County of Calhoun Et Al v. American Emigrant Company

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLIFFORD
Citation93 U.S. 124,23 L.Ed. 826
PartiesCOUNTY OF CALHOUN ET AL. v. AMERICAN EMIGRANT COMPANY
Decision Date01 October 1876

93 U.S. 124
23 L.Ed. 826
COUNTY OF CALHOUN ET AL.
v.
AMERICAN EMIGRANT COMPANY.
October Term, 1876

APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Iowa.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

Submitted on the record by Mr. James Grant for the appellants, and on printed arguments by Mr. C. C. Nourse for the appellee.

MR. JUSTICE CLIFFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

Power is vested in the Circuit Court to enjoin the collection of a municipal tax, where it appears that the assessors acted without authority of law, and in violation of a special contract between the municipality imposing the tax and the tax-payer.

Swamp-lands were owned by the county of Calhoun, and the record shows that the proper authorities of the county contracted to sell the same to the American Emigrant Company, the county stipulating that they would not assess any taxes against the lands until after the time the lands should be conveyed to the company.

Pursuant to that contract, the supervisors of the county made a deed of the lands to the Emigrant Company; but they recited in the instrument that the deed was deposited with the clerk of

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their board as an escrow, and that it was not to be delivered to the grantees until they should execute a mortgage back to the county, conditioned to secure the full performance of the contract. Such a mortgage was never executed; but the evidence shows that the deed, by some means or agency not explained, was filed for record, and that it was duly recorded. Controversy ensued, and the county instituted a suit to set aside the contract and the deed. Pending the suit, the parties made a settlement; and, as a part of the terms of the same, the county, in consideration of certain moneys paid by the other party, consented to a decree, declaring the title to the swamp-lands, and swamp-land interests of the county, to be in the Emigrant Company.

Sufficient also appears to show, that the Emigrant Company complied with all the terms of the settlement, and that the Circuit Court, where the suit was pending, entered a decree, by consent of the parties, dismissing the bill of complaint, and decreed that the decree of dismissal should for ever operate as a bar and estoppel upon the county to set up any right or title to the lands in controversy. Prior to that decree, which bears date the 20th of May, 1872, the lands described in the contract had not been assessed for the two preceding years, as is averred in the bill of complaint and admitted in the answer.

Public property is not subject to taxation by the law of the State, and consistency forbade the county to assess the lands pending the controversy, as the deed had never been sanctioned or approved by the county or their proper officers. Instead of that, it appears that the authorities of the county uniformly maintained that the possession of the deed for registry was surreptitious and wrongful, and that the title to the lands was still in the county. They accordingly withheld the lands from taxation during those years; and the complainants charge that the treasurer, subsequent to the settlement and decree, caused the lands described in the two schedules set forth in the record to be listed and entered in the tax duplicates, and pretended to extend a computation of taxes, interest, penalties, and costs thereon, according to the rates of levy of the two preceding years, amounting to the sum set forth in the record, whereas the complainants aver that the title was decreed to them at the

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time of the settlement, with the full understanding that no taxes was payable on the lands for those two years, and that the acts of the treasurer in listing the lands and assessing the taxes were without authority of law, and they pray that the pretended assessment and levy of the taxes may be decreed to be illegal, null, and void, and that the county treasurer and his agents and successors may be for ever enjoined from selling the lands, or in any manner enforcing the collection of said pretended taxes.

Process was duly issued and served, and the proper authorities of the county appeared and filed an answer, setting up the following defences: 1. That the complainants are the legal owners of the lands described in the contract, by virtue of the deed from the county. 2. That the county had no right to exempt the lands from taxes. 3. That the agreement was unauthorized and in violation of the laws of the State, and is null and void.

Certain admissions of the respondents are also contained in...

