"But, madam, you must sign this *'Dower Release' in order for the property to be sold."
"Yes, I know," replied my great great grandmother. "Now, my daughter will show you to the door, and you can tell my husband to go jump in the property's pond."
Those words echo in my head as I sit here with pen in hand contemplating the 'Dower Release' before me. The two generations of women before me faced this same piece of paper. Had they signed, I wouldn't be in this position today. Yet, I must consider the times...
Great Great Grandmother was known as the Dowager of Dower Pond long before she became a widow. And, no her husband did not 'go jump in the pond' and drown, although he probably contemplated it more than once after years of wheeling, dealing and gambling with the 'Pond Property'. The Dowager stood firm in her refusal to sign as did her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter.
That was then...and even through all the 'Wheeling and Dealing' the family home remained intact. The Dowagers house was home to generations of daughters who refused to sign and threw out the Dower Release paper pusher Jackleg Lawyers. This is now, and times have changed. The family properties have been divided and divided again with each Dowager Daughters daughters.
I am the last Dowager Daughter, and as I stand here looking out over 'Dower Pond', as it has been called since the first 'Dower Release' refusal, I hear the first Dowager's words in my head...."Get out of my house...you no good Jackleg Lawyer".
As this latest Dower Release is falling in tiny pieces around my feet, I am thinking...
To Hell with it!
My Jackleg Lawyer soon to be Ex-husband can...'Go Jump in Dower Pond'...
right beside his Beloved Boat!
*Jackleg Lawyer...characterized by unscrupulousness, dishonesty, or lack of professional standards. Merriam-Webster
*Dower Release...A married man in many U.S. locations could not, by law, sell land unless his wife consented. She was interviewed apart from her husband and swore she was under no compulsion or duress from her husband regarding the sale. She then swore and signed a 'Dower Release'. pg 246 How To Do Everything Genealogy
~Photo from My Great Grandmother's Album...Unidentified, but possibly my Great Grandfather's Mother and Sisters from Tennessee.