Beaubien v. BeaubienAnnotate this Case
64 U.S. 190 (1859)
U.S. Supreme Court
Beaubien v. Beaubien, 64 U.S. 23 How. 190 190 (1859)
Beaubien v. Beaubien
64 U.S. (23 How.) 190
Where a bill in chancery was filed by persons residing in Canada, claiming title to property in Detroit which had been in the exclusive possession of the defendants and those claiming under them since 1793, without, as far as appears, any right being set up by the complainants or by those claiming under them to the title or the possession of the premises until the filing of the bill, or any claim to the rents and profits or to an account as tenants in common, or for partition, or to be admitted to the enjoyment of any right as co-heirs, the case is one resting upon the enforcement of an implied trust, where courts of equity follow the courts of law in applying the statute of limitations.
The averments of concealment and fraud on the part of the defendants, which
are made in the bill for the purpose of withdrawing the case from the operation of the statute, are too general and indefinite to have that effect.
No acts of fraud or concealment are stated, and the time when even an intention to defraud, which is all that is averred, was discovered was some fifty years after the exclusive possession of the defendants and those under whom they claim had commenced, and this although the parties lived in the neighborhood and almost in sight of the city which has, in the meantime, grown up on the premises.
This was a bill filed on the equity side of the court by John Baptiste Beaubien and twenty-one others, aliens and residents of Canada, against Antoine Beaubien and one hundred and twenty-seven others, thirteen of whom were citizens of Michigan and residents of Detroit. The rest of the defendants were admitted to be parties by order of the court.
The complainants began the history of their title as early as 1745, when the governor and intendant of the territory gave to their ancestor, Beaubien, a concession of land of three arpens in front on Lake Erie by forty arpens in depth, and afterwards, in 1747, the same persons granted to one Barois a concession of two arpens in front by forty arpens in depth adjoining the above. They then traced the title down, as stated in the opinion of the Court.
Some of the defendants demurred to the bill and the rest pleaded that they were bona fide purchasers, without notice.
In 1857, the court passed the following decree:
"This cause having been brought on to be heard on the demurrer of the above defendants and others to the amended bill of complaint and the plea of the Right Reverend Peter Paul Le Fevre and Theodore Williams, claiming to be bona fide purchasers for a valuable consideration, without notice, of the lands and premises owned and claimed by them on the Antoine Beaubien and Lambert Beaubien farms, described in the bill of complaint and in said plea, and the said demurrer and plea having been argued by G. T. Sheldon, solicitor and counsel, and W. H. Emmons, counsel for said defendants, and Messrs. Burt and Maynard, counsel for the complainants, and
the arguments of counsel having been duly considered, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the demurrer hereto fore filed of the above defendants, Theodore Williams and the Right Reverend Peter Paul Le Fevre and others, claiming a portion of the lands and premises in the bill of complaint mentioned, as heirs, donees, or otherwise, without valuable consideration, be and is hereby sustained, and the said plea of the said defendants, Right Reverend Peter Paul Le Fevre and Theodore Williams, claiming other portions of said lands and premises in their said plea mentioned as bona fide purchasers for a valuable consideration without notice, having been argued by the respective counsel, and the arguments of counsel having been duly considered, it is ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the said plea of the said defendants, Peter Paul Le Fevre and Theodore Williams, be and is hereby sustained, and that the said bill of complaint of the complainants, as to all said land and premises described and set forth in said plea, be and is hereby dismissed."
From this decree, the complainants appealed to this Court.