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MARGUERITE STEWART SHOWS, ET AL v. WILLIE S. WATKINS

MARCH 05, 1986

MARGUERITE STEWART SHOWS, ET AL
v.
WILLIE S. WATKINS, ET AL



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, DAN LEE AND PRATHER

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

A boundary line dispute gives rise to this appeal from the Chancery Court of Perry County. Appellants, the widow and surviving children of Roland Shows, claim the deceased, their predecessor in title, obtained title to property south of a borderline fence by adverse possession and that the disputed property became part of his homestead. The appellees, Willie S. Watkins, Ruby C. Watkins, and Standard Gravel Company, Inc. claim the property in dispute was conveyed to their predecessor in title through a quitclaim deed dated June 13, 1980. Appellants sought, in the trial court, to have the quitclaim deed invalidated because the property conveyed

was claimed to be homestead and the deed was not joined by the grantor's spouse, Marguerite Shows. From an adverse ruling the appellants perfect this appeal and divide their argument into two parts:

 (1) Plaintiffs' predecessor in title, Roland Shows, acquired title to the disputed tract by adverse possession.

 (2) The disputed tract was part of the homestead of Roland Shows and Marguerite Shows; thus the quitclaim deed from Roland Shows to James P. Garner and Mary Evelyn Garner was void as to the disputed tract.

 This Court reverses the judgment in part, but affirms in part and remands for the addition of all parties needed for a just determination of the homestead issue.

 Did Roland Shows acquire title to the disputed tract of land by adverse possession?

 Miss. Code Ann. 15-1-13 (1972) states:

 Ten years' actual adverse possession by any person claiming to be the owner for that time of any land, uninterruptedly continued for ten years by occupancy, descent, conveyance, or otherwise, in whatever way such occupancy may have commenced or continued, shall vest in every actual occupant or possessor of such land a full and complete title, saving to persons under the disability of minority or unsoundness of mind the right to sue within ten years after the removal of such disability, as provided in section 15-1-7. However, the saving in favor of persons under disability of unsoundness of mind shall never extend longer than 31 years.

 Furthermore, the recent case of Trotter v. Gaddis & McLaurin Inc., 452 So.2d 453 (Miss. 1984) reflects the Mississippi case law in explaining:

 There are six essential elements necessary to constitute an effective adverse possession claim. There must be possession which is (1) and under claim of right, (2) actual, (3) open, notorious, and visible, (4) exclusive, (5) continuous and uninterrupted for ten years, and (6) peaceful.

 Trotter, 452 So.2d at 456.

 Appellants introduced ten witnesses who testified regarding Roland Shows' total dominion and control over the disputed property for a period of twenty years. In addition, it was stipulated among the parties that eight additional witnesses could have testified concerning Roland Shows' control of the property and that the northern boundary line of his property was known to be the fence.

 Included in the testimony concerning Roland Shows' control of the property was testimony that Mr. Shows' entire homeplace, consisting of approximately 40 acres and including the disputed four acre tract, was completely enclosed by a fence. There was also testimony that Roland Shows made use of the disputed land in the following ways: He cleared the land, trees and bushes, cut paperwood, kept hogs and cattle, planted assorted vegetables, hunted, fished, gave others permission to hunt and fish, entered into a gravel lease, and stocked the gravel pit pond with catfish.

 As a supporting argument, the appellants contend that "it was the intent of all parties to the various conveyances that Roland Shows have title to the disputed tract south of the boundary line fence." That contention was proved ...


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