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Introduction to Clayton v. E. W. Rhodes et al.

Clayton v. E. W. Rhodes, O. Rhodes, Alonzo Rhodes, Alvin Rhodes, W. Rhodes, R. Rhodes, Helen Rhodes, JS, and Hugh Rhodes, Administrator of the Estate of E. Rhodes
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, in Chancery, 21 October 1843
 
Historical Introduction
In fall 1843, , apparently acting on JS’s instructions, sued JS as well as the family and estate of Erie Rhodes in the circuit court of , Illinois, to secure the title to . Two years earlier, in September 1841, Rhodes had sold JS 153½ acres of land about three miles east of , Illinois, for $1,535 and signed a bond promising to provide JS with a property deed when he completed his payments. This property ultimately became JS’s personal farm. Rhodes died on 17 October 1841, one month after JS’s purchase. JS continued to make regular property payments to Rhodes’s estate and satisfied the debt in April 1842. However, neither Rhodes nor his estate had completed payments on the land, meaning the estate did not yet own the land and was unable to transfer the title to JS. Sometime in early April 1842, shortly after he finished paying for the land, JS signed an assignment that transferred the property to himself as trustee-in-trust for the church. Although signed in 1842, the transfer was dated October 1841.
In October 1842, Rhodes’s widow, Eunice Wright Rhodes, petitioned the Circuit Court, in , for her dower rights to her husband’s property, including the land he had sold to JS. The following spring, a court-appointed commission set apart a third of Erie Rhodes’s property as Eunice Rhodes’s dower right, and the court approved the arrangement on 27 May 1843. Although the property assigned to Eunice Rhodes did not include , the mention of JS’s property in her petition apparently led JS to make additional efforts to secure the title to his land. On 1 June 1843, JS signed a second assignment, which transferred the property from him as the church’s trustee-in-trust to . Like the earlier assignment, the conveyance to Clayton was dated October 1841. Although JS’s conveyance stated that Clayton paid $1,500 for the property, it is unknown whether any money changed hands. However, Clayton apparently held the property as an agent on JS’s behalf rather than acquiring it as his personal property. Clayton regularly conducted financial business as an agent for JS, typically doing so in JS’s name but not usually holding property on his behalf. As the fall 1843 court proceedings were ongoing, however, JS instructed Clayton to purchase additional property from the Rhodes estate on his behalf.
In late July 1843, and his attorneys, and , prepared a bill of complaint for the circuit court to settle the transaction in chancery. Clayton’s bill requested that the court deny Eunice Rhodes’s dower rights for the property that was sold to JS and require the Rhodes estate to provide Clayton with a deed to the land he had purchased from JS. To ensure that all claims were resolved, Clayton named Eunice Rhodes, her children, the Erie Rhodes estate, and JS as defendants in the bill, even though Clayton was apparently acting on JS’s behalf to resolve the matter. On 1 August 1843, the court summoned the defendants, including JS, to appear during its October term and answer Clayton’s bill.
Sometime between 29 September and 4 October, JS prepared his answer to ’s bill for the court. In the answer, JS acknowledged all of the facts in the case, namely that Erie Rhodes executed the bond in his lifetime, that JS paid off the debt, and that the “several endorsements and assignments” inscribed on the bond were correct. , acting as a city alderman pro tempore, certified and signed the answer. The circuit court received JS’s answer on 12 October 1843. Hugh Rhodes—the administrator of Erie Rhodes’s estate—and John W. Marsh—the guardian of Erie Rhodes’s minor children—also provided answers to the court in October 1843 that validated the claims of Clayton’s petition. Eunice Rhodes and her adult son, Orrin Rhodes, never responded to the summons.
On 21 October 1843, the circuit court granted ’s petition, barring Eunice Rhodes’s dower rights to the property and ordering Erie Rhodes’s estate to give Clayton a deed to the land within sixty days. On 20 November 1843, Hugh Rhodes signed a provisional deed that legally promised to transfer the property to Clayton once the estate fully paid off its debt on the land. Sometime between 28 August and 25 November 1843, Clayton transferred the property to the children of JS and .
 
