Women's Rights in Early New York
Chapter 216 of the Colonial Laws
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[CHAPTER 216.] \
[Chapter. 216, of Livingston & Smith and Van Schaack, where the act 18 printed in full. Printed in full in Bradford's 1715 ed., p. 82; Baskett p. 128.]
AN ACT for the better Settlem't and Assureing Of Lands in this Colony
[Passed October 30, 1710.]
BE IT ENACTED by the Governr', Council and Assembly, and by the Authority of the Same, That every person or persons Bodys Politick and Corporate, Citys or Towns, who by Themselves, their Tennants or Servants, or his or their Assignee or Assigns, Grantees Their Ancestors, Predecessors or others under whome they Claime, have been Seized to their owne use or uses, or taken the Rents, Issues and proffits of any Messuages, Houses Tenem'ts Lands and Hereditaments Whatsoever in this Colony and Plantation in his or their own proper Right, for the Term and Space of Ten Years now last past, & Shall so Continue whether in their own persons, their heirs, successors or Assigns, or by any other person or persons under them, in possession, as aforesaid, without any Claime either by Actual Entry and possession thereupon Continued, or Suite to be prossecuted to Effect untill the first day of September in the year of our Lord Seventeen hundred & Thirteen Shall from and after the Said first day of September, and forever be Adjudged, Deemed and taken to be the True, Rightfull and Lawfull Owner of Such Messuages, Houses, Lands, Tenements and hereditaments Respectively, and Shall and may have, hold and Enjoy the Same, any Claime, Right, Title, Demand or Pretence to the Oontrary thereof by or from any person or persons, Bodys Politick and Corporate Whatsoever, in Any Wise Notwithstanding. Provided, That Niether this Act nor any thing therein contained shall Extend or be Construed to the prejudice or Barr of any person or persons who shall before the said first day of September Seventeen hundred and thirteen, Commence any suit for any Lands, houses, Tenements or hereditaments in this Colony, and afterwards prosecute the
same to Effect, Nor to the Prejudice of any Mortgagee or Lessee, whose Mortgage or Lease shall be Recorded in the Secretary's office of this Colony before the said first day of September Seventeen hundred and thirteen
Provided also That neither this Act nor any thing therein Contained, shall be Extended or Construed to the prejudice or hindrance of any person or persons under Age of One and Twenty years, Marryed 'Women, not of Sound mind, Imprisoned, or beyond the Seas. Provided Such person or persons within Three years after his or their Coming to the Age of One and Twenty years, being unmarryed, becoming of Sound mind, Liberty, or Return into this Plantation and Colony, do make their Actual Entry, or bring their Suite, as aforesaid, otherwise to be utterly debar'd, and Excluded from any Entry, Claime, Suite or Demand Whatsoever.
AND whereas by many Accidents the Deeds and Writings relating to Estates Some 'time have been and may hereafter be Destroyed, Consumed, and Lost Whereby The Lawful and Rightfull Owner ,of any Lands, Messuages, Houses, Tenements, and Hereditaments may be Exposed to many doubtful, Expensive and Vexatious Suits, and other Inconveniences, for the Preventing Whereof BE IT ENACTED by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Deed or Deeds, Conveyance or Conveyances and Writings relating to the Title or Property of any Lands, Messuages, Tenements or hereditaments within this Colony which have been already or Shall be hereafter Executed, being Duly Acknowledged & Recorded in the Secretarys office of the Said Colony, or in the County Records where Such Lands are Scituate and being, Such Deed or Writing so Recorded, or Transcript Thereof, shall be good and Effectual Evidence in any Court of Record within This Colony, to all Intents and purposes as if the Original Deed or Deeds, Conveyance or Conveyances and Writings was or Were produced and proved in Court.
AND be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Dutch Word Onroerende, and the Word Vaste Staat, which are Commonly Rendred into English by the Words Immovable and fast Estate, by which in the Dutch Language is understood a Real Estate, houses, Lands and Tenements, and other Real Estate of Inheritance, And are used in any Dutch Antenuptial Contract or Law Will & Testament, or Deed or Deeds made in this Colony, and Duly Executed before Two or M,ore Credible Witnesses at any time before The Publication of this Act, Ought therefore to be Understood of A Real Estate, And That the Parties Who have Or Claime any Right to any Real Estate or part thereof within this Colony, by Virtue of the aforesaid Dutch Words, or either of them used in Such Dutch Antenuptial Contracts, or Wills and Testaments, Or Deed or Deeds, as aforesaid, Shall and may Enjoy the Same to his or their Heirs and Assigns for Ever, in as full And Ample Manner as if the Devise, Deed, Grant or Conveyance was made by the Words Real Estate, Lands or Tenements, and Sue for the Same, in her Majesties Courts within this Colony, and Recover Possession Accordingly, any Law Usage or Custome to the Contrary hereof in any Wise notwithstanding.
Short Answer Questions
- When was this law written?
- This act is called, “An Act for the Better Settling and Assurance of Lands in this Colony.” What does that mean?
- According to this act, what groups of people would not be allowed to own property?
- What groups of people are married women compared with?
This DBQ is available as a printable worksheet in PDF format.