Brown v. Jackson - 16 U.S. 449 (1818)
U.S. Supreme Court
Brown v. Jackson, 16 U.S. 449 (1818)
Brown v. Jackson
16 U.S. 449
Although the grantees in a deed executed after, but recorded before, another conveyance of the same land, being bona fide purchasers without notice, are by law deemed to possess the better title, yet where L. conveyed to C. the land in controversy specifically, describing himself as devisee of A.S. by whom the land was owned in his lifetime, and by a subsequent deed (which was first recorded) L. conveyed to B.
"all the right, title and claim, which he, the said A.S., had and all the right, title, and interest which the said S. holds as legatee and representative to the said A.S. deceased, of all land lying and being within the State of Kentucky, which cannot at this time be particularly described, whether by deed, patent, mortgage, survey, location, contract, or otherwise,"
with a covenant of warranty against all persons claiming under L., his heirs and assigns; it was held that the latter conveyance operated only upon lands the right, title, and interest of which was then in L. and which he derived from J.S., and consequently could not defeat the operation of the first deed upon the land specifically conveyed.
This was an action of ejectment brought by the defendant in error against the plaintiff in error to recover the possession of certain lands in the State of Kentucky. To support his action, the plaintiff below showed the following title: a patent to Alexander Skinner; the will of Alexander Skinner devising all his estate to Henry Lee, and a deed from Henry Lee to Adam Craig conveying the tract of land in controversy specifically by metes and bounds, describing himself as devisee of Skinner, with a regular deduction of title from Craig to the plaintiff. The deed from Lee to Craig was dated 23 December, 1790, attested by three witnesses, acknowledged by the grantor on 15 December, 1795, before two justices of the peace in Virginia, and recorded in the Court of Appeals in Kentucky on 26 July, 1796. The execution of this deed was proved by one of the subscribing witnesses. The defendant below produced in evidence a deed from Henry Lee to Henry Banks, dated 5 May, 1795, acknowledged before the Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, on 13 May, 1795, and recorded in the Court of Appeals of Kentucky on 11 July, 1796, granting "all the right, title, and claim which he the said Alexander Skinner had, and all the right, title, and interest which the said Lee holds as legatee and representative to the said Alexander Skinner, deceased, of all land, lying and being within the State of Kentucky, which cannot at this time be particularly described, whether they be by deed, patent, mortgage, survey, location, contract or
otherwise," with a covenant of warranty against all persons claiming under Lee, his heirs and assigns.
Upon this testimony the defendant's counsel moved the court to instruct the jury that by virtue of the deed aforesaid from Lee to Banks, first acknowledged and first recorded, the legal title was vested in the said Banks to the land in question; that the deed under which the plaintiff claimed was not operative and valid against the deed to Banks, and that the said deed to Banks showed such a legal title out of the plaintiff as that he could not maintain his action. The question of fact whether the deed of Lee to Craig was duly executed on the day it bears date was left by the court to the jury, which found a verdict for the plaintiff, subject to the opinion of the court, upon the question of law arising in the cause. Judgment was thereupon rendered for the plaintiff by the court below, and the cause was brought to this Court by writ of error.