« AnteriorContinuar »
WOOD V. ARMOCR.
[88 WISCONSIN, 488.) Tax TITLE MAY BE ACQUIRED BY MARRIED Woman.-A tax title to land
may be acquired by a married woman acting in good faith, by a par chase ont of her separate estate, although her husband is in possession
of such land, and under a legal obligation to pay the taxes. ADVERSE POSSESSION UNDER TAX TITLE ACQUIRED BY MARRIED WOMAN,
After a married woman has acquired a tax title to land in the posses• sion of her husband, and put it.on record, her possession of the land through tenants is none the less adverse to the original owner by rea. son of the fact that her husband acts as her agent in the managemen'
of the property. HUSBAND MAY Act as AGENT FOR HIS WIFE.—It is entirely competent
for a husband to act as his wife's agent in the transaction of his wife's separate business, and his doing so will not be allowed to prejudice the wife's rights. EJECTMENT by the widow and heirs at law of one John P. Wood. The subject of controversy was part of a quarter section of land to which one Curtis Mann had held the title in fee prior to 1850. Mann, in February, 1850, deeded to Wood, who was then living in New York, and who died in 1864, still holding the paper title to the land. In 1856 Mann moved to Wisconsin with his family, and went into possession of the land, and remained in possession until August, 1887. He paid all taxes until November, 1877, when he became in. solvent and paid no further taxes. The land was sold for the unpaid taxes of 1883 and 1884, and tax deeds, fair on their face, were made to Warbam Parks, the holder of the tas certificate in 1887. This tax title was bought of the tax title holder, in August, 1887, by Nancy M. Mann, the wife of Curtis Mann, with money arising from her separate property, and she received a deed therefor. The land was then in the possession of tenants, and she, after getting her deed, received the rents, made repairs, paid expenses, redeemed unpaid taxes, and paid the current taxes. Her husband acted as her agent in these matters. In September, 1892, the land in controversy was conveyed by Nancy Mann to one Morse, who afterwards conveyed the same to the defendant. The circuit court found that the land had been adversely possessed by Curtis Mann for more than twenty years, that the tax title acquired by Nancy Mann was valid, and had been followed by adverse possession for more than three years. There was a judgment for defendant, and plaintiffs appealed.
Quarles, Spence & Quarles, for the appellants.
490 WINSLOW, J. The record is quite voluminous. The foregoing statement does not state all of the facts which appear in evidence, but it is believed that it states all the facts which are material to the decision of the case. The question was much discussed, both in the briefs and in the argument, whether Curtis Mann's entry and subsequent possession were adverse. In the view we have taken of the case we find it unnecessary to decide this question. When the tax deed was executed the title to the property was either in the plaintiffs or in Curtis Mann, and in either event it was entirely competent for Nancy Mann, out of her separate estate, to purchase that tax title. The tax deeds were fair on their face. No irregularity is shown or claimed in the levy of the tax upon which they were based. Hence, they conveyed & title in fee simple, unless there was some legal reason why Nancy Mann could not purchase that title.
It is suggested that Curtis Mann could not acquire the tax title, because he was in possession of the land and it 491 was assessed to him, so that he was under legal obligation to pay the taxes. However much force this argument might have against a title acquired by Curtis Mann, or by a third person collusively for Mann's benefit, it has no force against Mrs Mann, who was not in possession and was under no obligation to protect the title. No duty rested on her to pay the taxes on these lands, whether they belonged to her husband or to the plaintiffs. She had a separate estate, and, if she chose to use a part of it in purchasing a tax title on these lands in good faith and for her own benefit, we know of no rule, in the present state of the law as to the property rights of married women, which would prevent her from doing so. The evidence showed, and the court rightly found, that, after such purchase, she went into possession of the lands in ques. tion, and held such possession until she conveyed the same to the defendant's grantor. The actual manual possession during this time was in tenants, but we think the possession of these tenants, under the facts, must be held to be the possession of Mrs. Mann. She received the rents and profits, built fences, repaired buildings, paid the taxes, and managed the property as her own. It is true that her husband acted as her agent in many of these matters, but it is entirely competent for the husband to so act in the transaction of his wife's separate business, and we do not see how this is to prejudice the wife's rights. Certainly no one has had possession adverse to her since she acquired title. The plaintiff's have not, and her husband has not, nor have the tenants. She put her title on record at once, thus announcing to all the world, including the plaintiffs, that she claimed title to the premises. This constituted not only a "challenge of the right of the original owner and all opposing claimants, but it was notice to them of its existence and presumed validity": Knox v. Cleveland, 13 Wis. 245.
492 In any view which we have been able to take of the case we have been unable to see why the tax title acquired by Nancy Mann did not vest in her a perfect title to the property, which is now vested in the defendant, her grantee.
By the Court. Judgment asfirmed.
Who may PURCHASE AT Tax Sale.—One who is under no legal or moral obligation to pay taxes on a piece of land is not precluded from purchasing at a tax sale thereof, although in possession at the time of assessment or sale: See note to Laton v. Balcom, 10 Am. St. Rep. 383, and monographie note to Blake v. Howe, 15 Am. Dec. 684-690, on who may purchase at a tas Bale.
