The first and second state constitutions required that every senator should be a freeholder, but since 1846 no property qualifications have been prescribed for membership in either house; the only persons disqualified are those who at the time of the election or within one hundred days before the election were members of Congress, civil or military officers under the United States, or officers under any city government.
Still, even at that time it might happen that a freeholder owned some land in villenage by the side of his free tenement, and that a villein held some land freely by agreement with his lord or with a third person.
The lowest tenant of all was the freeholder, or, as he was sometimes termed tenant paravail.
This rule is explained by the conception of a freehold estate as an interest in lands held by the freeholder from some lord, the king being lord paramount.
The houses were let by the freeholder Mr. Robert Reid to tenants who in turn sublet the rooms to the families.