Ford v. Delta Pine Land Company
This was a bill in equity filed in the circuit court of the United States for the Southern district of Mississippi, on February 27, 1889, by the appellants, as complainants, to quiet their title to certain lands therein described. Upon final hearing, on August 15, 1890, a decree was entered dismissing the bill (43 Fed. 181), from which decree the complainants have appealed to this court.
Complainants' chain of title is as follows: (1) A patent on March 13, 1853, from the United States to the state of Mississippi, under the act of September 4, 1841 (5 Stat. 453), and September 28, 1850 (9 Stat. 519); (2) conveyance from the state or Mississippi made during the years 1853 to 1856, inclusive, to E. F. Potts and others, these grantees having entered the lands with scrip issued by the secretary of state, under the acts of March 15 and March 16, 1852, providing for the construction of levees upon the Mississippi river (Laws Miss. 1852, pp. 33, 41); (3) deeds from the grantees of the state and their privies in interest, in the years 1871 and 1872, to the Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Company, made under the authority of an act of the legislature of the state approved July 21, 1870, authorizing the conveyance of lands to such company in payment of subscription to its capital stock (Laws Miss. 1870, c. 220, p. 566); (4) deeds from the state of Mississippi to the railroad company, of date March 18, 1873, executed under authority of an act of the legislature approved March 16, 1872 (Laws Miss. 1872, c. 75, p. 313), providing that all lands which had been sold to the railroad company, and which had become forfeited to the state for nonpayment of taxes, might be bought by that company from the state at two cents per acre, upon satisfactory proof that not less than 25 miles of the company's road had been built, and also that in all cases in which the lands had been forfeited to or purchased by the levee boards in any of the levee districts in the state, and were held and claimed by them for the nonpayment of levee taxes, the said boards were required to arrange for the payment of such taxes, by receiving therefor the bonds of the said districts; (5) deeds from the United States marshals for the Northern and Southern districts of Mississippi to the complainants, executed August 1, 1887, and February 5, 1889, under sales made pursuant to a judgment and decree rendered on July 6, 1886, by the circuit court of the United States for the Northern district of Mississippi in the case of Timpson v. Selma, M. & M. R. Co.
The title of the defendants was based upon various statutes of the state of Mississippi, providing for repairing and perfecting the levees of the Mississippi river in certain counties, and making assessments upon all the lands within certain boundaries for the cost of such improvements, and originated in tax sales made for the nonpayment of such assessments.
Casey Young, for appellants.
Frank Johnston, for appellees.
Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.