Cooper v. Roberts
59 U.S. 173 (1855)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cooper v. Roberts, 59 U.S. 18 How. 173 173 (1855)

Cooper v. Roberts

59 U.S. (18 How.) 173

Syllabus

It has always been a cherished policy with the government of the United States to appropriate the section numbered sixteen in every township of land for the use of schools.

Reservations were made in the sale of other lands which contained salt springs or lead mines, but not in the appropriation of section sixteen for schools.

When the State of Michigan was admitted into the Union, it was upon the condition that every section numbered sixteen in every township of the public lands, and where such section has been sold or otherwise disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto, and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to the state for the use of schools.

When the lands are surveyed and marked out, the title of the state attaches to No. 16, and if there be no legal impediment, becomes a legal title.

The Act of March 1, 1847, 9 Stat. 146, providing for the sale of mineral lands, does not include section sixteen, which remains subject to the compact with Michigan.

Under the operation of that act, and also the Act of September, 1850, 9 Stat. 472, a lease made in 1845, by the Secretary of War of some mineral lands, including section sixteen, did not confer a right upon the mining company, who were the assignees of the lease, to enter their lands and obtain a patent for section sixteen.

It was not necessary for the State of Michigan to obtain the consent of congress before making a sale of the section.

Whether or not the officers of the State of Michigan pursued the laws of the state in effecting the sale is a question which the occupant of the land cannot raise in this suit.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 59 U. S. 175

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