McKinley Creek Min. Co. v. Alaska United Min. Co.
183 U.S. 563 (1902)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

McKinley Creek Min. Co. v. Alaska United Min. Co., 183 U.S. 563 (1902)

McKinley Creek Mining Co. v. Alaska United Mining Co.

No. 37

Argued April 15-16, 1901

Decided January 6, 1902

183 U.S. 563

Syllabus

There is no prejudicial error in the ruling of the court below on the admission of testimony.

Assignments of error cannot be based upon instructions given or refused in an equity suit.

The locations are valid so far as they depend upon the discovery of gold.

The notices as set forth in the opinion of the court constituted a sufficient location.

Grantees of public land take by purchase.

In Manuel v. Wolf,152 U. S. 505, it was decided that a location by an alien was voidable, not void, and was free from attack by anyone except the government.

This is a bill in equity brought by the appellee company, who was plaintiff below, to establish title to two placer mining claims, against a like claim of appellant company to the same ground.

The bill alleged that

"Peter Hall, William A. Chisholm, James Hansen, John Dalton, and Dan. Sutherland, partners under the firm name and style of the Alaska United Mining Company, bring this their bill of complaint against C. G. Lewis, Bert Woodin, Edwin Hackley, Alex. McConaghy, Carl A. West, W. S. Hawes, Chas. P. Leitch, and C. P. Cahoon, partners under the firm name of the McKinley Creek Mining Company, and show to the court that the said parties, both plaintiffs and defendants, are citizens of the United States and residents of the District of Alaska."

The bill also alleged ownership of the claims by reason of location, exploration, and discovery of precious metals, and the compliance with the local rules and regulations of the mining district. Also possession of the claims and the erection of valuable

Page 183 U. S. 564

improvements thereon, and forcible entry upon that possession by defendants (appellants) with an attempt and avowed purpose to drive plaintiffs (appellees) therefrom, and unless restrained, they would proceed to the execution of said threats. An injunction was prayed for.

The defendants admitted their citizenship, but denied the citizenship of plaintiffs on the ground that the defendants had not sufficient knowledge to form a belief thereto, and traversed in like manner or absolutely the other allegations of the bill, and alleged title by reason of prior discovery by members of the company. The answer also alleged prior possession by members of the company, from which they were dispossessed by the plaintiff, and claimed that, as to the controversies thus arising,

"defendants are, under the law and practice of this court, entitled to a jury trial for the trial of the title to said claims and each of them, and to that end and purpose, have commenced in this honorable court a suit in ejectment for the trial and determination of the title to said property in an action at law and according to the usage and practice of this court, and until the trial and determination of such trial at law by this honorable court the defendants are entitled to a restraining order against said plaintiff company and its individual members restraining them and each of them from the commission of the wrongful acts herein complained of."

A temporary injunction was prayed against plaintiffs (appellees).

There was a reply filed to the new matter of the answer and to the cross-complaint.

A jury was impaneled to try the case on motion of plaintiffs, no objection being made by defendants, and, after hearing the evidence and receiving instructions from the court, the jury rendered a verdict for plaintiffs, as follows:

"We, the jury in the above-entitled and numbered cause, find for the plaintiffs, Peter Hall, Wm. A. Chisholm, Dan. Sutherland, James Hansen, and John Dalton, partners under the firm name and style of the Alaska United Mining Company, the claims in controversy."

The defendants in due time moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict upon the ground that, on the evidence, the

Page 183 U. S. 565

defendants were entitled "to a judgment in their favor for the possession of the mines and property in controversy." The motion was denied.

Subsequently, defendants moved for a new trial (1) upon the testimony in the cause, the rulings therein and exceptions taken, and upon the pleadings and proceedings in cause No. 967; (2) the insufficiency of the evidence to justify the verdict; (3) error in refusing to give certain instructions requested by defendants (appellants).

The motion was denied, and the following judgment was entered:

"This cause came on to be heard at this term upon the bill, the answer and cross-bill of defendants, and the replication thereto of plaintiffs, and the proofs in the case, and upon the request of defendants, duly made by their counsel, Messrs. Winn & Weldon, the issues arising upon said pleadings and proofs were submitted to a jury of good and lawful men, duly selected, impaneled, and sworn, to-wit, J. Montgomery Davis and eleven others, who, having heard the said proofs adduced in the case, and having been instructed by the court as to the law, and having heard the argument of counsel, retired in charge of the bailiff to consider of their verdict, and, after due deliberation, had returned into open court the following verdict, to-wit:"

"* * * *"

"We, the jury in the above-entitled and numbered cause, find for the plaintiffs, Peter Hall, William A. Chisholm, Dan. Sutherland, Jas. Hansen, and John Dalton, partners under the firm name and style of the Alaska United Mining Company, the claims in controversy."

"(Signed) J. Montgomery Davis, Foreman"

"Which said verdict was by the court received and ordered recorded, and the findings therein contained upon the issues in said cause were by the court approved and adopted."

"Now, therefore, upon consideration of the said bill, the answer thereto, and the cross-complaint of said defendants, the replication of plaintiffs, and the said proofs, and by reason of the verdict of the jury thereon, approved and adopted by the

Page 183 U. S. 566

court, it is, upon consideration thereof, ordered, adjudged, and decreed as follows, to-wit:"

"That the said defendants, C. G. Lewis, Bert Woodin, Edwin Hackley, Alex. McConaghy, Carl A. West, W. S. Hawes, Charles P. Leitch, and C.P. Cahoon, a mining copartnership under the name and style of the McKinley Creek Mining Company, have not, nor have any of them, any right, estate, title, or interest whatever in or to those two certain mining claims, lands, and premises described in the said bill of complaint and in the said answer and cross-complaint of defendant and hereinafter more particularly described; that the title of the plaintiff, The Alaska United Mining Company, a corporation composed of Peter Hall, William A. Chisholm, Dan. Sutherland, Jas. Hansen, and John Dalton, thereto, is good and valid, and that the said defendants and each of them be, and they and each of them are hereby, forever enjoined and restrained from asserting any claim whatsoever in or to said mining claims, lands, and premises adverse to said plaintiffs, and that the said plaintiffs be, and they are hereby, quieted in their possession, use, and enjoyment of the same."

A description of the claims followed.

Objection was made to the judgment, and the defendants claimed that the only judgment which could be entered was one

"restraining the defendants from the acts complained of in the bill of complaint pending the trial of cause No. 967, McKinley Creek Mining Co. v. Alaska United Mining Co., which is a suit in ejectment now pending in this Court and at issue, the record and files of which are hereby referred to and made a part of this objection."

From the judgment entered, the case is here on appeal.

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