The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 272: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States and the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, June-August, 1921. Page: 75
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CRAIG-GILES IRON CO. V. BROWNLEE 75
as unsigned had in fact been signed by the Governor, relied on this
evidence as proof: Documents showing that all the formal steps req-
uisite to obtaining the grant had been taken; procurement by Cham-
bers of the land warrant and its record; official survey made by the
county surveyor and returned to the land office; preparation by the
registrar of the grant in the prescribed form; the custom and general
duty of the Governor to sign the grants upon the completion of these
proceedings; recording of the document in the book which the law
required to be kept for the record of grants completed by the Gov-
ernor's signature, not for the recording of blank forms; the presump-
tion of fact that the registrar would not have recorded as a grant an
unsigned form; the entry of a charge on the land warrant of the
number of acres covered by the alleged grant; the entry of the land on
the tax books of Botetourt county, the registrar being required to fur-
nish to the commissioners of the several counties lists of the land grants
for purposes of taxation; the failure of the registrar to find in the
land office the original paper, signed or unsigned; the recital of the
grant in a deed from Sarah A. Chambers to one Booth, in 1853, refer-
ring to the grant in detail, thus indicating that the grant was before
the draftsman; and the sale by the state of the land for taxes as the
property of the heirs of George Chambers.
The chief countervailing evidence relied on by the defendants against
the inference that the grant was executed were: The fact itself that the
paper as recorded by the registrar lacks the signature of the Governor;
a notation on the margin of the record "Ex'd & del'd," and the can-
cellation of the words "& del'd" by a line drawn through them, as in-
dicating that the words were canceled because the paper purporting
to be a grant had not been delivered on account of the lack of comple-
tion by the Governor's signature; the finding on the record of only one
other paper on which such cancellation is made on the margin; the pay-
ment of taxes by George Chambers on three other tracts granted to him
and his failure to pay taxes on this land at any time; the plat itself
as showing that the land as surveyed should not have been granted, be-
cause the breadth did not bear the proportion to the length required by
statute as a condition for the issuance of a grant.
As to the inference to be drawn from the record of the unsigned form
of a grant, the Virginia court lays down this rule:
"The paper of October 21, 1687, was admissible only as a memorandum from
the colonial records, tending to prove that proceedings had been taken looking
to an execution and issuing of a grant, to ibe followed up, if possible, by evi-
dence tending to show that the grant, so contemplated and begun, was actually
executed, issued, and delivered; but, standing by itself, the copy was a
nullity as a grant, and proved nothing but its own abortive existence." Hol-
loran v. Meisel, 87 Va. 398, 13 8. E. 33; Holleran v Meisel, 91 Va. 143, 21
S. E. 658; Hudgins v. Simon, 94 Va. 659, 27 S. E. 606.
In the second report of the case first cited it was said that the pre-
sumption might be entertained by the jury that the grant had been
signed from the production of the unsigned form and other facts and
circumstances, in view of the improbability that land so near the seat
of government had remained ungranted as late as 1887. But the land
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 272: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States and the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, June-August, 1921., legislative document, 1921; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38843/m1/97/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.