Connor v. Bradley
42 U.S. 211 (1843)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Connor v. Bradley, 42 U.S. 1 How. 211 211 (1843)

Connor v. Bradley

42 U.S. (1 How.) 211

Syllabus

In an action of ejectment, if the plaintiff count upon a lease to himself from a person whom the evidence shows to have been dead at the time, it is bad.

It is a settled rule at common law that where a right of reentry is claimed on the ground of forfeiture for nonpayment of rent, there must be proof of a demand of the precise sum due at a convenient time before sunset, on the day when the rent is due, upon the land, in the most notorious place of it, even though there be no person on the land to pay.

In proceeding under the statute of 4 Geo. 2 it must be alleged and proved that there was no sufficient distress upon the premises on some day or period between the time at which the rent fell due and the day of the demise, and if the time when, according to the proofs, there was not a sufficient distress upon the premises be subsequent to the day of the demise, it is bad.

The case was this:

In 1807, William Prout, living in the City of Washington and being the owner in fee of a lot in said city, made a lease of a part of it to Joseph B. Parsons for the term of ninety-nine years, renewable forever. It was in the usual form and contained the usual covenants (with the exception of the one hereafter

Page 42 U. S. 212

mentioned), reserving an annual rent of thirty-five dollars, payable on 13 March, clear of all taxes, charges, rates, or assessments whatsoever. There was a covenant that if the said yearly rent of thirty-five dollars should be unpaid at the expiration of sixty days after it was due, and no sufficient effects could be found upon the premises, whereon to levy the same, it should be lawful for Prout, his heirs or assigns, to reenter and take possession of the leased premises.

The special covenant was to this effect, that if at any time or times thereafter, and before the expiration of the lease, Parsons, or his heirs, executors &c., should pay to the said Prout, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, the sum of $196.87 1/2 over and above all rents for said piece of ground that might then be in arrear, that then the said Prout, his heirs, &c., should make and execute a good and sufficient deed of release in fee simple to the said Parsons, his heirs, &c., for the said piece or portion of ground.

In 1813, Parsons died, having occupied the leased property from the time that the lease was made.

In 1815, and prior thereto, the widow of Parsons, who continued in possession of the property, paid to Prout $100 on account of the purchase of the fee simple in the said lot.

In 1823, Prout died; Mary Bradley, one of the lessors of the plaintiff, being one of his surviving children. After Prout's death, the widow of Parsons gave possession of the property in question to Mary Ann Connor, the defendant in the ejectment, who for some time paid the taxes as they accrued, and also paid various sums of money on account of the rent due, and in arrear, and of the accruing rent.

In 1831, a partition of the estate of Prout was made, according to law, among his children, and the leased premises in question were assigned to Mary Bradley. After the partition, Mary Ann Connor made payments on account of the rent to Mary Bradley, and also paid the taxes to the corporation of the City of Washington, up to the year 1831, but omitted to pay the taxes for the years 1831, 1832, 1833, and 1834, amounting in all to $44.33 cents,

In 1835, George Adams, the collector of taxes for the corporation of Washington, after having advertised the property, set up to sale the leasehold interest in the said premises, but receiving

Page 42 U. S. 213

no bid for the same, immediately thereafter exposed to public sale the fee simple interest and estate, which was purchased by one Allison Nailor, for the sum of $49.83 cents, being the amount of taxes due thereon, together with the expense of selling the same. The property had been assessed on the books of the corporation of Washington, from 1813 to 1838, in the name of Joseph B. Parsons' heirs.

On 2 June, 1838, the corporation of Washington made a deed of the premises to Allison Nailor, and, in November following, he conveyed them to Mary Ann Connor.

In November, 1838, Henry Bradley and Mary his wife brought an ejectment against Mary Ann Connor, counting on two demises; one from William Prout, on 1 January, 1827, and the other from Henry Bradley and Mary his wife, on 1 January, 1838.

The judgment of the court below was for the plaintiffs. Two bills of exceptions were taken, the first of which it is only necessary to notice, and which is stated at large in the opinion of the Court.

Page 42 U. S. 214

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