Calendar of Documents
This calendar lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not. It does not include versions of documents created for other purposes, though those versions may be listed in footnotes. In certain cases, especially in cases concerning unpaid debts, the originating document (promissory note, invoice, etc.) is listed here. Note that documents in the calendar are grouped with their originating court. Where a version of a document was subsequently filed with another court, that version is listed under both courts.
Clayton v. E. W. Rhodes, O. Rhodes, Alonzo Rhodes, Alvin Rhodes, W. Rhodes, R. Rhodes, Helen Rhodes, JS, and Hugh Rhodes, Administrator of the Estate of E. Rhodes
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, in Chancery, 21 October 1843
 
Historical Introduction
In fall 1843, , apparently acting on JS’s instructions, sued JS as well as the family and estate of Erie Rhodes in the circuit court of , Illinois, to secure the title to . Two years earlier, in September 1841, Rhodes had sold JS 153½ acres of land about three miles east of , Illinois, for $1,535 and signed a bond promising to provide JS with a property deed when he completed his payments. This property ultimately became JS’s personal farm. Rhodes died on 17 October 1841, one month after JS’s purchase. JS continued to make regular property payments to Rhodes’s estate and satisfied the debt in April 1842. However, neither Rhodes nor his estate had completed payments on the land, meaning the estate did not yet own the land and was unable to transfer the title to JS. Sometime in early April 1842, shortly after he finished paying for the land, JS signed an assignment that transferred the property to himself as trustee-in-trust for the church. Although signed in 1842, the transfer was dated October 1841.
In October 1842, Rhodes’s widow, Eunice Wright Rhodes, petitioned the Circuit Court, in , for her dower rights to her husband’s property, including the land he had sold to JS. The following spring, a court-appointed commission set apart a third of Erie Rhodes’s property as Eunice Rhodes’s dower right, and the court approved the arrangement on 27 May 1843. Although the property assigned to Eunice Rhodes did not include , the mention of JS’s property in her petition apparently led JS to make additional efforts to secure the title to his land. On 1 June 1843, JS signed a second assignment, which transferred the property from him as the church’s trustee-in-trust to . Like the earlier assignment, the conveyance to Clayton was dated October 1841. Although JS’s conveyance stated that Clayton paid $1,500 for the property, it is unknown whether any money changed hands. However, Clayton apparently held the property as an agent on JS’s behalf rather than acquiring it as his personal property. Clayton regularly conducted financial business as an agent for JS, typically doing so in JS’s name but not usually holding property on his behalf. As the fall 1843 court proceedings were ongoing, however, JS instructed Clayton to purchase additional property from the Rhodes estate on his behalf.
In late July 1843, and his attorneys, and , prepared a bill of complaint for the circuit court to settle the transaction in chancery. Clayton’s bill requested that the court deny Eunice Rhodes’s dower rights for the property that was sold to JS and require the Rhodes estate to provide Clayton with a deed to the land he had purchased from JS. To ensure that all claims were resolved, Clayton named Eunice Rhodes, her children, the Erie Rhodes estate, and JS as defendants in the bill, even though Clayton was apparently acting on JS’s behalf to resolve the matter. On 1 August 1843, the court summoned the defendants, including JS, to appear during its October term and answer Clayton’s bill.
Sometime between 29 September and 4 October, JS prepared his answer to ’s bill for the court. In the answer, JS acknowledged all of the facts in the case, namely that Erie Rhodes executed the bond in his lifetime, that JS paid off the debt, and that the “several endorsements and assignments” inscribed on the bond were correct. , acting as a city alderman pro tempore, certified and signed the answer. The circuit court received JS’s answer on 12 October 1843. Hugh Rhodes—the administrator of Erie Rhodes’s estate—and John W. Marsh—the guardian of Erie Rhodes’s minor children—also provided answers to the court in October 1843 that validated the claims of Clayton’s petition. Eunice Rhodes and her adult son, Orrin Rhodes, never responded to the summons.
On 21 October 1843, the circuit court granted ’s petition, barring Eunice Rhodes’s dower rights to the property and ordering Erie Rhodes’s estate to give Clayton a deed to the land within sixty days. On 20 November 1843, Hugh Rhodes signed a provisional deed that legally promised to transfer the property to Clayton once the estate fully paid off its debt on the land. Sometime between 28 August and 25 November 1843, Clayton transferred the property to the children of JS and .
 
Calendar of Documents
This calendar lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not. It does not include versions of documents created for other purposes, though those versions may be listed in footnotes. In certain cases, especially in cases concerning unpaid debts, the originating document (promissory note, invoice, etc.) is listed here. Note that documents in the calendar are grouped with their originating court. Where a version of a document was subsequently filed with another court, that version is listed under both courts.
 
 
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, in Chancery