Hoffeld v. United States,
186 U.S. 273 (1902)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hoffeld v. United States, 186 U.S. 273 (1902)

Hoffeld v. United States

No. 318

Argued April 16, 1902

Decided June 2, 1902

186 U.S. 273


The statute of June 16, 1880, providing that, where entries of public lands have been cancelled, the Secretary of the Interior shall refund the purchase money to the entryman, his heirs or assigns, is limited to such entryman, his heirs or voluntary assigns, and does not apply to one who purchased the interest of the entryman upon an execution sale against him.

This was a petition of J. Henrietta Hoffeld, executrix of the estate of Rudolph Hoffeld, deceased, for the repayment to her

Page 186 U. S. 274

by the United States, under the Act of June 16, 1880, 21 Stat. 287, of the purchase money for one hundred and sixty acres of coal lands, the entry of which had been cancelled by the Commissioner of the General Land Office on January 27, 1895, over eight years after the purchase was made, and more than seven years after Hoffeld had bought the land.

The purchase from the United States was originally made by other parties for a consideration of thirty-two hundred dollars. These parties had conveyed the lands to the Ohio Creek Anthracite Coal Company, against which company a judgment had been obtained, and a sale made November 10, 1887, to Rudolph Hoffeld, purchaser under the execution. Petitioner was his executrix. Several years after the sale the Commissioner of the General Land Office found that an error had been committed, in the allowance of the original entry upon the affidavit of an attorney, in the absence of the original entrymen. He thereupon exacted an affidavit of these entrymen, but as two out of the four were dead, and the other two could not be found, it was impossible to comply with the requirement of the Commissioner, who cancelled the purchase, as above stated.

The Court of Claims made a finding of facts substantially as above stated, and decided, as a conclusion of law upon such facts, that the claimant had no right to recover, and the petition was therefore dismissed.

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