Deseret Salt Co v. Tarpey

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFIELD
Citation12 S.Ct. 158,35 L.Ed. 999,142 U.S. 241
Decision Date21 December 1891
PartiesDESERET SALT CO. v. TARPEY

142 U.S. 241
12 S.Ct. 158
35 L.Ed. 999
DESERET SALT CO.
v.
TARPEY.
December 21, 1891.

The facts of the case fully appear in the following statement by Mr. Justice FIELD:

This is an action of ejectment by D. P. Tarpey, the plaintiff below, against the Deseret Salt Company, a corporation created under the laws of Utah, for certain parcels of land in that territory, described in the complaint as the 'north-west quarter of fractional section nine, (9,) in township eleven (11)

Page 242

north, range nine (9) west, Salt Lake base and meridian, and the north-east quarter and the south-west quarter of said section, in part covered with water; in all, three hundred and eighty acres, more or less.' The greater part of these lands lie on the border of Great Salt Lake, a body of water in that territory of nearly 90 miles in extent, and in breadth varying from 20 to 30 miles, which holds in solution a large quantity of common salt. The remaining lands in the section are covered by the lake. In 1875 one Barnes took possession of a portion of these lands, and began the construction of improvements and the erection of machinery to raise the water of the lake and conduct it into ponds or excavations, partly natural and partly made by him, for the purpose of evaporating the water by exposing it to the sun, and thus producing salt. He commenced manufacturing salt in this way in 1876 or 1887, and continued in the business until September, 1883, when he sold and transferred the lands and improvements to the defendant, the Deseret Salt Company, which at once went into possession, and continued in the manufacture. The plaintiff derives his title from the Central Pacific Railroad Company, a corporation of California, to which a grant of land was made by the act of congress of July 1, 1862, embracing the premises in controversy. A greater part of its lands, lying in Utah, was leased by the company to the plaintiff on the 7th of August, 1885, for five years, for the annual rent of $5,000, and in consideration of certain covenants in relation to the property which he undertook to perform. By one of these covenants he stipulated to begin to reduce the premises to possession, and to continue in that effort until he should be in the actual possession of the whole, and for that purpose to commence and prosecute any necessary or proper actions at law or other legal proceedings. This lease covered the premises in controversy. On the 20th of October, 1868, the map of the definite location of the line of the railroad of the company to be constructed under the above grant was filed in the interior department, and accepted, as required by the act of congress.

Page 243

The premises in controversy constitute an alternate section of the land within 10 miles of the road, and its east, west, and north lines were surveyed by the United States in 1871. Its southern line, lying in the lake, had not been run. The selection list of lands for patent by the company, filed in the landoffice at Salt Lake City, which was produced in evidence, included the surveyed lands of the section, and showed that the costs of selecting, surveying, and conveying them had been paid. There was no evidence of any application for any other lands in the section, and no costs were paid or tendered for their selection, survey, and conveyance. The plaintiff also proved the incorporation in June, 1861, of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California; its amalgamation and consolidation in June, 1870, with the Western Pacific Railroad Company, and, in August, 1870, with the California & Oregon Railroad Company, the San Francisco, Oakland & Alameda Railroad Company, and the San Joaquin Valley Railroad Company. In the different articles of amalgamation a conveyance was made by the parties of their several interests to the new amalgamated company, as follows: 'And the said several parties, each for itself, hereby sells, assigns, transfers, grants, bargains, releases, and conveys to the said new and consolidated company and corporation, its successors and assigns, forever, all its property, real, personal, and mixed, of every kind and description.' These instruments were all properly recorded. The court informed the jury of the general nature of the grant to the company by the act of congress of July 1, 1862, and the amendatory act of July 2, 1864, and instructed them, substantially, that the line of the road which the company was to construct under the grant became definitely fixed upon its filing with the department of the interior its map of definite location, designating the general route of the road, and that thereupon the beneficial interest in the land vested in the company by relation back to the date of the act of congress; and that, as it was agreed that the lands in controversy were a portion of an odd alternate section within the 20-mile limit of the grant, they passed to and vested in the company

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at the time of the filing of that map, unless they had been previously sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United States, or a pre-emption, homestead, swamp-land, or other lawful claim had attached to them, or they were known to be mineral lands, or were returned as such; and further, that the lease bearing date the 7th day of August, 1885, from that company to the plaintiff, for five years from the 1st day of January, 1886, gave to him the right of immediate possession of the lands, unless they were within some of the exceptions of the grant. The defendant company denied that the title to the lands in controversy had passed to the Central Pacific Railroad Company, the lessor of the plaintiff, and requested the court to instruct the jury that the plaintiff had not shown any grant or conveyance by deed or other written instrument sufficient to invest him with title to the lands. This instruction was refused, and the defendant excepted. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for the possession of the lands described in the complaint, and for $500 for their use and occupation. Judgment being entered thereon, the case was carried to the supreme court of the territory, and there affirmed. From the judgment of the latter court the case is brought here on a writ of error.

