Poole v. Fleeger
36 U.S. 185

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U.S. Supreme Court

Poole v. Fleeger, 36 U.S. 11 Pet. 185 185 (1837)

Poole v. Fleeger

36 U.S. (11 Pet.) 185


The plaintiffs in the Circuit Court of West Tennessee, instituted an ejectment for a tract of land held under a Virginia military land warrant, situate south of a line called Mathews' Line, and south of Walkers Line, the latter being the established boundary between the States of Kentucky and Tennessee, as fixed by a compact between these states, made in 1820, by which compact, although the jurisdiction over the territory to the south of Walker's Line was acknowledged to belong to Tennessee, the titles to lands held under Virginia military land warrants &o., and grants from Kentucky, as far south as "Mathews' Line," were declared to be confirmed, the State of Kentucky having, before the compact, claimed the right to the soil as well as the jurisdiction over the territory, and having granted lands in the same. The compact of 1820, was confirmed by Congress. The defendants in the ejectment claimed the lands under titles emanating from the State of North Carolina in 1786, 1794, 1795 before the formation of the State of Tennessee and grants from the State of Tennessee in 1809, 1811, 1812, 1814, in which the lands claimed by the defendants were situated, according to the boundary of the State of Tennessee, declared and established at the time the State of Tennessee became one of the states of the United States. The circuit court instructed the jury that the State of Tennessee, by sanctioning the compact, admitted in the most solemn form that the lands in dispute were not within her jurisdiction, nor within the jurisdiction of North Carolina, at the time they were granted, and that consequently the titles are subject to the compact. Held that the instructions of the circuit court were entirely correct.

It is a part of the general right of sovereignty belonging to independent nations to establish and fix the disputed boundaries between their respective limits, and the boundaries so established and fixed by compact between nations become conclusive upon all the subjects and citizens thereof and bind their rights and are to be treated to all intents and purposes as the real boundaries. This right is expressly recognized to exist in the states of the Union by the Constitution of the United States, and is guarded in its exercise by a single limitation or restriction only, requiring the consent of Congress.

The grants under which the defendants in the circuit court claimed to hold the land were not lightly made, because they were originally beyond the territorial boundary of North Carolina and Tennessee; this is, by necessary implication, admitted by the compact between the States of Kentucky and Tennessee.

In the ordinary course of things, on the trial of a cause before a jury, if an objection is made and overruled as to the admission of evidence and the party does not take any exception, he is understood to waive it. The exception need not indeed then be put in form or written out at large and signed, but it is sufficient if it is taken and the right reserved to put it in form within the time prescribed by the practice or the rules of the court.

Where a will devising lands made in one state is registered in another state in which the lands lie, the registration has relation backwards, and it is wholly immaterial whether the same was made before or after the commencement of a suit.

Page 36 U. S. 186

"In the State of Tennessee, the uniform practice has been for tenants in common in ejectment to declare in a joint demise and to recover a part or the whole of the premises declared for, according to the evidence adduced."

John Fleeger and others, the defendants in error, instituted an action of ejectment in 1832 to the September term of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of West Tennessee to recover a tract of land containing two thousand seven hundred and twenty-seven acres lying in Montgomery County in the State of Tennessee and lying south of "Walker's Line," the established boundary line between the State of Kentucky and the State of Tennessee, and north of a line called "Mathews' Line," which is in latitude 36

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