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1890 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Story County, Iowa

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Page 46 of 460

by both District and Supreme Courts, but in December, 1850, these decisions were finally reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Joseph Webster, plaintiff in error, vs. Hugh T. Reid, and the judgment titles failed. About nine years before the "judgment titles" were finally abrogated as above, another class of titles was brought into competition with them, and in the conflict between the two, the final decision was obtained. These were the titles based on the " decree of partition " issued by the United States district court for the Territory of Iowa, on the 8th of May, 1841, and certified to by the clerk on the 2d day of June of that year. Edward Johnstone and Hugh T. Reid, then law partners at Fort Madison, filed the petition for the decree in behalf of the St. Louis claimants of half-breed lands. Francis S. Key, author of the " Star Spangled Banner," who was then attorney for the New York Land Company, which held heavy interests in these lands, took a leading part in the measure, and drew up the document in which it was presented to the court. Judge Charles Mason, of Burlington, presided. The plan of partition divided the tract into 101 shares and arranged that each claimant should draw his proportion by lot, and should abide the result, whatever it might be. The arrangement was entered into, the lots drawn, and the plat of the same filed in the recorder's office, October 6, 1841. Upon this basis the titles to land in the half-breed tract are now held.

Page 46 of 460

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