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JACOBS v. PRICHARD

decided: February 19, 1912.

JACOBS
v.
PRICHARD, TRUSTEE.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

Author: Mckenna

[ 223 U.S. Page 207]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

Error to the Supreme Court of Washington to review a decree of that court which affirmed a decree of the Superior Court of the County of Pierce adjudging defendant in error, who was plaintiff in the trial court, to be the owner of the east half and the east half of the east half of the west half of the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 35, township 21 N., R. 3 east of the Willamette Meridian, Pierce County, Washington, formerly in King County, Washington.

The land lies in the Puyallup Indian Reservation and was allotted or patented by the United States on January 30, 1886, to Charley Jacobs, the head of a family consisting of himself, Julia, Annie, Frank and Oscar, all Puyallup Indians, the allotment or patent being subject to the stipulations and conditions contained in Art. 6 of the treaty of the United States with the Omaha Indians. Plaintiffs in error were not named in the patent, they not then being born.

[ 223 U.S. Page 208]

     Defendant in error claims title under a deed dated February 27, 1901, from C. A. Snowden, trustee and commissioner of Puyallup lands, appointed by the United States Government under an act of Congress dated March 3, 1893 (27 Stat. 612, c. 209), and an amendatory act passed June 7, 1897 (30 Stat. 62, c. 3).

Plaintiffs in error claim title to an undivided one-third part of the lands as heirs of Charley and Julia Jacobs, deceased, and contend that the deed from Snowden is void as to them or as to the interest they would take as such heirs for the reason that the Snowden sale and deed were after the death of Charley and Julia Jacobs.

Article 6 of the treaty of the United States with the Omaha Indians (March 16, 1854, 10 Stat. 1043), to the conditions of which the patent to Charley Jacobs was made subject, empowered the President to cause allotments to be made from reservation lands to such Indians as were willing to avail themselves of the privilege and who would locate on the same as permanent homes. The patent was to be issued upon the further condition that the assigned land should not "be aliened or leased for a longer term than two years" and "should be exempt from levy, sale or forfeiture." Upon the formation of a State these restrictions could be removed by the legislature, but it was provided that they could not be removed without the consent of Congress. It was also provided that lands not necessary for assignment might be sold for the benefit of the Indians under such rules and regulations as might thereafter be prescribed by Congress or the President of the United States.

Under the act of March 3, 1893, the President was empowered to appoint a commission of three persons to select and appraise such portion of the allotted lands not required for homes of the Indian allottees. It was provided that if the Secretary of the Interior approved the selections and the appraisement the lands selected should

[ 223 U.S. Page 209]

     be sold for the benefit of the allottees, after due notice, at public auction, at no less than the appraised value.

It was the duty of the commission to superintend the sale of the lands, ascertain the true owners thereof, and have guardians appointed for minor heirs of deceased allottees and make deeds of the lands to the purchasers thereof, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. The deeds, it was provided, should operate as a complete conveyance of the lands upon a full payment of the purchase money. The disposition of the money was provided for, and it was provided further that no part of the lands should be offered for sale until the Indian or Indians entitled to the same should sign a written agreement consenting to the sale thereof, and appointing the commissioners, or a majority of them, trustees to sell the land and make deeds to the purchasers. The approval of the Secretary was made necessary to the validity of the deeds, and he was directed to make all necessary regulations to carry out the provisions of the act.

On November 6, 1893, the Secretary instructed the commissioners, in accordance with the terms of the act as to the appraisement of the lands, and to ascertain who were allottees or the heirs of allottees or heads of families under the laws of Washington, to have guardians appointed for the minor heirs of deceased allottees and to obtain the consent of the heirs of twenty-one years and of such guardians. The commissioners were directed ...


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