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39 practice notes
  • Chi., St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co. v. Douglas Cnty.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 8 Enero 1908
    ...142 U. S. 241, 12 Sup. Ct. 158, 35 L. Ed. 999;Schulenberg v. Harriman, 21 Wall. (U. S.) 44, 22 L. Ed. 551;Calhoun County v. Am. Em. Co., 93 U. S. 124, 23 L. Ed. 826;Rogers Locomotive Works v. Am. Em. Co., 164 U. S. 559, 17 Sup. Ct. 188, 41 L. Ed. 552;Hackett v. Carter, 38 Wis. 394. Among ot......
  • Zweifach v. SCRANTON LACE COMPANY, Civ. A. No. 5822.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • 18 Octubre 1957
    ...depends on the intention of the parties." 19 Am.Jur. Escrows, § 4, p. 421; County of Calhoun v. American Emigrant Company, 1876, 93 U.S. 124, at page 127, 23 L.Ed. 826. The depositary is generally considered to be an agent for both parties and is bound by the terms of the agreement. Pa......
  • Stewart v. Wright, 2,138
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 21 Junio 1906
    ...Quigley, 21 How. 202, 16 L.Ed. 73; Merchants' Bank v. State Bank, 10 Wall. 604, 645, 19 L.Ed. 1008; County of Calhoun v. Emigrant Company, 93 U.S. 124, 130; 23 L.Ed. 826; National Bank v. Graham, 100 U.S. 699,702, 25 L.Ed. 750; Salt Lake City v. Hollister, 118 U.S. 256, 6 Sup.Ct. 1055, 30 L......
  • Eubank v. City of Edina
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 30 Abril 1886
    ...64 Ill. 447; Railroad v. Joliet, 79 Ill. 39; Logan Co. v. Lincoln, 81 Ill. 156; Curnen v. New York, 79 N. Y. 511; Calhoun v. Emigrant Co., 93 U. S. 124, 130; Bigelow on Estoppel, 462. (6) The city of Edina, by appearing and answering in its corporate name and making the defence it did, admi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • Chi., St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co. v. Douglas Cnty.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • 8 Enero 1908
    ...142 U. S. 241, 12 Sup. Ct. 158, 35 L. Ed. 999;Schulenberg v. Harriman, 21 Wall. (U. S.) 44, 22 L. Ed. 551;Calhoun County v. Am. Em. Co., 93 U. S. 124, 23 L. Ed. 826;Rogers Locomotive Works v. Am. Em. Co., 164 U. S. 559, 17 Sup. Ct. 188, 41 L. Ed. 552;Hackett v. Carter, 38 Wis. 394. Among ot......
  • Stewart v. Wright, 2,138
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 21 Junio 1906
    ...Quigley, 21 How. 202, 16 L.Ed. 73; Merchants' Bank v. State Bank, 10 Wall. 604, 645, 19 L.Ed. 1008; County of Calhoun v. Emigrant Company, 93 U.S. 124, 130; 23 L.Ed. 826; National Bank v. Graham, 100 U.S. 699,702, 25 L.Ed. 750; Salt Lake City v. Hollister, 118 U.S. 256, 6 Sup.Ct. 1055, 30 L......
  • Zweifach v. SCRANTON LACE COMPANY, Civ. A. No. 5822.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • 18 Octubre 1957
    ...depends on the intention of the parties." 19 Am.Jur. Escrows, § 4, p. 421; County of Calhoun v. American Emigrant Company, 1876, 93 U.S. 124, at page 127, 23 L.Ed. 826. The depositary is generally considered to be an agent for both parties and is bound by the terms of the agreement. Paul v.......
  • Eubank v. City of Edina
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 30 Abril 1886
    ...64 Ill. 447; Railroad v. Joliet, 79 Ill. 39; Logan Co. v. Lincoln, 81 Ill. 156; Curnen v. New York, 79 N. Y. 511; Calhoun v. Emigrant Co., 93 U. S. 124, 130; Bigelow on Estoppel, 462. (6) The city of Edina, by appearing and answering in its corporate name and making the defence it did, admi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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