LOVE V. FLAHIVE, 205 U. S. 195 (1907)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Love v. Flahive, 205 U.S. 195 (1907)

Love v. Flahive

No. 236

Submitted March 8, 1907

Decided March 25, 1907

205 U.S. 195


In a contest over a homestead entry, whether there was a sale and whether the thing sold was or was not the tract in question are matters of fact to be determined by the testimony, and the findings of the Land Department in those respects are conclusive in the courts.

While a homesteader cannot make a valid and enforceable contract to sell the land he is seeking to enter, he is not bound to perfect his application, but may abandon or relinquish his rights in the land, and if he in fact makes a sale, he is no longer interested in the land, and the government can treat the sale as a relinquishment, and patent the land to other applicants.

83 P. 882 affirmed.

Page 205 U. S. 196

On December 3, 1900, Edward H. Love commenced this suit in the District Court of Missoula County, Montana, to have Annie Flahive, the holder of the legal title to a specified tract in that county, adjudged to hold it in trust for him. A demurrer to the complaint was sustained by the district court and, no amendment being asked, judgment was entered for the defendants. This judgment was affirmed by the supreme court of the state (33 Mont. 348), from which court the case was brought here on writ of error.

The facts, as stated in the complaint and attached exhibits, are that plaintiff, with the purpose of entering the land as a homestead, and being qualified therefor, in May, 1882, settled upon, occupied, and fenced the entire tract, with the exception of the north twenty acres thereof. I n addition to a controversy in the Land Department with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, which claimed the land under its grant, but whose claim was finally rejected, he had a contest in the Land Department with Michael Flahive, who was also seeking to enter the land, which, after several hearings before the local land officers, with appeals to and decisions by the Commissioner of the General Land Office and the Secretary of the Interior, resulted in a final decision against him and an award of the land to the defendant Annie Flahive, the widow of Michael Flahive, who had died pending the proceedings. In pursuance of that award, a patent was issued to her in December, 1899.

Page 205 U. S. 198

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