Newsom v. Pryor's Lessee - 20 U.S. 7 (1820)
U.S. Supreme Court
Newsom v. Pryor's Lessee, 20 U.S. 7 Wheat. 7 7 (1820)
Newsom v. Pryor's Lessee
20 U.S. (7 Wheat.) 7
Where plats are returned and grants made without an actual survey, the rule of construction which has been adopted in order to settle the conflicting claims of different parties is that the most material and most certain calls shall control those which are less material and less certain.
A call for a natural object, as a river, a known stream, a spring, or even a marked line shall control both course and distance.
There is no distinction between a call to stop at a river and a call to cross a river.
Where a grant was made for five thousand acres of land
"lying on both sides of the two main forks of Duck River, beginning, . . . and running thence west eight hundred and ninety-four poles to a white oak, thence south eight hundred and ninety-four poles to a stake crossing the river, thence east eight hundred and ninety-four poles to a stake, thence north eight hundred and ninety-four poles to the beginning, crossing the south fork,"
it was held that it must be surveyed so as to extend the second line of the grant such a distance on the course called for as would cross Duck River to the opposite bank.