This section is from the book "A Treatise On The Construction Of The Statute Of Frauds", by Causten Browne. Also available from Amazon: A treatise on the construction of the Statute of frauds.
2 Sutcliffe v. Atlantic Mills, 13 R. I. 480. See also Ward v. Matthews, 73 Cal. 13, where the plaintiff sued for the possession of land of which he held the legal title, but the defendant (in possession) claimed that it was held in trust for him under a verbal agreement to take and hold it as security only for his repayment of plaintiff's advance of part of the purchase-money; the repayment was to be at a time originally fixed within a year from the time of the verbal agreement, but (before the year expired) extended for six months; but before the year expired, the plaintiff took the deed to himself and repudiated his verbal agreement with the defendant; it was held that after such repudiation, " time was no longer of the essence of the contract," an order refusing to enter judgment for the plaintiff was affirmed; the court holding the defendant entitled to the land on repayment to the plaintiff of his advance in accordance with the verbal agreement between them.
§ 291 b. A distinction which has been made2 between agreements that the promisor will himself do something requiring more than a year, and agreements that some third party shall do it, holding the statute to be inapplicable to the latter, seems to be unsubstantial.
1 M'Kay v. Rutherford, 13 Jur. 21; and see Hoare v. Hindley, 49 Cal. 274. But see Johnson v. Reading, 36 Mo. App. 306. Parol extensions of less than one year each, of a contract agreed to be performed within a year, are not required to be in writing. Donovan v. Richmond, 61 Mich. 467; Ward v. Matthews, 73 Cal. 13. It would seem that an agreement made before the issue of letters patent to work the same jointly and be jointly interested in the proceeds might be better sustained upon this ground than upon the ground that the contract might be entirely performed within a year. See Fraser v. Gates, 118 111. 99. Ordinarily the expected and contemplated term of such a contract would be for the whole life of the letters patent.
2 Blanton v. Knox, 3 Mo. 342.