Van Reynegan v. Bolton - 95 U.S. 33 (1877)
U.S. Supreme Court
Van Reynegan v. Bolton, 95 U.S. 33 (1877)
Van Reynegan v. Bolton
95 U.S. 33
1. Under the Mexican law, when a grant of land is made by the government, a formal delivery of possession to the grantee by a magistrate of the vicinage is essential to the complete investiture of title. This proceeding, called, in the language of the country, the delivery of juridical possession, involves the establishment of the boundaries of the land granted, when there is any uncertainty with respect to them. A record of the proceeding is preserved by the magistrate, and a copy delivered to the grantee.
2. Unless the decree of the tribunals of the United States, confirming a claim under such a grant, otherwise limits the extent or the form of the tract, the boundaries thus established should control the officers of the United States in surveying the land.
3. A survey, by a Surveyor General of the United States, of a claim thus confirmed, is inoperative until finally approved by the Land Department at Washington.
4. Where a quantity of land in California was granted by the Mexican government within a tract embracing a larger amount, in the possession of which tract the grantee was placed, he is entitled to retain such possession until that quantity is segregated from the tract by the officers of the government and set apart to him, and he may maintain ejectment for the whole tract or any portion of it against parties in possession claiming under the preemption laws of the United States.
5. Lands claimed under Mexican grants in California are excluded from settlement under the preemption laws, so long as the claims of the grantees remain undetermined by the tribunals and officers of the United States.