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LARKIN V. PAUGH, 276 U. S. 431 (1928)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Larkin v. Paugh, 276 U.S. 431 (1928)

Larkin v. Paugh

No. 137

Argued December 9, 1927

Decided April 9, 1928

276 U.S. 431


1. Rev.Stats., § 2448, providing that, where a patent for "public lands" shall issue in pursuance of any law of the United States to a person who has died before the date of the patent, the title shall inure to, and become vested in, the "heirs, devisees, or assignees" of the deceased patentee as if the patent had issued to him during life, held applicable where an Indian holding land by "trust patent" under the General Allotment Act applied to the Secretary of the Interior, under the Act of March 1, 1907, for a chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 276 U. S. 432

fee simple patent, and the patent was issued some days after the Indian's death. P. 276 U. S. 437.

2. Whether the term "public lands" applies to allotments held in trust for Indians depends upon the nature and object of the particular statute in which the term is employed. P. 276 U. S. 438.

3. Rev.Stats. § 2448 is highly remedial, and patents to Indians are not less within its reason than patents to white men. P. 276 U. S. 438.

4. By reason of this statute, the fee simple patent operated to invest the Indian's heirs, devisees, or assignees with the title, and to divest the United States of it, as if the patent had issued to him during life, and the recipients of the title took it as though from him directly, and not as immediate grantees of the United States. P. 276 U. S. 438.

5. Issuance of the patent terminated the prior trust and the incidental restriction on alienation, and also the authority possessed by the Secretary of the Interior by reason of them, so that all questions pertaining to the title became subject to examination and determination by the courts, appropriately those in the state where the land was situate. P. 276 U. S. 439.

6. Therefore, the proper state court had jurisdiction to determine that. a contract to sell the lad, made by the Indian in anticipation of the patent, was valid, and that, by reason of its partial performance while the Indian was living, his vendee became an assignee and the contract legally and equitably enforceable as against the heirs. The heirs have no federal right to have the judgment reexamined and vacated on a collateral attack. P. 276 U. S. 439.


Certiorari, 275 U. S. 507, to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Nebraska which reversed a decree cancelling a deed made by the administrator of the estate of a deceased Indian.

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