Dehon v. Bernal
70 U.S. 774 (1865)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dehon v. Bernal, 70 U.S. 3 Wall. 774 774 (1865)

Dehon v. Bernal

70 U.S. (3 Wall.) 774

Syllabus

1. When the United States and the claimant to whom a Mexican grant has been confirmed are both satisfied with its location, any other person who seeks to contest such a location must show some title, legal or equitable, to some part of the land covered by the survey, before the Court will disturb it at his instance, or in his alleged interest.

2. When all the elements of location prescribed by a decree of the district court cannot possibly be complied with, and a survey conforms as much with the decree confirming the grant as it can well be made to do, this Court will not disturb it.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California, confirming a survey of a Mexican grant.

The appeal was not taken by the United States, nor by the claimant whose grant was confirmed, but by one Dehon, who was permitted to intervene in the district court on the ground that the survey covered land in which he was interested.

Page 70 U. S. 774

He asserted that the survey covered land owned by him under a deed from Bishop Allemany. The Allemany grant had been confirmed, surveyed, and patented, and was found to cover a part of this survey as first made. To the extent of the interference, the district court modified this survey. But the intervenor was still dissatisfied, and appealed to this Court, because, as he said, it covers other land which he claims, and also because it was erroneously located.

While exhibiting a number of deeds, Dehon, however, did not show any interest in the land covered by the modified survey, derived either from the government of Mexico or that of the United States.

The decree confirming the grant described the lot as a lot two hundred varas square lying on the south side of an arroyo or stream, sixty varas from the northwestern corner of the Mission of Dolores, the northeast corner of the lot being one hundred and fifty varas from the northeast corner of the Mission. The arroyo was found, and the Mission is well known. It was impossible, however, so to locate the lot as to make the arroyo its northern boundary, and bring its northeast corner within any reasonable approximation to the distance stated from the northeast corner of the Mission. Under these circumstances, the surveyor located it so that the northeast corner of the lot was one hundred and sixty-one varas from the northeast corner of the Mission, and the lot was fifty-five varas from the northwest corner of the Mission. This placed the northern boundary of the lot some distance south of the arroyo.

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