Sumner County Chancery Court Loose Packets
Transcribed by Linda Carpenter
To the Hon. J. W. Stout, Chancellor, holding the Chancery Court for Sumner County, Tennessee, at Gallatin, Tennessee.
Rosana House, a citizen and resident of Sumner County, Tennessee, Complainant,
Thamer House, Ella Lambert and husband J. D. Lambert, Missouria House, Cleveland House, Job House, Homer House, Polly Davenport and husband J. C. Davenport, Maple House, Fannie House and William McKinley House, citizens of Sumner County, Tennessee and Hester Ann Sailers and husband James Sailers, citizens of the state of Utah, defendant.
Complainant would respectfully show to the Court:
That she is the widow of M. P. House, who died on the __ day of October, 1908, at his home in Sumner County, Tennessee.
The said M. P. House, died leaving as his sole heirs and distributes at law, your complainant, and the following children, viz: Thamer House, Ella Lambert, Misouria House, Cleveland House, Job House, Homer House, Polly Davenport, Maple House, Fannie House, William McKinley House and Hester Ann Sailers. The defendants, Maple House, Fannie House and William McKinley House are minors, without a general or statutory guardian.
Your complainant is the owner of the following described tract or parcel of land, situated in the 13th civil district of Sumner County, Tennessee, on Sulphur Fork of Drakes Creek, and bounded on the North by J. C. Clendinning, Wilson Gregory and James Perdue, on the East by Green Boren, on the South by Robert Hill and Tom Sarver, col., and on the West by Polk Rippy, Jack Kepley, J. C. Brown, James Perdue and ____ Stewart, and contain 175 acres, more or less; Said tract of land was conveyed to your complainant by her husband, M. P. House on the 4th day of January, 1901, and is of record in Registers Office of Sumner County, Tennessee, Book 48, page 493 and 494. Complainants deed or a duly certified copy thereof will be filed on or before the hearing of this cause, as "Ex. A" to this bill.
Complainant would further show, that, the defendant, Thamer House, a son of your complainant and of the said M. P. House, deceased, on the 18th day of July, 1911, filed a bill or petition in the Chancery Court of Sumner County, Tennessee, against your complainant and her other children, alleging in said partition, that complainants husband, the said M. P. House, died intestate in Sumner County, Tennessee, on the __ day of October 1908, seized and possessed of the following described tract of land; The same being fully described in paragraph 3 of this bill; That your complainant, Rosana House and her husband, the said M. P. House, on the 11th day of September, 1906, conveyed by general warranty deed to your complainant and her eleven children, as tenants in common, each sharing equally, said tract of land a copy of said deed will be filed on or before the hearing of this cause, as "Ex. B", to this bill; and that the said tract of land was unencumbered and worth something like $5000.00 and that said tract of land could not be partitioned in kind but should be sold for partition; And, praying that the rights of the parties in said land be settled by a decree of the court, and that said tract of land be sold for partition. Said deed is as follows:
Whereas on the 4th day of January, 1901, by deed which is of record in deed book 48 page 493 and 494, Registers Office of Sumner County, having been recorded on January the 25th 1901, M. P. House made a deed of gift to take effect at his death of all his property, real and personal to Rosana House and her heirs forever, reference to which said deed is made for what was contained therein, and whereas it was not the intention then and never was to give the said tract described in said deed and the personal property mentioned therein to his wife Rosana House to the exclusion of his children, which fact was thoroughly so understood at the time by both M. P. House and his wife, but for some reason as the makers of the instrument are advised the said deed of January 4th 1901, was so drawn as to exclude M. P. Houses children from any right in the property which he fully intended to secure to them, now, therefore, in consideration of the premises and in consideration of the love and affection which we bear for our children, and in consideration of the sum of one dollar paid to us, we M. P. House and wife Rosana House have this day bargained and sold and do my these presence hereby give transfer and convey unto Rosana House, Ella H. Lambert, Hester Ann Sailers, Missouria House, Polly House, Cleveland House, Job House, Thamer House, Homer House, Fannie House and William McKinley House, as tenants in common, each sharing equally as a remainder interest to take effect in possession upon the death of M. P. House, in and to the following described tract of land on Sulphur Fork of Barren River, in the 13th civil district of Sumner County, containing 175 acres more or less, Bounded on the North by J. C. Clendinning, Wilson Gregory and James Perdue, on the East by Green Boren, on the South by Robert Hill and Tom Sarver and on the West by Polk Rippy, Jack Kepley, J. C. Brown and Jane Perdue and ____ Stewart, to have and to hold the said remainder interest in the said tract of land unto the said parties named, their heirs and assigns forever, and we covenant with said parties named, that we are lawfully seized and possessed of said land, have a good right to convey the same, and we warrant the title against all claims of all persons whomsoever, and I Rosana House join in this conveyance releasing and conveying all right or title that I may have in said land by virtue of the deed referred to as dower homestead or other wise; Further it was and is the intention of M. P. House that all personal property that he now has and of which he may be seized at the time of his death shall upon his death after allowing and giving Rosana House the exemptions to which she is entitled by law as the widow of M. P. House, be divided equally between his said widow and their eleven children above named all sharing equally, and all said personal property is by this instrument and conveyed which conveyance and transferred Rosana House by this instrument joins.
