Miller v. Dale - 92 U.S. 473 (1875)
U.S. Supreme Court
Miller v. Dale, 92 U.S. 473 (1875)
Miller v. Dale
92 U.S. 473
1. In an action of ejectment far land in California where both parties assert title to the premises, the plaintiff under a concession of the former government, confirmed by the tribunals of the United States, and an approved survey under the Act of Congress of June 14, 1880, and the defendant under a patent of the United States issued upon a similar confirmed concession, the inquiry of the court must extend to the character of the original concessions to ascertain which of the two titles gave the better right to the premises, and if these do not furnish the means for settling the controversy, reference must be had to the proceedings before the tribunals and officers of the United States by which the claims of the parties were determined.
2. Where the original concessions in such cases were without specific boundaries, being floating grants for quantity, the one first located by an approved survey appropriated the land embraced by the survey.
3. The object of the proceeding before the tribunals of the United States for the approval of a survey of a confirmed claim to land in California under a Mexican or Spanish grant, pursuant to the Act of Congress of June 14, 1860, 12 Stat. 34, was to insure conformity of the survey with the decree of confirmation, and not to settle any question of title against other claimants. The approval of the court established the fact, that the survey was in conformity with the decree of confirmation, or, if the decree was for quantity only, that the survey was authorized by it, and is conclusive as to the location of the land against all floating grants not previously located.