UNITED STATES V. VALLEJO, 66 U. S. 283 (1861)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Vallejo, 66 U.S. 1 Black 283 283 (1861)

United States v. Vallejo

66 U.S. (1 Black) 283




1. A claim for land in California admitted by the United States to be regular and genuine confirmed to the proper owner, the original grantee or his assigns, though the nominal claimant be one who derives title through a deed bearing date while the proceedings were pending and before the decree of concession.

This was a claim for a tract of land in Sonoma county, California, two leagues and a half in length by a quarter of a league in width, and called Agua Caliente. M. G. Vallejo filed his petition before the land commission claiming the tract above

Page 66 U. S. 284

described under a deed from Lazaro Pina, to whom it had been granted in 1840 by Governor Alvarado. Before any testimony was taken in the case, the attorneys of Vallejo withdrew from it and the Commission rejected the claim for lack of any proof, either of the original grant or of the alleged conveyance to Vallejo. Vallejo appealed to the district court and introduced a complete espediente from the archives showing that the grant had been made to Pina in 1840 and the journal of the departmental assembly, which proved that the title had been confirmed in 1845. The original grant was not produced, but was alleged to have been lost. But while the decree of concession to Pina was dated July 13, 1840, the deed conveying the land to Vallejo under the same title bore date December 4, 1839. This circumstance was not explained. In 1859, the district court confirmed the title to Vallejo, reserving, however, the rights of the heirs and assigns of Pina so that the confirmation might inure to the benefit of any parties who could show a better title than Vallejo, "derived from the original grantee by deed, devise, descent, or otherwise." From this decree the United States appealed.

Page 66 U. S. 285


This claim is founded upon a grant from Governor Alvarado to Lazaro Pina of the date of July 13, 1840. The original grant was not produced, and is supposed to have been lost during the war between the United States and Mexico, in which the grantee was killed. The espediente is numbered by Jimeno and noted in his index. It exists complete among the archives. The journal of the departmental assembly shows that the grant was approved October 8, 1845. Pina, the grantee, occupied the land for several years. The error of date in the conveyance from Pina to Vallejo cannot raise a suspicion against the regularity of the grant. It is the opinion of this Court that the original claim is a good and valid claim, and that the same should be, and hereby is confirmed.

Decree of the district court affirmed.

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