Dickerson v. Colgrove
100 U.S. 578 (1879)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dickerson v. Colgrove, 100 U.S. 578 (1879)

Dickerson v. Colgrove

100 U.S. 578

Syllabus

A., the owner in fee of lands in Michigan, died in February, 1853, leaving his two children B. and C. his only heirs-at-law. On March 3, C. and her husband conveyed the lands by warranty deed to D., who put it upon record March 6, 1854, and entered into possession of them April 1 of that year. D., learning of the existence of B. and that he lived in California, wrote to him, inquiring whether he made any claim to the premises. On April 1, 1856, the latter addressed from California to his sister C., in Michigan, a letter, wherein he said,

"You can tell D. for me he need not fear any thing from me. . . . You can claim all there. This letter will be enough for him. I intended to give you and yours all my property there, and more if you need it."

The contents of that letter becoming known to D., he, for a valuable consideration and by deeds with covenants of warranty, conveyed in fee the lands to E. and others, who thereunder have ever since occupied and improved them. July 9, 1865, B. conveyed the undivided half of them by quitclaim deed to F., who, March B, 1873, brought ejectment.

Held:

1. That B.'s letter of April 1,1858, operates as an estoppel in pais which precludes him from setting up a claim to them, and is an available defense to the action.

2. That F. was not a bona fide purchaser, and that whatever title he acquired was subject to the legal and equitable rights of D. and those claiming under the latter.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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