View Full Version : another question for my story

10-01-2004, 08:42 AM
I know that for quite awhile, especially in the east, women weren't allowed to own property or anything. This is why young boys were often listed as Head of Household. Father had died, and they were the oldest male living in the house. My question, did this stupid idea come with them as they moved west. Specifically, could a woman own her own land in Texas in the 1860's. I was thinking this was land she and her husband homesteaded, before his death. Would his death mean she lost the land, and livestock?

Thanks. Sorry to be such a pain, this story is killing me. it won't go away and I want my facts right if I'm going to write it.


10-01-2004, 08:52 AM
Let me see... As far as I know, if the husband died, the transfer of property went to the sons (depending on age). If the sons died, then it went to the woman's brother. If all of these things are void, then the woman owned the property/land.

But don't take my word for it at ALL. A reference book would be much more reliable than anything anyone on this board has to say. (no offense, guys!)

10-01-2004, 08:53 PM
Land did usually go to the sons, and this regardless of what the inheritance laws were. If a man had sons, his will was going to leave the land to them, even if the law said his wife could own property. In most of the west, women could own property, and many did, but sons still received nearly everything a man owned when he died.

And stupid laws or not, even in the east it has been estimated that women controlled more than 60% of land and businesses in a great many areas. You don't necessarily need you name on the title or deed in order to control it, or to receive all or most of the income from it.

But you really have to check specific states and territories in specific years to know exactly what the laws were. But if a man had sons, you can bet they got the land, whatever the law said.

It isn't that different today. One bit of logic behind inheritance taxes is to force the sale of land and property so actual money is then divided.

Writing Again
10-02-2004, 06:50 AM
But you really have to check specific states and territories in specific years to know exactly what the laws were. But if a man had sons, you can bet they got the land, whatever the law said.

Correct. And when it comes to Texas in particular it was one of the last states to allow women to own and control property.

A note on looking up any laws, if you a specific date you are concerned with. Legal matters that were contested sometimes were overturned back and forth as supporters gathered to support one side or the other.

Don't assume just because women were given the right to own property one year they had the same right the next year, just because they have the uncontested right today.

For modern examples. In California marijuana and gay rights are hotly contested issues. Last year or the year before something might have been legal, this year not, and next year there will be new rules. This can go on for years.

10-02-2004, 07:43 AM
I cannot say anything about Texas, but I have done a lot of research tracing my family and back in the day there were women who were sold land and other lists where women were land owners (bought by them or not, I can't say).

You could try looking at goverment land records of the place you're writing about, they can usually be found online with a bit of searching.

10-05-2004, 04:33 AM
One other thing. Many a state allowed women to own property, but this didn't mean she would inherit property if there were sons to consider. These are two very different areas of law. Just because a woman was allowed to buy and own property did not always mean she could inherit property ahead of sons.

Writing Again
10-05-2004, 09:51 PM
Remember that different areas were settled by different peoples, each bringing their own traditions with them. For instance California, with its Spanish heritage is a community property state.

The community property states are Arizona. California. Idaho. Louisiana. Nevada. New Mexico. Texas. Washington. Wisconsin. Other states are not.

In a true title property state the name on the title deed is the person or persons who hold title and own the property. Any inheritance would go to the heir of the title holder, not to the spouse.

My memory tells me that most "title states" have exceptions so that common property of one form or another is recognised.