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.
A change in the parties to the instrument is generally a material alteration.1 A change in the name of the promisor is a material alteration.2 Thus adding "& Co." to the maker's signature is a material alteration.3 Thus erasure of the name of the maker of the instrument releases a co-maker who does not assent thereto.4 So where one surety's name was erased and another one was added, a surety who did not consent thereto is released from the bond5 or note6 which he had signed. A signed a note after delivery. His name was subsequently erased. As parties to the note would be entitled to hold A, the erasure avoids the note.7 So a change in the name of the promisee is a material alteration,8 such as the substitution of the name of the husband for that of his wife as payee,9 or the addition of " junior " to the name of the payee in a note, making it thereby payable to a different person.10 However, where the indorsee of a note drew a line through the name of the payees, inserted his own name and had the payees indorse it over to him, it was held that there was no material alteration.11
1 Montgomery v. Crosthwait, 90 Ala. 553; 24 Am. St. Rep. 832; 12 L. R. A. 140; 8 So. 498; State v. MeGonigle, 101 Mo. 353; 20 Am. St. Rep. 609; 8 L. R. A. 735; 13 S. W. 758; Donkle v. Milem, 88 Wis. 33; 59 N. W. 586.
2 Davis v. Coleman, 7 Ired. L. (N. C.) 424.
3 Montgomery v. Crosthwait, 90 Ala. 553; 24 Am. St. Rep. 832; 12 L. R. A. 140; 8 So. 498; and see Wilde v. Armsby, 6 Cush. (Mass.) 314.
4 Martin v. Thomas, 24 How. (U. S.) 315; Smith v. United States, 2 Wall. (U. S.) 219.
5 Smith v. United States, 2 Wall. (U. S.) 219; State v. MeGonigle, 101 Mo. 353; 20 Am. St. Rep. 609; 8 L. R. A. 735; 13 S. W. 758. (As the substituted surety signed, meaning only to be one of several sureties, he, too, is released.)
6 Davis v. Coleman, 7 Ired. L. (N. C.) 424.
7 Bank v. Weidenbeek, 87 Fed. 271. (Hence it releases directors from personal liability for not filing a corporate report.)
8 Promissory note. Bell v. Ma-hin, 69 la. 408; 29 N. W. 331; Erikson v. Bank, 44 Neb. 622; 48 Am. St. Rep. 753; 28 L. R. A. 577; 62 N. W. 1078; Davis v. Bauer, 41 O. S. 257; Hoffman v. Bank, 99 Va. 480; 39 S. E. 134. Mileage book. Holden v. By., 73 Vt. 317; 50 Atl. 1096.
9 Sneed v. Sabinal, etc., Co., 71 Fed. 493; 18 C. C. A. 213; affirmed on rehearing, 73 Fed. 925.
10 Broughton v. Fuller, 9 Vt. 373.