43 U.S. 653 (1844), Hanson v. Eustace's Lessee

Citation:43 U.S. 653, 11 L.Ed. 416
Party Name:WILLIAM R. HANSON, JOSEPH L. MOSS, ISAAC PHILLIPS, JOSEPH M. MOSS, AND DAVID SAMUEL, PLAINTIFFS IN ERROR, v. LESSEE OF JOHN H. EUSTACE.
Case Date:March 09, 1844
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 653

43 U.S. 653 (1844)

11 L.Ed. 416

WILLIAM R. HANSON, JOSEPH L. MOSS, ISAAC PHILLIPS, JOSEPH M. MOSS, AND DAVID SAMUEL, PLAINTIFFS IN ERROR,

v.

LESSEE OF JOHN H. EUSTACE.

United States Supreme Court.

March 09, 1844

OPINION

THIS case was brought up by writ of error from the Circuit Court of the United States, holden in and for the eastern district of Pennsylvania. It was an ejectment brought by Eustace, a citizen of the state Virginia, against the plaintiffs in error for two pieces of property in the city of Philadelphia; particularly described in the declaration. One of them fronted sixty-six feet upon Chestnut street, being upon the west side of Schuylkill Seventh street, and the other was on the westerly side of South Sixth street, between High and Chestnut streets, fronting twenty-five feet on Sixth street, nearly the whole of the lot being covered with a large building. The plaintiff below, Eustace, claimed title under a sheriff's sale; the defendant, Hanson, also claimed title under a public sale, but made under the authority of the assignees of R. and I. Phillips, who had become insolvent. Eustace alleged that the whole of the proceedings, both before and after the insolvency, were void on account of fraud; and that this being so, there was nothing to impair his own title. The firm of R. and I. Phillips, which carried on a very extensive commercial business, in Philadelphia, was composed originally of Robert Phillips and Isaac Phillips. After the death of the former, which occurred, as will be hereafter stated, the partners were Isaac Phillips and Joseph L. Moss, who continued to use the same partnership name.

In April, 1830, Isaac Phillips was regularly naturalized as a citizen of the United States.

On the 9th of June, 1832, Herring and wife conveyed to Robert Phillips, in fee, the property in Sixth street.

In December, 1833, Robert Phillips died, intestate; Isaac being then in Europe. John Moss, whose daughter Isaac had married,

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entered a caveat at the office of the probate of wills, to prohibit any one from taking out letters of administration upon his estate.

On the 29th of August, 1834, three several persons conveyed each a lot upon Mulberry street, or Arch street, being called by either name (the three lots being adjoining to each other, and making in the whole sixty-six feet), to Sarah Moss Phillips, wife of Isaac Phillips, subject to the payment of a ground rent therein mentioned.

In September, 1834, Isaac Phillips entered into a contract with one Linck, a house carpenter, to build a house for him on the lot just mentioned in Arch street, and agreed to pay said Linck $20,000 for it, in the manner stated in the contract.

On the 1st of January, 1835, R. and I. Phillips leased the property in Sixth street to one Saint for four years; R. and I. Phillips agreeing to assist in furnishing to the amount of $1,000, which was to be refunded by Saint in the first year, after which Saint was to pay $1,600 per annum as rent.

On the 9th of June, 1835, Thompson and wife conveyed to Isaac Phillips, his heirs and assigns, the Chestnut street, property, subject to the payment of an annual ground-rent of $272 per annum; and subject also to the payment of a mortgage debt of $3,500.

On the 22d of June, 1835, Phillips, having purchased the ground-rent thus reserved upon his lot, received a deed for it from the then owner, paying $4,533.33.

On the 30th of January, 1837, the register issued a notice to John Moss, stating that, in consequence of his caveat, no letters of administration had been taken out upon the estate of Robert Phillips, whereby the collateral inheritance tax was unattended to, and the commonwealth was suffering.

On the 4th of February, 1837, letters of administration were granted to Isaac Phillips, who gave the required bond and security.

On the 13th of February, 1837, R. and I. Phillips wrote to Eustace, instructing him to draw on them at ninety days for $30,000 or $40,000, and to send sterling or French bills.

On the 4th of March, 1837, Eustace drew a bill of exchange, dated at Richmond, upon R. and I. Phillips, payable fifteen days after date to the order of Henry Thassall, for $9,085.92, which was accepted by the drawees.

On the 20th of March, 1837, Joseph L. Moss conveyed to David

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Samuel certain property therein mentioned, situated on Walnut street, for the sum of $7,000.

