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Funk v. Library Bd. of Reddick's Library

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 30, 1976.

ROBERT FUNK ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE LIBRARY BOARD OF THE REDDICK'S LIBRARY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of La Salle County; the Hon. LEONARD HOFFMAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from an order of the Circuit Court of La Salle County dismissing a two-count complaint which sought to have certain dispositions made as to the William Reddick mansion.

Before devoting our attention to the issues raised in this appeal we deem it necessary to first delve into the history of the city of Ottawa and more particularly into the life of one of its colorful and prominent citizens, namely, William Reddick.

William Reddick, born in Ireland, arrived in La Salle County when 23 years of age. For the next 50 years he busily engaged himself in farming, politics, business and civic affairs. In 1856 he contracted for the design and construction of a palatial residence which was completed in 1858. This imposing structure, built of stone and brick and classified as being of the Italiante style, is still at the corner of Lafayette and Columbus Streets in the City of Ottawa.

William Reddick died on March 8, 1885. After being tested in court the will of William Reddick was admitted in probate. The will made a number of bequests and devises; however, the provisions of that document which are pertinent to this appeal are as follows:

"Seventeenth, I am desirous that a good Public Library and Reading-Room shall be established and maintained in the city of Ottawa, which said Library and Reading Room Shall under proper rules and regulations, ever be open to the public.

I therefore give and devise unto my executor herein named, the following described real estate. Viz: The South ten feet of Lot Six (6), and all of lots Seven (7), ten (10) and eleven (11), and twelve (12), all in Block number sixty Six (66) In State's Addition to the city of Ottawa. and the appurtenances thereunto belonging.

Reserving however unto the Said Elizabeth Burrier Funk Reddick and unto the Said Mary ODonnell the use and occupation of said premises, for the space of one year next succeeding my death.

To have and to hold the said premises unto my said Executor. In Trust nevertheless to be by him conveyed as hereinafter directed.

And I direct my said Executor, as soon as the city council of the City of Ottawa, shall first organize and establish a Public Library and Reading Room, and appoint a board Directors in accordance with the provisions of the Statute, and of an act of the general assembly of the State of Illinois. Approved March 7th, 1873. Entitled `An Act to authorize cities, incorporated town, such Townships to establish and maintain free Public libraries and reading rooms,' to execute and deliver a proper deed conveying the said real estate last described to the Said board of directors; to be by said board used for a public library and reading room, said public library and reading room to be in my dwelling house and Said premises, and be known and called by the name of `Reddick's Library'

And I hereby request the city council of the city of Ottawa, as soon as possible after my death to establish a public library and reading room, and to create a board of directors under the provisions of said act.

Eighteenth, All the rest residue and remainder of my estate of whatever name and nature however known and described, and wherever situated, I hereby give devise and bequeath unto my executor, herein after named,

In trust to be by him converted into money, and when converted into money said money to be paid over to the Board of Directors, to be established and created by the City Council of the City of Ottawa, under the act of the general assembly in relation to `libraries' heretofore mentioned, as soon as said board shall be duly appointed and created according to law."

The real property described in the 17th clause of the will is that realty upon which the William Reddick mansion ...


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