circuit Court for the Middle District of Tennessee; the case being thus:

A. W. Vanleer, a citizen of Tennessee, having died at Nashville, letters of administration were granted by the proper authority there to one Houston, on his estate. It seemed to be admitted by counsel that, at this time, Houston was a citizen of Tennessee. But he afterwards, it was equally admitted, was in Kentucky and domiciled there. Thus domiciled he brought two suits in the court below, the Circuit Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, to recover from Rice on certain notes given to his decedent, Vanleer. In these suits he described himself in his narr. as 'a citizen of the State of Kentucky and administrator of the estate of A. W. Vanleer, deceased.' The defendant craved oyer of the letters. This disclosing that the letters were granted in Tennessee, the defendant pleaded that 'by the said letters of administration it appears that the administrator of the estate of the said A. W. Vanleer is the creature of the law of Tennessee, and has no existence as such outside of the State of Tennessee.' To this plea the plaintiff demurred, and the demurrer being held good and judgment given for the plaintiff, the defendant brought the case here. The point involved was of course the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.

Mr. R. A. Crawford, for the plaintiff in error:

Of course the Circuit Court has no jurisdiction between citizens of the same State. But here Houston was the domestic administrator, and in point of fact, it will be conceded, though not so asserted in the record, a citizen of Tennessee, when he got his letters; he having afterwards removed to Kentucky. Independently of this, since, personally, he is a stranger to the suit, his personal domicil in Kentucky cannot be looked to. By his letters, he represented the sovereignty of Tennessee, regardless of personal alienship.

Messrs. F. B. Fogg and H. Maynard, contra.

Mr. Justice DAVIS delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).