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Opinion of the Court.
certificates.” The witness further states: “If there had been no transfer I should have discovered it and made a different report.” To another interrogatory he added : "I had occasion in
very many cases to look up the titles of different lands in Texas, and became familiar in the course of five years in the land business at Fort Worth with the general laws of the State in regard to lands, as also familiar with the examination of titles.”
Apparently (but perhaps not necessarily) opposed to the hypothesis that the certificate in question was purchased by Johnson from Brinson is the evidence of Henry Beaumont, who testifies that in the winter of 1851-2 he placed a lot of land certificates, including the T. P. Rutledge certificate for 320 acres, in the hands of M. T. Johnson for location, under a written contract : and that the certificate in question had come into his hands with others from a party (whose name he does not mention) who had been engaged in locating and surveying lands, and was then retiring from the business. In corroboration of this testimony a receipt in the handwriting of M. T. Johnson was produced in evidence, a copy of which is as follows, to wit:
“Rec'd, Austin, March 9, 1852, of Henry Beaumont the following land certificates, to be located or accounted for, viz. :
“Four leagues Calhoun County school lands for loca
tion. Thomas Rutledge, II. R., 320, class 3, Gonzales County,
12 Oct., 1846.
County, 4th March, 1845.
signed Barnard Bee, sec. war.
signed G. W. Poe, pay gen'l.
Opinion of the Court.
Toby scrip, No. 864, to Almanzo IIouston, dated Oct. 10, 1836..
640 (Signed duplicate.) (Sign'd)
M. T. JOHNSON. Endorsed : 'IIenry Beaumont land matters.?”
A duplicate of this receipt was found amongst Johnson's papers after his death by J. P. Smith, his administrator.
It is somewhat difficult to reconcile this evidence with that of the other witnesses. There is evidently wanting some undiscovered explanation of the discrepancy. Beaumont says that he only had the certificate for location, and that Johnson was to divide with him the emoluments thereof, -- which were always one-third of the land located. From the testimony of J. P. Smith, Johnson's administrator, it appears that Beaumont and Jolinson had had dealings together in the location of land certificates for some years prior to the date of the receipt, to wit, in 1850 and 1851. The certificates mentioned in the receipt were probably received by Johnson at some time, or at different times, previous to the giving of the receipt. One of the certificates was that of Wm. P. Milby, for 640 acres, class 3, No. 24, issued 4th of March, 1845. This certificate was located June 25th, 1850, - a year and nine months before the date of the receipt. The certificate in question, that of Rutledge, was located January Sth, 1852, two months before the date of the receipt. The suggestion of the complainants that the survey was antedated has no evidence to support it. That, in some way, Johnson had become entitled to these certificates (especially to the Rutledge certificate) is corroborated by strong circumstances. Smith, Johnson's administrator, says that Beaumont never asserted any claim to the land mentioned in the receipt. He had correspondence and communications with Beaumont after Johnson's death. IIe says that there was an agreement between them that Johnson should locate the certificates placed in his hands by Beaumont, and was to have for doing so one-half of such interest as Beaumont had in them; yet no claim for any accounting was ever made after Johnson's death. It is quite
Opinion of the Court.
possible that Beaumont obtained the Rutledge certificate from Gill, who used it as a “lariat” for improperly locating land; and that Johnson bought it of Brinson on ascertaining that it belonged to him. This would explain why Beaumont never asserted any claim to the land located under it, although it subsequently became so valuable.
Be all this as it may, it is clear that Johnson, either as owner of the certificate or as an agent employed for locating it, and as such having, according to usage, an interest in the lands to be surveyed, was fully authorized to make the location under it which he did make, and to take possession of the lands either for his own use (if he was the owner) or for the use and benefit of himself and the actual owner; and that his title and possession thus acquired was good against all the world, except those who could produce a better title than that which the certificate and the location under it secured. The legal title, it is true, was in Rutledge's heirs; but the equitable title was in Johnson, (if he did in fact purchase the certificate,) and, in any event, one-third of such equitable title belonged to him, as the authorized locator of the certificate, and the residue was in his hands and possession for the use of the owners whom he represented. The location and survey were good as against the State, and all other persons claiming by inferior title. E. M. Daggett as purchaser from Johnson, and obtaining possession from him, and the defendants as successors of Daggett, became entitled to the benefit of the Rutledge survey as a protection against all persons claiming under a title inferior thereto.