A HUSBAND MAY ACT AS AGENT FOR His Wife in transactions relating to ber separate estate: Notes to Hoffman v. McFadden, 35 Am. St. Rep. 105; Wells v. Balts, 34 Am. St. Rep. 512. The fact that he assists her in the management of her separate estate does not impair her title to its prolucts, and the value of the husband's labor and skill in such a case cannot be reached by creditors: Note to Trapnell v. Conklyn, 38 Am. St. Rep. 47. Whether he has been constituted her agent is a question of fact for the jury: Note to W'ells v. Batts, 34 Am. St. Rep. 512.
State V. INTERNATIONAL Investment Co.
(88 WISCONSIN, 512.) CORPORATIONS s—What Have NO VALIDITY.-A corporation whose primary
object is without statutory authority can have no lawful existence, although some of its declared purposes may be lawful. Hence, if its primary object is to obtain money from its members, it is unauthorized, although its declared purposes are " to encourage frugality and economy in its members; to create, husband, and distribute funds from monthly installments, dues, or investments from its members; to purchase, take, hold, sell, convey, lease, rent, and mortgage real estate and personal property: to loan surplus accommodations; and to carry on and conduct a general investment business.”
CORPORATIONS-PURPOSES NOT EXTENDED BY GENERAL WORDS OF STAT.
UTE.— Under a statute authorizing the formation of corporations for certain designated purposes the general words “or for any lawful business or purpose whatever, except," etc., extend only to things of a na ture kindred to those specifically mentioned. Action to annul the charter of a corporation, brought under section 3241 of the Revised Statutes. The company appears to have been incorporated July 7, 1893, but its original articles of organization and incorporation were amended on December 8, 1893, so as to provide for the salaries of the officers, directors, and agents of the company. The company was to do business as stated in the opinion, and had no capital stock. It was composed of incorporators and members. It was provided that the corporation should issue incorporators' shares, originally, only to the persons who signed the original articles, and to such other persons as the said incorporators or their assignees should nominate, but not more than twelve incorporators' shares were to be issued, one to each. Contracts of membership were provided for, but one person could hold and own any number of such contracts, and the same were assignable. Fines and forfeitures for the nonpayment of monthly dues were provided for. No person except those holding incorporators' shares could be a niember unless he held a contract of membership, but every person holding such a contract could be a member, and not less than four contracts of membership could be issued upon any single application. All the rights and benefits of the company were granted to members in consideration of a membership fee of five dollars, and to keep certain promises and agreements, but not longer. The monthly dues were two dollars. The company was to pay out of a reserve fund a benefit of one thousand dollars, forty-three years after date of the contract, under certain provisos and conditions, or to pay out of a members' trust fund that sum, subject to discount and certain other provisos and conditions. The contracts issued were to be numbered in numerical order, and to be issued only in blocks of four. The company was not required to give any notice of the maturity of installments or the assessment of fines, or of forfeiture or lapse of contract. To the "members' trust fund” provided for by the rules there was to be applied one dollar from each monthly installment received, and all fines and transfer fees collected, and from which should be made the payment upon contracts mentioned in article 12.
Article 12 provided that, as often as there should be in the members' trust fund the sum of one thousand dollars, there should be paid to the holder of one outstanding contract of membership the sum of one thousand dollars, subject to cer. tain conditions; that the first contract upon which payment should be made should be contract No. 1, the second payment should be upon contract No. 4, the third payment upon contract No. 2, the fourth payment upon contract No. 8, and so on, reverting back to the first issued, unforfeited, unpaid nonmultiple contract, and alternating with the lowest unpaid, un forfeited multiple of four, until like payments had been made to the holders of all issued, unpaid contracts; but the company was not required to make payment upon any contract until there was sufficient money in the members' trust fund therefor, nor until such contract was regularly reached in its order for payment. Article 14 provided that in case there should have been less than sixty monthly installments paid upon any contract of membership up to the time that it was canceled by payment, then there should be deducted and reserved twenty per centum of the amount due upon every such con
Article 15 provided for a "reserve fund," and that whenever any contract should mature, under the provisions for payment, forty-three years from and after the date thereof, provided it had not been paid before that time, there should be paid to the holder thereof the sum of one thousand dollars from said reserve fund. The attorney general, on application, refused to bring an action to vacate the charter and to annul said corporation, and the relator was allowed to file his petition in the supreme court, alleging in effect that the business of the alleged corporation was illegal, for the reasons that it had in it the element of chance and uncertainty, and was in violation of the statutes against lotteries; that its manner of doing business was intended to deceive persons becoming members thereof; and that its business was illegal and contrary to law, and a common and public fraud. The defendant answered by way of admissions and denials, and alleged that it had about five hundred members and contract holders, and a large number of agents soliciting persons to become members; that it had not yet paid a contract of membership, for the reason that it had not continued business long enough, nor extensive enough, for the purpose. The answer was demurred to on the ground that it did not state facts sufficient to constitute a defense.