151 U.S. 389 (1894), 301, California Powder Works v. Davis

Docket Nº:No. 301
Citation:151 U.S. 389, 14 S.Ct. 350, 38 L.Ed. 206
Party Name:California Powder Works v. Davis
Case Date:January 22, 1894
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 389

151 U.S. 389 (1894)

14 S.Ct. 350, 38 L.Ed. 206

California Powder Works



No. 301

United States Supreme Court

January 22, 1894

Submitted January 8, 1894




Two parties claiming title to the same land in California, each under a Mexican grant made prior to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and each under a patent from the United States, one of them filed a bill in equity against the other in a district court in San Francisco to quiet

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title. The cause was transferred to the superior court for that city and county, and being heard there, it was decreed that the defendant's title was procured by fraud, and the relief sought for was granted. On appeal to the supreme court of the state, the judgment was affirmed, the court saying that the question of the genuineness of each original grant was a legitimate subject of inquiry when the issue was made by the pleadings, and that on the evidence in the case, the finding against the genuineness of the defendant's grant would not be disturbed on appeal. Held that this ruling presented no federal question for the consideration of this Court.

What is necessary to give this Court jurisdiction on writ of error to the highest court of a state again stated.

This Court does not deem it necessary to examine the question raised under the practice in California allowing separate appeals to lie from a judgment and from an order granting or refusing a new trial.

This was a suit in equity brought by Isaac E. Davis, for whom his administrator, Willis E. Davis, was duly substituted, and Henry Cowell against the California Powder Works, in the District Court of the Fifteenth Judicial District of California in and for the City and County of San Francisco, and subsequently transferred to the superior court of said city and county, to quiet plaintiffs' title to certain lands in Santa Cruz County, California. Both parties claimed title under patent from the United States, plaintiffs, through Pedro Sainsevain, patentee of the rancho Canada del Rincon en el Rio San Lorenzo, defendant, through William Bocle, patentee of the tract called "La Carbonera."

The case having been heard, the superior court made special findings of fact, and found as a conclusion of law that the plaintiffs were entitled to a decree according to the prayer of the bill.

From the findings it appeared that Sainsevain's patent was based on a concession of July 10, 1843, the grant being duly approved June 10, 1846; that the archives of the Mexican government contained a full record of the proceedings; that the claim was confirmed January 17, 1854, by the land commissioners of the United States, duly organized under acts of Congress in that behalf, and their decree made final by the dismissal of an appeal therefrom by the District Court of the United States for the District of California; that a survey

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was duly had, and that the patent issued June 4, 1858. As to Bocle's patent, it appeared that [14 S.Ct. 351] the grant to him bore date February 3, 1838. That it was confirmed January 23, 1855, and that a patent subsequently issued (July 7, 1873), but it was found that the grant had been falsely antedated, and that it was made in the year 1848. That

there is not, and never has been, any paper, document, writing, or entry in any book or record in the Mexican archives pertaining to California relating to said alleged grant or concession to said Bocle, nor is the same noted in a book called the "Jimeno's Index," nor has said purported grant any map or diseno attached to it, nor is any such map or diseno referred to, and at the said date, the 3d of February, 1838, said Bocle was not a naturalized citizen of Mexico, but was a subject of the kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

That the decree of confirmation by the land commissioners of the alleged grant to Bocle was obtained by fraud,

the said fraud consisting of the fact that no such grant was made to said Bocle for said land, and said paper purporting to be such grant was false, simulated, and fabricated, and made after the conquest of California by the United States from the Republic of Mexico, and in or about the year 1848, and was fraudulently imposed upon said board of land commissioners as valid and genuine, and the dismissal of the appeal therefrom to the United States district court was likewise procured by the same fraud, and by the concealment of said facts of the fabrication of said pretended grant from the United States authorities, acting in that behalf, and said land commissioners and said authorities were each and all ignorant of any such fraud and of the fact that said alleged grant was false and simulated, and were misled and deceived by the false allegations of the said Bocle in that behalf.

A decree in plaintiffs' favor having been entered, defendant moved for a new trial, which was denied, and an...

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