The United States, Appellants v. Joseph Hughes

Citation54 U.S. 4,14 L.Ed. 26,13 How. 4
Decision Date01 December 1851
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

The petitioner, Hughes, claims under a grant alleged to have been made by Governor Gayoso to Andr e Martin, on the 10th of October, 1798, of a tract of land of twenty-eight arpents front, with a depth of one hundred arpents, situated on the west bank of the Atchafalaya, about one league above where the trace or road from Opelousas to Point Coup ee crosses the said river. The petitioner alleges further, that said Martin took immediate possession, &c., and that the board of commissioners made a favorable report on the claim in the year 1840, but that Congress never acted on it, and that he holds a title to one thousand arpents thereof, &c. He thereupon prays that his title may be decreed to be good.

The answer of the United States is a general denial of the allegations of the petition.

The evidence of the original title is the petition of Andr e Martin to the governor for the said tract of land, and the governor's decree thereon, signed by him in these words: 'Granted forever, that he may establish it,' and dated 'New Orleans, October 10th, 1798.'

Hughes claimed title under a deed from certain persons who represented themselves to be the heirs of Martin, dated 14th of July, 1848.

The District Court decided in favor of the petitioner, and the United States appealed.

It was argued by Mr. Crittenden, (Attorney-General,) for the United States, and by Messrs. Janin and Taylor for the appellee.

Mr. Justice NELSON delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an appeal from a decree of the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The plaintiff, Hughes, claimed in the court below 3800 arpents of land situate in Louisiana, on the west bank of the Atchafalaya river, about one league above where the road from Opelousas to Point Coup ee crosses said river under a concession from Governor Gayoso to one Andr e Martin, 10th of October, 1798.

The petition was presented to the District Court on the 16th of June, 1846, under the act of 17th June, 1844, reviving the act of 26th May, 1824, praying for a confirmation of the grant in pursuance of the provisions of the act.

Evidence was given of the handwriting of Martin to the application to the governor for the grant of the tract in question and of the handwriting of the governor to the grant.

The plaintiff, also, gave in evidence a...

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