DOWER. An estate for life, which the law gives the widow in the third part of the lands and tenements, or hereditaments of which the hushand, was solely seised, at any time during the coverture, of an estate in fee or in tail, in possession, and to which estate in the lands and tenements, the issue, if any, of such widow might, by possibility, have inherited. Watk. Prin. Con. 38; Litt. §36; 7 Greenl. 383. Vide Estate in Dower. This is dower at common law.
2. Besides this, in England there are three other species of dower now subsisting; namely, dower by custom, which is, where a widow becomes entitled to a certain portion of her hushand's lands in consequence of some local or particular custom, thus by the custom of gavelkind, the widow is entitled to a moiety of all the lands and tenements, which her hushand held by that tenure.
3. Dower ad ostium ecclesiae, is, when a man comes to the church door to be married, after troth plighted, endows his wife of a certain portion of his lands.
4. Dower ex assensu patris, was only a species of dower ad ostium ecclesice, made when the hushand's father was alive, and the son, with his consent expressly given, endowed his wife, at the church door, of a certain part of his father's lands.
5. There was another kind, de la plus belle, to which the abolition of military tenures has put an end. Vide Cruise's Dig. t. 6, c. 1; 2 Bl. Com. 129; 15 Serg. & Rawle, 72 Poth. Du Douaire.
6. Dower is barred in various ways; 1. By the adultery of the wife, unless it has been condoned. 2. By a jointure settled upon the wife. 2 Paige, R. 511. 3. By the wife joining her hushand in a conveyance of the estate. 4. By the hushand and wife levying a fine, or suffering a common recovery. 10 Co. 49, b Plowd. 504. 5. By a divorce a vinculo matrimonii. 6. By an acceptance, by the wife, of a collateral satisfaction, consisting of land, money, or other chattel interest, given instead of it by the hushand's will, and accepted after the hushand's death. In these cases she has a right to elect whether to take her dower or the bequest or devise. 4 Monr. R. 265; 5 Monr. R. 58; 4 Desaus. R. 146; 2 M'Cord, Ch. R. 280; 7 Cranch, R. 370; 5 Call, R. 481; 1 Edw. R. 435 3 Russ. R. 192; 2 Dana, R. 342.
7. In some of the United States, the estate which the wife takes in the lands of her deceased hushand, varies essentially from the right of dower at common law. In some of the states, she takes one-third of the profits, or in case of there being no children, one half. In others she takes the same right in fee, when there are no lineal descendants; and in one she takes two-thirds in fee, when there are no lineal ascendauts or descendants, or brother or sister of the whole or half blood. 1 Hill. Ab. 57, 8; see Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.
DOWER UNDE NIHIL HABET. This is a writ of right in its nature. It lies only against the tenant of the freehold. 12 Mass. 415 2 Saund. 43, note 1; Hen. & Munf. 368 F. N. B. 148. It is a writ of entry, where the widow is deforced of the whole of her dower. Archb. Plead. 466, 7. A writ of right of dower lies for the whole or a part. 1 Rop. on Prop.430; Steph. on Pl. 10. n; Booth, R. A. 166; Glanv. lib. 4. c. 4, 5; 9 S. & R. 367. If the heir is fourteen years of age, the writ goes to him, if not, to his guardian. If the land be wholly aliened, it goes to the tenant, F. N. B. 7, or pernor of the profits, who may vouch the heir. If part only be aliened, the writ goes to the heir or guardian. The tenant cannot impart; 2 Saund. 44, n;. 1 Rop. on Prop. 430; the remedy being speedy. Fleta, lib. 5. o. 25, §8, p. 427. He pleads without defence. Rast. Ent. 232, b. lib. Int. fo. 15; Steph. Pl. 431 Booth, 118; Jackson on Pl. 819.
DOWRESS. A woman entitled to dower.
2. In order to entitle a woman to the rights of a dowress at common law, she must have been lawfully married, her hushand must be dead, he must have been seised, during the coverture, of an estate subject to dower. Although the marriage may be void able, if it is not absolutely void at his death, it is sufficient to support the rights of the dowress. The hushand and wife must have been of sufficient age to consent. 3. At common law an alien could not be endowed, but this rule has been changed in several states. 2 John. Cas. 29; 1 Harr. & Gill, 280.; 1 Cowen, R. 89; 8 Cowen, R. 713.
4. The dowress' right may be defeated when her hushand was not of right seised of an estate of inheritance; as, for example, dower will be defeated upon the restoration of the seisin under the prior title in the case of defeasible estates, as in case of reentry for a condition broken, which abolishes the intermediate seisin. Perk. s. 311, 312, 317.
DOWRY. Formerly applied to mean that which a woman brings to her hushand in marriage; this is now called a portion. This word is sometimes confounded with dower. Vide Co. Litt. 31; Civ. Code of Lo. art. 2317; Dig. 23, 3, 76; Code, 5, 12, 20.


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