Morrow v. Whitney - 95 U.S. 551 (1877)


U.S. Supreme Court

Morrow v. Whitney, 95 U.S. 551 (1877)

Morrow v. Whitney

95 U.S. 551

Syllabus

1. When an act of Congress, confirming a claim to land, contains a proviso that the confirmation shall not include any lands occupied by the United States for military purposes, the fact of such occupancy can be established by parol evidence, and is not necessarily a matter of record.

2. Where such occupancy does not exist, the act perfects the title of the confirmee, if the tract has clearly defined boundaries or can be identified. The interest of the United States having been thereby vested in him, a patent subsequently issued to him is only documentary evidence of title.

3. Langdeau v. Hanes, 21 Wall. 521, cited and approved.

4. In a description of premises, distances and quantities, when inconsistent with metes and bounds, must yield to them.

This is an action of ejectment brought in the Brown County

Page 95 U. S. 552

Circuit Court, Wisconsin, by Whitney and Baker, for the possession of a tract of land consisting of ninety-four acres and a fraction of an acre, situated in the Borough of Fort Howard in that county and state. On the trial, the plaintiffs deraigned title to the premises from one Pierre Grignon, to whom a patent of the United States was issued June 2, 1870. The defendant Morrow set up an adverse possession of the premises in himself, and parties through whom he derived his interest, for more than forty years, under a claim of title founded upon a written instrument as a conveyance of the premises. On the trial he relied upon a legislative confirmation of a claim under the Act of Congress of Feb. 21, 1823, of one Alexis Gardapier, from whom he traced his title.

Judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, and, it having been affirmed by the supreme court of the state, Morrow sued out this writ of error. The additional facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.



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