Harnage v. Martin,
242 U.S. 386 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Harnage v. Martin, 242 U.S. 386 (1917)

Harnage v. Martin

No. 112

Argued December 19, 1916

Decided January 8, 1917

242 U.S. 386


Of two qualified applicants for an allotment under § 11 of the Cherokee Agreement of 1902 (Act of July 1, 1902, c. 1375, 32 Stat. 716), the one owning the improvements on the tract in question, though junior in time of application, is entitled to prevail.

In such case, a substantial equity in the improvements will suffice to hold the tract against a claimant whose interest in them is nil.

A decision of the Secretary of the Interior that one of two contesting claimants of an allotment under § 11 of the Cherokee Agreement, supra, was the owner of the improvements on the land is conclusive unless made without evidence to support it or otherwise the result of an error of law.

Where a community of interest in the possession and improvements of a tract of land existed among several members of a Cherokee family, an agreement among them that one should have a specific part of the land for her allotment held operative to pass an interest in the improvements on that parcel sufficient to give a preferential right to select it under § 11 of the Cherokee Agreement of 1902.

Section 18 of the Cherokee Agreement of 1902 recognized in terms the right of a tribal member to hold possession by his agent as well as by himself of land not exceeding the allottable quantity.

Certain proceedings before the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes, and others in the United States Court for the Indian Territory, for the sale of the improvements upon the allotment here in

Page 242 U. S. 387

question held ineffectual against one who was not a party to those proceedings and who made application for the allotment based on ownership of the improvements before they were instituted.

40 Okl. 341 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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