County of Ralls v. Douglas
105 U.S. 728 (1881)

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U.S. Supreme Court

County of Ralls v. Douglas, 105 U.S. 728 (1881)

County of Ralls v. Douglas

105 U.S. 728

Syllabus

1. County bonds issued in Missouri by a de facto county court, which are sealed with the seal and signed by the de facto president thereof, cannot, when held by bona fide purchasers, be impeached by showing that he was not de jure a member of the court.

2. It is no defense to a suit on such bonds so held that the company, in payment of the county subscription to whose capital stock they were issued, was not organized within the period prescribed by law.

3. The validity of such bonds cannot be impeached upon the ground that after the Constitution of Missouri of 1885 took effect, they, without a vote of the people authorizing it, were issued to pay for such a subscription if the latter was made pursuant to the authority of the charter granted to the company in 1857.

4. Such bonds so issued are admissible in evidence although no internal revenue stamp is thereunto affixed.

5. In a suit against the county on the bonds, the execution of them is admitted unless it be denied by a plea or an answer verified by affidavit.

6. Where the ownership was alleged in the petition and the answer denied that the coupons were, in good faith and before they matured, owned by the plaintiff, evidence of the fact is admissible.

This suit was brought by Joseph M. Douglass against the County of Ralls to recover the amount due upon certain interest coupons detached from bonds issued by the defendant in payment of its subscription to the capital stock of the St. Louis and Keokuk Railroad Company, which was incorporated by an Act of the General Assembly of Missouri approved Feb. 16, 1857.

The section of the act under which the county claimed the right to subscribe is set forth in the opinion of this Court in the following case, p. 105 U. S. 733.

The bonds are sealed with the seal of the county court, tested by the clerk and countersigned by the agent of the county. Those bearing date Feb. 10, 1870, recite that they are issued under the authority of said act and in pursuance of an order of the county court of Feb. 8, 1870, to subscribe $200,000 to the capital stock of that company. Those bearing date June 13, 1871, differ in their recitals from the others in stating that they are issued in pursuance of that

Page 105 U. S. 729

order and of an order amendatory thereof dated June 13, 1871.

A demurrer was sustained to several of the defenses set up in the answer. Upon the issues of fact the jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiff, and, judgment having been rendered thereon, the county brought this writ of error. The questions arising upon the demurrer and during the trial are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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