The Thorndike will case.
[From the ]
An interesting case, establishing the validity of the marriage of a citizen of Massachusetts
in the German free city of Frankfort
on the Main
, before the United States Consul, and involving quite a large amount of property, was recently decided by the full bench of the Supreme Court of this State, at Boston
It appeared that Israel Thorndike
, the older, by a codicil to his will, proved in 1832 gave to his son Andrew
$10,000 one-haft of which waste be placed by his executors with the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance
Company so that Andrew Thorndike
should receive the interest death the principal should be paid to his lawful heirs.
died in 1854; and Israel Thorndike
, the younger brother of Andrew
, claimed that he, with his brothers and sisters, and the children of such of his brothers and sisters as have died, were the lawful heirs of Andrew
, and as such entitled to receive the $20,000, with the accumulation since 1854, and he had accordingly commenced an action against the trustee, under the will of Israel Thorndike
, the older, to recover his share of it. On the other hand, Katherine Thorndike
, a German woman, and Andress
, claimed to be entitled to the whole of this sum, as the widow and children of Andrew
Under this state of things the trustee brought a bill in equity, in the nature of a bill of interpleader, and the various claimants were summoned into Court to maintain their claims against each other.
Prior to August, 1851, Katherina Bayerl had borne to Mr. Thorndike
the two children above named.
At that time, while both were temporarily residing at Frankfort
on the Main
, the being a citizen of Massachusetts
and she having her domicil at Meniz,) they entered into the civil contract of marriage before the United States Consul, and afterwards lived together as husband and wife, he recognizing both the children as his, until his death.
The law of Frankfort
, however, in general terms, requires marriages to be solemnized in another form, which was not complied with by these parties.
And evidence was taken of doctors of the civil law of that city upon the question whether this law applies to foreigners.
The doctors disagreed.
Two of them were entirely certain that the marriage was invalid.
Two others were equally confident that the law does not apply to foreigners, and that the marriage was valid.
The case was very elaborately argued by a long array of counsel.
, after carefully comparing the opinions of the legal doctors, and the reasons assigned by them respectively, and minutely examining the provisions of the civil act of Frankfort
respecting marriages and taking into view the facts, which were proved, that marriages celebrated in this form were quite frequent with foreigners temporarily residing in that place, and had received a certain degree of recognition, in some instances, from the Senate and the judicial tribunals there, came to the conclusion, which was expressed in an elaborate opinion by Judge Merrick
, that the marriage was valid, and that the money in controversy, which now amounts to about $30,000, belongs to Andreas
and Anna L. Thorndike
, as children and lawful heirs of Andrew Thorndike