BANK V. PARTEE, 99 U. S. 325 (1878)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bank v. Partee, 99 U.S. 325 (1878)

Bank v. Partee

99 U.S. 325


A., a married woman, offered to pay one-half of her indebtedness in land in B. County, Mississippi, at $10 per acre, and give her notes secured by mortgage on her land in C. County, in that state, for the remainder. A large number of her creditors having accepted the offer, she conveyed her land to D. in trust, but provided in the deed that if any of them should fail within ninety days from its date "to signify in writing their acceptance of the terms of settlement and payment of their claims or debts," they should "be considered as refusing the same" and be debarred from the benefits of the deed. Among

Page 99 U. S. 326

the creditors accepting the offer was E., who surrendered the notes held by him and took the new ones. After the ninety days had expired, A. expressed her hope that all her creditors would come in, and authorized her agent, in case they did, to receive her old notes and deliver the new ones in exchange therefor. At the time of said offer, A. represented that the land was encumbered only by a small annuity, and concealed the fact that a judgment by default had been obtained in C. County by F. against her and her husband. On execution sued out on that judgment, G., her son, and said F. purchased her land in that county. E. thereupon filed his bill to set the judgment aside,

or to obtain leave to redeem the land.


1. That E. having acted in pursuance of the original offer of A., the condition in her deed as to a written acceptance within ninety days did not apply to him.

2. That the condition being only in the nature of a penalty against the creditors, not assenting in the prescribed way, could be and in fact was waived by A.

3. That following the decisions of the Supreme Court of Mississippi on the code of that state, unless a married woman has a separate estate there situate, she is, as to her contracts, subject to the disability of coverture, and that a creditor suing her there must aver in his bill or declaration that she has such an estate, and that his debt is a charge upon it, or ought to be paid out of it.

4. That as the record of the judgment in satisfaction of which the land was sold does not disclose the fact that A. had such an estate, and that it was liable for her debts, the judgment was void.

5. That F. and G. were not innocent purchasers.

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