235 F.2d 30 (10th Cir. 1956), 5284, Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations v. Seay

Docket Nº:5284.
Citation:235 F.2d 30
Party Name:The CHOCTAW AND CHICKASAW NATIONS, Appellants, v. Wilmer D. SEAY; J. B. Stoddard; Philip H. Broun; Bridwell Oil Company, a co-partnership composed of J. S. Bridwell, Margaret Browdle and Frank Browdle; Long, Yingling and Lauck, a co-partnership composed of M. J. Long, E. V. Yingling and D. R. Lauck; and Continental Oil Company, a corporation, Appel
Case Date:June 08, 1956
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 
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235 F.2d 30 (10th Cir. 1956)

The CHOCTAW AND CHICKASAW NATIONS, Appellants,

v.

Wilmer D. SEAY; J. B. Stoddard; Philip H. Broun; Bridwell Oil Company, a co-partnership composed of J. S. Bridwell, Margaret Browdle and Frank Browdle; Long, Yingling and Lauck, a co-partnership composed of M. J. Long, E. V. Yingling and D. R. Lauck; and Continental Oil Company, a corporation, Appellees.

No. 5284.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

June 8, 1956

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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W. F. Semple, Tulsa, Okl. (Lynn Adams, Oklahoma City, Okl., and Lee Welch, Antlers, Okl., on the brief), for appellants.

Richard R. Linn, Oklahoma City, Okl. (Richard D. Stone, Waurika, Okl., S. J. Montgomery, Oklahoma City, Okl., John E. Kilgore, Dallas, Tex., for Kilgore & Kilgore, W. M. Cleaves for Cleaves & Cleaves, Houston, Tex., Dwight L. Simmons, Dallas, Tex., for Thompson, Knight, Wright & Simmons, R. O. Wilson, Harry Dippel, Fort Worth, Tex., on the brief), for appellees.

Before BRATTON, Chief Judge, PHILLIPS, Circuit Judge, and ROGERS, District Judge.

PHILLIPS, Circuit Judge.

The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations brought this action to quiet the title to certain lands extending from the medial or center line of Red River and the southern or right-hand bank of such river and lying opposite Lot 1 of Section 10 and Lots 3, 4 and 5 of Section 3, all in Township 7 South, Range 5 West, Jefferson County, Oklahoma.

The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations claim title to all of the lands betwen the medial line and the south or right bank of Red River, extending from the 98th meridian east to the boundary line between Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Seay, a defendant below, claims title in fee to the lands above described and to a royalty interest under oil and gas leases given by him as lessor of such lands. The other defendants below claim through Seay as lessees or as owners of overriding royalty interests.

On October 18, 1820, a treaty, 7 Stat. 210, was entered into between the United States and the Choctaw Nation, by which the Nation ceded to the United States certain lands in the State of Mississippi in exchange for 'a tract of country west of the Mississippi River, situate between the Arkansas and Red River'. The treaty specifically described the tract of land ceded to the Choctaw Nation as follows:

'* * * Beginning on the Arkansas River, where the lower boundary line of the Cherokees strikes

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the same; thence up the Arkansas to the Canadian Fork, and up the same to its source; thence due South to the Red River; thence down Red River, three miles below the mouth of Little River, which empties itself into Red River on the north side; thence a direct line to the beginning.'

Thereafter, it was discovered that a part of the tract last above described, lying east of what is now the boundary line between the States of Oklahoma and Arkansas, was occupied by white settlers. Thereupon, by the treaty of January 20, 1825, 7 Stat. 234, the Choctaw Nation receded to the United States that part of such tract which lies east of such boundary line.

