Hamblin v. Western Land Company

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

147 U.S. 531

Hamblin  v.  Western Land Company

Petition by the Western Land Company against Howard M. Hamblin in the district court of O'Brien county, Iowa, to recover possession of certain land. Judgment for plaintiff. Defendant appealed to the supreme court of Iowa, which affirmed the judgment. 44 N. W. Rep. 807. Defendant brings error. Affirmed.

Statement by Mr. Justice BREWER:

This case is submitted on a motion to dismiss or affirm. The facts are these: Defendant in error, the Western Land Company, on August 24, 1887, filed its petition in the district court of O'Brien county, Iowa, to recover from the defendant, Hamblin, now plaintiff in error, the possession of the N. E. 1/4 of section 1, township 95 N., range 41 W., fifth P. M. Defendant appeared and answered. A trial was had, and on April 23, 1888, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the Western Land Company, for the possession of the property. From this judgment Hamblin appealed to the supreme court of the state, which on February 10, 1890, affirmed the judgment of the district court. Thereupon Hamblin sued out a writ of error from this court.

The land company's record title consisted of a patent from the United States to the state of Iowa, dated June 17, 1873, conveying the land to the state for the use and benefit of the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad Company; a decree of the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of Iowa, of May 18, 1882, (Chicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Sioux City & St. P. R. Co., 10 Fed. Rep. 435,) modified on May 21, 1886, in pursuance of a mandate from this court, (Sioux City & St. P. R. Co. v. Chicago, M. & St. P. Ry. Co., 117 U.S. 406, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 790,) by which the title of this land was adjudged held by the state in trust for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company; a patent from the state of Iowa to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, of date September 27, 1886; and a warranty deed from the latter company to the Western Land Company, of date May 26, 1886.

Hamblin's claim to the land rests upon the fact that in February, 1884, nearly 11 years after the issue of the patent, he took possession and made application to enter it under the homestead laws of the United States. This application apparently failed, and he made a second application in September, 1885. The built a house upon the land, and made other improvements, and has resided on it since March, 1884. It does not appear that the land department ever recognized any right in him to enter the land; so that his only claim is based upon the fact of occupation, made, as he says, with a view to entering it as a homestead.

Wm. L. Joy, for plaintiff in error.

John S. Monk, for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).