KNIGHT V. PAXTON, 124 U. S. 552 (1888)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Knight v. Paxton, 124 U.S. 552 (1888)

Knight v. Paxton

Submitted January 4, 1888

Decided February 6, 1888

124 U.S. 552


An antenuptial settlement was executed prior to 1867 by which J. M. conveyed to his brother T. M. land in Illinois in trust for his intended wife, for her life, and in case of her death leaving a child or children, to such child or children, and in case of her death without a child, then to S. M. and O. L. for life, with remainder to J. M. and his heirs. In May, 1867, J. M., S. M., and O. L. joined in conveying the premises to the wife for the purpose of determining the trust and vesting their respective rights under the settlement in her absolutely. In 1872, J. M. and the wife joined in a trust deed of the premises in the nature of a mortgage to secure the payment of a debt of the husband. The trust deed purported to be acknowledged by the husband and wife, but after foreclosure and sale, the husband and wife, being in possession of the premises, set up as against the purchaser that the wife had never acknowledged it and that, by reason thereof, she had never parted with the homestead right in the premises secured to her by the law of Illinois. The purchaser filed this bill in equity to have the wife's homestead right set off to her on a division or, if the property was incapable of division, to have it discharged of it on the payment into court of $1,000.


(1) That without deciding the effect of the birth of a child after the deed of May, 1867, as a restraint upon the alienation of the fee, the trust deed of 1872, under the Illinois statute of March 27, 1869, respecting deeds of femes covert, operated to convey the life estate of the wife to the grantee, and that no acknowledgment was necessary to its validity.

(2) That the master having reported that the property could not be divided, the complainant was entitled to the possession of the whole premises under the laws of Illinois upon payment into court of $1,000.

Bill in equity. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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