TAYLOR v. WALTON, 14 U.S. 141 (1816)

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U.S. Supreme Court

TAYLOR v. WALTON, 14 U.S. 141 (1816)

14 U.S. 141 (Wheat.)


March 6, 1816

APPEAL from a decree in chancery in the circuit court of Kentucky. The cause was argued by Key for the appellants, and Talbot and Hardin for the respondents.

March 6th.

MARSHALL, Ch. J., delivered the opinion of the court.

Page 14 U.S. 141, 142

This is an appeal from a decree rendered in the circuit court of Kentucky, directing the appellant to convey to the appellees, lands lying within his patent, which the appellees claimed by virtue of a junior patent.

In all such cases the validity of the entry which is the foundation of the title of the junior patentee is first to be examined.

This entry was made on the 4th of December, 1783, and calls to begin 'in the fork of Chaplin's fork, and the Beech fork, and to run thence up Beech fork to the mouth of the first large creek, which is called, &c., thence to run up the creek and up Chaplin's fork till a line run straight across will include the quantity to exclude prior legal claims.'

The places called for being proved to have been places of notoriety which could not be mistaken, no want of certainty can be ascribed to this location, unless it be produced by the words 'to exclude prior legal claims.' These words are obviously attached to the quantity, not to the beginning, or to the lines bounded by the creeks. They can then affect only the back line, which is to extend from one creek to the other. The locator seems to have supposed that this line might approach towards, or recede from, the point of junction between the two creeks, as the amount of prior legal claims might require; that a location could adapt itself to circumstances, could assimilate itself to an elastic substance, and contract or expand as might secure the quantity of land it sought to appropriate. In this he was mistaken. The boundaries of an entry must be fixed [14 U.S. 141, 143]

Full Text of Opinion


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