Powell v. Harman
THIS case came before the Court from the circuit court of western Tennessee, on a certificate of division from the judges of that court.
In the court below, the lessor of the plaintiff showed a regular title to the lands in question, under a grant from the state of North Carolina; and proved that the defendant was in possession of the land in dispute.
The defendant proved, that he had been in peacedable possession of the land for more than seven years, holding adversely to the plaintiff, under a deed from the sheriff of Montgomery county, dated the 14th of April 1808, founded upon a sale for taxes; but which sale was admitted to be void, because the requisites of the law in regard to the sale of lands for taxes, had not been complied with.
Upon the trial of this cause, it occurred as a question, whether, under the statute of limitations of Tennessee of 1797, a possession of seven years is a protection only when held under a grant or under valid mesne conveyances, or a paper title, which are legally or equitably connected with a grant; or whether a possession under a void deed is such a conveyance, as that a possession under it will be protected by the statute of limitations. The judges being opposed upon this question, it was referred to this Court for their opinion.
Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.