Agricultural Bank of Mississippi v. Rice

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Agricultural Bank of Mississippi v. Rice by Roger B. Taney
Syllabus
Court Documents
Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

45 U.S. 225

AGRICULTURAL BANK OF MISSISSIPPI  v.  RICE

THIS case was brought up, by writ of error, from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Mississippi.

It was an ejectment brought by the defendants in error against the Agricultural Bank and others, to recover two undivided third parts of a lot of ground in the city of Natchez, bounded as follows:-fronting on Main Street, between Canal and Wall Streets (formerly Front and Second Streets), beginning on Main Street, at the corner of a lot owned by the heirs of Samuel Postlethwaite, on which a large new cotton-warehouse has been erected; thence along the northwestern side of Main Street, west, to the line of the lot bequeathed by Adam Bower, deceased, to his widow, now Mrs. Pendleton; thence north, along the eastern line of the said last-mentioned lot, to the back line of the said premises, where the same bounds on the property formerly owned by Elijah Bell; thence along said last-mentioned line, to the line of the lot belonging to the heirs of said Postlethwaite; and along said last-mentioned line to the place of beginning, on Main Street; and being the same property now known as the City Hotel, in Natchez.

The plaintiffs below claimed the lot as the heirs and devisees of Adam Bower, deceased, who died seized of the property, and the only question in the case was, whether or not they had conveyed away their title in the manner prescribed by law.

The circumstances are so fully set forth in the bill of exceptions, that a recital of the bill will be sufficient. The cause was tried at May term, 1843, when the jury, under the direction of the court, found a verdict for the plaintiffs.

Bill of Exceptions tendered by the Defendants.

Be it remembered, that on the trial of this cause, and while the same was before the jury, the said plaintiffs, by their counsel, to maintain and prove the said issue on their part, gave in evidence and proved that one Adam Bower (now deceased), in his lifetime, previous to the year 1833, was seised in fee of a certain lot or parcel of land in the said declaration, and hereinafter described. That on the 16th of April, 1833 the said Adam Bower, being so seized of said land, died, leaving three daughters, to wit, Martha Phipps, wife of William M. Phipps; Mary Haile, wife of William R. Haile; and Sarah Bower, a feme sole, his heiresses, who took and inherited under the last will and testament of the said Adam Bower the said fee of the said land. That the said Martha, Mary, and Sarah, at the decease of the said Adam Bower, were infants under the age of twenty-one years. That since the death of the said Adam Bower, the said William M. Phipps and William R. Haile have both departed this life, and that since the death of the said William R. Haile, Mary Haile, his widow, has intermarried with Charles Rice, one of the plaintiffs. That at the time of the commencement of this suit, the said defendants were in possession of said premises, holding the same adversely.

The plaintiffs' counsel here rested.

Whereupon, the counsel for the said defendants, to maintain and prove the said issue on their part, gave in evidence, that after the death of the said Adam Bower, and while the fee of the said land

'Witnesses,-THOS. THOMAS. Mary, and Sarah, the said Noah Barlow and one Henry S. Holton contracted with the said heirs and their husbands aforesaid for the sale and purchase of the said lands, and in consideration that the said heirs would make and insure to them a good and valid title in fee simple to the said land, they agreed to give and pay to the said heirs for the same the sum of $40,000; $5,000 whereof should be paid in hand on the delivery of possession, and the residue should be secured to be paid in instalments, to be specified, in promissory notes, to be executed by the said Holton, and indorsed by the said Barlow, and by a mortgage on the said land. That the said Holton and Barlow, in pursuance of the said contract, paid the said $5,000 to the said heirs, and delivered to them twelve promissory notes for $2,916.66 1/3 each, all bearing date the 16th day of April, 1835, and payable as follows: three of said notes in twelve months, three others in two years, three others in three years, and the other three in four years from the date thereof; and made by the said Henry S. Holton, and indorsed by the said Noah Barlow. And the said heirs, upon receipt of the said notes and the said sum of $5,000, delivered to the said Henry S. Holton and Noah Barlow possession of the said land, with the tenements and appurtenances, and at the same time executed to the said Holton and Barlow a bond for title, in and by which said bond the said heirs agreed and bound themselves, and their heirs, to make, execute, and deliver, after duly acknowledging the same, a full and complete general warranty deed of all said premises and appurtenances, buildings and furniture, to the said Holton and Barlow, their heirs and assigns, thereby covenanting a good and indefeasible title to said lot of ground to said Holton and Barlow, their heirs and assigns, against all persons, as soon as a surveyor can be had to make a survey of the premises to ascertain the exact boundaries. That the said bond was executed by the said Sarah, as Sarah Gibson, and by her husband, David H. Gibson, the said Sarah having intermarried with the said David H. Gibson between the drafting of the said bond and its execution; which said bond is in the words and figures following, to wit:--

