Important Fairfax Case in Supreme Court To-day


Margaret B., Edward A., and Susan B. Sowles Dispute Claim of Fairfax to the Property

(Special to The Messenger.) Montpelier, May 19, 1903. The case of the Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax, and trustees thereof and the town of Fairfax vs Margaret B., Edward A. and Susan B. Sowles is on trial in the supreme court to-day.

The case hinges on a large bequest in the will of Hiram Bellows which gives 250 shares of Chicago Rock Island & Pacific railroad stock, the par value being $100, to establish and maintain a free school in Mr. Bellows's native town of Fairfax, under the name of the Bellows Free Academy of Vermont. Beside the stock a parcel of land was given. The will gives the property to the town of Fairfax with an order that trustees, be chosen to care for the funds and when, and not, before, the fund shall amount to $250,000, a building costing $50,000 shall be erected, the remainder of the fund to be set aside for a permanent fund. In case the town of Fairfax should not accept the bequest and make provision for its care, then Margaret B. Sowles was to have all the estate.

Mr. Bellows died in St. Albans 35 years ago. In 1878 an act incorporating the academy was passed by the legislature. Since then the trustees elected have had charge of the fund. A short time ago the fund had increased to an extent that gave the trustees reason to believe that its value was more than $250,000. Arrangements were made to sell some of the stock in order to raise money for the building. A telegram from E. A. Sowles, attorney for M. B. Sowles, stopped them and the present litigation resulted. The meaning of the will is in dispute. The defendants claim that "funds" was meant to indicate only the property outside the railroad stock. The defendants have been enjoined from further hindrance of the trustees in selling the stock. A. A. Hall appears for the trustees and E. A. Sowles and Eilisha May for the defendants.