17 December 2015

Working a trade - the wife requires a land swap before relinquishing her rights to land being sold

Example of a deed where the wife worked a land trade as part of consenting to the sale of her "Maiden Land"

The Legal Genealogist (Judy G. Russell) recently posted Saying no where she discusses the lack of legal rights enjoyed by female ancestors and shared an example where a female ancestor did say no to the sale of land unless certain conditions were met ...

So… here’s the question: did any married woman ever really say no to a land deal her husband wanted?

I’ve long thought that, if she ever did, the next court would be divorce court, or maybe the criminal court, where somebody would be charged with assault and battery.

But, it turns out, there really are cases where wives said no. And ended up winning something important in the end.

This post was very serendipitous for me since on Friday, I acquired a deed where Mrs Boddie (actually Leah S.M. Boddie as stated in the deed) worked a deal for not her dower land and for her “maiden land.”1

James B.H. Boddie received $1 consideration from Leah S.M. Boddie “the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged and in further consideration of the said Leah S.M. Boddie’s having consented to the sale of her maiden land by the said James B.H. Boddie the proceeds of which has been applied to his own use with the understanding and agreement that the land herein described should be conveyed to her in lieu of and in substitution for her said maiden land has given granted bargained and sold and by these presents does give grant bargain sell and convey unto the said Leah S.M. Boddie part ... all that tract or parcel of land ...

This is the first time I’ve seen a deed where the wife worked a specific trade for land she brought into the marriage, though I have seen marriage contracts here and there where a wife retained ownership of “her” land and/or possessions.

So, the Legal Genealogist has shared a good reminder to not assume that women always and automatically agreed to the sale of land that they had a right to. On occasion they worked a “deal” favorable to themselves along the way.

1 Nash County (NC) Deeds, Book 59, Page 110, J.B.H. Boddie to Mrs. Boddie, 20 February 1884

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