Witness our hands, this Sept. 11th, 1906. M. P. House & Rosana House
Said deed was filed for registration, Sept. 13th 1906, and duly registered in deed book 56 page 492. A duly certified copy of said deed will be filed, as heretofore stated.
Your complainant would further show, that she has been advised a pro confesso was on the __ day of ____ 1912 entered against her, without her knowledge or consent, and that a decree was rendered thereon, against your complainant, directing the sale of said land for partition. Said tract of land has been advertised for sale, and will be sold on March the 23rd, 1912.
Your complainant would further show, that as soon as she was served with subpoena to answer, not notified that her son Thamer House had filed a bill or petition in the Chancery Court of Sumner County, Tennessee, to sell said land for partition, which petition is hereby referred to and will be read upon the hearing of this cause, she immediately came to Gallatin, and employed D. B. Puryear, at that time, an attorney at Gallatin, but now of Memphis, Tennessee, to answer said bill, and set up her claims to said land, and resist the sale of the same, and otherwise look after her interests in said cause. Your complainant gave to the said D. B. Puryear, all of her title papers and deeds, and returned to her home, some twenty miles from Gallatin, with the assurance, upon his part, that he would answer said bill and look after her claims to said land. Your complainant relied upon the said D. B. Puryear, to look after her interests in said cause, and was of the opinion that the cause had been settled and the case dismissed, until she was notified that her land was advertised for sale, and would be sold on the 23rd, day of March, 1912. Your complainant gave to her attorney, all of her deeds and papers, and he now has them in his possession, and has had ever since she employed him to represent her in said cause.
Complainant would further show that the deed or paper purporting to have been executed on the 11th day of September, 1906, by your complainant and her husband, is fraudulent and void, and not the rational and voluntary act of your complainant and her husband, but that of the defendant, J. D. Lambert, who procured the execution of said deed by taking advantage of the age, mental and physical condition of your complainants husband, the said M. P. House, and thereby, inducing him by deception, artifice and fraud to sign said deed, which was done by making his mark, and that he did not know, at the time, what he was doing, as the proof will show. An your complainant would further show, that the said J. D. Lambert, by taking advantage of your complainants inexperience, and inability to read or write and her confidence in him, induced her by false and fraudulent misrepresentations, as to the nature, object and purpose of said paper to sign and acknowledge the same.
Complainant would further show that her husband, was at the time he signed and acknowledged said deed, and had been for some time previous thereto, in bad health and of unsound mind, and not competent to transact any business whatever, and that he did not know when he signed said deed what he was doing. Your complainant would further show that said deed was prepared at the instance of the defendant, J. D. Lambert, without the knowledge or consent of your complainant or her husband, and that they knew nothing of said proposed transaction until the said J. D. Lamberth brought the Notary Public to their hoe to take their knowledgements to said paper, which paper your complainant has since learned was a deed to your complainants land. Said deed was not read to or by either your complainant or her husband; Lambert, simply stating to the Notary Public, that Mr. House knew what it was and wanted to sign and acknowledge it. The said M. P. House was so feeble both mentally and physically, at the time, that he could neither read or write, and had to sign said deed by making his mark, although he could read and write reasonably well when at himself. After said deed had been signed by the said M. P. House, it was brought to your complainant to be signed and acknowledged, and when your complainant, who is uneducated, and can neither read or write, asked what it was, the said J. D. Lambert said it was a paper which had been drawn up to correct a mistake in her deed, that if she should die, that her children, as the matter then stood, would not get the land, but that it would go to her husbands people, and for her to sign it, and that it would not affect her deed in any way whatever, and relying upon what her son-in-law said, and believing that it was true, she signed said deed without hearing it read or knowing what it was or what it contained except what she was told by the said J. D. Lambert. Said deed was never in the possession of the complainant or her husband and her husband never knew that he signed a deed to your complainants land, and your complainant never knew she ad her husband had signed a deed to her land until some time after the death of her husband.
