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ANNA ELIZABETH CHARLTON PIPER v. HAROLD O. MOWRIS (01/29/76)

decided: January 29, 1976.

ANNA ELIZABETH CHARLTON PIPER, NOW ANNA ELIZABETH REED, ET AL., APPELLANTS IN NO. 140,
v.
HAROLD O. MOWRIS, APPELLANT IN NO. 137



COUNSEL

Paul E. Allen, Meadville, John E. Egan, Franklin, for appellant in No. 137.

Lee E. Whitmire, Jr., Whitmire & Mannix, Beaver Falls, for appellants in No. 140 and appellee in No. 137.

Paul E. Allen, Meadville, for appellee in No. 140.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 466 Pa. Page 92]

OPINION

This case began as an attempt by appellants in Appeal No. 140 to secure an injunction restraining the appellant, Harold O. Mowris, in Appeal No. 137 from maintaining an easement which runs over the land of the appellants.

These appeals*fn1 follow a final decree in equity of the court en banc which held that the appellant in Appeal No. 137, Harold O. Mowris, has an express easement or an easement by necessity over the tracts of land owned by the appellants in Appeal No. 140 and that the easement was not lost due to non-use, abandonment or adverse possession. (Hereinafter referred to as the Reed-Prather tract.) The court en banc, however, limited Harold O. Mowris' right of way over the Reed-Prather

[ 466 Pa. Page 93]

    tract to "pedestrian use and only in the most exigent circumstances can Defendant [Harold O. Mowris] use said right of way for vehicular use." Thus, the appellants in Appeal No. 140 challenge the finding of the court en banc that Harold O. Mowris can maintain a right of way over their lands and Harold O. Mowris, the appellant in Appeal No. 137, challenges the finding of the court en banc that he can only make limited use of this right of way. In addition, the appellants in Appeal No. 140 maintain that even if an easement was created in favor of Harold O. Mowris, his rights were extinguished by "non-use, abandonment and adverse possession."

These appeals involve contiguous tracts of land which are located in Woodcock Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania. John B. Prather, Grace W. Prather, James S. Charlton and Marion A. Charlton, appellants in Appeal No. 140, are owners of a two-acre parcel bordering on the west side of County Farm Road at the southerly side of its crossing with Woodcock Creek. (Hereinafter referred to as the "Prather tract.") Anna Elizabeth Reed is the owner of a tract of land on the westerly side and contiguous to the Prather tract and appellants in Appeal No. 140, A. Augustus Charlton and Marian M. Charlton, his wife, are owners of a life estate interest in the westerly portion of the Anna Elizabeth Reed tract. (Hereinafter referred to as the Reed tract.)

Harold O. Mowris, appellant in Appeal No. 137, is the owner of a tract of land adjoining the westerly line of the Reed tract. Harold Mowris claims a right of way which runs easterly over the Reed tract and through the Prather tract to County Farm Road.

The chain of title to the Mowris-Reed-Prather pieces of land begins with the common owners of these tracts, Thomas E. Carr and Beatrice Carr. On June 10, 1922, Thomas E. Carr and Beatrice Carr conveyed two acres to Thomas J. Prather. These are the same two acres making

[ 466 Pa. Page 94]

    up the present Prather tract. The grantee took subject to ...


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