Hamblin v. Western Land Co.,
147 U.S. 531 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hamblin v. Western Land Co., 147 U.S. 531 (1893)

Hamblin v. Western Land Company

No. 102

Submitted January 23, 1893

Decided February 6, 1893

147 U.S. 531


There must be at least color of ground for the averment of a federal question in a case brought here by writ of error to the highest court of a state in order to give this Court jurisdiction.

When a line of a land grant railroad as located does not satisfy the terms of the granting act, whether the Land Department may not consider it as a temporary and provisional one, quaere.

A reservation of public land from entry, made by the Department of the Interior as coming within the limits of a railroad grant, operates to withdraw the land from homestead entries even if found afterwards not to come within such limits.

A valid homestead entry could not be made upon indemnity lands of the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad Company after the patent from the United States to the State of Iowa, issued June 17, 1873, under the Act of May 12, 1864, 13 Stat. 72, c. 84.

This case is submitted on a motion to dismiss or affirm. The facts are these: defendant in error, the Western Land Company, on August 24, 1887, filed its petition in the district court of O'Brien County, Iowa, to recover from the defendant, Hamblin, now plaintiff in error, the possession of the northeast quarter of section 1, township 95 north, range 41 west, fifth principal meridian. Defendant appeared and answered. A trial was had, and on April 23, 1888, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the Western Land Company, for the possession of the property. From this judgment Hamblin appealed to the supreme court of the state, which on February 10, 1890, affirmed the judgment of the district court. Thereupon Hamblin sued out a writ of error from this Court.

The land company's record title consisted of a patent from the United States to the State of Iowa dated June 17, 1873, conveying the land to the state for the use and benefit of the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad Company; a decree of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Iowa, of May 18, 1882, Chicago & St. Paul Railway v.

Page 147 U. S. 532

Sioux City &c. Railroad, 10 F. 435, modified on May 21, 1886, in pursuance of a mandate from this Court, Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad v. Chicago & St. Paul Railway, 117 U. S. 406, by which the title of this land was adjudged held by the state in trust for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company; a patent from the State of Iowa to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Company, of date September 27, 1886, and a warranty deed from the latter company to the Western Land Company of date May 26, 1886.

Hamblin's claim to the land rests upon the fact that in February, 1884, nearly eleven years after the issue of the patent, he took possession and made application to enter it under the homestead laws of the United States. This application apparently failed, and he made a second application in September, 1885. The built a house upon the land and made other improvements, and has resided on it since March, 1884. It does not appear that the Land Department ever recognized any right in him to enter the land, so that his only claim is based upon the fact of occupation, made, as he says, with a view to entering it as a homestead.

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