Twenty years

TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
     2. After twenty years from the time it became due, a bond will be presumed to have been paid. 2 Cranch, 180; 3 Day, 289; 1 McCord, 145; 2 N. & McC. 160; 1 Bay. 482; 9 Watts, 441; 2 Speers, 357. And the same presumption arises that a judgment has been paid, if no steps have been taken by the plaintiff for twenty years after its rendition. 3 Brev. 476; 5 Conn. 1.
     3. But the presumption of such payment is easily rebutted, by showing that interest has been regularly paid. 1 Bailey, 148; that the obliger has admitted it has not been paid 2 Harring, 124; 9 N. H. Rep. 398; or other circumstances calculated to rebut the presumption. The proof of facts which show that the obligor was poor and not likely to be able to pay the debt, is not sufficient. 5 Vern. 236.
     4. When a debt is payable in installments and secured by a penal bond, the presumption of payment arising from lapse of time applies to each installment as it falls due. 3 Harring. 421.
     5. By the English act of limitation, 21 Jac. 1, c. 16, the period during which a possessory action for land can be sustained is fixed at twenty years, so that an adverse possession of twenty years is a bar to an action of ejectment, and such lapse of time gives a possessory title to the land. This period has been adopted in many of the states of the Union, but there has been some variation in others. See Limitation of actions.
     6. But this statute did not affect incorporeal hereditaments, which remained as before. In analogy to the act of limitation the courts presumed a grant after twenty years adverse possession. And new grants are presumed upon proof of an adverse, exclusive, and uninterrupted enjoyment of an incorporeal hereditament at the end of twenty years. And the burden of proving that the possession was adverse, that is, under a claim of title, with the knowledge or acquiescence of the owner of the land; and also that it was uninterrupted, rests on the party claiming such incorporeal hereditaments. 3 Kent, 441; 1 Cheves, R. 2; 4 Mason, 402; 2 Roll. Ab. 269; 2 Greenl. Ev. 444.
     7. The time of enjoyment of a former owner who is in privity with the claimant, can, in general, be joined to his own in order to make up the period of twenty years, as in the case of the heir and ancestor, of grantor and grantee. 9 Pick. 251. But the enjoyment of a former owner whose title has escheated to the state by forfeiture, cannot be added to the time of the enjoyment of the grantee of the state. 2 Greenl. Ev. 543.

References in classic literature ?
"Twenty years ago to-night," said the man, "I dined here at 'Big Joe' Brady's with Jimmy Wells, my best chum, and the finest chap in the world.
"He has had twenty years. How much time does he want?"
But if she were twenty years young, she was equally twenty years OLD; and twenty years old, in some respects, is the greatest age attained to by man or woman.
The name has served my small need for more than twenty years of a life of unknown length.
One instance, which had occurred some twenty years before, was a movement among the peasants to emigrate to some unknown "warm rivers." Hundreds of peasants, among them the Bogucharovo folk, suddenly began selling their cattle and moving in whole families toward the southeast.
I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least."
The man, under pretence of going a journey, took lodgings in the next street to his own house, and there, unheard of by his wife or friends, and without the shadow of a reason for such self-banishment, dwelt upwards of twenty years. During that period, he beheld his home every day, and frequently the forlorn Mrs.
Mademoiselle Stangerson was, at the time when her father returned from America and bought the Glandier estate, twenty years of age.
That was what made me as a boy think of it always as the robe in which he was christened, but I knew later that we had all been christened in it, from the oldest of the family to the youngest, between whom stood twenty years. Hundreds of other children were christened in it also, such robes being then a rare possession, and the lending of ours among my mother's glories.
AND now for twenty years the pen of Milton was used, not for poetry, but for prose.
Do you mean that you are resolved voluntarily to deprive yourself of those means of support you have received from us so long--that you are determined to resign the annuity we settled on you twenty years ago--to leave house, and home, and goods, and begin life anew--and this, for some secret reason or monstrous fancy which is incapable of explanation, which only now exists, and has been dormant all this time?
Wing Biddlebaum, forever frightened and beset by a ghostly band of doubts, did not think of himself as in any way a part of the life of the town where he had lived for twenty years. Among all the people of Winesburg but one had come close to him.