On more than one occasion I have sought through prayer the justice exemplified through the Gideon case memorialized at the Bay County courthouse…..
I just love hearing stories about how certain things came to be the way they are. I was at the courthouse one day with a young lady and we parallel parked on the street next to the Gideon case’s historical marker that occurred here in Bay County. I told her about the book and movie, “Gideon’s Trumpet”, the story of Clarence Earl Gideon. She listened as I told her the story of Gideon v. Wainwright and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that gave criminal defendants the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford it. I must say that, having been in situations with public defenders at times, she was a bit skeptical, stating that they (public defenders and states’ attorneys) are all in cahoots together. I reminded her that there are people who are committed to justice and to trust the system. That day she received a very affirming view of the system at work, including her own defenders, the prosecutors, and the judge. Thank you, Gideon, for proving that justice is sometimes reflected in the day to day decisions of people, even though it may require a lot of effort to get there!
Another matter of justice came to my attention when it came to administration of my husband’s estate after his death and having the rights as a widow and beneficiary. I am now a property owner in my own name alone after 48 years of being on the other side of the “or” on deeds and mortgages, The home pictured above is one the Bill and I built in 1988 in another community. I am relieved to have both the sale of our most recent home at Deerpoint Lake and the purchase of a new, downsized home for me completed. Yay for property ownership. I am glad when women with whom I work get to the point of being able to envision themselves owning their own homes one day.
.Proverbs 31:16 “She considereth a field & buyeth it & with her hands she planteth it.” The story below is about women and property rights….
Southern writer and artist Beth Yarbrough tells this story about women and home ownership:
“Amanda Cardwell Smith woke up one morning in Madison, Georgia in the year 1863 to discover that her husband, Junius, had lost their house in a poker game.
In the annals of dumb hubby moves recorded by long-suffering wives (which is a pretty thick volume, as all wives know), this stunt ranks right up there – even more so when you consider that the house was given to Amanda by her father. The deed only bore her husband’s name because that’s how they did it in Georgia in the year 1863.
According to Morgan County history, a controversy ensued. Imagine that. The winner of the poker game, one James Mann, took possession of the house, but he did so under the strong objection of one royally enraged Mrs. Junius Smith.
In a case of losing the battle but winning the war – Amanda Smith did not get her house back. However – the stink that she caused, the ruckus that she raised, the hell-hath-no-fury that she unleashed in the process did eventually result in a new Georgia law which was enacted in the year 1869. It provided that women could, from that point forward, own property in their own names.
And while that took care of the technicalities, it certainly didn’t provide for what should be done with Junius P. Smith. The courts wisely left that up to his wife. Lord help him. Bless his heart.
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