DOOLAN V. CARR, 125 U. S. 618 (1887)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Doolan v. Carr, 125 U.S. 618 (1887)

Doolan v. Carr

No. 34

Argued October 24-25, 1887

Decided November 21, 1887

125 U.S. 618


The proper Circuit Court of the United States has jurisdiction, irrespective of the citizenship of the parties, of an action in ejectment, in which the controversy turns upon the validity of a patent of land from the United States.

Want of power in an officer of the Land Office to issue a land patent may be shown in an action at law by extrinsic evidence, although the patent may be issued with all the forms of law required for a patent of public land.

Land within the limits of a valid Mexican grant (which grant was sub judice when the grant of public land in aid of the Pacific Railroads was made by the Act of July 1, 1862, as amended July 2, 1864, and March 3, 1865), if found after the location of the railroads to be within the prescribed limits on either side of them, did not pass to the corporations as " public

Page 125 U. S. 619

land," if it was described by specific boundaries, or if it was known or described by a name by which it could be identified; but if it was described as a specific quantity within designated outboundaries containing a greater area, only so much land within the outboundaries as is necessary to cover the specific quantity granted was excluded from the grant to the railroad companies.

Official documentary evidence of a Mexican grant which has been confirmed by the proper authorities of the United States is admissible on the trial of an action in ejectment to show a want of power in the Land Office to issue a patent for the same land as "public land" under the statutes granting "public land" to aid in the construction of the Pacific Railroads.

It would seem also that parol testimony is admissible to identify the land as coming within the terms of the grant.

Ejectment. Verdict for the plaintiff and judgment on the verdict. Defendants sued out this writ of error. The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 125 U. S. 620

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