Goat v. United States, ante,
p. 224 U. S. 458
followed in regard to validity of conveyances of land allotted to
Seminole Indians, and the right of the United States to maintain
action to set such conveyance aside.
179 F. 13 modified and affirmed as to this point.
The facts, which involve the validity of certain deeds and
mortgages of allotted lands made by Seminole Indians
Page 224 U. S. 472
and the right of the United States to have the same set aside,
are stated in the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.
The United States sought by this suit to cancel certain deeds
and mortgages of lands allotted to members of the Seminole Tribe of
Indians. The judgment of the circuit court sustaining demurrers to
the bill was reversed by the circuit court of appeals. United
States v. Allen,
and similar cases, 179 F. 13.
The suit was brought on July 22, 1908, and embraced several
conveyances to distinct grantees. This appeal is prosecuted --
under § 3 of the Act of June 25, 1910, c. 408, 36 Stat. 837 -- by
only one of the defendants, the Deming Investment Company, of
The bill attacks mortgages made to this appellant by others than
the allottees during the months of August, October, and December,
1906. It is alleged that they were attempted encumbrances of
allotted lands of members of the Seminole tribe; that none of these
lands had been patented to individuals at the time of the
transactions, and that all contracts for the sale, disposition, and
encumbrance of the lands prior to the date of patent were expressly
declared by law to be void. Agreement of December 16, 1897,
ratified by the Act of July 1, 1898, c. 542, 30 Stat. 567.
In its brief, the appellant states that "each conveyance only
involves the surplus allotment, and not the homestead,
Page 224 U. S. 473
of the particular allottee" -- a statement which we do not
understand the government to challenge so far as the mortgages to
the appellant are concerned. The bill does not allege that these
mortgages, or any of them, embraced homestead lands.
Nor is it alleged in the bill that any of the allottees whose
allotments had been mortgaged to the appellant were of Indian
blood, but the lands are described as those which had been allotted
to Seminole freedmen whose names appear upon the freedmen rolls of
that tribe. Upon the allegations of the bill, these allottees, so
far as they were adults, must be held to come within the provision
of the Act of April 21, 1904, c. 1402 (33 Stat. 189, 204), which
removed all restrictions upon alienation by adult allottees not of
Indian blood with respect to their surplus lands, and, by virtue of
the allotment, they had an interest in the allotted lands which, on
the removal of the restriction, they were entitled to convey.
Goat v. United States,
decided this day, ante,
224 U. S. 458
Minors were excepted from this enabling provision of the Act of
1904, and in one instance the mortgage is described as covering a
portion of the allotment of a minor freedman allottee, Ellen Sango,
age seventeen. In this, as in other cases, the age of the allottees
is given apparently as of the time when the mortgage was executed.
The dates of the conveyances made by the allottees are not set
Upon the authority of Goat v. United States, supra,
bill with respect to the appellant should be sustained so far as it
relates to mortgages covering lands which had been conveyed by
minor allottees, or by adult allottees before April 21, 1904, and
it should be dismissed as to the surplus lands conveyed by adult
freedmen allottees subsequent to that date. The judgment of the
circuit court of appeals is affirmed, with the modification that
the cause shall proceed in conformity with this opinion.
It is so ordered.