Bridget Shane and the Supreme Court of Iowa

Since I’m not a lawyer this lawsuit and its eventual appearance in the Iowa Supreme Court are somewhat baffling to me.  However, after reading the text for the 100th time (give or take a little) it seems to me that the situation is this:  when Robert and Bridget Shane  separated, Robert divided his property with her, and subsequently provided title to another person… in this case Mr. McNeill.  Here’s some of the text:

So…. Bridget was asserting her right to a portion of the property division when she and Robert separated, because she had never given up her right to it.

It’s amazed me to find an ancestor’s case referred to over and over again in law journals, in this case “Reports of Cases in Law and Equity, Determined in the Supreme Court of Iowa” page 459.  It must have been important enough to be referred to in later cases as citation for a decision.

I believe Bridget prevailed in her lawsuit (which is dated in 1889): She owned 200 acres of land at the time of her death.

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New information as of September, 2012

Article from the Monticello Express, 1889

“The Supreme Court has affirmed the case of Shane vs McNeill, appealed from Delaware County.  Many years ago Mrs. Shane and her husband who lived near Sand Spring separated and divided the family property including a large amount of land.  After the division the husband sold eighty acres of land to John Quirk and he in turn sold it to McNeill.  After Shane’s death, the widow brought a partition suit to recover her interest in the eighty acres of land then held by McNeill, she never having joined in the conveyance to Quirk.  The district court gave her a dower interest in the land, and the Supreme Court has now affirmed that decision.”

As you see Bridget did prevail and was rewarded with 80 acres of land.  As a side note, when we were in Iowa recently I happened to see a McNeill Drug store in Monticello.  Maybe the same family?

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 5, 2010, and October 12, 2012. All Rights Reserved

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