Monday, September 20, 2010

Looking after their own

Christopher A. Schnell writes in "Women and the Law of Property," in In Tender Consideration: Women, Families, and the Law in Abraham Lincoln's Illinois (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), pp. 150-151:

As early as 1828, and with increasing frequency through the next three decades, women in Sangamon County wrote wills to maintain control over the division of their property.... In almost every instance the author assigned her assets to her children, either directly or by trust.... Several wills exhibited the propensity of women to favor female heirs, often transferring trust property from their own name to their daughter's or granddaughter's name. Women who transferred property exclusively to their daughter(s) sought to control their property so that their daughters had at least the same measure of support that their mother had garnered, without interference from husbands. Jane McCann put all her property in trust for her daughter and specifically excluded her son-in-law from access to the title to the land. Thus, no matter what became of her daughter's marriage, Jane McCann ensured some financial support for her daughter.

Plus more examples. Read the whole thing.


Candace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Parker Wayne said...

Thanks for pointing to this book, Harold. I am always looking for new books on law to add to my collection. And books that specifically discuss women and the law are high on my list.

I don't know if I am just more alert or if more books on this topic are being published in recent years. This one looks like a good companion to Hers, His, and Theirs: Community Property Law in Spain and Early Texas by Jean A. Stuntz (Lubbock: Texas Tech. Univ. Press, 2005). I learned some fascinating things about women in Stuntz's book and look forward to reading Schnell.