Your complainant would further show that said deed was signed and acknowledged as heretofore state, and delivered by the Notary Public to the said J. D. Lambert, who had it registered, and that there was no consideration for said deed, and that the same is therefore, void.
Your complainant would further show that she is the owner if fee, in remainder, of said tract of land, as hereto fore stated, and that the deed of M. P. House and your complainant to your complainant and her children is not and does not purport to be a conveyance of the fee, in remainder, in said land, by your complainant, the true owner, but the conveyance of the said M. P. House, and not your complainant; Said conveyance is nothing more nor less than an effort on the part of the said M. P. House to re-possess himself of said land, in fee, and to re-sell the same to your complainant and their children. Your complainant would further show that said deed does not convey the fee in said land, to your complainant and their children, that the said M. P. House did not own the fee in said land or any other interest, therein except his life estate, which he did not convey; and your complainant would further show that she did not convey the fee, in remainder, in said land, but that she simply joined in said deed as the wife of the said M. P. House, and not as the owner and seller of said land, as will fully appear from an examination of said deed.
Premises considered, complainant prays:
That process issue and be served upon the resident defendants, and that non resident publication be made for the non resident defendants, Hester Ann Sailers and husband James Sailers, that they be required to appear and answer this bill their answer upon oath being waived; That a guardian ad litem be appointed to answer and make defense for Maple House, Fannie House and William McKinley House.
That the decree entered on the 7th day of February, 1912 in said cause, be reviewed and revised and set aside and that the petition of Thamer House filed in said cause be dismissed; That the defendant, Thamer House and all the other defendants, their agents and attorneys, be enjoined from further proceeding with the sale of said land, under said decree, as advertised by the C. & M. This is the first application for an injunction in this cause.
That if the court should be of the opinion that this is not a proper case for a bill of review, your complainant would then ask that the proconfesso heretofore taken and entered against her in said cause and the decree thereon be set aside and that this bill be as the answer and cross bill of your complainant, Rosana House.
That the alleged deed of Sept. 11th 1906, of M. P. House and your complainant to your complainant and their children be decreed to be fraudulent and void and a cloud upon complainants title and removed as such, and that the defendants be perpetually enjoined from setting up any claim whatever under and by virtue of said deed to complainants property.
That complainant have such other further and general relief, as the nature of the case may require, as in duty bound she will ever pray. J. T. Durham, Solicitor
State of Tennessee, Sumner County
Rosana House, makes oath in due form of law, that the facts stated in the foregoing bill are true to the best of her knowledge and belief, she is unable to bear the expenses of this action, and that she is justly entitled to the redress sought to the best of her knowledge and belief. Rosana (her mark) House
Subscribed and sworn to before me, This March the 19th, 1912. A. C. Earls
Witness A. C. Earls, Gallatin, Tennessee
To The Clerk & Master of Gallatin, Tenn.
Upon the complainant giving bond in the sum of $5000.00 conditioned or required by law, or taking the paupers oath you will issue the costs as prayed for in the foregoing bill this March 20th 1912. A. B. Neil, Judge
Roseana House Complainant, against Thamer House et al defendants, the Complainant having obtained from the Hon A. B. Neil, Judge a fiat for a Writ of Injunction to issue to enjoin them from further proceeding with the sale of land described in the bill as ordered sold in the case of Thamer House vs. Complainant and others.
* Throughout this lawsuit, Rosanna House's name was typed as Roxana House. It was edited to Roseana House on the Injunction, Chancery Court Paper.