Monday, July 18, 2016

The Settlement
Louie Heirs vs Washington Heirs

George Washington and and his wife Leah Beasley Washington, who did not have children together, died intestate. Fifty acres in Copiah County, Mississippi, were at dispute among their heirs.

The complainants in the case were George's grandchildren, children of his deceased son from a previous relationship. They claimed Leah Washington never held title to the land, therefore her kin could not inherit the property.

The defendants in the case were Leah's nieces and nephews. They charged Leah was the only heir at the time of George's death and they also questioned the paternity of Jim Washington. They believed Jim was not a son of George Washington, thus, Jim's children were not heirs of George Washington.

The complainants filed the case in Copiah County Chancery Court, October 1903.

George and Leah purchased the land jointly, thus, when George died in 1900, Leah became the absolute or sole owner of the property. The questions of George's heirs, title and paternity did not need to be addressed. Leah was the sole owner and it would be her heirs, the Louie family, who would inherit the 50 acres of land when she died in 1902.

Copiah County Chancery Court Records
Case Number: 3260
Microfilm Number: 8245
Record found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

The Defendants - William Louie et al.
The Complainants - Lawyer Washington et al.


  1. This is a very interesting story! I assume then that the community property law decided the case?

    1. Mississippi is not a community property law state, it is a common law state. The court interpreted the property as a "joint tenancy with right of survivorship" or "tenancy by the entirety." The property automatically belonged to the surviving spouse, Leah, when George died. It depends on the wording in the deed or title.