Open main menu

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

127 U.S. 96

Blacklock  v.  Small

This is a bill in equity, filed on the 8th of October, 1879, in the circuit court of the United States for the district of South Carolina, by Emma Jane Blacklock and Mary Blacklock, citizens of Georgia, against Jacob Small, a citizen of South Carolina, Alexander Robertson, a citizen of North Carolina, and Helen Robertson Blacklock, a citizen of South Carolina. The substance of the allegations of the bill is that on the 20th of March, 1860, John F. Blacklock, the father of the plaintiffs, owning a house and lot in the city of Charleston, in the state of South Carolina, sold and conveyed it to the defendant Small, who, on the same day, gave back to Blacklock a bond and mortgage; the mortgage covering the house and lot, and being given to secure the payment on the bond of the sum of $10,600, by three equal and successive annual installments, the first one payable on the 20th of March, 1861, with interest from the date of the bond and mortgage, payable annually. That the purchase money of the house and lot was $16,000, of which $5,400 was paid in cash at the time. That Blacklock, the mortgagee, after receiving from Small, on the 19th of March, 1861, $742 for one year's interest, at 7 per cent., on the bond, indorsed on it the following assignment: 'For value received, I hereby assign, transfer, and set over all my right, title, and interest in this bond to Alexander Robertson, in trust for children of J. F. Blacklock. J. F. BLACKLOCK.' That the assignee was the defendant Robertson, and the 'children of J. F. Blacklock' were the plaintiffs and the defendant Helen Robertson Blacklock. That small pretended to pay the bond by making payments to Robertson as follows: On the 16th of October, 1861, $3,600 on account of principal, and $147 for interest; on the 4th of April, 1862, $2,000 on account of principal, and $490 for interest; and on the 10th of April, 1862, the balance of the principal and interest,-making such payments in the treasury notes of the Confederate States. That, upon the receipt thereof, Robertson satisfied the mortgage, and delivered up the bond to Small. That, at the time of the creation of the trust in the hands of Robertson, the children of Blacklock were infants. That in May, 1861, Blacklock went with the children to England, and remained there until the close of the war. That Robertson, in receiving such payments in the treasury notes of the Confederate States, violated his duty, and was guilty of a breach of trust. That Small, in attempting to pay the deb in an illegal currency, with full notice of the trust, had not paid the debt. That the satisfaction of the mortgage was void, and its lien was still subsisting, and that Small was still liable for the amount due on the bond, with interest. The prayer of the bill is that the payment of the bond in Confederate treasury notes may be disallowed; that the satisfaction of the mortage may be annulled, and the mortgage be re-established, and declared a subsisting lien on the land; that Small may be ordered to deliver up the bond and mortgage to the plaintiffs; and that the plaintiffs may have a decree for the payment to them by Small of the amount due, and for a sale of the mortgaged premises. Small appeared in the suit, and interposed a plea that the court had no jurisdiction of the cause, because the plaintiffs, as well as himself, were citizens of South Carolina when the bill was filed. On issue joined on this plea, it was overruled, and Small put in an answer to the bill, as did also Robertson. The defendant Helen Robertson Blacklock put in an answer, admitting the allegations of the bill, and averring that Robertson held the bond and mortgage as a trustee for herself and her sisters, in whom was the real and actual interest therein; that the attempted payment by Small was without legal effect; that the bond and mortgage were still the property of the defendant and her sisters; and that she joins in the prayer of the bill that the pretended payments of the bond by Small to Robertson, and the satisfaction entered on the mortgate, be declared null and void, that the bond and mortgage be declared valid and subsisting obligations of Small to Robertson as the trustee of a trust for the benefit of the defendant and her sisters, and that Small be decreed to pay the defendant and the plaintiffs the amount of money secured by the bond and mortgage. Under replications to the answers, proofs were taken by the several parties. The case was heard on its merits, and a decree was made dismissing the bill, with costs. From this decree the plaintiffs and the defendant Helen Robertson Blacklock have appealed to this court.

James Lowndes and B. H. Rutledge, for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 99-101 intentionally omitted]

James Simons and Samuel Lord, for appellees.



This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).