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Genealogical Gleanings From
Reports of Cases Determined in the
Supreme Court of Alabama, 1820-1826
Debt in the Circuit Court of Bibb county, by John Dubarry against Henry W. Stevens and Sally B. Stevens as administrators of Robert Sterrett. The declaration charges that the estate of Sterrett had been reported insolvent, and that $1,260.62 ½ had been allowed by the County Court, and ordered and adjudged to be paid by defendants to plaintiff as his proportion of his cliam, and that the defendants had committed a devastavit. The defendants in their proper persons acknowledged the plaintiff’s right of action for this sum and $79.83 interest thereon, “to be levied as well of the property of the said Henry W. as the intestate.” Judgment was thereupon rendered for said amount of debt, and interest and costs, “to be levied of the proper goods and chattels, lands and tenements of the defendants.”
Henry W. Stevens having departed this life, Sally B. Stevens, his widow and surviving defendant, prosecuted a writ of error to this court.
JUDGE CRENSHAWA judgment on confession must pursue the terms and conditions of the cognovit. The cognovit by Stevens and wife was on condition “to be levied as well of the property of Henry W. Stevens as of the intestate Sterrett.” The judgment as entered is to be levied of the estate of both the defendants, Stevens and his wife, and does not pursue the confession.
The devastavit was charged to have been committed by the husband and wife; and though they may be jointly liable, yet the confession of the wife during the coverture must be considered to have been induced by the authority and coercion of her husband. It is a nullity, or, at least, voidable by her, after her husband’s death; and she now seeks to avoid it by her writ of error.
The judgment must be reversed.
Judges SAFFOLD and MINOR not sitting.
H. G. Perry, for plaintiff; Clay, for defendant in error.
Source: Henry Minor, Reporter, Reports of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama From May, 1820, to July, 1826 (Atlanta: 1891), pp. 379-380.
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