Wilson v. Mason
Annotate this Case
5 U.S. 45 (1801)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Wilson v. Mason, 5 U.S. 1 Cranch 45 45 (1801)
Wilson v. Mason
5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 45
The jurisdiction of the courts of the United States extends, by the Constitution, to cases where a caveat had been entered according to the laws of Virginia existing before the erection of the part of her territory, into the State of Kentucky, in which the lands in controversy were situated, on which caveat and judgment had been entered, although by the laws of Virginia the judgment was declared to be final, and the compact between Virginia and Kentucky stipulated that rights acquired under Virginia should be decided according to the laws existing at the time the compact was entered into.
When by a statute a particular form of proceeding is prescribed, a court will not consent to substitute an equivalent act for that required by the law.
By the laws of Kentucky, a particular method for taking up or appropriating lands was required, and unless an entry in the form and manner designated by those laws was made, surveys of the lands gave no title, however notorious they might be, and although such surveys were known to the subsequent locator at the time he made his survey in strict conformity with the requirements of the law.
These cases were brought before the Court by writs of error to the District Court of Kentucky, the parties having previously, under the provisions of the laws of that state, sought to establish their title to the lands in question by cross-caveats, upon which judgment had been entered. By the laws of Virginia, before that part of her territory which afterwards became the separate State of Kentucky, and by the laws of Kentucky, a particular form of entering and taking up waste lands was designated, and a mode for investigating and deciding upon titles claimed to have been acquired under those laws was directed. The parties in this case asserted a compliance with those laws.
The facts and provisions of the land laws upon which the rights of the parties were claimed to depend are fully stated in the opinion of the Court.