Imatges de pàgina

limitation as to his right of property. If the reservation had been made in favor of a white man, no doubt would have existed that he had acquired a complete title, and the circumstance that it was in favor of an Indian ought not, it would seem, to affect the question.

“If it had been shown that the consideration expressed in the deed was actually and bona fide paid by Brady, and the other facts mentioned in the memorial had been established, the committee are of opinion that the case of the claimant would be recommended by strong equitable considerations; but as he has failed to establish these facts, they recommend that the prayer of his petition be not granted, reserving to him the right to renew it, and establish hereafter the facts on which it is based.

The committee report a bill for his relief,

2d Session.

No. 69.


[To accompany bill H. R. No. 723.]

FEBRUARY 2, 1855.

Mr. HILLYER, from the Committee on Private Land Claims, made the

following REPORT.

The Committee on Private Land Claims, to whom was referred the memorial of Ruhama Whitaker and Rebecca Whitaker, praying the confirmation of title to two tracts of land in Louisiana, have had the same under consideration, and report :

That the following letter addressed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Hon. John Perkins, of the House of Representatives, fully explains the nature of the claim, and embraces the views of the committee thereon. They therefore adopt it as their report:

“GENERAL LAND OFFICE, September 20, 1854. “SIR: I have the honor to return herewith the memorial and accompanying papers of Ruhama Whitaker, widow of the late Aquilla Whitaker, and of Rebecca Whitaker, her daughter.

“This memorial represents that Aquilla Whitaker went to Louisiana in the year 1806, and in 1809 (1st) purchased of John Brown a tract of land containing 560 arpens; that upon this tract he immediately settled with his family, and continued to reside on it until his death ; (2d,) that in 1814 the said Aquilla Whitaker, at the probate sale of Michael and Edward O'Conner, purchased a tract of 310 arpens, adjoining the lands of John Brown; that these two tracts constituted the plantation of the husband and father, and were all the lands he owned in Louisiana; that he resided upon this plantation from 1809 until his death, in 1824.

“It is further represented, in the memorial, that the aforesaid Ruhama, at the probate sale of her husband, bought the two tracts forming his plantation, that with the exception of about three years spent with her sons, she has ever since lived on and cultivated the place, and raised there nine children to be men and women; that the said plantation, by process of law, having been seized and sold as the property of the memorialists, was bought by Colonel David J. Fluker and Robert Perry, who resold the same to the aforesaid Rebecca, the daughter, vesting at the same time in the said Ruhama the usufruct of the land and plantation during her natural life.

“The memorialist Ruhama represents that she is seventy-eight years old ; that forty-five of them she has lived on this land; that now she learns the tract is the property of the United States, &c.; and she prays Congress to examine the papers and affidavits, and pass an act confirming to her the titles to the aforesaid two tracts of land.

“ The return of survey for the John Brown tract, for 560 arpens, as certified by the Spanish surveyor general in 1799, was made at the time when Spain had the power to grant. (See Spanish papers under A, in the memorial.)

“The other tract, viz: that of 310 arpens, under Edward O'Conner, appears to have had its origin in 1806, (see papers under B, in the memorial,) when the Spanish authorities had de facto, but not de jure, possession of the country embracing the land in question, and consequently then had not the power lawfully to grant.

“Further, I find this latter claim entered as No. 47, in favor of the heirs of Edward O'Conner, in his right, in James O'Cosby's register D of 'claims to land in the district west of Pearl river, in Louisiana, founded on orders of survey, (requettes,) permission to settle, or other written evidence of claim, which, in the opinion of the commissioner, ought not to be confirmed.' (See American State Papers, D. Green's edition, volume 3, page 57, and the remarks on page 62.)

"From the papers it appears that the land was long held in possession by A. Whitaker and those claiming under him.

“Indeed, the case of the memorialist, as one of great hardship, addresses itself to the liberal consideration of Congress. Pursuant to your oral request, I enclose a bill which would meet the application in the memorial. “With great respect, your obedient servant,

JOHN WILSON, Commissioner, - Hon. JOHN PERKINS,

House of Representatives." The committee report the accompanying bill for their relief.



[To accompany bill H. R. No. 724.]

FEBRUARY 2, 1855.

Mr. HilLYER, from the Committee on Private Land Claims, made the



The Committee on Private Land Claims, to whom was referred the petition

of the legal representatives of John Ervin, report : That they have had the same under consideration and beg leave to report a bili. Your committee find that at the 32d Congress a bill and report were introduced into the Senate, in response to a petition of John Ervin, deceased, by Mr. Downs, from the Committee on Private Land Claims, which report your committee adopt as a statement of the case :

“ The petitioner represents, and the evidence sustains his averment, that iwenty-three years since he settled on and improved a tract of land in the Bastrop claim, in Louisiana, and has resided on and cultivated it ever since ; that long previously to his settlement this land had been sold by the grantee to Ballinger, who, after having made some improvements on it, abandoned it and left the country, and has not been heard of since, nor has any agent or heirs appeared or been heard of to act for him; that in consequence of this absence petitioner has not been able, as he intended to do, to purchase the title of said Ballinger, but that he has held peaceable and uninterrupted possession of it long enough to give him a title by prescription against all claimants, except the United States, under the laws of Louisiana ; that an act of Congress passed at the last session, (3d March, 1851) intended, among other things, to give a donation claim to such settlers for over twenty years, as he is, but that it has been decided not to embrace his

case, because he has not a written title from Ballinger, holding under the original grantee ; that he was a pioneer in the wilderness when he settled this place, on which, by his own labor and that of his family raised on it, he has made considerable improvements; that he is now old and infirm, and poor, and not able to make other improvements if be fails to secure this, and prays that he may be confirmed in his title to said land, to the extent of six hundred and forty acres, the quantity granted by the act of 3d March, 1851, to other claimants under the grant who have occupied and cultivated the land for more than twenty years.

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