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Opinion of the Court.

title, and estate of the former owner of the land and also of the State and county, and is evidence in all courts that the property conveyed was subject to the taxes for the years stated ; that they were not paid, and that redemption was not made before the sale; that the property had been properly listed and assessed and the taxes properly levied ; that the property was advertised for sale in the manner and for the length of time required, and was sold as stated in the deed, and that the grantee named was the purchaser or assignee of the purchaser of the property; and, indeed, that all the prerequisites of the law had been complied with by the officers whose duty it was to have taken any part in the transaction relating to or affecting the title conveyed. No person is permitted to question the title thus acquired without showing that he had title to the property at the time of the sale, or has since obtained the title from the United States, and that the property was not subject to taxation for the years named; or that the taxes had been paid before the sale, or that the property had never been assessed for taxation, or had been redeemed from the sale, or that there had been fraud committed by the officer in making the sale, or by the purchaser to defeat it.

The plaintiff, therefore, had a complete legal title to the premises in controversy, unless some one of the defects mentioned, affecting the validity of the assessment and sale of the property, existed at the time, or fraud had been committed by the officer or purchaser in the sale. Having an apparent legal title by the deeds, it was, of course, important to him and, indeed, necessary for the peaceable possession of the property and its improvement, to have any adverse claims, notwithstanding such deeds, considered and settled.

We think, therefore, that he was entitled, upon the state ment made in his amended bill, the only one before us, to call upon the defendant to produce and disclose whatever estate she had in the premises in question, to the end that its validity may be determined ; and if adjudged invalid, that the title of the plaintiff may be quieted. It follows that the decree of the court below must be reversed and the cause remanded, with leave to the defendant to answer the bill; and It is so ordered. Syllabus.


COMPANY and Another v. HERRING.







SAME v. JEWELL & Others.


Argued December 6th and 7th, 1883.- Decided January 7th, 1884.

Land Grants-Railroads-Statutes. 1. It has been the invariable policy of Congress to measure the amount of

public lands granted to a land-grant railroad by the length of the road as actually constructed, and not by its length as originally located ; and there is nothing in the statutes of Congress or of the State of Iowa applicable to the grant of public lands in favor of the plaintiffs in error which indicates a different purpose, or which warrants the claim that the number of sections which they are entitled to receive is to be esti

mated by the standard of the original location of the road. 2. When Congress grants to a State for a railroad company every alternate

section of land designated by odd numbers within a given distance from the line of the road, and directs the Secretary of the Interior, when a map shall be filed in that department, showing the location of the road, to reserve the sections, and further provides that in case it is found that the United States had disposed of any of these odd sections, or rights attached to them, by pre-emption or otherwise, the grantee may select other alternate odd sections within another and greater distance from that line, the filing of the map cuts off the right of entry of the odd sections within the first named distance ; but it confers no rights to specified tracts within the secondary or indemnity tract, until the

Opinion of the Court.

grantee's right of selection has been exercised ; and that right cannot be

exercised until the entire road has been completed. 3. The act of June 2d, 1864, S4, 13 Stat. 96, 97, construed.

These are ten writs of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa to review judgments in that court of affirmance in favor of the parties named. The railroad company was plaintiff in the inferior State court, and on appeal in the Supreme Court of the State, and in the writs of error in this court.

The suit in the court of original jurisdiction was in the nature of a bill in chancery to quiet title, and to compel a conveyance of the legal title held by defendants under patents from the United States to plaintiff, who asserted title to it in equity.

The cases all depend on the same pleadings and evidence, and were consolidated in the inferior court, and have been considered and argued together in the Supreme Court of Iowa, and in this court, except No. 1139, the Jewell case, which is submitted in this court on the same argument.

Mr. E. S. Bailey and Mr. W. L. Joy for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. John S. Monk for defendants in error.
MR. JUSTICE Miller delivered the opinion of the court.

The defendants are in possession of the land in controversy in each case under a purchase from the United States with a patent from the government, and the plaintiff, the railroad company, asserts a superior title, either legal or equitable, under certain land grants by act of Congress to aid in building railroads. The first of these acts is that of May 15th, 1856, 11 Stat. 9, by which Congress granted lands lying within the State of Iowa to that State to aid in building four principal railroads from the Mississippi to the Missouri River. One of these was for a road “from Lyons City, on the Mississippi River, to a point of intersection with the main line of the Iowa Central Air Line Railroad near Maquaketa, thence on said main line, running as near as practicable to the 42d parallel across the said State to the Missouri River.” For each of Opinion of the Court.

these roads there was given to the State of Iowa, “as soon as the road is completed, every alternate section of land designated by odd numbers for six sections in width on each side of each of said roads." And it was provided that if, when the line of a road was definitely located, it was found that the United States had disposed of any of these odd sections, or rights had attached to them by pre-emption or otherwise, an agent appointed by the State might, in lieu of these, select other alternate sections anywhere within fifteen miles of the line of the road.

The State of Iowa, by an act of the general assembly approved July 14th, 1856, accepted the trust reposed in it by the above act of Congress, and granted and conferred upon four corporations all these lands, under the terms and restrictions of the act of Congress. These corporations were to construct the roads across the State according to that act, and the corporation on whom was conferred the grant for a road from Lyons to the Missouri River was the Iowa Central Air Line Railroad Company.

The only result of this particular grant of the State was that the company received the 120 sections of land which this court held, in the case of the Railroad Land Company v. Courtright, 21 Wall. 310, could be secured before any road was built; but having built no road up to March 17th, 1860, the State, by an act of its legislature of that date, declared the grant forfeited and resumed control of it.

On the 26th of that month, by another act of assembly, the State granted the same lands to the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad Company—the plaintiff in error—upon conditions similar in all material respects to the grant to the Air Line Company.

The Air Line Company had before this time surveyed and located the line of the road from Lyons to the Missouri River through the town of Cedar Rapids, and the map of this survey and location had been accepted by the State of Iowa and the Land Office of the United States as the true line and as governing the location of the land grant for that road. A road had also been built by another company, the Chicago, Iowa Opinion of the Court.

and Nebraska, which had no land grant, from a point on the Mississippi River within three miles of Lyons City to Cedar Rapids. Hence the grant of the State to the Cedar Rapids Company required them to build speedily from Cedar Rapids west along the line thus adopted to the Missouri River.

Under this arrangement the Cedar Rapids Company pushed its road on the designated line, so that it had completed about a hundred miles west of the town of that name by the year 1864, when several matters seemed to call for legislation by Congress in regard to it and to the other companies building roads across the State under the grants of the act of 1856.

As regards the Cedar Rapids Company, it had become clearly unnecessary to build another road from the Mississippi at Lyons to Cedar Rapids, along the line occupied by the Iowa and Nebraska road.

It had also become apparent that a shorter and better line to the Missouri River could be had from the point to which the road had now been constructed, and it was thought that a road from some point on its existing line to some point south of it, on the line of the Mississippi and Missouri River Railroadone of the four land-grant roads—would be desirable. It had also been ascertained that the necessary quantity of lands in lieu of the odd sections disposed of within six miles could not be satisfied by alternate sections within the fifteen-mile limit.

In this condition of the matter Congress passed the statute on which the result of this litigation depends, which was approved June 2, 1864, 13 Stat. 95.

This statute, after granting certain relief to the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company, and to the Burlington and Missouri Railroad Company, two other of the land-grant roads in Iowa, proceeds in its fourth section to grant relief to the present plaintiff company.

The fourth section of that act—the one which we are required to construereads as follows:

“Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad Company, a corporation established under the laws of the State of Iowa, and to which the said State

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