4 U.S. 221 (1800)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court


4 U.S. 221 (Dall.)

M'Laughlin's Lessee
Dawson. [Footnote 1]

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

December Term, 1800

EJECTMENT for 400 acres of land, lying north-west of the river Ohio. Both parties claimed under settlement rights. The defendant's improvement commenced one day earlier than the plaintiff's; but the plaintiff had the first warrant; and he had been constantly resident on the land, except when he left it, through imminent danger from the Indians. The defendant's improvements were greater than those of the plaintiff, (for, he was a richer man) but he was often absent from the premises, sometimes as a volunteer in the public service, and sometimes living, at a distance, with his father, or brothers.


The COURT, in the charge to the jury, strongly preferred the claim of the plaintiff, on account of his constant residence on the premises; except when obliged to retire, from a reasonable apprehension of danger. They mentioned the case of Ewalt's Lessee v. Highlands, (ante, p. 162.) and said, that the maturest reflection satisfied them of the propriety and correctness of the principle there laid down: to wit; that to constitute a legal settlement, it must be accompanied with personal residence, unless

Page 4 U.S. 221, 222

such danger exists, as would operate on the mind of a man of reasonable firmness.

Verdict, accordingly, for the plaintiff.

Woods, for the plaintiff.

Ross, for the defendant.


Footnote 1 Tried at Pittsburgh, Nisi Priue, October 1800, before YEATE S and SMITH, Justice.

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