Wolsey v. Chapman,
101 U.S. 755 (1879)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Wolsey v. Chapman, 101 U.S. 755 (1879)

Wolsey v. Chapman

101 U.S. 755


1. It has been settled in this court that the title of the Des Moines Navigation and Railroad Company to the lands donated to the State of Iowa for the improvement of the Des Moines River by the Act of Aug. 8, 1846, 9 Stat. 77, is good against the state, the railroad companies claiming under the Act of May 15, 1856, 11 id. 9, and, after 1855, as against preemptors under the Act of Sept. 4, 1841. 5 id. 453.

2. The order of the Secretary of the Interior of April 6, 1850, directing that the lands on the Des Moines River above the Raccoon Fork be reserved from sale, was, in contemplation of law, the order of the President, and had the same effect as a proclamation mentioned in said act of 1841. Being so reserved, they were not subject to selection by the State of Iowa as forming a part of the five hundred thousand acres granted to her for internal improvements which she, with the consent of Congress, appropriated to the use of common schools.

3. The title which the state acquired to the lands above said Raccoon Fork by the joint resolution of March 2, 1861, 12 Stat. 251, and the Act of July 12, 1862, id. 543, inured to bona fide purchasers from the state under the grant of Aug. 8, 1846, and not to parties whose right is derived from her claim to them for school purposes.

4. Those acts give the state and such bona fide purchasers the same assurance of title as if the act of 1846 had granted all that succeeding legislation secured for the river improvement.

5. The adjustment made in 1866 by the Department of the Interior and a commissioner acting under the authority of the State of Iowa, and ratified by the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1871, 16 Stat. 582, settled the rights of no parties other than the state and the United States.

6. The contract entered into June 9, 1854, between the state and the Des Moines Navigation and Railroad Company contemplated a conveyance of all the river grant lands not sold by the state on Dec. 23, 1853. By a joint resolution passed March 22, 1858, the state agreed to convey to the company all the lands contained in said grant except such as she had sold prior to Dec. 23, 1853. Held that the land in controversy having been certified as part of the lands granted to Iowa for the improvement of the Des Moines River, the governor of the state was authorized to convey it to said company.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 101 U. S. 756

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