The Act of Congress of May 28, 1830, 4 Stat. 411, authorized the President of the United States to offer lands west of the Mississippi River in exchange for other lands belonging to Indians who chose to make the exchange. Under the authority of this Act the treaty of September 27, 1830, 7 Stat. 333, was entered into, ceding to the Choctaw Nation the same lands as had been ceded by the treaty of October 18, 1820, excepting, however, the part of said tract lying east of the eastern boundary line of the State of Oklahoma. Such land was described in the treaty as follows:

'* * * beginning near Fort Smith where the Arkansas boundary crosses the Arkansas River, running thence to the source of the Canadian fork; if in the limits of the United States, or to those limits; thence due south to Red River, and down Red River to the west boundary of the Territory of Arkansas; thence north along that line to the beginning.'

To settle misunderstandings which had arisen between the Choctaw and the Chickasaw Nations, a treaty was entered into between the two nations on January 17, 1837, 11 Stat. 573, by which a district for the Chickasaw Nation was created and described as follows:

'* * * beginning on the north bank of Red River, at the mouth of Island bayou, about eight or ten miles below the mouth of False Wachitta, thence running north along the main channel of said bayou to its source; thence along the dividing ridge between the Wachitta and Low Blue rivers, to the road leading from Fort Gibson to Fort Wachitta; thence along said road, to the line dividing Mushallatubbee and Pushmatahaw districts; thence, eastwardly, along said district line, to the source of Brushy Creek; thence, down said creek, to where it flows into the Canadian River, ten or twelve miles above the mouth of the south fork of the Canadian; thence, west, along the main Canadian River, to its source, if in the limits of the United States, or to those limits; and thence, due south to Red River, and down Red River to the beginning.'

Pursuant to the Act of May 28, 1830, supra, a patent was issued on March 23, 1842, conveying to the Choctaw Nation the tract described in the treaty of 1830.

Disagreements continued to exist between the Government of the United States and the Choctaw Indian Nation, and on June 22, 1855, 11 Stat. 611, a new treaty, by its terms superseding all former treaties between the United States and the Choctaws and also superseding all treaty stipulations between the United States and the Chickasaws and between the Choctaws and the Chickasaws inconsistent with it, was made, in which the territorial limits of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian Nations were described as follows:

'* * * Beginning at a point on the Arkansas River, one hundred paces east of old Fort Smith, where the western boundary line of the State of Arkansas crosses the said river, and running thence due south to Red River; thence up Red River to the point where the meridian of one hundred degrees west longitude

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crosses the same; thence north along said meridian to the main Canadian River; thence down said river to its junction with the Arkansas River; thence down said river to the place of beginning.'

Out of this a district for the Chickasaws was established, described as follows:

'* * * beginning on the north bank of Red River, at the mouth of Island Bayou, where it empties into Red River, about twenty-six miles on a straight line, below the mouth of False Wachitta; thence running a northwesterly course along the main channel of said bayou, to the junction of the three prongs of said bayou, nearest the dividing ridge between Wachitta and Low Blue Rivers, as laid down on Capt. R. L. Hunter's map; thence northerly along the eastern prong of Island Bayou to its source; thence due north to the Canadian River; thence west along the main Canadian to the ninety-eighth eighth degree of west longitude; thence south to Red River; and thence down Red River to the beginning.'

Thus, it will be observed that by a series of treaties beginning in 1820, the land ceded to the Choctaw was uniformly described as extending 'to Red River' and bounded on the south by a line running 'down Red River' or 'up Red River'.

In 1898, Congress enacted the so-called Curtis Act, 30 Stat. 495. That act provided for the allotment of the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes without the consent of the tribes. Thereafter, the Five Civilized Tribes entered into treaties with the United States for the allotment of their lands. The Atoka Agreement, a treaty entered into by the Choctaws and Chickasaws with the United States, and which became a part of the Curtis Act, provided for the allotment of the land of the Choctaws and Chickasaws. However, a more comprehensive scheme for the allotment of such lands and the sale of the residue, or unallotted lands, was provided for in the Act of July 1, 1902, 32 Stat. 641, which was thereafter ratified by the Choctaws and Chickasaws as a supplemental treaty. Sections 12 and 13 of the last-mentioned act...

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