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Lawsuit: John F. Swaner, s/o Jas. W. Phillips & Sarah J. Birt; out of wedlock

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25 Oct 2013 13:49 #1407 by Mamie
(1) DECLARES HE IS ONLY SON AND HEIR OF J.W. PHILLIPS

WARSAW, Ind., Jan. 27.-A sensation was sprung this afternoon when John Fremont Swaner of Chippewa Falls, Wis., appeared to lay claim to the estate of the late James W. Phillips upon the ground that he is the only son and heir.

Mr. Phillips died recently without leaving a will. The estate is estimated at from $35,000 to $50,000. More than twenty distant relatives were already squabbling about the disposition of the property and the announcement of a new heir has thrown them into consternation and caused them to join in fighting the new enemy.

The appearance of the long lost son was a great surprise. He says that he was born in this city in 1858 and is the son of Sarah J. Birt and James Phillips. Old residents recall that in that year Mr. Phillips was the defendant in suits for seduction and breach of promise and that he was forced by court to turn all his property over to the woman he had wronged.

Mr. Swaner says that he resided at Etna Green, Ind., until he moved to Chippewa Falls thirty years ago and that he frequently visited his father in Warsaw prior to that time and was acknowledged as the son. He had not seen his father during the last thirty years and the miser died believing him to be dead.

Source: The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Indiana, Wednesday, Wednesday, January 28, 1914; Pg. 4, Column 4


(2) LONG LOST SON STARTS SUIT TO CLAIM FATHER’S ESTATE

Declares He Is Only Son and Heir of J.W. Phillips.

SUIT TO QUIET TITLE
Filed By Widaman & Widaman, Attorneys for J.F. Swaner.

Widaman & Widaman, attorneys for John F. Swaner, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., on Wednesday filed suit in the Kosciusko circuit court to quiet title against Margaret Berkey and twenty-one others, who claim to be heirs of the late James W. Phillips. This marks the beginning of legal steps, in the attempt of John F. Swaner to prove that he is the rightful and only heir of the late James Phillips.

Readers of this paper will recall an article printed several weeks ago, when it was stated that Mr. Swaner had put in an unexpected appearance and had engaged Attorneys Widaman & Widaman to represent him in his fight to secure possession of the property of Mr. Phillips, whose son he claimed to be. It was stated at that time that Swaner set himself up as the child born out of wedlock to James Phillips and Sarah J. Birt. The quiet title suit, which was filed on Wednesday, shows that the statement made at that time was correct.

The defendants named in the suit are: Margaret Berkey, Isaac Phillips, John C. Phillips, Grace Welch, Pearl Thayer, John W. Phillips, James H. Phillips, Charles M. Phillips, Chester D. Phillips, Sarah Kise, Prudence Proffitt, Mary M. Hodgson, Harriet Profit, Walter Williams, George Williams, Charles Williams, John A. Williams, Hattie Hodgson, Sarah McClurd, Effie Crozier, Nellie Karnes and Etta Porter.

The complaint is in part as follows:
“The plaintiff complains of the defendants and says: That one James W. Phillips died in the county of Kosciusko on or about the third day of August, 1913, intestate, unmarried and without lawful issue. Plaintiff further alleges and says that the said James W. Phillips never married: that he died without lawful issue, or the descendants of lawful issue and that he left surviving him as his only son and only child and heir by law, the plaintiff, he being the issue by Sarah J. Birt, out of wedlock; that said decedent, James W. Phillips, during his lifetime acknowledged this plaintiff as his own child; that said, Margaret Berker, a sister; Isaac Phillips, a brother, and each of the other defendants, as nieces and nephews of said decedent, are claiming and asserting to have and to hold an interest in and to above and foregoing described real estate as the heirs in law of the said James W. Phillips, deceased, and have had a partition suit brought in this court in which cause Isaac Phillips, et al., are plaintiffs and Margaret Berkey is defendant, asking for the partition of the above and foregoing described real estate and by order of the Kosciusko circuit court, partition thereof has been decreed and the defendant, T. Wayne Anglin, has been appointed a commissioner to sell the real estate and distribute the proceeds to the said defendants; that the said claims of said defendants to this suit are each and all adverse, unfounded and a cloud upon said plaintiff’s good title to the real estate; that said defendants’ claim that they are the rightful and legal heirs of said James W. Phillips, are wholly unfounded and without right.

“Wherefore this plaintiff prays that he may be declared to be the lawful heir and acknowledged son of the said James W. Phillips, and as such heir and son that he be decreed to be the absolute owner in fee simple of all the real estate and that the defendants and each and all of them may be forever barred from setting up or claiming any title or interest in and to said real estate.”

The case is one in which the entire community will be deeply interested and when it comes up for trial it is probable that the courtroom will be filled with interested spectators.

defendants’ claim that they are the rightful and legal heirs of said James W. Phillips, are wholly unfounded and without right.

“Wherefore this plaintiff prays that he may be declared to be the lawful heir and acknowledged son of the said James W. Phillips, and as such heir and son that he be decreed to be the absolute owner in fee simple of all the real estate and that the defendants and each and all of them may be forever barred from setting up or claiming any title or interest in and to said real estate.”

The case is one in which the entire community will be deeply interested and when it comes up for trial it is probable that the courtroom will be filled with interested spectators.

Source: Warsaw Daily Times, Warsaw, Indiana, Thursday, September 24, 1914; Pg. 1, Column 1

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