University v. Finch
Annotate this Case
85 U.S. 106 (1873)
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U.S. Supreme Court
University v. Finch, 85 U.S. 18 Wall. 106 106 (1873)
University v. Finch
85 U.S. (18 Wall.) 106
1. A sale of real estate made under a power contained in a deed of trust executed before the late civil war is valid notwithstanding the grantors in the deed, which was made to secure the payment of promissory notes, were citizens and residents of one of the states declared to be in insurrection at the time of the sale, made while the war was flagrant.
2. This Court has never gone further in protecting the property of citizens residing in such insurrectionary states from judicial sale than to declare that where such citizen has been driven from his home by a special military order and forbidden to return, judicial proceedings against him were void.
3. The property of such citizens found in a loyal state is liable to seizure and sale for debts contracted before the outbreak of the war, as in the case of other nonresidents.
Daily and Chambers purchased of Elliott, in March, 1860, certain real estate in St. Louis, Missouri. For the principal part of the purchase money they gave him their promissory
notes, and to secure the payment of these notes they made a deed of trust to one Ranlett, conveying the property thus purchased, with authority to sell it on giving notice in a newspaper of the sale, in satisfaction of these notes if they were not paid as they fell due.
The notes were assigned by Elliott to the Washington University, and the money being unpaid and due, the real estate so conveyed was sold by Ranlett in accordance with the terms of the trust deed, to the university, on the 9th day of December, 1862. The trustee made to the university, which was a corporate body, a deed for the land, and the university afterwards sold it for value to one Kimball.
Daily and Chambers were both citizens of the State of Virginia, residing in the County of Mecklenburg, when they bought the land of Elliott, and have resided there ever since. Daily having been declared a bankrupt and one Finch having been appointed his assignee, Finch, along with Chambers, the other purchaser, filed a bill on the chancery side of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Missouri to have the sale decreed void and to have the proceeds of the sale of the land by the university to Kimball declared a trust fund for their use, and the court decreed accordingly. The ground of this decree was that the sale by the trustees took place during the late civil war, and that Daily and Chambers were citizens of the State of Virginia, resident within that part of the state declared by the President to be in a state of insurrection. From the decree thus made, the present appeal was taken.