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HINDE'S LESSEE V. LONGWORTH, 24 U. S. 199 (1826)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hinde's Lessee v. Longworth, 24 U.S. 11 Wheat. 199 199 (1826)

Hinde's Lessee v. Longworth

24 U.S. (11 Wheat.) 199


Question as to the sufficiency of a certificate of acknowledgement of a deed at lands in Ohio.

In examining the admissibility of testimony in the court above, the party excepting is to be confined to the specific objection taken at the trial.

Where a voluntary deed is impeached as fraudulent, evidence of judgments against the grantor is admissible as proof (among other facts) that he was indebted at the time of making the deed, although the grantee was not a party to the suits on which the judgments were obtained.

A voluntary deed is void only as to antecedent and not as to subsequent creditors. But when the record of a judgment obtained a short time after the data of such conveyance appears to be founded on accounts exhibiting a prior indebtedness, it is competent evidence to be left to the jury to establish the fact that the grantor was indebted at the date of the deed.

A deed from a parent to a child for the consideration of love and affection is not absolutely void as against creditors; it maybe so under certain circumstances, but the mere fact of being in debt to a small amount would not make the deed fraudulent if it could be shown that the grantor was in prosperous circumstances and unembarrassed, and that the gift to the child was a reasonable provision, according to his estate and condition in life, and leaving enough for the payment of the debts of the grantor. The want of a valuable consideration may be a badge of fraud, but it is only presumptive, and not conclusive evidence of it, and may be met and rebutted by evidence on the other side, and where the deed to the child is expressed to be for the consideration of love and affection, evidence to show that the father was indebted at the time to the child, to an amount equal to the value of the property conveyed to him, is competent to go to the jury to repel the presumption of fraud.

This was an action of ejectment brought by the plaintiff in error to recover the possession of the premises in the cause, described as in lot No. 107 in the Town of Cincinnati. It appeared in evidence at the trial that on 28 March, 1799, Thomas Doyle, Sr., under whom both parties derived title, was seized and possessed of the lot in question. The lessor of the plaintiff claimed under a deed of that date from Thomas

Page 24 U. S. 200

Doyle, Sr., to his son Thomas; and the defendant set up a title under a judgment against Doyle the elder, at the suit of John Graff, entered at the August term, 1799, of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Hamilton. At the trial, three bills of exceptions were taken by the lessor of the plaintiff.

The first bill of exceptions stated that the plaintiff in support of his action offered in evidence the deed from Doyle, Sr., to his son, to the reading of which in evidence the defendant objected, and the court rejected it as not being properly acknowledged. The certificate of acknowledgment was as follows:

"Hamilton, ss. Personally before me, Thomas Gibson, one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas for said County, the above named Thomas Doyle and _____ Doyle his wife, who being examined separate and apart, acknowledged the foregoing deed to be her hand and seal, free act and deed, for the uses and purposes mentioned."

Thomas Doyle only had signed the deed. His wife was not named as a party to the conveyance except in the conclusion of the deed as follows:

"In witness whereof the said Thomas Doyle and _____ his wife, who hereby relinquishes her right of dower in the premises, have hereto set their hands and affixed their seals, the day and year first above written."

A seal was affixed to the deed, but no signature of the wife.

In the second bill of exceptions, the counsel for the plaintiff stated that he claimed title under the same deed mentioned in the first exception

Page 24 U. S. 201

by virtue of which Doyle the younger became seized of the premises in question, which had descended to the wife of the lessor of the plaintiff, to which facts he adduced proof to the jury. The bill of exceptions then proceeds to state that the defendant, in order to prove that the deed was made with intent to defraud creditors, having read certain depositions to establish that fact, offered in evidence the records of two judgments recovered against Doyle the elder, one at the suit of John Graff at the August term, 1799, of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Hamilton, for upwards of $900, and the other in favor of Edward Shoemaker, at the October term, 1800, of the same court for $590. To which testimony the plaintiff objected, as incompetent evidence, upon the ground, that the proceedings in said suits had taken place between other persons than himself and Doyle, Jr., and to which he was not a party. The objection was overruled by the court, and the testimony admitted.

The third bill of exceptions stated that after the admission of the evidence aforesaid, the judgment records, and in order to repel the presumption of fraud in Doyle the elder, and to show that he had no intention to defraud creditors by making the said deed, but to prove that Doyle the younger, then an infant, was the creditor of his father, the plaintiff offered in evidence the depositions of certain witnesses. The bill of exceptions then proceeded to state that the depositions were offered to rebut the evidence

Page 24 U. S. 202

of fraud in fact, and the evidence of a fraudulent intent in the grantor, but the court declared their opinion to be, that the last mentioned evidence offered for rebutting the charge of fraud was inadmissible, and rejected the whole of the evidence so offered.

Upon these exceptions, a verdict and judgment having been entered for the defendant in the court below, the cause was brought by writ of error to this Court

Page 24 U. S. 205

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