Mary Bell v. Susan Armistead. Petitioner's Bill of Exceptions

 

If from the evidence aforesaid the Jury shall find that the said deed was executed acknowledged and delivered by the said Robert Armstead, and recorded as stated in said evidence the Jury will find of the Petitioner.

Unless:

They shall further find from the said evidence that at the time of the execution thereof the said Robert Armstead was by reason of the mental unsoundness incapable of understanding and acting in his own ordinary concerns in the ordinary affairs of life; and by reason of such unsoundness of mind incapable of understanding what he did, by Executing said deed, when its general import was read or explained to him

Or:

that the said deed was procured from him by undue influence amounting to fraud or force and coercion destroying free agency, so that he was constrained to execute the same; but if the Jury shall find that the said deed was executed from the mere desire to gratify the wishes of another, that alone will not make it void and the "force and correction" above mentioned

(over   may be either moral or physical or both, either by force and coercion used upon the person of Armstead or upon his mind to such degree that his own free will was restrained and or constrained in the execution of the said deed.

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If the Jury believes from the evidence that Robert Armstead was at any time prior to the execution of the said deed of manumission of unsound mind, and incapable of disposing of his property with understanding and reason, then the Law presumes he continued in such condition and the burden of proving that his mind was sound and he was capable of disposing of his property with understanding & reason at the time of execution of the said deed is thereon upon the Petitioner and it will not do to prove merely that he was at that time capable of understanding and answering familiar and usual questions

 

But the Court do not thereby mean to say that the Petitioner is bound to introduce any new, further, or substantive evidence proof of these facts, and they leave the whole evidence aforesaid to the Jury from which they are to infer and find, shelter at the time of execution of the said deed he had the degree of capacity mentioned in the instructions given.

If the Jury believe from the evidence that Robert Armistead was a person of week and feeble mind and that the deed in question was executed by him at the Alms House away from and out of the presence of his friends and family & without their knowledge, and that the execution of the same was procured by undue influence or fraud, then it is not his deed, and the petitioner is not entitled to recover

 

126

 

If from the evidence the Jury shall find that the said Robert Armstead executed the said deed of manumission offered in evidence & delivered the same and that it was recorded in the Clerks office of the County of Washington and that the defendant resided in the said county then & ever since and afterwards and after the death of the said Robert Armstead the clerk of the County granted to the Petitioner a certificate of freedom (here insert it); and the said Defendant agreed with the Petitioner to that the Petitioner at the time of the execution of the said deed, and ever since to the instruction of this suit was living and hath lived with her husband, and hath acted and been reputed a free person, and hath resided in Washington County aforesaid in the immediate neighborhood of the Defendant during all that time, and that after the execution and delivery of said deed, and after the death of the said Robert Armstead the Defendant extend into an agreement with the petitioner to furnish her with provisions for the children she then had with her, and the Defendant did in fact thereafter at various times and from time to time the Defendant did furnish provisions for the said children   living with their said Mother, then in the absence of all proof to shew, if the Jury shall be of opinion that none such has been offered, that the defendant exercised acts of ownership over the petitioner after the death of the said Robert Armistead it is competent for the Jury to find an acquiescence by said Defendant in the said deed, and if they shall so find such acquiescence from the death of the said Robert Armstead to the issuing of the writ in this cause it is competent for them to find for the defendant petitioner then it is not competent for the Defendant to set up any defect of capacity in the granter of the deed to execute the same, nor that the same was formed by undue influence exercised over the mind of the said Robert Armstead of the said fraud of capacity, and or undue influence so alluded was known to the Defendant or before the time & times of her said acquiescence which instruction the court refused to give and thereupon the Petitioner by her Counsel Excepts to the said refusal of the said Court and prays the court to said and seal this her 4th bill of Exception, and to cause the same to be enrolled according to the statute & which is   done accordingly this 4th day of December 1847.

James S. Morsell {seal}
Jas. Dunlop {seal}

 

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