UNITED STATES V. HUGHES, 54 U. S. 7 (1851)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Hughes, 54 U.S. 13 How. 7 7 (1851)

United States v. Hughes

54 U.S. (13 How.) 7




The decision in the two preceding cases again affirmed.

The parties were the same as in the two preceding cases.

Joseph Hughes filed his petition on 16 June, 1846, claiming 3,200 arpents of land as having been granted by the Governor of Louisiana, Gayoso, on the 26th April, 1798, to Andre Martin. He alleges that said Martin took immediate possession, and held it till his death. That in the year 1840, the board of commissioners reported favorably on said claim, but that Congress had never acted upon it, and that he will on the trial produce good and legal sales and transfers of the said tract of land from the heirs of the said Martin to himself.

The answer put in on the part of the United States consists of a general denial of the statements in the petition.

The evidences of title exhibited on the part of the petitioner were:

1st. The petition of Andre Martin to the governor for a grant of 3,200 arpents &c., dated March 28, 1798.

Page 54 U. S. 8

2d. The concession and order of survey made by Governor Gayoso and dated 26 April, 1798.

3d. The sales and deeds of conveyance by the heirs of Andre Martin under which the petitioner Hughes claims, dated respectively 13 and 14 July, 1848.

Testimony was offered to prove the genuineness of Gayoso's signature to the order of survey.

The district court decided in favor of the petitioner and the United States appealed.

MR. JUSTICE NELSON delivered the opinion of the Court.

The plaintiff claimed three thousand arpents of land situate in Louisiana, and fronting on the back part of lands of Oliver Thibodeaux, Theodore Thibodeaux, and Claude Martin under a concession to Andre Martin from Governor Gayoso, 26 April, 1798. The proceedings were under the Act of 17 June, 1844, reviving the Act of 26 May, 1824.

Evidence was given of the handwriting of Martin to the application for the land, and of Governor Gayoso to the concession.

The plaintiff also produced evidence of a conveyance of the premises to himself by an instrument bearing date 14 July 1848, purporting to have been executed by the heirs of Andre Martin the original grantee. And also notice to the register and receiver of the land office at Opelousas, Louisiana, of an application on behalf of the heirs by their attorney for confirmation of the grant under date of 23 December, 1836.

The concession was an inchoate and incomplete grant, and there is no evidence that any possession was ever taken of the land, nor of any claim set up under the grant to the same, from its date down to 1836, when notice was given to the officers of the land office, nor any evidence of the existence of the grant during the whole of this period. The case falls directly within the principles of the two previous cases just decided.

There is also no proof of any title in the plaintiff derived from the original grantee. The conveyance purporting to be executed by the heirs, notwithstanding the recitals to that effect, furnishes no evidence of the fact of heirship.

We think the decree of the court below erroneous, and should be

Reversed, and that the proceedings be remitted to the court below and the petition be dismissed.

Page 54 U. S. 9


This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, it is now here ordered, adjudged, and decreed by this Court that the decree of the said district court in this cause be and the same is hereby reversed and annulled, and this cause be and the same is hereby remanded to the said district court with directions to dismiss the petition of the claimant.

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