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Cir. 1958). It is apparent that appellant still is not certain as to the exact area which the deeds she relies on purportedly conveyed. Although appellant contends that the Bureau decision overlooked the invalidity of the Yale Placer Mine claim, the invalidity or validity of that claim is not the criterion here insofar as determining whether a known boundary of that claim was a boundary of the tract for which appellant alleges she has a color or claim of title. Likewise, the affidavits showing no knowledge by persons in the area of any Yale Placer Claim do not help, for if no one knew of such a claim and if there is no recorded description of any other claim bearing that name or some other means of identifying its boundaries to which reference might be made, it would be impossible to ascertain the limits of the tract in question here since one of its boundaries is dependent upon ascertaining the boundary of the Yale Placer Claim.

Aside from this problem, the description also appears to be inadequate to establish the north boundary of the claimed tract. A letter dated August 1, 1961, by appellant's surveyor explaining how he ran the survey indicates that he used an existing roadway to delineate the north boundary of the tract since the claimant was not occupying more than the area south of the roadway and did not desire land north of it, although appellant would apparently claim that there is land which lies between the roadway and the Yale Placer Claim. Thus, the tract appellant desires to purchase apparently is a smaller one than the one allegedly described in the deeds although the actual area so described remains undefined. In addition to the deficiencies in the land description already mentioned, it is noted also that there are no aids or references in the description which would establish the limits of the east and west boundaries of the tract.

The uncertainty and inadequacy of description also are relevant to the question of good faith which was raised in the decision below. For the purpose of this decision, however, it will be unnecessary to discuss some of the points raised below and by the appellant since they are superseded by a more fundamental issue with respect to the requirement of a holding "in good faith" for more than 20 years under the Color of Title Act.

Assuming the good faith of the appellant, it is noted that she had not held the tract for the requisite 20-year period when she filed her application on March 28, 1961, because she acquired her interest in 1952 when her father deeded the tract to her. The Color of Title Act, however, permits the "tacking" on of a holding under color of title in good faith by the grantors or ancestors of a claimant to make up the requisite 20-year period so that the 20-year period here could be made up by a holding in good faith by appellant's immediate predecessor

November 17, 1964

in-interest for the length of time by which appellant's holding is short. See discussion on "tacking" and "privity" in 3 Am. Jur. 2d, Adverse Possession, § 58 (1962). The decision below indicated that one requirement under the act was lacking, that of good faith, because appellant's grantor, her father, filed a color of title application, Sacramento 036278, on December 11, 1944, for the same tract as well as other land. That application was rejected and the case closed on July 1, 1949, for his failure to substantiate his right of claim. Appellant states that she does not know why her father's application was not processed through to a final decision, although she is informed that his attorney did not supply a requested abstract of title.

The fact that appellant's father attempted to obtain title from the United States and was unsuccessful is significant since it manifests a recognition by him of the superior title of the United States. An admission or recognition of the existence of a title superior to that of one claiming it has been considered as breaking a statute of limitations and disrupting the continuity of adverse possession under State laws recognizing the acquisition of title through adverse possession. See 3 Am. Jur. 2d, Adverse Possession, § 82 (1962); Meaders v. Moore, 132 S.W. 2d 256, 125 A.L.R. 817 (Tex. Comm. of Apps. 1939). Although many State statutes giving rights of title to persons holding under adverse possession for a specified length of time do not require that there be a "color or claim of title" and "good faith," other than in holding the land adversely to the interests of others, the Color of Title Act requires that there be both.

Appellant appears to suggest that she and others in her family, being lay persons, have held the land in good faith because they do not understand the technical meaning of the words "title," "fee title," "patented," or "unpatented." However, the Supreme Court has considered whether an individual acquired a right of title by prescription under a royal decree of Spain conferring ownership on those who had possessed lands for a requisite time under "just title and in good faith" and held that, despite the grantee's assertions and belief that he had title, if public facts were known to him showing that the conveyance to him was void,

he would not be regarded as holding in good faith, within the requirement of the decree, because a man is not allowed to take advantage of his ignorance of law. Tiglao v. Insular Government, 215 U.S. 410, 417 (1910).

This statement adequately answers any suggestion by appellant that her father had good faith after his color of title application was rejected.

decision rejecting her application to purchase a tract of land allegedly held by her under a claim or color of title. The rejection was on two grounds: that the deeds through which appellant claims the land do not describe it with any degree of certainty; and that the appellant had not shown that her occupation of the tract applied for was founded on any reasonable basis for a belief that the land was held in good faith under a valid claim.

The appellant's application was filed under the Color of Title Act of December 22, 1928, 45 Stat. 1069, as amended by the act of July 28, 1953, 67 Stat. 227, 43 U.S.C. §§ 1068, 1068a (1958), as a class 1 claim, so designated by departmental regulations, 43 CFR, 1964 Supp., 2214.1-1(b), formerly 43 CFR, 1964 rev., 140.3. As provided by the act, class 1 claims are those where purchase must be allowed if it is shown to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Interior that:

*** a tract of public land has been held in good faith and in peaceful, adverse, possession by a claimant, his ancestors or grantors, under claim or color of title for more than twenty years, and that valuable improvements have been placed on such land or some part thereof has been reduced to cultivation * *

