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Constitution adopted 1821—Square Miles 7,500—Population in 1850, 993,715
Exemptions. THERE is exempt from sale on execution in this state the necessary wearing-apparel of the debtor and of his wife and children; one bedstead, bed, and the necessary bedding, for every two persons of the family; one iron stove, used for warming the dwelling-bouse, and fuel not exceeding the value of ten dollars, procured and designed for the use of the family; other household furniture, necessary for the debtor and his family, not exceeding fifty dollars in value; the bibles and schoolbooks used in the family; one cow, six sheep, one swine, and two tons of hay, the six sheep not to exceed thirty dollars in value; the tools and implements of the debtor necessary for carrying on his trade or busi
ness, not exceeding fifty dollars in value; the uniform of an officer or private in the militia, and the arms and accoutrements required by law to be kept by him; and rights of burial and tombs, while in use as repositories for the dead; also ammunition and provisions necessary and intended for the use of a family, not exceeding in value fifty dollars.
Mechanics Lien EVERY person who shall, by contract with the owner of any piece of land, furnish labor or materials for erecting or repairing any building or the appurtenances of any building on such land, shall have a lien upon the whole piece of land for the amount due to him for such labor or materials—if the contract is made in writing, and signed by the owner of the land, or by some person duly authorized by him, and recorded in the registry of deeds for the county where the land lies.
The lien shall be dissolved at the expiration of six months after the time when the money due by the contract, or the last instalment thereof, shall become payable, unless a suit for enforcing the lien shall have been commenced within the said six months.
Whenever a debt is contracted for Jabor performed or materials used in the construction or repair of, or for provisions and stores or other articles furnished for or on account of, any ship or vessel within this commonwealth, such debt shall be a lien upon such ship or vessel, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and shall be preferred to all other liens thereon, except mariners' wages.
When the ship or vessel shall depart from the port at which she was when such debt was contracted, to some other port within this commonwealth, every such debt shall cease to be a lien at the expiration of twenty days after the day of such departure; and in all cases such lien shall cease immediately after the vessel shall have arrived in any port out of this commonwealth : provided, nothing in this act shall alter or in any way affect the lien as now existing on foreign ships and vessels.
LIEN FOR DAMAGES BY OVERFLOWING.-All persons entitled to receive damages for the overflowing of their lands, by reason of the erection or maintenance of a milldam, shall have a lien therefor from the time of the institution of the original complaint, on the mill, milldam, and their appurtenances, and the land under and adjoining the same and used therewith, for any sum not due more than three years before the commence. ment of an action therefor.
When any mill, owned by several persons as joint tenants or tenants in common. or the dam or appurtenances of such mill, sha]] need to be repaired or rebuilt in whole or in part, and the proprietors shall not all agree to join in repairing or rebuilding the same, the greater part in interest, of the proprietore, at a meeting duly notified and held, may take measures to cause the mill, dam, or appartenances thereof, to be repaired or rebuilt, as they shall judge most for the interest of all concerned, and at the expense of the whole in proportion of their respective interests. The proprietors who shall advance the money so expended, shall have a lien therefor on the rents and profits of the mill, and may retain so much thereof, as belongs to any proprietor who is indebted to them for such advance, to be applied to the payment of his debt.
MECHANICS' AND LABORERS' LIEN.—Any person who shall actually perform labor in erecting, altering, or repairing, any building, by virtue of any contract with the owner thereof, or other person who has contracted with such owner for erecting, altering, or repairing, such building, or for the purchase of the land for the purpose of erecting and building thereon, shall have a lien to secure the payment of the wages due or owing him for such lahor, by him personally so performed upon such building, and the lot of land on which the same stands, and upon the right of redeeming the same when under mortgage.
Such lien shall be dissolved unless, within sixty days after such labor is performed, there be filed in the office of the registry of deeds for the county where the land lies, a certificate, containing a just and true account of the demand justly due to him, after all just credits given, which is to be a lien upon such land and buildings, and a truc description of the property, or so near as to identify the property to which the lien is intended to apply, with the name of the owner or contractor, or both, if known, which shall in all cases be subscribed and sworn to by the person seeking the lien, or fome credible person in his behalf. which certificate shall be recorded by the register of deeds.
'Unless a suit for enforcing the lien shall have been commenced within seventy days after the time when such labor is performed, such lien shall be dissolved.
Such lien may be enforced by petition to the court of common pleas for the county where the land lies.
When any debt secured by such lien shall be fully paid, the creditor shall, at the ex. pense of the debtor, enter on the margin of the registry where said certificate is record. eit, a discharge of his said lien, or shall execute a deed of release thereof, in like man. ner As is provided in relation to the release of mortgages after the payment thereof.
