Elmendorf v. Taylor,
Annotate this Case
23 U.S. 152 (1825)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Elmendorf v. Taylor, 23 U.S. 10 Wheat. 152 152 (1825)
Elmendorf v. Taylor
23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 152
Although the statutes of limitations do not apply in terms to courts of equity, yet the period of limitation which takes away a right of entry or an action of ejectment has been held by analogy to bar relief in equity even where the period of limitation for a writ of right or other real action had not expired.
Where an adverse possession has continued for twenty years, it constitutes a complete bar in equity wherever an ejectment would be barred if the plaintiff possessed a legal title.
The rule which requires all the parties in interest to be brought before the court does not affect the jurisdiction, but is subject to the discretion of the court, and may be modified according to circumstances.
In the courts of the United States, wherever the case may be completely decided as between the litigant parties, an interest existing in some other person whom the process of the court cannot reach, as if such party be a resident of another state, will not prevent a decree upon the merits.
The courts of every government have the exclusive authority of construing its local statutes, and their construction will be respected in every other country.
This Court respects the decisions of the state courts upon their local statutes in the same manner as the state courts are bound by the decisions of this Court in construing the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the union.
In Kentucky, a survey must be presumed to be recorded at the expiration of three months from its date, and an entry dependent on it is entitled to all the notoriety of the survey as a matter of record.
An entry in the following words:
"W.D. enters eight thousand acres, beginning at the most southwestwardly corner of D.R.'s survey of eight thousand acres, between Floyd's Fork and Bull Skin, thence along his westwardly line to the corner; thence the same course with J.K.'s line north two degrees west, nine hundred and sixty-four poles to a survey of J.L. for twenty-two thousand acres; thence with Lewis' line, and from the beginning south seven degrees west till a line parallel with the first line will include the quantity"
is a valid entry.
Such an entry is aided by the notoriety of the surveys which it calls to adjoin where those surveys had been made three months anterior to its date.
This was a bill in equity brought by the appellant, Elmendorf, in the Court below to obtain a conveyance of lands held by the respondents under a prior grant and under entries which were all older than his entry. But the defendants below relied entirely on their patent, and the case consequently depended on the validity of the plaintiff's entry. This entry was made on 19 April, 1784, as follows:
"Walker Daniel enters 8,000 acres, beginning at the most southwestwardly corner of Duncan Rose's survey of 8,000 acres, between Floyd's Fork and Bull Skin; thence along his westwardly line to the
corner; thence the same course with Granville Smith's lower line to John Lewis' corner; thence with Lewis' line, and from the beginning south 7 west, till a line parallel with the first will include the quantity."
This entry was afterwards explained and amended on 1 July, 1784, so as to read as follows:
"Walker Daniel enters 8,000 acres, beginning at the most southwestwardly corner of Duncan Rose's survey of 8,000 acres, between Floyd's Fork and Bull Skin; thence along his westwardly line to the corner; thence the same course with James Kemp's line north 2 west 964 poles, to a survey of John Lewis for 22,000 acres; thence with Lewis' line, and from the beginning south 7 west, till a line parallel with the first line will include the quantity."
The plaintiff's bill was dismissed by the Court below, and the cause brought by appeal to this Court.