APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT
J. SPRINGSGUTH, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Respondent, Arzella Jackson, appeals from an order amending the table of heirship in the Estate of Hamp E. Stewart, Jr.
Hamp E. Stewart, Jr. died in Germany on August 11, 1967, while a member of the United States Army. The only asset in his estate consisted of the proceeds of a $10,000 life insurance policy.
On September 13, 1967, Arzella Jackson, respondent and mother of the decedent, petitioned the court for letters of administration. She testified that Hamp E. Stewart, Sr., decedent's father and petitioner in this cause, was never married. On the same day the court issued letters of administration in the name of respondent as the duly appointed administrator of her son's estate.
On September 22, 1967, the court issued an "Order Declaring Heirship" wherein it provided that respondent was decedent's only heir-at-law and next of kin.
On August 27, 1968, petitioner filed his "Petition for Correction of Heirship" alleging in substance that he was lawful father of decedent having married respondent on April 13, 1946, and praying for amendment of the order of September 22, 1967, to include his name as a lawful heir of decedent.
Section 17a of ch. 89, Ill. Rev. Stat. 1965 was in effect at all times pertinent hereto and provided:
"Whenever persons attempt or have attempted to contract and be joined in marriage, and some form of marriage ceremony recognized by law has been performed in apparent compliance with the law in relation to marriage, and, pursuant to such attempt to contract and be joined in marriage, cohabit or have cohabited together as husband and wife, and there is issue born after the taking effect of this Act as a result of such cohabitation, such issue is hereby made legitimate and may take the name of the father, though such attempted marriage is declared void or might be declared void, for any reason."
The following testimony was adduced at the hearing on that petition:
HAMP E. STEWART, SR., petitioner, testified on his own behalf:
He presently resides at 1501 East 69th Street, Chicago, Ill. He previously resided in Greenwood, Mississippi, where he married respondent in 1946. He had known her for two years prior to their marriage and she had used name of Arzella Pryor. He never knew a Lindsey Jackson in Greenwood. He and respondent subsequently moved to Memphis Tennessee, where decedent was born on February 23, 1947. They then moved to Chicago and he resided there with respondent and decedent until 1950 at which time they separated. He lived with respondent as husband and wife from 1946 until 1950. He never obtained a divorce from respondent.
In 1954 he married Annie Stevenson, but no children were born of this marriage. Decedent lived with him before being drafted into the Army.
ARZELLA JACKSON, respondent, testified on her own behalf:
Her maiden name was Arzella Pryor. She married Lindsey Jackson in Greenwood, Mississippi on January 8, 1944. She lived with Jackson in Greenwood until 1946. ...