In addition to the property now exempted by law from sale or levy on execution, there shall be exempted the lot and buildings thereon, occupied as a residence, and owned by the debtor, or any such buildings owned by the debtor on land not his own, but of which he shall be in the rightful possession, by lease or otherwise, he being a householder and having a family, to the value of five hundred dollars. And no release or waiver of such exemption shall be valid in law unless by deed for good consideration, acknowledged and recorded as in the case of conveyances of real estate.
Such exemption shall continue after the death of such householder, for the benefit of the widow and family of the deceased party, some one of them continuing to occupy such boinestead, until the youngest child become twenty-one years of age, and until the death of the Widow.
To entitle any property to such exemption, it shall be set forth in the deed of purchase that it is desi ined to be held as a homestead, under this act, or if alrearly purchased, the said design shall be declared by writing, duly sealed and acknowledged, and recorded in the rezistry of deeds of the county wherein the land lies.
No property sball, by virtue of this act, be exempted from levy for taxes, or for a debt contracted for the purchase thereof, or for any debt contracted before such deed or writing as aforesaid shall have been recorded according to law, nor shall buildings on land not owned by the debtor, be exempted from levy for the ground-rent of the lot of land whereon such buildings are situated.
Such exemption shall not be deemed to defeat or otherwise affect any mortgage, or other incumbrance or lien existing by virtue of any deed, attachment, policy of insurance, or otherwise.
No conveyance by the husband, of any property exempted as aforesaid, shall be valid in law, unless the wife join in the deed of conveyance.
If any judgment-creditor shall require an execution to be levied on property claimed by the debtor to be exempted from levy under this act, and the officer holding such execution shall be of opinion that the premises are of greater value than five hundred dollars, then appraisers shall be appointed to appraise the premises in the same manner as is provided by law for the levy of executions on real estate. And if in their judgment the premises be of greater value than five hundred dollars, and can be divided without injury to the parties, the said appraisers shail set off to the judgment-debtor so much of the said premises, including the dwelling-house, as shall appear to them to be of the value of five hundred dollars, and the residue of the property shall be dealt with as other real estate not exempted by law from levy on execution ; but if, in the judgment of the appraisers, the said property can not be conveniently so divided, they shall make and deliver to the said officer their appraisal of the value of said premises, and the said sheriff, or his deputy, shall deliver a copy there. of to the judgment-debtor, or other lawful occupant of said homestead. And it shall be the right of such judgment-debtor or other lawful occupant of the said premises. to pay on such execution the excess of the value of the said premises above the sum of five hundred dollints, and to continue to hold the said homestead as provided by this act; but in case the jud ment-debtor shall not make such payment within sixty days, then the judgment-credi. ior may require the premises to be solu by such sheriff
' or his deputy, at public sale, after
duly advertising the same, und out of the proceeds of said sale to pay to the debtor the sum of five hundred dollars, to be exempted from liability for his debts for one year thereafter, and to apply the balance to such execution; Provided, that unless a greater sum than five hundred dollars shall be bid for the said premises, they shall not be sold, and the execution may be returned unsatisfied, for want of property to satisfy the same.
Chattel Mortgages. No mortgage of personal property hereafter made shall be valid against any other per. son than the parties thereto, unless possession of the mortgaged property he delivered to and retained by the mortgagee, or unless the mortgage be recorded by the clerk of the town where the mortgager resides, and by the clerk of the town in which he principally transacts his business, or follows his trade or calling.
Sixty days' written notice of intention to foreclose a breach of the condition, must be given to the mortgager or person in possession of the property, and a copy of the same notice must be recorded in the clerk's office where the mortgage is recorded.
Law Regulating Contracts. No action shall be brought in any of the following cases :
1. To charge an executor, administrator, or assignee, in insolvency, upon any special promise, to answer damages out of his own estate ; 2. To charge any person, upon any special promise, to answer for the debt, default, or misdoing of another : 3. To charge any person upon an agreement made in consideration of marriage ; 4. Upon any contract for the sale of lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or of any interest in or concern. ing them ; 5. Upon any agreement that is not to be performed within one year from the making thereof; unless the promise, contract, or agreement, upon which such action shall be brought, or some memorandum or note thereof, shall be in writing, and signed by the party to be charged therewith, or hy some person thereunto by him lawfully authorized. The consideration for such promise need not be expressed in the writing.
No action shall be brought to charge any person, upon or by reason of any representation or assurance made concerning the character, conduct, credit, ability, trade, or dealings of any other person, unless the same be made in writing, and signed by the party to be charged therehy, or by some person thereunto by him lawfully authorized.
No contract for the sale of any goods, wares, or merchandise, for the price of fifty dollars or more, shall be good or valid, unless the purchaser shall accept and receive part of the goods so cold, or give something in earnest to bind the bargain, or in part payinent, or unless some note or memorandum in writing of the bargain be made and signed by the party to be charged thereby, or by some person thereunto by him lawfully authorized.
