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Charlebois v. Renaud

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 16, 1931

MARY RENAUD and SERAPHINE CARTER, as Executrix of the Last Will and Testament of HENRY RENAUD, Deceased, Appellees

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Dudley W. Windes, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. F. H. Lyman and Mr. Ben L. Rudderow, for Appellants.

Mr. Thomas A. Flynn, Mr. Thomas W. Nealon and Mr. Joseph E. Morrison, for Appellees.


[38 Ariz. 379] LOCKWOOD, J.

This is an action brought by Louis J., Martin N., Ferdinand A., Arthur J. and George J. Charlebois, and Blanche C. Cavaness, hereinafter called appellants, against Mary Renaud and Seraphine Carter, as executrix of the last will and testament of Henry Renaud, deceased, hereinafter called appellees, for the purpose of impressing a trust on certain property on account of funds alleged to [38 Ariz. 380] have been received by Henry and Mary Renaud from the property of the estate of appellants' father. The case was tried before the court sitting without a jury, and judgment was rendered in favor of appellees, and from said judgment this appeal has been taken.

We must assume that, where there is a conflict in the evidence, the trial court took that view of it which would support the findings of fact and judgment. In re Estate of Schuster, 35 Ariz. 457, 281 P. 38.

And this is binding on us if any reasonable testimony sustains it. Moeur v. Farm Builders' Corp., 35 Ariz. 130, 274 P. 1043.

Following this rule, we state the facts in the case as follows:

Appellants are all the children of one Joseph Charlebois and the appellee Mary Renaud. Some time prior to 1880 Joseph Charlebois and Mary Lyon were married in the state of Michigan. The family moved to Arizona shortly afterwards, residing first in Pinal county, but about the year 1890 they moved to Maricopa county and established a home on a certain portion of section 36, township 2 north, range 2 east, G. & S.R.B. & M. This township was surveyed and the plat filed in the United States land office December 2, 1870. Charlebois built a frame house, or, as it is commonly called, a shack, resting upon blocks placed on the ground, and the family lived there until Charlebois died in 1891, leaving surviving him his wife, Mary, and six children, the appellants in this case. No other improvements were made by him on the premises. The evidence further was that at one time the Charlebois' owned a few cattle running in the Superstition Mountains. We think, however, it is not necessary to consider these cattle, for it is admitted by counsel for appellants in his brief that the proceeds of the personal property, whatever they might amount to, were used by Mrs. Charlebois in the support of the family before her marriage [38 Ariz. 381] with Renaud. No administration was ever had on the estate of Charlebois.

In 1893 the widow of Charlebois married Henry Renaud, who thereafter resided with her and appellants upon said tract of land.

Page 191

In 1897 Renaud took a lease upon the premises as occupant thereof under the provisions of chapter 69, Session Laws of Arizona of 1897, and some time subsequent to this he sold and transferred his lease upon the tract to the University of Arizona, and it was for many years used by the University as an experimental farm. The records of the University are very incomplete, and the true price paid by it for the lease is not definitely shown therein, but appellants testify that Renaud and his wife told them many times that the amount received was $4,000.

While Renaud was living upon this land, he purchased certain other land, and shortly after his sale of the lease to the University acquired some other realty. The basis of this suit is the contention by appellants that at the time of his death Charlebois had an inheritable interest in the thirty-one acre tract above referred to; that such interest was taken possession of by Henry Renaud and his wife; that they continued in possession thereof until it was sold to the University of Arizona in 1900; and that the proceeds thereof, amounting to some $4,000, were used by the Renauds in purchasing the realty upon which it is sought to impress a trust.

There are some twenty assignments of error, many of which present very interesting legal questions. We are of the opinion, however, that the only thing which we need consider is the finding of the court "that at the time of the death of Joseph Charlebois he was not seised or possessed of any estate, either in the State of Arizona or elsewhere, of any value whatsoever." If this finding is sustained by the evidence, we need go no further to determine that the judgment should be affirmed. Let us then consider what, if any, ...

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