LAORLEAN-L ArchivesArchiver > LAORLEAN > 2002-12 > 1040599312
From: Edgar Farrar Richardson <>
Subject: [LAORLEAN-L] Re: Separation of property
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 00:55:11 +0100
After the civil War, separation of property suits were very common, as a
means of protecting family assets against creditors. Plantation owners
often had crushing burdens of debt which had been contracted to buy land and
slaves. After emancipation, the planters' most valuable assets were gone
and many no longer had the net worth or income to support their debt. So
couples often arranged for amicable suits to place remaining property in the
wife's name in order to protect it from creditors.
See Debt, Investment, Slaves by Richard Holcomb Kilbourne, Jr, U of Alabama
I had a gg aunt who received a plantation as a gift from her lawyer father.
The curious thing was that this same plantation had been her husband's
property up to the end of the war. This was obviously some kind of a clever
dodge to to enable her husband to avoid his creditors, and I am still trying
to figure out how they got away with it.
Going further back, my 3g grandmother, Jane Kempe, was apparently a most
difficult woman, and undertook separation of property actions agoinst two
different husbands. The first one was concluded amicably.
After the death of the first husband, she married again, but a few years
later sued in Concordia Parish for separation of property and separation of
bed and board and won both. Her main complaint was that her husband refused
to allow her sufficient funds to live in the style to which she was
accustomed. The husband appealed to the LA Supreme Court which upheld
separation of property, but struck down separation of bed and board. Jane
nevertheless refused to go back and live with him, so the husband finally
sued for divorce, which he won on grounds of abandonment.
Ther is no indication in the court or other records that either husband was
supporting a mistress, but who knows !