Matthews v. Zane's Lessee - 9 U.S. 92 (1809)


U.S. Supreme Court

Matthews v. Zane's Lessee, 9 U.S. 5 Cranch 92 92 (1809)

Matthews v. Zane's Lessee

9 U.S. (5 Cranch) 92

Syllabus

It was decided in this case:

The lands included within the Zanesville District by the Act of 3 March, 1803, could not, after that date, be sold at the Marietta land office.

Error to the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio for the County of Muskingum in an action of ejectment brought by Zane's Lessee against Matthews, in which both parties claimed title under the laws of the United States. The question of jurisdiction in this case was settled at last term. Ante, p. 8 U. S. 382.

The remaining question was whether the plaintiff in error or the defendant had the title to the west fraction of section No. 15 in township No. 12 in range No. 13 in the State of Ohio.

This question arose upon a special verdict, which stated the following facts:

On 7 February, 1804, the Office of Receiver

Page 9 U. S. 93

of Public Moneys at Marietta then being vacant, Matthews applied to the register of the land office at Marietta for the purchase of that fraction, who received the application and gave Matthews a certificate thereof.

On 26 March, 1804, a register and receiver were appointed for the Zaneville District, and also a receiver of public moneys for the Marietta District, who commenced the duties of his office on the first of May in that year.

After 12 May, in the same year, Matthews purchased the land at the Marietta land office by making such payments and receiving such certificates as are prescribed by law.

On 21 May, 1804, the land office was first opened at Zaneville and the sales of land commenced therein.

On the 17th of the same May, a schedule was forwarded from the surveyor general, purporting to be a complete list of the lands lying within the Zaneville District, which had been before sold at the Marietta land office and in which the land in controversy was not included.

Subsequent to the passage of the law for the erection of the Zaneville District and prior to the time when the Office of Receiver of Public Moneys for the Marietta District became vacant, two entries were made in the Marietta land office of land lying within the Zaneville District, which entries and sales were acknowledged as good and valid by the government of the United States, which considered Matthews' entry as void, and the Secretary of the Treasury has directed his purchase money to be repaid to him. The two tracts, the sales of which were confirmed by the government of the United States, were in the surveyor general's schedule returned as sold at Marietta, but the land in controversy was not included in that schedule, because

Page 9 U. S. 94

the register of the land office at Marietta had not made his return, as by law directed, to the surveyor general, who had no guide by which to make out the schedule but the returns of the register. The officers of the Zaneville land office were directed by the Secretary of the Treasury to receive the schedule as the only evidence of what land had been sold at Marietta.

On 26 May, 1804, Zane purchased, at the Zaneville land office the land in controversy by making such payments and receiving such a certificate as by law are prescribed, at which time Matthews produced his certificate from the register of the Marietta land office and gave notice of his having purchased the same land.

Zane's purchase was confirmed by the Secretary of the Treasury.



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