[APG Public List] Age 21 as legal mandate for sale of land in 1814 Virginia

Barbara Vines Little, CG bvlittle at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 25 18:23:12 MDT 2009


Well pre Civil War at least and I assume even today. I am no lawyer, I 
just study earlyVirginia law. If you want to correctly interpret the 
record you have to know the law. I love to read Law Reports they explain 
so many things.

The basis is common law. The child's estate was not to be wasted and you 
have instances where landowning children where bound out for their care 
because the land did not produce enough to keep them but could not be 
sold while they were underage.

This is why you have those informational chancery suits where one member 
of the family sues or is sued by other family members to force a 
division. Unless the court stepped in and authorized the division and 
saw that guardians were appointed to protect the child's interest the 
estate could not be divided and the other family members could not get 
their share. Most of theses happened because one or more of the siblings 
had died leaving underage heirs.

Pre 1787, of course, primogeniture ruled.

Barbara Vines Little, CG
Dominion Research Services
PO Box 1273
Orange, VA 22960

540-832-3473 
bvlittle at earthlink.net

CG, Certified Genealogist, is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used
under license by board-certified genealogists after periodic evaluation; the board name is
registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office. 



CL Swope (alfonsa) wrote:
> Wow, Barbara. That's the mother load. Thank you!
>
> It raises a follow up for my general edification:
> Am I to understand that your last sentence "Unless the family went to 
> court and the court ordered a division, an intestate estate could not 
> be divided until the youngest heir (whether a child, or a child of a 
> deceased child) came of age " is true throughout Virginia history in 
> regards to an intestate estate?
>
> Cynthia
>
>
> Barbara Vines Little, CG wrote:
>> You are correct and the most likely explanation for the date of the 
>> sale is his having reached majority. While a sale could be made by 
>> one under age 21, it was not legally binding. There are instances of 
>> individuals who sold land before they came of age, coming into court  
>> when they reached their majority and reaffirming the sale.
>>
>> If the mother's date of death could not be determined, then, as Craig 
>> notes,  her dower interest could be a consideration. The children 
>> could sell the land subject to her dower; she could join in the sale 
>> and release her dower or the children could wait until she died and 
>> they had clear title to the land and then sell it.
>>
>> When there is a gap between the death of the father and the sale of 
>> the land, an underage child or a long-lived widow is the usual cause. 
>> Unless the family went to court and the court ordered a division, an 
>> intestate estate could not be divided until the youngest heir 
>> (whether a child, or a child of a deceased child) came of age.
>>
>> Barbara Vines Little, CG
>> Dominion Research Services
>> PO Box 1273
>> Orange, VA 22960
>>
>> 540-832-3473 bvlittle at earthlink.net
>>
>> CG, Certified Genealogist, is a service mark of the Board for 
>> Certification of Genealogists, used
>> under license by board-certified genealogists after periodic 
>> evaluation; the board name is
>> registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.
>>
>>
>> CL Swope (alfonsa) wrote:
>>> The date of birth of my target is said to be Jan 1793, and he is 
>>> said the youngest of the sibling  group. His only brother died in 
>>> the early 1800s.
>>> In April of 1814 the target and his four sisters advertised their 
>>> inherited land (Virginia) for sale, and in May of that year sold it. 
>>> By this time, my target was 'of Pennsylvania', but his siblings, and 
>>> the land, were in Virginia.
>>> I suspect the sibling group waited until 1814 to sell as he had just 
>>> turned 21 and that  the  decision to sell at that time supports the  
>>> reported (and so far unverifiable) birth year as well as his 
>>> position as youngest in the sibling group.
>>> Am I correct that there is a legal precedence for this assumption in 
>>> the time frame? Google Books turns up quite a few references to 
>>> court proceedings seeming to support my thought, but I'd like to be 
>>> certain. I can think of no other reason the sibling group would have 
>>> waited, and the coincidence of age seems a strong indicator to me. 
>>> Am I in error?
>>>
>>> Thanks in advance,
>>> Cynthia Swope
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> APG Public Mailing List
>>> http://apgen.org/publications/publiclist/
>>>
>>>
>>>   
>>
>
>
>



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