All contracts, written or oral, for the sale or transfer of any certificate or other evidence of delit due, by or from the United States, or any separate state, or of any stocks, or of any share or interest in the stock of any bank, or of any company, city, or village, incorporated under any law of the United States, or of any individual state, shall be absolutely void, unle-s the party or parties contracting to sell or transfer the same, shall at the time of making such contract, be the owner or assignee thereof, or shall be duly authorized, by some person who is the owner or assignee, or by the legally authorized agent of such owner or assignee, to sell or transfer the said certificate or other evidence of debt, share or interest, so contracted for.
Limitation of Actions. THE following actions shall be commenced within six years next after the cause of action shall accrue, and not afterward :
1. All actions of debt, founded upon any contract or liability not under seal, except such as are brought upon the judgment or decree of some court of record of the Uni. ted States, or of this or some other of the United States ; 2 All actions upon judgments rendered in any court, not being a court of record ; 3. All actions for arrears of rent; 4. All actions of assumpsit, or upon the case, founded in any contract or liability, ex. press or implied ; 5. All actions for waste, and for trespass on land ; 6. All actions of replevin, and all other actions for taking, detaining, or injuring, goods or chattels ; 7. All other actions on the case, except actions for slanderous words and for libels.
All actions for assault and battery, false imprisonment, slanderous words and libelo, shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of action shall accrue.
All actions against sheriff's, for the negligence or misconduct of their deputies, shall be commenced within four years next after the cause of action shall accrue.
None of the foregoing provisions shall apply to any action brought on a promissory note which is signed in the presence of an attesting witness, provided the action be brougat by the original payee or his executor or administrator, nor to an action brought upon any bills, notes, or other evidences of debt, issued by any bank.
In all actions of debt and assumpsit brought to recover the balance due upon a mutual and open account, the cause of action shall be deemed to have accrued at the time of the last item proved in such account.
If any person, entitled to bring any of the actions before mentioned in this act, shall be, at the time when the cause of action accrues, a minor, a married woman, insane, imprisoned, or absent from the United States, such person may bring them within the times respectively limited, after the disability shall be removed.
All personal actions on any contract not limited by the foregoing sections, or by any other law of the state, shall be brought within twenty years after the cause of action accrues.
In the case of an alien, the time during which his country is at war with the United States will not be computed.
In case the defendant is out of the state, the time of such absence is not to be computed.
No acknowledgment or promise shall be evidence of a new or continuing contract, whereby to take any case out of the operation of the provisions of this act, unless made or contained in some writing signed by the party to be chargeable therehy.
If one of several debtors make such promise, it shall not deprive his co-contractor of the benefit of the provisions of this act.
No one shall commence an action for the recovery of lands, or make entry thereupon, unless within twenty years after the right to make such entry or bring such action tiret accrued, or within twenty years after he or those from, by, or under whom he claims, shall have been seized or possessed of the premises.
If any person entitled to such entry or action, shall be, at the time when such right of entry or of action first accrues, a minor, a married woman, insane, imprisoned, or absent from the United States, such person or any one claiming from, by, or under him, may make the entry or bring the action at any time within ten years after such disability shall be removed.
If any minister or other sole corporation shall be disseized, any of his succeffors may enter upon the premises, or may bring an action for the recovery thereof, at any time within five years after the death, resignation, or removal, of the person so disseized, notwithstanding the twenty years after such disseizin shall have expired.
No executor, administrator, or administrator de bonis non, who has given legal no. tice of his appointment to that trust, shall be held to answer to the suit of any creditor of the deceased, unless commenced within four years from the time of his giving bond, provided however if new assets are found, such action may be commenced within one year after the creditor shall have notice of the receipt of such new assets, but not more than four years after the same shall be actually received.
Actions against the sureties in any bond, given by the guardian of minors, insane persons, idiots. spendthrifts, must be commenced within four years from the time when the guardian shall be discharged.
Collection of Debts. ARREST.-No person shall be arrested or held to bail for any debt or demand arising on any contract made after July fourth, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, unless the plaintiff or some person in his behalf shall make oath before some justice of the peace that ihe plaintiff' has a demand against the defendant upon the cause of action stated in the writ, which the deponent believes to be justly due, and upon which he expects the plaintiff will recover ten dollars or upward, and that the deponent has reasonable cause to believe that the defendant is about to depart beyond the jurisdiction of the court to which the writ is returnable, and not to return until aiter judgment may probably be recovered on said suit, Bo that he can not be arrested on the first execution, if any, which may issue in such suit.
ATTACHMENT.-All real estates that are liable to be taken in execution may be attached upon the original writ in any action in which any debt or damages are recoverable, and held as security to satisfy such judgment as the plaintiff may recover. All goods and chattels that are liable to be taken in execution,
may be attached and held as security as aforesaid, except such as from their nature or situation have been considered as exempted from attachment according to the principles of the common
law as adopted and practised in this state.