This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If A and B make an oral contract whereby A agrees to do two things, one of which is within the statute of frauds and the other of which is not, B's right to enforce such oral contract if A interposes the statute of frauds as a defense, depends on whether the two promises are severable or not. If they are unseverable, B cannot recover for breach of either covenant.1 Thus an oral contract to dispose of both real and personal property by will is unenforceable as to either.2 So an oral contract to reconvey realty and to pay interest on a prior mortgage thereon is inseverable, and an action cannot be mainthis case was not signed by vendee).
15 Cochran v. Ward, 5 Ind. App. 89, 97; 51 Am. St. Rep. 229; 29 N. E. 795; 31 N. E. 581; Myers v. Croswell. 45 0. S. 543; 15 N. E. 866.
16 Graves v. Goldthwait, 153 Mass. 268: 10 L. R. A. 763; 26 N. E. 860.
17Miller v. Ball, 64 N. Y. 286; Smith v. Underdunck, 1 Sandf. Ch. (X. Y.) 579.
1 Haviland v. Sammis, 62 Conn. 44; 36 Am. St. Rep. 330; 25 Atl. 304: Dicken v. McKinley, 163 111. 318; 54 Am. St. Rep. 471 : 45 N. E. 134; Pond v. Sheean. 132 111. 312; 8 L. R. A. 414; 23 X. E. 1018: Rain-bolt v. East, 56 Ind. 538; 26 Am.
Rep. 40; Becker v. Mason, 30 Kan. 697; 2 Pac. 850; Dowling v. Mc-Kenney, 124 Mass. 478; Martin v. Martin's Estate. 108 Wis. 284; 81 Am. St. Rep. 895; 84 X. W. 439; Ellis v. Cary, 74 Wis. 176; 17 Am. St. Rep. 125; 4 L. R. A. 55; 42 N. W. 252.
2 Dicken v. McKinley, 163 111. 318; 54 Am. St. Rep. 471; 45 X. E. 134; Pond v. Sheean, 132 111. 312; 8 L. R. A. 414; 23 X. E. 1018; Kling v. Bordner, 65 O. S. 86: 61 X. E. 148; Shahan v. Swan, 48 O. S. 25; 29 Am. St. Rep. 517; 26 X. E. 222: Martin v. Martin's Estate, 108 Wis. 284: 81 Am. St. Rep. 895; 84 X. W. 439.
If, on the other hand, the promises are severable, an action can be maintained for breach of the promise not within the statute of frauds, but not for breach of the promise within the statute.5 Thus an oral contract to buy real and personal property can be enforced as to the personal property, not falling within the statute of frauds as to such property where separate prices were fixed on the two kinds of property and they were treated in the contract as separate subjects of sale.6 So a verbal contract for the sale of personalty is not made invalid because a leasehold was surrendered as part of the same transaction.7 So A's promise to B to pay C's debt to B for board already incurred and to be thereafter incurred is severable.8