UNITED STATES V. HUGHES, 54 U. S. 1 (1851)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Hughes, 54 U.S. 13 How. 1 1 (1851)

United States v. Hughes

54 U.S. (13 How.) 1


Where a grant of land in Louisiana, was made by the Spanish governor in February 1799, but no possession was ever taken by the grantee during the existence of the Spanish government or since the cession to the United States, and no proof of the existence of the grant until 1835, when the grantee sold his interest to a third person, the presumption arising from this neglect is that the grant, if made, had been abandoned.

The regulations of Gayoso, who made the grant, were that the settler should forfeit the land if he failed to establish himself upon it within one year and put under labor ten arpents in every hundred within three years.

This was a land case arising under the acts of 1824 and 1844.

The petition in this case was filed in the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern District of Louisiana on the 16th day of June, 1846.

Hughes, the petitioner, represented therein that, on the petition of Joseph Guidry, the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, Gayoso granted to him, (said Guidry) on 1 February, 1799, a tract of land having a front of 40 arpents on the Atchafalaya, with a depth of 40 arpents, adjoining the land of Andre Martin, on the west bank of the said river, near where the Point Coupee trace from Opelousas crosses said river. Petitioner further alleges that the said claim was presented to the board of commissioners under the Act of Congress of 6 February, 1835, and reported on favorably, but never acted on by Congress, that the United States has sold none of said land except a small part to John L. Daniel, and that he, Hughes, has

Page 54 U. S. 2

become owner of one thousand arpents of said grant by a chain of conveyances, &c.; he therefore prays for a decree confirming his title, &c.

The answer of the United States denies all the allegations of the petition.

Depositions to prove the genuineness of Gayoso's signature were given in evidence.

The chain of title to the petition was a conveyance from Guidry to Andre Martin, on 19 April, 1837, and conveyance by Martin to Hughes on 1 March, 1846.

The District Court confirmed the claim, and the United States appealed.

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