Some courts have too hastily supposed that such decisions as those cited in the preceding section afforded support for the conclusion that a promise to support a minor until he reaches a stated age more than one year distant from the date of the agreement is not within the statute.53 But courts making these decisions have failed to observe the distinction between performing a contract and being discharged from liability under it. It is true that if the minor dies within a year the promisor will not be thereafter liable, but he will not have performed his agreement; he will be excused from performing it. It is possible under any contract whatever, that some supervening circumstance may excuse the promisor from liability within a year; and in any personal contract, the possibility of death is the same as in promises to support.54 Promises of employment for two years, or for five years, are obviously indistinguishable in this respect from promises to support for the same number of years, and a promise to employ a minor who is twelve years old until he becomes of age, has rightly been held a promise to employ him for nine years, and within the statute.55 A promise to support a minor who is twelve years old until he reaches the age of twenty-one, is equally indistinguishable from a promise in terms to support him for nine years.56 It may seem strange that an oral promise to support for thirteen months should be invalid while a promise to support for life is not within the statute, but this result necessarily follows from the settled construction of the statute that contracts for performance during an indeterminate period which may be fully completed within a year are not invalidated.
51 Metropolitan Trust Co. v. Topeka Water Co., 132 Fed. 702; Pitkin v. Long Island R. Co., 2 Barb. Ch. 221, 47 Am. Dec. 320. Cf Adair v. Still ings (Tex. Civ. App.), 165 S. W. 140.
52 CoDina v. Snow, 218 Man. 542, 106 N. E. 148.
53 Wooldridge v. Stem, 42 Fed. 311; White v. Murtland, 71 111. 250, 22 Am. Rep. 100; Stowers v. Hollis, 83 Ey. 548, Myers v. Saltry, 163 Ky. 481, 73 8. E. 1138, Ann. Cm. 1916 E. 1134; Peters v. Weatborough, 19 Pick. 364, 31 Am. Dee. 142; McKinney v. McCloekey, 8 Daly, 368, 76 N. Y. 694; Taylor v. Deseve, 81 Tex. 246, 16 S. W. 1008. See also Wiggins v. Keizer, 6 Ind. 252; Hollis v. Stowers, S3 Ky. 544; Ellicott v. Turner, 4 Md. 476; Wynn v. Followill, 98 Mo. App. 463, 72 S. W. 140; Martin v. Batchelder, 69 N. H. 360, 41 Atl. 83; M'Lees v. Hale, 10 Wend. 426; Shaban v. Swan, 48 Oh. St 25, 26 N. E. 222, 29 Am. St. Rep. 517.
54Sep Edwards v. Farve, 110 Miss. 864, 71 So. 12. This reasoning is used in Weatherford, etc., Ry. Co. v. Wood, 88 Tex. 191, 30 S. W. 859, 28 L. R. A. 526, to support the extraordinary conclusion that a contract to give a free annual pass for ten years is not within the statute; and similarly in Martin v. Batchelder, 69 N. H. 360, 41 Atl. 83, an oral contract to board a horse for a year, beginning at a future day, was upheld. Cf. cases supra, Sec. 496, n, 49, 50, and infra, Sec. 502.