But this is not the whole case. There are other points which go to fortify the position of the defendants, which it is proper to notice.
After the Childress certificate was located by Dr. Worrall in 1868, E. M. Daggett, who had then been in possession under the Rutledge title for the space of fourteen years, purchased in, as he supposed, the entire Childress claim. In 1868 or 1869 George R. Childress, the second son of John Childress, appeared at Fort Worth, having returned from California, where he had been residing for many years. He did not know
Opinion of the Court.
that his brother John was living, but supposed him dead, and that he, George, was his father's sole heir. He claimed the land in question, and Daggett compromised with him for about three hundred dollars, and George gave a deed selling and relinquishing all his right and title to Daggett in fee, with a general warranty against himself, his heirs, and all others. He afterwards went to Austin, saw Green, learned of his brother's being alive, and confirmed the arrangement made by the latter with Green, who acted therein for the benefit of Dr. Worrall.
In September, 1869, Daggett also compromised the claim of Dr. Worrall and procured a deed from him and his wife, Adaline S. Worrall. This deed is in the usual form of deeds of bargain and sale. It is dated 30th of September, 1869, recites a consideration of three hundred dollars, conveys to Daggett the land in dispute by metes and bounds, as in the Childress patent, and recites that the land was the separate property of the said Adaline S. Worrall, referring to the deeds from John W. Childress to Green and from Green to the said Adaline. The deed concluded with this habendum and warranty, to wit: “To have and to hold to him, the said E. M. Daggett, his heirs and assigns forever, free from the just claim or claims of any and all persons whomsoever, claiming or to claim the same.” The deed was acknowledged before a notary public, and a certificate of said acknowledgment was made in due form, with one exception; it contains no statement that Adaline S. Worrall, the wife, was privily examined by the officer apart from her husband. This is necessary in order to validate a conveyance of the wife's separate property in Texas, and its absence cannot be supplied by showing that she was actually privily examined. Berry v. Donley, 26 Texas, 737; Fitzgerald v. Turner, 43 Texas, 79; Looney v. Adamson, 48 Texas, 619; Johnson v. Bryan, 62 Texas, 623. To the same effect see Elliott v. Peirsol, 1 Pet. 328, 340; Hitz v. Jenks, 123 U. S. 297, 303. This seems to be a fatal defect; and it is on this defect that the complainants in the cross-bills rely. Their position is, that the land was Mrs. Worrall's separate property, that she never executed any conveyance of it accord
Opinion of the Court.
ing to law, and that it was hers when she died in November, 1870, and descended, one-half to her husband, Dr. I. R. Worrall, and one-half to her brothers and sisters, represented by William Dunlap and others. The complainants in the other cross-bill, Martha R. Worrall and others, claim the other half of the property as heirs of Dr. Worrall, being his mother and his brothers and sisters. They contend that Dr. Worrall had no interest to convey when he executed the deed with his wife in 1869, and hence the one-half part which he inherited from his wife in November, 1870, was unaffected by that conveyance. It is true, if the deed contained a warranty, he would be estopped from claiming the land; but it is contended that the clause above recited does not amount to a warranty. It has been decided, however, by the Supreme Court of Texas that words substantially such as those contained in the deed do import a general warranty. In Rowe v. Ieath, 23 Texas, 614, the following words were so construed, to wit: “For him the said R. II., his heirs and assigns, to have and to hold forever, as his own right, title and property, free from the claim or claims of me, my heirs, or creditors, and all other persons whomsoever, to claim the same or any part thereof lawfully.” In our judgment the deed of Worrall and his wife did contain a general warranty, and the one-half part of Adaline S. Worrall's interest which descended to Dr. Worrall was carried by estoppel to Daggett when Dr. Worrall inherited the same from his wife.
The other questions arise on the statute of limitations. The defendants pleaded the limitations of three years and of five years, and also peaceable possession for thirty years. The act of February 5th, 1841, first created the limitations referred to. The 15th section created that of three years, declaring that: Every suit, to be instituted to recover real estate, as against him, her or them, in possession under title, or color of title, shall be instituted within three years next after the cause of action shall have accrued, and not afterwards;" not computing the duration of disability from minority, coverture or insanity; and by title meaning regular claim of transfer from or under the sovereignty of the soil; also reserving the right of the government.