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Octavia Williams Bates
Class of: 1896

Octavia Williams Bates, an unmarried woman, died in Baltimore city on the 12th day of January, 1911, leaving a last will and testament by which she disposed of a large estate. The greater part of this estate was given by the will to certain educational and charitable institutions. She left surviving her a brother, George Williams Bates, a resident of the state of Michigan, to whom she bequeathed the sum of $5,000.

The will was dated June 5, 1908, and it appointed her brother executor thereof. By codicil dated December 30, 1910, the Safe Deposit & Trust Company of Baltimore was substituted as executor in the place of her brother, George Williams Bates, and on June 5, 1911, by a second codicil, E. John W. Réveil was appointed executor in the place and stead of the Safe Deposit & Trust Company. The will and codicils were admitted to probate by the orphans' court of Baltimore city on the 30th day of January, 1911, and letters testamentary were granted to the appellee as executor. On May 11, 1911, George Williams Bates, the appellant, filed a caveat to the will and codicils upon the grounds of mental incapacity, undue influence, fraud, etc., and on the same day filed in the orphans' court a petition asking that the letters testamentary granted to the appellee be revoked, and that he be removed as executor.

Serious charges were made against the executor in the petition. In his answer the appellee denied all the charges which reflected upon his honesty and fitness to act as executor, and gave an explanation of some of the acts and omissions charged as grounds for his removal. Both the answer and petition are lengthy papers, and in the view we have taken of the case need not be discussed with any particularity. The issues made by the petition and answer were tried by the orphans' court of Baltimore city. The trial consumed more than a week, the appellant relying largely upon the testimony of the executor, whom he placed upon the stand to prove his case. On July 6, 1911, the court passed the following order: "The matter of the petition of George Williams Bates coming on to be heard, and the court having considered the same and the answer thereto, and the testimony advanced in support of said petition, it is ordered by the court, this 6th day of July, 1911, that the said petition for the removal of E. John W. Réveil, executor, costs to be paid by the petitioner, and it is further ordered that the executor return to the court the following: An inventory of the wearing apparel and personal effects of the deceased; an inventory of all cash; a list of debts due by the deceased; and a list of debts due to the estate." This order was signed by two of the judges, but the third, while concurring in the order dismissing the petition, was of opinion that the executor should pay the costs of the proceeding. On July 13, 1911, the court passed an order directing the executor to pay out of the funds of the estate to S. Gross Horwitz, who acted as his counsel, the sum of $500 for services rendered in resisting the effort of the petitioner to remove him. The appeals before us were taken from these orders.

We have carefully examined the evidence contained in this record, and, assuming that an order of the orphans' court refusing to revoke letters testamentary is appealable, we are all of opinion that the orders from which this appeal was taken should be affirmed. There is no dispute as to the measure of duty which the law imposes upon an executor in the settlement of the estate, but the question in the case is whether the evidence shows such misconduct or unfitness on his part as would Justify his removal.

Miss Bates was a highly educated woman. She had studied law, and was a graduate of the University of Michigan, and appears to have been a woman of good business capacity. Mr. Réveil had been her attorney since about the year 1896, and had invested large sums of money for her in mortgages and ground rents. All of these investments were profitable to her and well secured. She had great confidence in Mr. Réveil, and was fully advised of what he had done, and had approved his acts, and, after an acquaintance and business experience with him extending over a number of years; she appointed him executor of her will. A great part of the testimony, contained in the record is concerned with an inquiry into certain real estate and mortgage transactions between Miss Bates and Réveil. These transactions appear to have been known to Miss Bates and approved by her, and in no instance did she sustain any loss, and, so far as we have been able to discover, none of them show the unfitness of Réveil to act as executor. There is nothing to show that he abused the trust reposed in him by Miss Bates, and absolutely nothing to support the serious charges contained in the fifth paragraph of the petition that "he did on the 5th day of January, 1911, shortly before the death of the said Octavia Williams Bates, wrongfully and fraudulently induce her to name himself as the executor of her said estate, in the second alleged codicil under date of January 5th, 1911, and that said alleged codicil was prepared and written by the said E. John W. Réveil and presented by him personally to the said Octavia Williams Bates when she was on her death bed and incapable of making a valid deed or contract."

-- Atlantic reporter, Volume 82, AuthorsConnecticut. Supreme Court of Errors, Delaware. Supreme Court, Maine. Supreme Judicial Court, Maryland. Court of Appeals, New Hampshire. Supreme Court, New Jersey. Courts, West Publishing Company, Pennsylvania. Superior Court, Rhode Island. Supreme Court, Vermont. Supreme Court, 1912, pp.987-88.
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Adams, Joseph Marion
Aldrich, Nathan Gilbert
Alexander, Clay Hayward
Anderson, William Brown
Anderson, William Hamilton
Apmadoc, William Tudor
Archer, John Benjamin
Armstrong, James Dell
Arnold, John W.
Awrey, Charles Wesley Calvin
Bacorn, Frederick Winans
Baldwin, Clarke Edward
Baldwin, James Stewart
Ballenger, Frank Warren
Barnes, Henry Winslow
Barnett, Robert Meador
Barrett, Oliver Rogers
Bates, Octavia Williams
Beale, Charles Grant
Beckwith, Luther Gilbert
Benner, Thomas McCurdy
Bessie, Daniel Nathaniel
Bigger, William Stockton
Binford, Eugene Beasley
Blakely, Elbert Follett
Block, Edmund
Bloomfield, Arthur Collier
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Blum, Philip
Bond, Ninian Ulysses
Boreman, Kenner Seaton
Bradley, Clarence Leslie
Bradley, James Congdell Farge
Brooks, Charles Le Mont
Brooks, John Birt
Brower, Charles Herman
Brown, J. Earle
Bullen, Ernest Labon
Bump, Franklin Elisha
Butler, Thomas Jefferson
Butzel, Leo Martin
Cadwallader, William Charles
Campbell, Luther Eugene
Canine, Fred Littleton
Carney, Claude Silas
Carter, Charles Edwin
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Cary, Charles Rowland
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Chandler, Martin Samuel
Chapman, George Albert
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