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dower is made freely and voluntarily, and without any compulsion, constraint, apprehension, or fear, of or from the husband of the party making the said relinquishment
Conveyances to be admitted to record must be acknowledged by the party making it, or proved by one of the subscribing witnesses. They must be recorded by the recording officer in the county where the lands lie.
Rights of Married Women.
When any female, a citizen of this state, shall marry, or when any female shall marry a citizen of this state, the female being seized or possessed of real or personal property, her title to the same shall continue separate, independent, and beyond the control of her husband, notwithstanding her coverture, and shall not be taken in execution for his debts.
Married women may hereafter become seized or possessed of real and personal property during coverture, by bequest, demise, gift, purchase, or distribution.
The husband and wife shall join in all sales, transfers, and conveyances of the property of the wife, and the real estate of the wife shall only be conveyed by the joint deed of the husband and wife, duly attested, authenticated, and admitted to record.
The husband shall not be held or deemed liable to pay the debts of his wife contracted prior to any marriage hereafter (1845) to be solemnized in this state ; but the property of the wife shall be subject to such debt.
If married women die in this state possessed of real and personal property, or of either species of property, the husband shall take the same interest in her said property, and no other, which a child would take and inherit; and if the wife should die without children, then the surviving husband shall be entitled to administration, and to all her property, both real and personal.
All the property, real and personal, which shall belong to the wife at the time of her marriage, or which she may acquire in any of the modes hereinbefore mentioned, shall be inventoried and recorded in the circuit court, or clerk's office of the county in which such property is situate, within six months after such marriage, or after said property shall be acquired by her at the peril of becoming liable for her husband's debts; but any omission to make such inventory and record shall confer no rights upon her husband.
Dower. -A widow is entitled to a life estate in one third of her husband s real estate. In his personal estate, if there be no child or only one child, the widow takes one half of it absolutely. If more than one child she takes one third absolutely, except in slaves in which she takes a life estate. A widow may elect to take dower or a child's part, if she takes dower she has only a life estate in the real property; if she takes a child's part she has a fee-simple title to real property and absolute title to personal property including slaves.
Rate of Interest. The rate of interest is eight per cent. by agreement; if no rate be specified, then six per cent, Usury is punishable by indictment and loss of entire interest.
Wills. Wills must be in writing, signed by the testator or by some other person in his presence, and by bis express directions, and shall be attested and subscribed in the presence of the testator by THREE or more witnesses.
ALABAMA. Constitution adopted, 1819.-Square Miles, 50,722.- Population in 1850, 771,650.
Exemptions. THERE are exempt from levy and sale on execution two beds and furniture; three cows and calves; one work-horse, mule, or pair of oxen ; twenty head of hogs; twenty head of sheep: 500 weight of meat; 100 bushels of corn; all the meal that may at any time be on hand : two ploughs, two sets plough-gears; one table, one pot, one oven, two water-vessels, one dozen cups and saucers, one set of knives and forks, one dozen plates, one coffee-pot, two dishes; two pairs of cotton cards; one churn; three chairs; two spinning-wheels; two axes, two hoes; one horse or ox cart; one gun; all books and family portraits, and all tools or implements of trade. Goods and chattels lying on leasehold property can not be taken without first tendering the landlord the amount due him for rent, not more than for one year.
Homestead-Exemption Law. FORTY acres of land, when not within the corporate limits of any town or city, and not exceeding in value four hundred dollars, is exempt from execution.
Limitation of Actions. Actions of trespass, detinue, trover, replevin for taking goods and chattels, actions of debt founded upon contract or lending not a specialty, for arrearages of rent, on a parol de .mise, of account, and upon the case (except between merchants concerning the trade of merchandise), must be commenced within six years.
Actions upon any lease under seal, or any sealed instrument for the payment of money, within sixteen years.
Trespass for assault, menace, battery, wounding, and imprisonment, within two years. Actions on the case for words, within one year.
Judgment in any court of record may be revised by scire facias, or action of debt, within twenty years.
The right of entry upon lands is limited to twenty years after the accrual of such right. (Possession for twenty years, under claim of title, creates a presumption of a grant.)
Real, possessory, ancestral, mixed, and other actions for lands, are limited to thirty years.
Infants, married women, persons insane or imprisoned, have the same periods respectively after the removal of their disability.
The law regulatiug contracts is the same as in GEORGIA (page 246).
