Willot v. Sandford - 60 U.S. 79 (1856)
U.S. Supreme Court
Willot v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 19 How. 79 79 (1856)
Willot v. Sandford
60 U.S. (19 How.) 79
Where there are two confirmations by Congress of the same land in Missouri, the elder confirmation gives the better title, and the jury are not at liberty, in an action of ejectment, to find that the survey and patent did not correspond with the confirmation.
Titles to lands thus situated could be confirmed; nor were the lands affected by the act of March 3, 1811, providing for the sale of public lands and the final adjustment of land claims.
This was an action of ejectment brought by Sandford a citizen of New York, to recover the following-described premises, viz.:
"A certain tract of land, containing 750 arpens, more or less, which was claimed by one Antoine Lamarche, as derived to him from the government of Spain, was surveyed for said Lamarche by John Harvey, a deputy surveyor under the government of the United States, and the plat of said survey duly certified by said Harvey under date of December 20, 1805, and the same received for record by Antoine Soulard, Surveyor General under the government of the United States for the Territory of Louisiana, February 27, 1806, which said tract is situate, lying, and being on Lamarche's Creek, alias Spencer's run, in St. Charles County, Missouri, and the claim thereto was duly confirmed to the said Antoine Lamarche or his legal representatives by an act of Congress entitled 'An act confirming claims to lands in the State of Missouri, and for other purposes,' approved July 4, 1836."
It is unnecessary to recite the evidences of title set forth upon the trial by the plaintiff and defendants, as they are set forth on both sides in the opinion of the court.
Amongst other rulings of the circuit court were the following, viz.,
"5. That the survey made by the United States surveyor, and on which issued the patent certificate and patent, is evidence of a high character that the land included in the survey is the same as that included in the confirmation to the legal representatives of Dissonet."
"6. That said survey is not conclusive evidence that the land confirmed to the legal representatives of Dissonet was correctly located and surveyed by said survey."
"7. If the jury, therefore, believe that the land sued for is not within the confirmation to the legal representatives of Dissonet, although it may be within the survey and patent, then such confirmation, survey, and patent cannot protect said defendants in this suit."
It is not necessary to mention any of the other instructions or rulings of the circuit court.