Beals v. Hale
Annotate this Case
45 U.S. 37 (1846)
U.S. Supreme Court
Beals v. Hale, 45 U.S. 4 How. 37 37 (1846)
Beals v. Hale
45 U.S. (4 How.) 37
There were two statutes of the State of Michigan, both passed on the same day, namely 12 April, 1827. One was "An act concerning Deeds and Conveyances," which directed that such deeds or conveyances should be recorded in the office of register of probate for the county or register for the city where such lands &c., were situated. This act became operative from its passage.
Another was "An act concerning Mortgages," which provided
"That every mortgage, being proven or acknowledged according to law, may be registered in the county in which the lands or tenements so mortgaged are situated."
This act did not go into operation until several months after its passage.
In the case in question, there were two mortgages, both including the same property, in the City of Detroit, Wayne County, one of which was recorded in the city registry and the other in the county registry.
These statutes are not so contrary or repugnant to each other as necessarily to imply a contradiction. Both can stand.
The recording of the prior mortgage in the county registry was sufficient to give it validity and priority.
Statutes which apparently conflict with each other are to be reconciled, as far as may be, on any fair hypothesis, and validity given to each if it can be and is necessary to conform to usages under them, or to preserve the titles to property undisturbed.
This was an ejectment brought by the plaintiff, Thomas Beals, a citizen of New York, against Felicite Hale, the defendant, a citizen of the State of Michigan. Nathaniel Weed, Harvey Weed, and Henry W. Barnes were, on application, permitted to defend their title to the premises, claiming that the said Felicite Hale was their tenant and in possession under them.
The facts in the case are set forth in the special verdict of the jury, which was as follows:
"Issue being joined in this case, and the parties present, by their respective attorneys, hereupon comes a jury, to-wit: John C. Mundy, Alanson Sherwood, William P. Patrick, Albert Bennet, Robert Rumney, Austin Stocking, Sylvester Granger, Garry Spencer, John Bour, James Beaubien, Tunis S. Wendell and James Cicotte Sr. who, being empanelled and sworn to try the issue joined in this cause, and after having heard the evidence adduced therein, find specially the following facts, and say:"
"That John Hale was, on the thirteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty eight, seized and possessed in his own right of said lots number sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, in the City of Detroit, County of Wayne, and (then Territory, now) State of Michigan."
"That, being so seized and possessed of the said premises, he, the said John Hale, and Felicite Hale, his wife, executed a mortgage, to secure the payment of a certain sum of money, to one James Lyon, bearing date the thirteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
twenty-eight, of the said lots, together with other lands lying in the said County of Wayne, as well as of certain lands in the County of Monroe in the Territory of Michigan, which said mortgage was recorded in the office of the register of the said County of Wayne, where said lots and part of said mortgaged premises were situated, on the thirteenth day of January, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, in Liber 9 of Mortgages, 103, 104, 105 &c., and also in the County of Monroe where the remainder of said lands and premises were situated, in the office of register for said county, in Liber 9, Folios 281 to 286. That said mortgage was afterwards, to-wit, on the twenty-first day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-eight, foreclosed under the statutes of the State of Michigan, and the said several lots sold at public auction, and struck off to said Lyon at the sale thereof, and that a sheriff's deed was afterwards, on 6 April, A.D. 1842, executed to the said plaintiff, as assignee of the certificate of sale to said Lyon of the said lots, they not having been redeemed within two years from the time of sale, pursuant to statutes of said state in such case made and provided, which said deed was duly recorded."
"And the said jury further find that the said John Hale, and Felicite, his wife, after the execution of the former mortgage and before a foreclosure thereof, to-wit, on the sixth day of June, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, for a good and valuable consideration, duly made, acknowledged, and delivered, under their respective hands and seals, to Nathaniel Weed, Harvey Weed, and Henry W. Barnes (who had no notice of said prior mortgage unless said record was notice) another or second mortgage on the said premises, lots sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, in the City of Detroit, County of Wayne, and State of Michigan, which said mortgage, bearing date the said sixth day of June, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, was duly recorded in the appropriate registry, on the seventh day of June, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, in Liber 8, Folio 343, of Mortgages, and which said mortgage was afterwards, on the thirty-first day of August, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, foreclosed under the statutes of said state, exposed to sale, and struck off to said Weeds and Barnes at the said sale, and, not having been redeemed within two years therefrom, that a sheriff's deed of said premises was executed on the sixteenth day of August, eighteen hundred and forty-two, and delivered to said Nathaniel and Harvey Weed and Henry W. Barnes, of all and singular the said premises, which was duly recorded."
"That the plaintiff and defendant both claim under the respective mortgages above set forth, and the sheriff's deeds under the respective foreclosures aforesaid, and that Felicite Hale, the defendant, was, at the institution of this suit, and still is, a tenant in possession
of said premises, under a lease from said Weeds and Barnes, who are admitted under the statute to defend as her landlords."
"And the jurors aforesaid, on their oaths aforesaid, do further say that if it shall appear to the said court from the facts above found that the recording of said prior mortgage from Hale to Lyon in the registry of Wayne County was sufficient record thereof to constitute notice of said mortgage under the laws of Michigan, in reference to mortgages of real estate situate in the County of Wayne, within the limits of the City of Detroit, then they find for the plaintiff."
"But should said court be of opinion that said record in the office of said registry for the County of Wayne was invalid and insufficient in law, so far as the said premises in the City of Detroit are concerned, to constitute notice thereof to the subsequent mortgagees, then they find for the defendants."
"On consideration of the said special verdict, the same being brought before the court on a motion for judgment on the verdict, the opinions of the judges were opposed on the point whether the recording of the mortgage from Hale to Lyon in the registry of Wayne County was a sufficient record thereof to constitute notice of said mortgage under the laws of Michigan, in reference to mortgages of real estate in the County of Wayne, within the limits of the City of Detroit, and it is ordered and directed, that this cause, with said point, be certified to the Supreme Court of the United States, in pursuance of the act of Congress in such case made and provided. "