The appellant traces her color of title back to probate proceedings instituted in 1898 relating to the Estate of F. S. Quigley. In 1899 the probate judge authorized the administrator of the Estate to sell certain real property in the Estate. By a deed dated January 19, 1900, the Estate conveyed certain property to Achilli Regozzio, who later conveyed to J. B. Holley, who in turn conveyed it to Hoyt Clayton Neer on May 26, 1917. It appears that Neer is the appellant's brother. He conveyed it to their father, H. Clarence Neer, on May 9, 1929, who conveyed the land to the appellant by deed dated August 25, 1952. In the probate proceedings and in all the subsequent deeds, the description as to the tract which appellant claims was conveyed thereby is substantially as follows:

A strip of land lying on the south boundary of the S.W.4 of the N.E.4 of Sec. 24, Tp. 26 N.R. 9 E. M.D.M., and lying between the south line of the Yale Placer Claim and north boundary of Crescent Town Site, with the house, barn and other improvements thereon.1

The appellant also furnished a metes and bounds description of the claimed tract which was run for her by a private surveyor. From this description it appears that the tract is part of lot 7 of sec. 24 of the above mentioned township and is in Plumas County, California.

1 The land office decision and a statement by a title company dated July 10, 1961, on Bureau Form 4-1251, listing the conveyances, both apparently erroneously omitted the reference to the SW and simply described the land as lying on the "South boundary of the NE of sec. 24." A previous statement by the same company, dated December 23, 1960, gives the description as above.

November 17, 1964

The decision below pointed out that the description in the deeds was inadequate and indefinite. It referred to the fact that the only mining claim shown on county records as being in the immediate vicinity of the tract claimed which may have been used in the description is a "Yale Placer Mine," which was located by Daniel Doherty on June 29, 1901, and which had been "surveyed for location," but that the description of that claim would make its south boundary identical with the north boundary of the Crescent Townsite. Thus, as appellant concedes, there would be no in-between area which would include the tract described in the probate proceedings.

Appellant, however, objects to the finding that the description is inadequate to identify the tract, asserting that she was not responsible for the description, but that the description was first given in the probate proceedings and in the subsequent conveyances. She denies that the Yale Placer Mine is the same as the Yale Placer Claim referred to in the description because of the slight difference in the name and because the location notice of the Yale Placer Mine was recorded after the description referring to a Yale Placer Claim had been used in the probate proceedings and the first conveyance in 1900. She states that there are several recorded mining claims of the same name in other townships in the county and that therefore the Doherty claim may not be the only Yale Placer Claim which could have been used and that there could have been another claim which was not indexed in the county records by that name.

The difficulty with appellant's contentions is that she does not satisfactorily explain the reference to the Yale Placer Claim or show that there was some identification which could be relied on by anyone referring to the deeds to ascertain where the tract is located on the ground. Indeed, she has submitted affidavits from residents of the area, who, although saying they thought she, her father, and brother were owners of the land they occupied, also state that they do not know of any Yale Placer Claim in the area.

With respect to the fact that the Yale Placer Mine does cover the area applied for, she alleges that it is not a valid mining claim because it was abandoned the year after location by the failure of the locator to do the annual required assessment. She alleges that whoever prepared the description in the Quigley Estate proceedings must have been referring to another Yale Placer Claim or they were mistaken as to the physical location of the Doherty claim.

In order to give color of title to an occupancy of land, the land must be held under some deed or other instrument which describes the tract with some certainty. See Karvonen v. Dyer, 261 F. 2d 671 (9th

Cir. 1958). It is apparent that appellant still is not certain as to the exact area which the deeds she relies on purportedly conveyed. Although appellant contends that the Bureau decision overlooked the invalidity of the Yale Placer Mine claim, the invalidity or validity of that claim is not the criterion here insofar as determining whether a known boundary of that claim was a boundary of the tract for which appellant alleges she has a color or claim of title. Likewise, the affidavits showing no knowledge by persons in the area of any Yale Placer Claim do not help, for if no one knew of such a claim and if there is no recorded description of any other claim bearing that name or some other means of identifying its boundaries to which reference might be made, it would be impossible to ascertain the limits of the tract in question here since one of its boundaries is dependent upon ascertaining the boundary of the Yale Placer Claim.

Aside from this problem, the description also appears to be inadequate to establish the north boundary of the claimed tract. A letter dated August 1, 1961, by appellant's surveyor explaining how he ran the survey indicates that he used an existing roadway to delineate the north boundary of the tract since the claimant was not occupying more than the area south of the roadway and did not desire land north of it, although appellant would apparently claim that there is land which lies between the roadway and the Yale Placer Claim. Thus, the tract appellant desires to purchase apparently is a smaller one than the one allegedly described in the deeds although the actual area so described remains undefined. In addition to the deficiencies in the land description already mentioned, it is noted also that there are no aids or references in the description which would establish the limits of the east and west boundaries of the tract.

The uncertainty and inadequacy of description also are relevant to the question of good faith which was raised in the decision below. For the purpose of this decision, however, it will be unnecessary to discuss some of the points raised below and by the appellant since they are superseded by a more fundamental issue with respect to the requirement of a holding "in good faith" for more than 20 years under the Color of Title Act.

Assuming the good faith of the appellant, it is noted that she had not held the tract for the requisite 20-year period when she filed her application on March 28, 1961, because she acquired her interest in 1952 when her father deeded the tract to her. The Color of Title Act, however, permits the "tacking" on of a holding under color of title in good faith by the grantors or ancestors of a claimant to make up the requisite 20-year period so that the 20-year period here could be made up by a holding in good faith by appellant's immediate predecessor

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