Collection of Debts. ATTACHMENT.-Upon an affidavit that the debtor absconds, secretes himself, or resides out of the limits of the state, or is about to remove out of the state, so that process can not be served upon him, or is about to remove his property out of the state, whereby the plaintiff may lose his debt or be compelled to sue for it in another state, or that the debtor has fraudulently disposed of, or is about fraudulently disposing of, his property; or that he has money, property, or effects, liable to satisfy his debts, which he fraudulently withholds; • and stating the amount due, and that attachment is not sought for the purpose of vexing or harassing the debtor, and upon the plaintiff's executing bond to the defendant in double the amount sworn to be due, an attachment may issue against his property, real and personal, Attachments, ancillary to suits pending, may be sued out on the same grounds as original attachments.
Judgments are usually obtained at the second term of the court after the institution of suit, and create a lien on real estate, throughout the state, from the date of rendition.
Executions bind personal property, in any county within the state, upon their delivery to the sheriff thereof.
One year is the shortest time in which money can be collected by law. ARREST.--4 person can be arrested for debt only when the plaintiff makes affidavit that the debtor is about to abscond, or has or is about fraudulently to convey his property, or has money or effects which he fraudulently withholds, or that the debt wos contracted' by fraud. But the
debtor may discharge himself from arrest by making oath that the ground upon which he is arrested is untrue, and that he has nothing with which to pay the debt; or
by rendering a schedule of all his property of every kind, and making oath that he has not property to the amount of twenty dollars, except that rendered in the schedule, and such property as is exempt by law from execution, and that he has not disposed of any property to secure the same to his own use, or to defraud his creditors. The plaintiff may controvert the truth of the oath of the debtor.
A person convicted of rendering a false or fraudulent schedule, is liable to imprisonment for one year.
Deeds. No witness is necessary where the maker of the deed acknowledges the same before the officer, and a scrawl of the pen may be used instead of a seal. Instruments importing on their face to be sealed shall be deemed sealed instruments, whether the scrawl be added or not. Deeds
must be acknowledged or proved according to law before they can be properly recorded. They may be acknowledged before a judge of the county court, clerks of tho circuit court of the several counties, and any notary public in any county for which he is commissioned, and any justice of the peace.
The wife of the grantor, joining with him in the deed, need not necessarily be privately examined. All conveyances should be immediately recorded, and in this state they must be recorded within six months, or they will be void against a subsequent bonafide purchaser or mortgagee without notice.
When a married woman joins her husband in the execution of a deed in the presence of two or more witnesses, or acknowledges the execution of the deed before a competent officer, the same operates as an absolute bar to her right of dower in the land conveyed, and in such case no private examination is necessary. Form of Acknowledgment of Deed from John Jones and his Wife Mary Jones to John Brown. The State of Alabama, Montgomery County,
} Be it remembered, that the above-named JOHN JONES appeared personally before me, JOHN SMITH, judge of the probate court of said county, and acknowledged that he signed, sealed, and delivered, the foregoing deed, on the day and year therein mentioned, to the aforesaid John Brown; and also appeared personally before me, MARY JONES, wife of the said JOHN JONES, who, being examined privately and apart from her said husband, acknorol edged that she signed, sealed, and delivered the said deed, freely and of her own accord, and without any fear, threats, or compulsion, of her said husband.
Given under my hand and seal, this second day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one.
JOHN SMITH (seal),
Judge of the Probate Court, M. C.
Rights of Married Women. All the property which a woman has at the time of her marriage, and all that she ac quires thereafter, is esteemed in law as her separate estate, notwithstanding her coverture, and the husband acquires no right to the property by marriage. The property vests in the husband as trustee of the wife, the husband controlling the property, without liability to account to the wife for the proceeds. The property can not be taken by legal process for the husband's debts. The husband and wife are jointly liable and suable at law for all necessary family supplies.
Dower.-The widow (if no provision is made for her by will) is entitled to one third part of the real estate of which her husband died seized, and to which she has not relinquished the right of dower, and to one half of the personal property if there be no children, or if there be but one child; if there be more than one child, and less than five, she is entitled to a child's part; if there be five children or more, she is entitled to one fifth part in absolute right. She shall be endowed of one half of her husband's estate when he dies leaving no lineal descendants, unless the estate is insolvent.
The widow may dissent from or waive provision in a will, and claim her dower, at any time within one year after the probate of the will. The widow may retain the dwellinghouse, plantation, &c., free of rent, until her dower is assigned her.
Rate of Interest. THE legal rate of interest is eight per cent. In usurious contracts, the principal, without any interest, may be recovered. Persons taking usurious interest are liable to an action, gui tam, for the whole amount. The party borrowing the money may be a witness to prove the usury.
Wills. EVERY person twenty-one years of age, and of sound mind, may dispose of lands by will. Wills must be signed by the testator, or by some one in his presence and at his request, and attested by three or more witnesses. Nuncupative wills may be established when the testator in his last illness calls on persons to take notice that such is his will.