Ankeny v. Hannon - 147 U.S. 118 (1893)
U.S. Supreme Court
Ankeny v. Hannon, 147 U.S. 118 (1893)
Ankeny v. Hannon
Argued and submitted December 12, 1892
Decided January 3, 1893
147 U.S. 118
In Ohio, the separate property of a married woman is not charged, either in law or in equity, by her contracts executed previous to its existence. The cases in Ohio, in New York, and in England on this subject examined.
This is a suit in equity to charge the separate estate of a married woman with the payment of certain notes of which her husband is one of the makers, such estate having been acquired subsequently to their execution. It arises out of the following facts: on the 25th of March, 1880, Joseph E. Hannon, Clara M. Hannon, and William H. Hannon executed their three promissory notes, aggregating $14,969.31, dated at Xenia, Ohio, and payable to the order of Joseph E. Hannon, one of the makers. They were subsequently transferred to the complainants before maturity for a valuable consideration. Clara M. Hannon is the wife of Joseph E. Hannon, and at the time the notes were signed she possessed a small separate estate, and in each of the notes she inserted the following provision: "Mrs. Clara M. Hannon signs this note with the intention of charging her separate estate, both real and personal." As appears from the statement of counsel, a general demurrer was filed to the original bill, and in disposing of it the court expressed an opinion that the complainants could charge the separate estate in existence when the notes were given, but intimated that the after-acquired property could not be thus charged. The separate estate existing at the time of the execution of the notes was of small value, and the complainants desired to present the question of the liability of the after-acquired estate of the wife for the payment of the notes. They therefore amended their bill so as to show that Mrs. Hannon was not, at its filing or thereafter, possessed of any
of the property which she owned at the time of the execution of the notes, but that she had subsequently acquired by inheritance from the estate of her father, who died in 1882, property of the value of more than $200,000. The amended bill also alleged that Clara M. Hannon signed the notes with the intention to bind her separate estate, whether then in possession or thereafter acquired. To the bill as thus amended a general demurrer was also filed and sustained by the court, and a decree entered that the bill be dismissed. From this decree the appeal is taken.
The case thus presents the single question whether the separate estate of the wife, Mrs. Clara M. Hannon, acquired by her by inheritance from her father, in 1882, is chargeable with the payment of the notes described, executed, and delivered by her and others in March, 1880.