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for Johnston, James Cathcart, 1782-1865
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A continuation from a prior entry, this article continues to examine the legal battle over the will of North Carolinian James Cathcart Johnston. After his death in 1865, Johnston left his estate to three of his closest friends, not to his family. A family member contested the will in what became a sensational and prominent legal contest. The main issue of the will contested was whether or not Johnston was mentally fit to compose a will which left out his family members. After testimony from several doctors, the will was upheld and the estate was left in the control of his friends.
After his death in 1865, James Cathcart Johnston defied the usual practice of leaving his worldly possessions to his family and instead gave them to three close friends in his will. An heir contested the will which led to a sensational 1867 trial in Chowan County Superior Court that involved former governors, congressmen, a cabinet officer and a superior court judge.