This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
In some states witnesses, usually two in number, are necessary in order to make a conveyance valid as between the parties thereto. In other states, no witnesses are required, while in some, though witnesses are not necessary to render the conveyance valid as between the parties, they are necessary for the purpose of proving the deed for record, in the absence of an acknowledgment by the grantor.97
The witness need not be present at the actual signing of the instrument by the grantor, provided the latter acknowledges to him that it is his act, and expressly or impliedly requests him to attest the instrument.98 The witnesses must sign the instrument, their signatures being usually placed under a clause, "Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of" or some other expression which serves to show the purpose of their signature being used.99
Mitchell v. Parharn, Harp. (S. C.) 3; Davis v. Judd, 6 Wis. 85; Burnette v. Young, 107 Va. 184,
95. Sheppard's Touchstone, 54, 57; Reg. v. Inhabitants of St. Paul, 7 Q. B. 232; Ball v. Dun-sterville, 4 Term R. 313; Ashwell v. Ayres, 4 Grat. (Va.) 283.
96. Carter v. Chandron, 21 Ala. 88; Davis v. Burton, 4 111. 41, 36 Am. Dec. 511: Bradford v. Randall, 5 Pick. (Mass.) 496; Luns-ford v. La Motte Lead Co., 54 Mo. 426; Northumberland v. Cob-leigh, 59 N. H. 250; Pickens v. Rymer, 90 N. C. 283, 47 Am. Rep.
521; Bowman v. Robb, 6 Pa. St. 302; Lambden v. Sharp, 9 Humph. (Tenn.) 224; Yale v. Flanders, 4 Wis. 96.
97. 1 Stimson's Am. St. Law, Sec. 1566.
98. Jackson v. Phillips, 9 Cow. (N. Y.) 94, 113; Tate v. Lawrence, 11 Heisk. (Tenn.) 503: Clements v. Pearce, 63 Ala. 284; Mulloy v. Ingalls, 4 Neb. 115. See Little v. White, 29 S. C. 170; Poole v. Jackson, 66 Tex. 380, 1 S. W. 75; 1 Stimson's Am. St. Law, Sec. 1567.
99. The signature of the wit conveyance not properly acknowledged will have no such effect.5 The acknowledgment has, moreover, in a number of states, the effect of rendering the conveyance admissible in evidence without further proof of its execution.6
The statutes have usually been construed as requiring that the witness be competent, at the time of his attestation of the conveyance, to testify in regard to its execution in case of litigation between the parties, with the result that his attestation is of no effect for the purpose of validating the conveyance, if he is not so competent.1-2