RUSSEL v. TRANSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY
14 U.S. 432 (1816)

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U.S. Supreme Court

RUSSEL v. TRANSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY, 14 U.S. 432 (1816)

14 U.S. 432 (Wheat.)

RUSSEL ET AL
v.
The Trustees of the TRANSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY.

March 21, 1816

APPEAL from the circuit court for the district of Kentucky. This cause was argued at a former term, and continued to the present term for advisement.

Page 14 U.S. 432, 433

JOHNSON, J., delivered the opinion of the court as follows:

The object of this bill is to obtain a conveyance from the defendants, of a tract of land in the state of Kentucky, granted to one Alexander McKee, through whom both parties claim. The survey was made under a warrant from Lord Dunmore, then governor of Virginia, issued the 2d of April, 1774. The complainants claim under a chain of title regularly deduced from McKee; the defendants, under an act of the legislature, vesting McKee's lands in them as confiscated property. But it appears, and is explicitly acknowledged in the bill, that the conveyance from McKee describes, by metes and bounds, a tract of land wholly different from that which the trustees hold. This court feels no difficulty in conceding, that whatever equity the complainants have a right to claim against McKee, this court is bound to decree against the trustees; for the act of the legislature could only have been intended to operate upon the interest of McKee, and not to defeat the rights of those who held, or might claim, the land to the prejudice of McKee himself.

The equity set up by the complainants depends upon the following allegations: that the warrant was placed in the hands of one Douglas, a surveyor. That under that warrant, together with a number of others then in his hands, he surveyed what, in that country, is called a block of surveys, (by which we understand a number of connected and dependent surveys, each containing the same quantity of land.) That in this block of surveys were contained both [14 U.S. 432, 434]


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