On the 22d of March, 1837, Isaac Phillips and Joseph L. Moss, composing the firm of R. and I. Phillips, made a conveyance to Joseph M. Moss and David Samuel, reciting that the parties of the first part had been compelled to suspend payment, and conveying to the parties of the second part 'all and singular the joint and several property and estate of the said parties of the first part, and of each of them, real and personal, situate, lying and being, or due, owing or belonging to them or either of them, within the state of New York,' upon trust to pay certain persons therein mentioned. This deed was verified and recorded in New York, on the 23d of March.

On the 24th of March, 1837, Joseph L. Moss executed a warrant of attorney, to confess judgment in favor of John Moss, for $48,000, conditioned for the payment of $24,600.

On the 25th of March, 1837, David Samuel re-conveyed to Joseph L. Moss the same property which Moss had conveyed to him on the 20th of March.

On the 27th of March, 1837, a judgment was entered up, in the District Court for the city and county of Philadelphia, in favor of John Moss, against Joseph L. Moss, for the sum of $48,000, in conformity with the warrant of attorney just referred to.

On the 10th of April, 1837, Isaac Phillips conveyed to John Moss the life-estate which he derived from being tenant by the curtesy, in the Mulberry street property, which has been heretofore mentioned as having been conveyed to Sarah Moss Phillips, wife of the said Isaac, on the 29th of August, 1834. This property was subject to a ground-rent of $231 per annum, but is understood to be considered in Pennsylvania as a fee. The consideration received by Isaac Phillips is stated to have been $7,102.17.

On the 27th of May, 1837, Joseph L. Moss executed to John Moss a bill of sale of sundry articles of furniture, valued at $3,950, to pay in part the judgment which had been entered, on the 27th of March, against the said Joseph L. Moss.

On the 3d of June, 1837, Isaac Phillips executed to Joseph M. Moss a bill of sale of certain furniture, in consideration of $5,707.

On the 22d of June, 1837, Isaac Phillips, and Sarah his wife, and Joseph L. Moss, and Julia his wife, executed a deed to Joseph M. Moss and David Samuel, assigning their property generally, and particularly

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describing the two pieces of property which are the subjects of the present suit, upon certain trusts. After providing for preferred creditors, the deed directed the trustees to pay and satisfy in full, or ratably, all the other creditors who should, on or before the 21st day of August, 1837, at twelve o'clock, noon, and if resident in Europe, on or before the 20th of October, 1837, at twelve o'clock, noon, execute and deliver to the said R. and I. Phillips, a full, valid, and general release. The trust was accepted.

On the 8th of July, 1837, the property thus conveyed was valued by appraisers, appointed by the Court of Common Pleas, at $139,373.69. The Chestnut street property was valued at $15,000, and the Sixth street property at $20,000.

On the 2d of October, 1837, Phillips and Moss separately petitioned for the benefit of the insolvent law of Pennsylvania, but did not execute an assignment of their property to trustees. Two of the creditors opposed their discharge, but on the 19th of October their opposition was withdrawn, and Phillips and Moss were severally discharged.

On the 17th of November, 1837, Isaac Phillips, as the administrator of Robert Phillips, represented to the Orphans' Court that the said Robert, at the time of his death, was seised in fee of the Sixth street property; that he owed the petitioner the sum of $35,473.35, and prayed for an order to sell the property. Whereupon the court, on due consideration, granted the prayer of the petitioner, and awarded an order of sale accordingly.

In December, 1837, an action was brought by the Farmers' Bank of Virginia against Phillips and Moss, trading under the firm of R. and I. Phillips, in the District Court of the city and county of Philadelphia, upon the bill of exchange drawn upon them by Eustace as before mentioned.

On the 19th of January, 1838, Isaac Phillips, as administrator of Robert, reported to the Orphans' Court, that he had, on the 26th of December, sold the Sixth street property to David Samuel and J. Mora Moss, assignees of R. and I. Phillips, for $22,500, which sale was duly confirmed.

On the 22d of January, 1838, a judgment was entered in the District Court against R. and I. Phillips, at the suit of the Farmers' Bank of Virginia for the sum of $9,541.58, subject to the defendants' discharge under the insolvent laws of Pennsylvania.

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On the 30th of January, 1838, Isaac Phillips, as administrator of Robert, executed a deed for the Sixth street property, to David Samuel and Joseph Mora Moss, assignees of R. and I. Phillips, which was ratified and confirmed by the Orphans' Court.

On the 19th of March, 1838, a fieri facias was issued upon the judgment obtained in March, 1827, by John Moss against Joseph L. Moss, for $48,000, the proceedings upon which were set aside on the 5th of May for irregularity.

On the 11th of May, 1838, Eustace filed a bill in equity, in the Court of Common Pleas, against R. and I. Phillips and their...

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