Egan v. McDonald,
246 U.S. 227 (1918)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Egan v. McDonald, 246 U.S. 227 (1918)

Egan v. McDonald

No. 88

Submitted January 28, 1918

Decided March 4, 1918

246 U.S. 227


Under § 7 of the Act of May 27, 1902, c. 888, 32 Stat. 275, an Indian allotment held under trust patent and subject to the restrictions on alienation imposed by the Act of March 2, 1889, § 11, c. 405, 25 Stat. 888, may, upon the death of the allottee, be conveyed by his heirs with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, and the approved deed passes the full title.

Where such a conveyance was made in 1908, and the Secretary approved it in 1909, held that there was no law then in force making an adjudication of heirship, either by a federal court or by the Secretary, a condition precedent to the validity of the conveyance. McKay v. Kalyton, 204 U. S. 458, distinguished.

Upon error to a state court in a case where a vendee sued to recover back earnest money paid his vendor upon the ground that the title tendered by the latter was not merchantable, and where the vendor proved a conveyance of the land by certain heirs of the Indian

Page 246 U. S. 228

allottee thereof which recited that they were the only heir and was approved by the Secretary of the Interior, held that whether the burden was upon the plaintiff to establish that there were other heirs, and whether the suggestion that there may have been such rendered the title unmerchantable were questions of state law not reviewable by this Court.

Whether the mere approval of such conveyance by the Secretary would operate to convey a good title if it had appeared that the deed was executed by a part of the heirs only -- not decided.

36 S.Dak. 92 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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