Improvement Company v. Munson

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLIFFORD
Citation81 U.S. 442,14 Wall. 442,20 L.Ed. 867
PartiesIMPROVEMENT COMPANY v. MUNSON
Decision Date01 December 1871

81 U.S. 442
20 L.Ed. 867
14 Wall. 442
IMPROVEMENT COMPANY
v.
MUNSON.
December Term, 1871

IN error to the Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; in which court, Munson and others brought ejectment agaisnt The Schuylkill and Dauphin Improvement Company and two other like companies, all corporations of Pennsylvania, to recover certain valuable lands in the State just named. Judgment having gone for the plaintiffs, the companies brought the case here.

Mr. N. H. Sharpless, for the plaintiff in error; Messrs. G. W. Woodward, F. B. Gowen, and J. E. Gowen, contra.

Mr. Justice CLIFFORD stated the case, and delivered the opinion of the court.

Rules of decision in the courts of the United States, as well as the forms and modes of process, are very largely derived from the laws of the States as construed by the decisions of the State courts, in cases where they apply, except where the Constitution, treaties, or statutes of the United States otherwise require or provide.

Controversy having arisen between the parties in respect to the title to the tract of land described in the record, the

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plaintiffs, on the sixth of February, 1866, brought an action of ejectment against the three corporation defendants and the other defendants therein named, to recover the possession of the tract, alleging that the title to the tract and the right of possession were in them and not in the defendants. Service was duly made and the defendants appeared and pleaded that they were not guilty as alleged in the declaration. Issue was joined upon that plea and the parties went to trial, and the verdict and judgment were for the plaintiffs. Exceptions were duly taken by the defendants, and they sued out a writ of error and removed the cause into this court.

Title to the premises in controversy is deraigned by the plaintiffs from one Benjamin Bonawitz, whose claim to the same is supposed to be established by the following documentary evidences of title, as more fully set forth in the bill of exceptions: (1.) An application to the land office of the State, dated December 14th, 1829, made by him for sixty-six acres of unimproved land in Lower Mahantongo Township, Schuylkill County, bounded as therein described. (2.) Warrant from the State, of the same date, to the applicant for the land described in the application, as fully set forth in the record. (3.) Return of survey made by a deputy surveyor of the county, June 1st, 1829, in pursuance of the warrant, as duly returned to the land office, and accepted the fifth of March of the succeeding year, as follows, to wit: Situate in Lower Mahantongo Township, Schuylkill County, containing sixty-six acres and one hundred and three perches, and allowance of six per cent., returned this third day of March, 1830, in pursuance of a warrant dated the 14th of December, 1829, to Benjamin Bonawitz. Superadded to the return is the following statement, that the lines and corners of the survey were made on the eighteenth of June, 1829, in pursuance of a warrant dated the seventeenth of March of that year, granted to the same person, a return on which was made, but was rejected on account of the survey not answering the description of the warrant. (4.) Sundry mesne conveyances from the warrantee and subsequent

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grantees of the land described in the warrant, to the plaintiffs.

Appended to the statement that those conveyances were introduced is the admission of the counsel for the defendants that Schuylkill County was erected out of Berks County, and that Porter Township, where the premises are situated, as alleged in the declaration, was created out of Lower Mahantongo Township, which is the name of the township where the location was made under the warrant, survey, and return.

Documentary evidences of title were then introduced by the defendants to maintain the issue on their part, as follows: (1.) An application, dated July 1st, 1793, made by Jacob Yeager to the land office for four hundred acres of and adjoining land granted the same day to William Witman, Jr., in the county of Berks. (2.) Warrant from the State, dated July 1st, 1793, to Jacob Yeager for the same land, as more fully set forth in the bill of exceptions. (3.) Return of survey on the warrant by the deputy surveyor of Berks County, on the tenth of July, 1794, of four hundred and forty acres and sixty-four perches of land and allowance, situate in Pinegrove Township, in the county of Berks, returned and accepted August 26th, 1794, as therein certified. (4.) Sundry conveyances were also offered in evidence by the defendants, tending, as they contend, to deduce title to the said corporations, or one of them, to the land located and surveyed under the warrant to Jacob Yeager, which includes the land embraced in the warrant and survey under which the plaintiffs deraign their title.

Rebutting evidence was then introduced by the plaintiffs: (1.) Certified copies of eighteen applications, dated July 1st, 1793, to the land office, for four hundred acres each, the leading one being in the name of James Silliman, and one of the number being the application by Jacob Yeager given in evidence by the defendants, as follows: Jacob Yeager applies for four hundred acres of land adjoining land this day granted to William Witman, Jr., in the county of Berks. (2.) Certified copies of eighteen descriptive warrants, issued

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upon those applications, including the warrant given to Jacob Yeager, introduced in evidence by the other party. (3.) Also certified copies of eighteen surveys, including the Jacob Yeager tract, made by a deputy surveyor of Berks County, upon those warrants, corresponding with the descriptions set forth in the warrants, the certificate of the survery in question being fully set forth in the bill of exceptions. (4.) Return and acceptance of those eighteen surveys, made by Henry Vanderslice, July 16th, 1793, as appears in the list annexed to the return. They also introduced a certified copy of a caveat, entered July 18th, 1793, by John Kunckle and Aaron Bowen against granting the tracts either to the said Jacob Yeager or to any one of the other seventeen applicants under the warrants included in that list. (5.) Certificate from the office of the surveyor-general that no proceedings had ever been had upon the said caveat.

By that certificate it appears that diligent and careful search had been made in that department for proceedings on that caveat, and the proper officer certifies that he does not find that any citation was ever applied for, or that any proceedings or action was ever had by the board of property upon or concerning the same, which remains recorded in the office of the...

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836 practice notes
  • Trujillo v. Rio Arriba Cnty. ex rel. Rio Arriba Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, No. CIV 15-0901 JB/WPL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • December 19, 2016
    ...for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 251 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539. "[T]here is no evidence for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmov......
  • Herrera v. Santa Fe Pub. Sch., No. CIV 11-0422 JB/KBM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 29, 2014
    ...for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 251 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539. "[T]here is no evidence for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmov......
  • Ward v. City of Hobbs, No. CIV 18-1025 JB\KRS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2019
    ...See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 251, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448, 20 L.Ed. 867 (1871) ("Schuylkill"); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539 ). "[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring......
  • Dorato v. Smith, No. CIV 14–0365 JB/GBW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 26, 2015
    ...party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 251, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448, 14 Wall. 442, 20 L.Ed. 867 (1871) ); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539. "[T]here is no evidence for trial unless there is sufficient e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
836 cases
  • Trujillo v. Rio Arriba Cnty. ex rel. Rio Arriba Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, No. CIV 15-0901 JB/WPL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • December 19, 2016
    ...for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 251 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539. "[T]here is no evidence for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmov......
  • Herrera v. Santa Fe Pub. Sch., No. CIV 11-0422 JB/KBM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • August 29, 2014
    ...for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 251 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539. "[T]here is no evidence for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmov......
  • Ward v. City of Hobbs, No. CIV 18-1025 JB\KRS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2019
    ...See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 251, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448, 20 L.Ed. 867 (1871) ("Schuylkill"); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539 ). "[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring......
  • Dorato v. Smith, No. CIV 14–0365 JB/GBW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • May 26, 2015
    ...party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 251, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (quoting Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448, 14 Wall. 442, 20 L.Ed. 867 (1871) ); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co., 11 F.3d at 1539. "[T]here is no evidence for trial unless there is sufficient e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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