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United States Supreme Court

75 U.S. 513

Carpenter  v.  Dexter

ERROR to the Circuit Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The action was ejectment to recover the possession of certain real property, situated in the county of Bureau, in the State of Illinois. Both parties claimed title from the same source,-a patent of the United States, issued to William T. Davenport, in May, 1818. The points in dispute arose upon the deraignment of title from the patentee.

The plaintiff produced in evidence the patent; a deed from the patentee to one Hawley, dated in September, 1818; a deed from Hawley to Thaddeus Munson, dated in December, 1818; and a deed from Munson to William James, dated in February, 1819; all of which embraced the demanded premises. The deeds were inscribed upon the record, in the proper register's office, in May, 1819. Those from Davenport to Hawley, and from Hawley to Munson, contained this indorsement (unsigned by the recorder) of the fact:


EDWARDSVILLE, May 17th, 1819.

'I certify the within deeds, together with the certificates of acknowledgment, are this day recorded and examined in my office, in Book V, p. 353 and 354.' [1]

William James died in 1832, leaving several heirs-at-law. The premises in controversy were allotted in severalty to John B. James, by a decree of one of the Circuit Courts of the State, in a suit for partition between him and his coheirs. John B. James died in 1844, leaving a will, by which he devised the premises to the plaintiff. The record of partition, and the record of the will and of its probate were produced in evidence.

The defendants, also relying upon the patent of the United States to Davenport, introduced in evidence a conveyance of the premises, from the patentee, to one De Witt, bearing date in August, 1818, and a conveyance from the heirs of De Witt to himself, bearing date in July, 1861. The first of these deeds was recorded in December, 1861, and the other was recorded in February, 1862.

Beginning with the plaintiff's case. The deed from Davenport to Hawley concluded with the following attestation clause:

'In witness of all the foregoing, I have hereunto fixed my hand and seal, at Albany, in the county of Albany, and State of New York, this first day of September, one thousand eight hundred and eighteen.


'Signed, sealed, and delivered in the presence of



The certificate of acknowledgment following immediately after the above clause, was thus:



'Be it remembered, that on the first day of September, 1818, the above-named William T. Davenport, who has signed, sealed, and delivered the above instrument of writing, personally appeared before me, the undersigned justice of the peace, and acknowledged, in due form of law, the same to be his free act and deed, for the purposes therein set forth, and also gave his consent, that the same should be recorded wherever it might be deemed necessary. In witness of all of which, the said justice has hereunto affixed his hand and seal, and undersigned the same.


^1  See infra, p. 520.

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).