Minnesota Tales

The St. Paul Daily Globe, August 6, 1890, p. 2


Several Cases Where Settlers Claim Priority Over Railroads.

Congressman Lind, of New Ulm, and George W. Somerville, of Sleepy Eye, came to this city yesterday to hold a consultation with District Attorney Hay. Assistant District Attorney George B. Edgerton and special Counsel Geoge N. Baxter with reference to the actions brought by the United States against the St. Paul & Sioux City and the Winona & St. Peter Railroad companies. In 1857, 200,000 acres of land in Brown, Dodge and other counties were certified or given to those roads by the government. The lands had been previously taken up by settlers, who were prevented from proving up their claims by reason of the certification to the railroad companies. Suits were begun in the state courts by the settlers to eject the railroads, but the cases were decided against the settlers because it was not in the power of the state courts to grant relief. It is claimed that the government had no right to certify the lands to the railroads after they had been actually taken up by settlers. Actions have been commenced in the federal court to cancel the certification to the railroads. Mr. Lind has taken an interest in the matter because the lands are located near his home. Mr. Sommerville is employed by some of the claimants. Several of the cases are being prepared for trial at the November term of the federal court, which meets at Mankato.

The supreme court of the United States has held that where lands had been settled upon at the time the rights of a railroad company attached they shall revert back to the government.When the facts as stated have been shown the court will decide that the lands shall revert to the government. The settlers will then be permitted to prove up their rights and receive patents for the lands.

Copyright 2012 KinSource All Rights Reserved