P. L. Williams, for plaintiff in error.

Page 245

W. H. H. Miller and J. B. Cotton, for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice FIELD, after stating the facts as above, delivered the opinion of the court.

The only questions which appear in this case to have elicited much discussion in the court below relate to the title of the Central Pacific Railroad Company to the lands granted by the acts of congress of July 1, 1862, and July 2, 1864, upon the filing of a map of the definite location of its contemplated road with the secretary of the interior, and its acceptance by him. Was it sufficient to enable the lessee of the company to maintain an action for the possession of the demanded premises? The lessee can, of course, as against a stranger, have no greater right of possession than his lessor. On the one hand, it is contended with much earnestness that upon the filing of the map of definite location of the proposed road, and its acceptance by the secretary of the interior, a legal title vested in the grantee to the alternate odd sections, subject to various conditions, upon a breach of which the title may be forfeited, but that until then their possession may be enforced by the grantee. On the other hand, it is insisted with equal energy

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that the grant gives only a promise of a title when the work contemplated is completed, and that until then possession of the lands cannot be claimed. An examination of the granting act, and the ascertainment thereby of the intention of congress, so far...

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56 practice notes
  • Chi., St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co. v. Douglas Cnty.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • January 8, 1908
    ...Strother v. Lucas, 12 Pet. (U. S.) 454, 9 L. Ed. 1137;Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cranch (U. S.) 128, 3 L. Ed. 162;Deseret Salt Co. v. Tarpey, 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.......
  • United States v. Oregon & C.R. Co., 3,340.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • April 24, 1911
    ...a source of quiet and peace to it in its possessions.' This language was substantially repeated in Deseret Salt Company v. Tarpey, 142 U.S. 241, 251, 12 Sup.Ct. 158, 35 L.Ed. 999, where a question was suggested as to the necessity for patents where the title passed by the act conferring the......
  • Northern Pac. Ry. Co. v. Pyle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • December 8, 1910
    ...supreme court of Minnesota does not in express terms overrule the Olson case, it clearly does so in effect. In Deseret Salt Co. v. Tarpey, 142 U.S. 241, 12 S.Ct. 158, 35 L.Ed. 999, and in Toltec Ranch Co. v. Cook, 191 U.S. 532, [19 Idaho 13] 24 S.Ct. 166, 48 L.Ed. 291, it was held that the ......
  • United States v. Standard Oil Company of California, No. E-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 25, 1937
    ...Railroad Company v. Northern Pacific Railroad Company, 139 U.S. 1, 5, 11 S. Ct. 389, 35 L.Ed. 77 and Deseret Salt Company v. Tarpey, 142 U.S. 241, 247, 12 S.Ct. 158, 35 L.Ed. 999 cited by the plaintiff. In both of those cases the writer of this opinion had the honor to write the opinions of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
56 cases
  • Chi., St. P., M. & O. Ry. Co. v. Douglas Cnty.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • January 8, 1908
    ...Strother v. Lucas, 12 Pet. (U. S.) 454, 9 L. Ed. 1137;Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cranch (U. S.) 128, 3 L. Ed. 162;Deseret Salt Co. v. Tarpey, 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.......
  • United States v. Oregon & C.R. Co., 3,340.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • April 24, 1911
    ...a source of quiet and peace to it in its possessions.' This language was substantially repeated in Deseret Salt Company v. Tarpey, 142 U.S. 241, 251, 12 Sup.Ct. 158, 35 L.Ed. 999, where a question was suggested as to the necessity for patents where the title passed by the act conferring the......
  • Northern Pac. Ry. Co. v. Pyle
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • December 8, 1910
    ...supreme court of Minnesota does not in express terms overrule the Olson case, it clearly does so in effect. In Deseret Salt Co. v. Tarpey, 142 U.S. 241, 12 S.Ct. 158, 35 L.Ed. 999, and in Toltec Ranch Co. v. Cook, 191 U.S. 532, [19 Idaho 13] 24 S.Ct. 166, 48 L.Ed. 291, it was held that the ......
  • United States v. Standard Oil Company of California, No. E-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 25, 1937
    ...Railroad Company v. Northern Pacific Railroad Company, 139 U.S. 1, 5, 11 S. Ct. 389, 35 L.Ed. 77 and Deseret Salt Company v. Tarpey, 142 U.S. 241, 247, 12 S.Ct. 158, 35 L.Ed. 999 cited by the plaintiff. In both of those cases the writer of this opinion had the honor to write the opinions of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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