Tyrell's Heirs v. Rountree,
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32 U.S. 464 (1833)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Tyrell's Heirs v. Rountree, 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 464 464 (1833)
Tyrell's Heirs v. Rountree
32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 464
Ejectment. On 12 February, 1807, an attachment was regularly issued by the Court of Williamson County, Tennessee, and was, on the 13th of the same month, levied on a tract of land, the property of the defendant in the suit. Judgment by default was entered on 15 October, 1807; the property was on motion condemned, and a writ of venditioni exponas issued on the 24th, which came into the hands of the sheriff on 28 October, who sold the property under it on 2 January, 1808. The County of Williamson was divided on 16 November, 1807, and that part of the land for which this ejectment was brought lay in the new county called Maury. Held that the process of execution for the sale of the land under which it was sold by the sheriff was a direction to the sheriff to sell the specific property, which was already in his possession, by virtue of the attachment, and was already condemned by the competent tribunal. The subsequent division of the county could not divest his vested interest or deprive the officer of the power to finish a process which was already begun.
An ejectment was brought by the plaintiffs in error to September term 1830, in the Circuit Court of West Tennessee for the recovery of a tract of land which, in the lifetime of the ancestor of the plaintiffs, had been taken in execution and sold by the sheriff to satisfy a debt for which judgment had been obtained in Williamson County in the State of Tennessee.
The suit was commenced by attachment, and the land for which this ejectment was instituted was attached on 13 February, 1807, the sheriff having made the following return to the writ of attachment: "Came to hand 13 February, 1807, about nine o'clock, and levied immediately on an undivided half of 3,840 acres of land on both sides of Sugar Creek," &c., being William Tyrell's right and interest therein. On 25 October, 1807, the plaintiff obtained judgment for his debt, and on motion the property attached was condemned and a writ of venditioni exponas was ordered on
the same day. The writ was issued on 24 October, 1807, and the property was sold on 2 January, 1808. The defendants in error derived their title under this sale.
On the trial of the ejectment in the circuit court, evidence was given which proved that, at the time the attachment was laid on the land, it was situated in Williamson County, and that on 16 November, 1807, the Legislature of Tennessee passed an act dividing the County of Williamson and erecting part of the same into a separate county, denominated Maury County, and that a portion of the land in controversy was situated in Maury County when the same was sold by the Sheriff of the County of Williamson.
The counsel for the plaintiffs requested the court to charge that whether the said judgment of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Williamson County was void or not, the sale under it was void as to that part of the land which was situated in the County of Maury at the time of the sale, and that the sale and conveyance of the Sheriff of the County of Williamson did not transfer that portion of the land. The charge of the court was that neither the judgment nor the proceedings in Williamson County were void for anything appearing or not appearing on the face of said judgment and the record thereof. The court also charged the jury that if a portion of the land in controversy was situated in the County of Maury at the time of the sale thereof by the Sheriff of Williamson, under the judgment of Molloy's executors, yet that such sale was good, and vested the title in the purchasers, as the land was all situated in Williamson at the time of the levy, where public notice of the sale was given, until within a few days of the sale, and that the sale was good by relation to the levy. The counsel for the plaintiffs excepted to the charge of the court thus given, and a bill of exceptions was sealed by the court. Judgment having been rendered for the defendants, the plaintiffs prosecuted this writ of error.