U.S. Supreme Court
Preston's Heirs v. Bowmar, 19 U.S. 6 Wheat. 580 580 (1821)
Preston's Heirs v. Bowmar
19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 580
It is a universal rule that course and distance yield to natural and ascertained objects. But where these objects are wanting and the course and distance cannot be reconciled, there is no universal rule that obliges us to prefer the one to the other.
Cases may exist in which the one or the other may be preferred according to the circumstances.
In a case of doubtful construction, the claim of the party in actual possession ought to be maintained, especially where it has been upheld by the decisions of the state tribunals.
This was an ejectment brought in the court below, in which the lessor of the plaintiff claimed title under a patent, describing the survey as
"beginning at an ash in the middle of a line of Glenn's land, and with it north 20 degrees, east 800 poles, crossing three branches to a hoop wood and sugar tree corner to Moffat's land, and with a line thereof north 70 degrees, west 100 poles, crossing the creek to a sugar tree south 33 degrees, west 820 poles, crossing three forks of the creek to two sugar trees, south 70 degrees, east 300 poles, to the beginning."
The question arising upon the construction of this patent is stated in the opinion of the Court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary