Garnett v. Jenkins - 33 U.S. 75 (1834)
U.S. Supreme Court
Garnett v. Jenkins, 33 U.S. 8 Pet. 75 75 (1834)
Garnett v. Jenkins
33 U.S. (8 Pet.) 75
The following entry of lands in Kentucky is invalid.
"94 May 10, 1780, Reuben Garnet enters one thousand one hundred and sixty-four and two-thirds acres upon a Treasury warrant on the seventh big fork, about thirty miles below Bryant's Station, that comes in on the north side of North Elkhorn, near the mouth of said creek, and running upon both sides thereof for quantity."
It is a well settled principle that if the essential call of an entry be uncertain as to the land covered by the warrant, and there are no other calls which control the special call, the entry cannot be sustained. In the case under consideration, there are no calls in the entry which control the call or the "seventh big fork," and that this call would better suit a location at the mouth of McConnell's than at Lecompt's Run has been shown by the facts in the case. This uncertainty is fatal to the complainant's entry.
To constitute a valid entry, the objects called for must be known to the public at the time it was made, and the calls must be so certain as to enable the holder of a warrant to locate the vacant land adjoining. It is not necessary that all the objects called for shall be known to the public, but some one or more leading calls must be thus known, so that an inquirer, with reasonable diligence, may find the land covered by the warrant.
If an object called for in an entry is well known by two names, so that it can be found by a call for either, such a call will support the entry.
Some of the witnesses say that being at Bryant's Station, with the calls of Garnett's entry to direct them, they could have found his land on Lecompt's Run without difficulty. If this were correct, the entry must be sustained, for it is the test by which a valid entry is known.
If the complainants clearly sustain their entry by proof, their equity is made out and they may well ask the aid of a court of chancery to put them in possession of their rights. But if their equity be doubtful, if the scale be nearly balanced, if it do not preponderate in favor of the complainants, they must fail.
This case was commenced in the circuit court by a bill in chancery filed by Reuben Garnet, a citizen of Virginia, on 30 December, 1815, against Henry Jenkins and others, citizens of the State of Kentucky, in the seventh Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Kentucky for the purpose of asserting his claim to one thousand one hundred and sixty-four and two-thirds acres of land. Since which time, the
complainant died and the suit has been revived in the name of his representatives.
The only question put in issue by the bill and answers is the validity of the following entry under which the complainants claim:
"May 10, 1708, Reuben Garnet enters one thousand one hundred and sixty-four and two-thirds acres upon a Treasury warrant on the seventh big fork, about thirty miles below Bryant's Station, that comes in on the north side of North Elkhorn, near the mouth of said creek, and running up both sides thereof for quantity."
"A copy RICHARD HIGGINS, F.C."
The defendants have exhibited no title papers, and by consent of the parties the validity of this entry was the only question submitted to the court below, as will appear by the following agreement.
"Reuben Garnet's heirs v. Christopher Greenup's heirs and others, in chancery. The counsel for the complainants in this cause and the counsel in the defense, believing that the case, so far as it depends on the validity or invalidity of the entry of the complainants, to-wit, the entry in the name of Reuben Garnet deceased, is as fully prepared as it can be at this day. For the purpose of saving costs, the parties agree to try the cause as relates to the validity or invalidity of the entry, and that the complainants, in case the entry is sustained by the court, shall be permitted to make such further preparations by survey, revival against the heirs or representatives of deceased parties if necessary, &c., as may be necessary to carry into effect the opinion of the court. Therefore, for the present, it is conceded that the patent boundary of Garnet covers the claim of each of defendants in part."
The court below dismissed the complainant's bill, to reverse which decree this appeal is prosecuted.