CALLANAN V. HURLEY, 93 U. S. 387 (1876)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Callanan v. Hurley, 93 U.S. 387 (1876)

Callanan v. Hurley

93 U.S. 387


1. A treasurer's deed for lands sold for delinquent taxes in the State of Iowa, if substantially regular in form, is, under the statutes of that state, at least prima facie evidence that a sale was made, and if there was a bona fide sale, in substance or in fact, the deed is conclusive evidence that it was made at the proper time and in the proper manner.

2. In a case where a tax deed, regular in form, recited that the land was sold Jan. 4, and where the treasurer certified that the sales of land for delinquent taxes in the county began on that day and were continued from day to day until Jan. 18, and that he entered all the sales as made on the 4th, it was held that a sale of land at any time during the period from the 4th to the 18th was valid, and that recording such sale as made on the first day, though actually made later, did not impair the title.

The complainant asserts title to the lands in controversy, by virtue of his having entered them pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress, and the defendant Callanan claims to be

Page 93 U. S. 388

the owner, by force of tax deeds of the Treasurer of the County of Cass, founded on alleged sales made in January, 1864, for delinquent taxes. These deeds, having been placed upon record, are, as the plaintiff avers, a cloud upon his title and the object of his bill is to procure their cancellation. He charges that they are void for several reasons: first, that no taxes were levied upon the lands or any of them for the years for which they were pretended to be sold; second, that the taxes, if any there were, never became delinquent; third, that there was no person authorized to receive payment of the taxes; fourth, that there was no warrant or authority for the sale of the lands for the nonpayment of delinquent taxes; and, fifth, that no sale of the land for the nonpayment of taxes, real or pretended, ever took place, but that certificates thereof were issued, reciting, contrary to the truth, the sale of the lands conformably to the provisions of the statutes of the state, under which certificates the deeds and conveyances were respectively made. A subsequent amendment of the bill charges, sixthly, that at the time of the pretended assessments and levies, the lands were not subject to taxation, and seventhly that two persons, Reynolds and Mead (through whom the defendant claims), at and before the issuing of the certificates of sale, unlawfully combined and confederated with the defendant for the purpose of preventing competition at the sale of lands for taxes then to be held in the county.

The court below, upon a final hearing, granted the prayer of the complainant's bill and entered a decree accordingly, whereupon the defendant appealed to this Court.

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