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SIOUX CITY CO. V. GRIFFEY, 143 U. S. 32 (1892)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sioux City Co. v. Griffey, 143 U.S. 32 (1892)

Sioux City and Iowa Falls Town Lot and Land Company v. Griffey

No. 157

Argued January 15, 18, 1892

Decided February 1, 1892

143 U.S. 32


The grant of public land to the State of Iowa by the Act of May 15, 1856, 11 Stat. 9, c. 28, "in alternate sections to aid in the construction of certain railroads in that state" was a grant in praesenti, which did not attach until the time of the filing of the map of definite location; although the beneficiary company (under the Iowa statute) may have surveyed and staked out upon the ground a line for its road before the filing.

The plaintiff, claiming under the said grant to the Iowa, brought an action against the defendant to recover a tract, a part of the grant. The defendant claimed under a patent from the United States subsequent to the filing of the map of definite location, but issued on a preemption claim made prior thereto, and filed a cross-bill for quieting his title. Held that it was not open to the plaintiff to contest the bona fides of the preemption settlement.

The Court stated the case as follows: chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 143 U. S. 33

On May 15, 1856, Congress passed an act granting lands to the State of Iowa to aid in the construction of certain railroads. 11 Stat. 9, c. 28. The grant was a grant in praesenti, and of alternate sections, with the familiar provision:

"But in case it shall appear that the United States have, when the lines or routes of said roads are definitely fixed, sold any sections, or any parts thereof, granted as aforesaid, or that the right of preemption has attached to the same, then it shall be lawful for any agent or agents, to be appointed by the governor of said state, to select, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, from the lands of the United States nearest to the tiers of sections above specified, so much land, in alternate sections, or parts of sections, as shall be equal to such lands as the United States have sold or otherwise appropriated, or to which the rights of preemption have attached as aforesaid."

By an Act of the General Assembly of Iowa of date July 14, 1856, the Dubuque and Pacific Railway Company was made one of the beneficiaries of this grant. By section 6 it was provided:

"The lines and routes of the several roads above described shall be definitely fixed and located on or before the first day of April next after the passage of this act, and maps or plats showing such lines or routes shall be filed in the office of the Governor of the State of Iowa, and also in the office of the Secretary of the State of Iowa. It shall be the duty of the governor, after affixing his official signature, to file such map in the department having the control of the public lands in Washington, such location to be considered final only so far as to fix the limits and boundary in which said lands may be selected."

The map of the definite location thus provided for was not received by the officers of the state until after September 27, 1856, and was filed at the General Land Office in Washington on October 13, 1856. Prior, however, to the 14th day of July and the passage of the act making it the beneficiary of the congressional grant, the Dubuque and Pacific Railroad Company had commenced the survey of its line and had surveyed and staked out a line upon the surface of the ground along the land in controversy, which, by such survey, was within the limits of the grant. On the 19th of chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 143 U. S. 34

July, 1856, Griffey entered upon this land, filed his declaratory statement, and on the 5th of September located it with a military bounty land-warrant, and received his certificate of location. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 143 U. S. 38

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