I wonder who this James Alexander belonged to
"Reports of cases adjudged in the Supreme court of Pennsylvania; with some select cases at nisi prius and in the circuit courts" by the Honorable Jasper Yeates, one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; ("Yeates Reports") Vol.1, pgs.213 to 221 (California State Law Library, Sacramento, 1/2004)
Lessee of STEPHEN DUNCAN against BENJAMIN WALKER; Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; 1 Yeates 213; January, 1793, Decided.
Ejectment for 300 acres of land, in Pine Creek township, in Northumberland county, within the late Indian purchase. This cause had been tried at the last May assizes at Sunbury, before M'Kean Chief Justice, and Yeates Justice, when the facts given in evidence appeared as follow:
One Alexander Donaldson settled on the lands in dispute, then within the Indian territory, in 1774, and made an improvement, as it is called, thereon, and continued there some time. Early in 1779, he sold his improvement to William Campbell for 300£. who afterwards worked on the land. Campbell was drowned in Muncey creek in the spring of 1781, and letters of administration were taken out on his estate by James Alexander, on the 14th August 1781, he being one of his creditors. An inventory was taken on the 1st September 1781, appraising the above improvement at 80£. state money, another improvement at 40£. and his personal property at 18£. 15s. On the 3d September following, James Alexander, the administrator, having advertised the premises for sale at least ten days, (but without any order of the Orphans' Court,) proceeded to sell the same by public vendue, in the town of Northumberland, and at a fair and open sale, sold the same to John Walker for 150£. and conveyed the same to him by deed poll of that date, with covenant of warranty.
John Walker was shortly afterwards killed by the Indians. On the 13th September 1782, letters of administration issued on his estate to Jane Walker and Benjamin Walker, who, on the 3d March 1785, conveyed the premises as administrators to William Walker, in consideration of 63£. 10s.; who, on the same day, reconveys it to the said Benjamin Walker, the defendant, in consideration of 65£. 10s.
On the 5th June 1785, Robert Campbell, brother and heir at law of William Campbell aforesaid, conveyed to Stephen Duncan, the lessor of the plaintiff, the lands in question, in consideration of 25£. who, on the 29th day of the same month, took out a warrant for the premises, reciting the first settlement of the land, the sale to William Campbell aforesaid, and the conveyance of his heir at law to said Duncan.
On the 20th October 1785, the same Benjamin Walker also takes out a warrant for these lands.
On the 11th November 1785, a survey is made containing 324 acres; and on the 1st November 1786, Duncan enters a caveat against the acceptance of Walker's survey or granting him a patent.
In the interim, on the 26th September 1786, James Alexander settles his administration account on the estate of William Campbell, in the register's office of Northumberland county, wherein he charges himself with the amount of sales of the improvements contained in the inventory, and the personal estate, £279 and credits himself with several sums amounting to £84 15 11, Balance remaining in his hands £194 4 1.
On these facts two exceptions were taken to the title of the defendant: 1st. That James Alexander, the administrator of William Campbell could not, consistently with the laws or usages of this state, sell this improvement without being empowered so to do, by an order of the Orphans' Court. 2d. That no right to the improvement attached until the 21st December 1784, when the law passed, amending the act of assembly for opening the land office, and consequently could not legally be transferred.
It was admitted by the plaintiff's counsel, that should he recover in the suit, these lands were liable to the debts of William Campbell deceased, in case of a deficiency of personal assets.
It was at length agreed, that the jury should find a verdict for the plaintiff, subject to the opinion of the court in bank, on the point reserved: whether the lands in question sold by James Alexander as administrator of William Campbell, were to be considered as governed by the rules of real or personal property? If the court on argument, should be of the former opinion, then judgment to be entered for the plaintiff; if otherwise, judgment to be entered for the defendant.
REFERENCES FROM OTHER LOCALITIES
Philadelphia Co. PA Will (FHL film 21,731)
1-26 to 34, #110: 5 Dec. 1801, will of Margaret Duncan of City of Phila., widow, (lots of religious terms). .... (See Philadelphia Co. for complete) ... To my son Matthew Duncan in trust land in Northumberland (bottom line too dark to read). To my son Matthew Duncan in trust a tract of land in Northumberland Co. called Hemarte? Ferver? 300 acres per patent. To my son Matthew Duncan land now occupied by John Davidson in Northumberland Co., 168 acres by patent. To my son Matthew land in Northumberland now occupied by Jacob Seix? 221 acres not yet patented. ... To my son Matthew Duncan lot of ground in town and county of Northumberland Lot #47. To my grandson Isaac Bailey son of my dau. Mary Ann Bailey, lot in town & county of Northumberland #280. To my grandchildren Isabella Bailey and Ann Bailey, ch. of my dau. Mary Ann Bailey, lot in Sunbury #27. To my grandson William Bailey, son of my dau. Mary Ann Bailey, lot in Sunbury #152. To my son Matthew Duncan lot in Northumberland #116. ... Appoint son Matthew Duncan and son in law William Bailey as executors. Wit. Peter Lohra, Silas E. Writ?, Jas. Humphreys Jr. Rec. Dec. 1, 1820.