Agreement entered into and executed this ___ day of April, 1835, between William M. Phipps and _____ his wife, William R. Haile and _____ his wife, and Sarah Bowers, parties of the one part, and Noah Barlow and Henry S. Holton, parties of the other or second part; the above-named parties of the first part, for the consideration hereinafter named, agree this day to deliver to said parties of the second part full possession of the tenements, tavern, stables, and other buildings occupied and owned by the late Adam Bower, and heretofore also occupied since his death by the said William M. Phipps, and the lot or parcel of ground upon which the same stands, being on the north side of Main Street, between Canal and Wall Streets, in said city of Natchez; and also the furniture, kitchen and household, as well as that about the stables, and belonging to and in said tavern, buildings, and said premises; and said parties of the first part do further, for the consideration hereinafter named, agree and bind themselves, and their heirs, to make, execute, and deliver, after duly acknowledging the same, a full and complete general warranty deed of all said premises and appurtenances, buildings and furniture, to said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, thereby conveying said lot of ground, appurtenances, and buildings, and said furniture, and warranting a good and indefeasible title thereto to said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, against all persons, as soon as a surveyor can be obtained to make a survey of said premises, so as to ascertain the exact extent and boundaries of said premises. In consideration of which, said parties of the second part agree to pay this day to said parties of the first part five thousand dollars, and upon the execution and delivery of the said deed to them as aforesaid, they, the said parties of the second part, their executors or administrators, will execute and deliver to said parties their promissory notes for thirty-five thousand dollars, payable in one, two, three, and four years, in the following manner,-to be secured by a mortgage executed by said parties of the second part, and their wives, on said premises, to wit:

WM. M. PHIPPS. [L. S.]

MARTHA PHIPPS. [L. S.]

W. R. HAILE. [L. S.]

MARY HAILE. [L. S.]

D. H. GIBSON. [L. S.]

SARAH GIBSON. [L. S.]

That the said bond, though apparently incomplete, was executed as complete, and the notes were secured by mortgage by said Holton and Barlow, according to said contract. That after the execution and delivery of said bond and notes, and when the said Holton and Barlow were in quiet possession of the premises, they handed said bond to their counsel, with instructions to have a deed drawn in compliance with said bond, and on or about the 14th of September, 1835, received from their counsel an instrument in writing, or deed, without examining the same, all parties supposing it to be correct, and in conformity with their directions; that the said deed was executed and delivered on the said 14th of September, 1835, by the said heirs and their respective husbands. And it was intended by said heirs to convey to said Holton and Barlow the complete title of the said heirs and their husbands in said land, which said deed is in the words and figures following, to wit:--

This indenture, made the 14th day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, between William M. Phipps in right of his wife Martha, William R. Haile in right of his wife Mary, and David H. Gibson in right of his wife Sarah, legal heirs and representatives of Adam Bower, deceased, of the county of Adams and State of Mississippi, of the one part, and Noah Barlow and Margaret his wife, and Henry S. Holton and Theoda his wife, of the same place, of the other part, witnesseth: that the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of forty thousand dollars, to them in hand paid by the said parties of the second part, at or before the sealing and delivering of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, and the said parties of the second part, their heirs, executors, and administrators for ever released therefrom, by these presents have granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, convey, and confirm unto the said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns for ever, all that certain lot or parcel of ground situate in the city of Natchez and State aforesaid, fronting on Main Street, between what were, before the confusion of names produced by the wisdom of the city council, Front and Second Streets, which said lot is bounded and described as follows, to wit:-beginning on Main Street, at the corner of a lot now owned by the heirs of Samuel Postlethwaite, on which a large new cotton-warehouse has been erected by Harriett _____, along the northwestern side of Main Street, west, to the line of the lot bequeathed by Adam Bower, deceased, to his widow, now Mrs. Pendleton; thence north, along the eastern line of said last-mentioned lot, to the back line of the premises hereby conveyed, where the same bounds on the property of Elijah Bell; thence along said last-mentioned line to the line of the lot belonging to the heirs of said Postlethwaite; and along said last-mentioned line to the place of beginning on Main Street; the lot hereby conveyed being the large tavern establishment occupied by said Bower in his lifetime, and since his death by the said William M. Phipps; also, all the household and kitchen furniture, and apparatus, and utensils about said tavern, stables, or other buildings on said lot; together with all and singular, the appurtenances, hereditaments, privileges, and advantages whatsoever unto the above described premises belonging, or in any wise appertaining; and also all the estate, right, title, interest, and property, and claim whatsoever, either at law or in equity, of them the said parties of the first part, of, in, and to the same; to have and to hold the above granted, bargained, and described premises, with the appurtenances, unto the said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, forever; and the said parties of the first part, for themselves, their heirs, executors, and administrators, do covenant, grant, promise, and agree to and with the said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, that they, the said parties of the first part, and their heirs, the above described and hereby granted premises, and every part thereof, with the appurtenances, unto the said parties of the second part, and their heirs and assigns, against the said parties of the first part, and against all persons or claiming, or to claim said premises, or any part thereof, shall and will warrant, and by these presents for ever defend.

In witness whereof, the said parties of the first have hereunto set their hands and seals, this day and year above written.

WM. M. PHIPPS. [L. S.]

MARTHA PHIPPS. [L. S.]

WILLIAM R. HAILE. [L. S.]

MARY HAILE. [L. S.]

DAVID H. GIBSON. [L. S.]

SARAH GIBSON. [L. S.]

Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of

N. W. CALMES, J. P.THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, Adams county:

Personally appeared before the undersigned, justice of the peace for said county, William M. Phipps and Martha his wife, and William R. Haile and Mary Haile his wife, and David H. Gibson and Sarah Gibson his wife, and acknowledged that they signed, sealed, and delivered the within deed on the day and year and for the purposes therein contained. And Martha Phipps, Sarah Gibson, and Mary Haile, wives of William M. Phipps, William R. Haile, and David H. Gibson, having been examined separate and apart from their husbands, and acknowledged that they signed, sealed, and delivered the same as their act and deed, free of fears, threats, or compulsion of their said husbands.

Given under my hand and seal, this 15th day of September, 1835.

N. W. CALMES, J. P.

Notes[edit]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).