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PRODUCERS OIL CO. V. HANZEN, 238 U. S. 325 (1915)

U.S. Supreme Court

Producers Oil Co. v. Hanzen, 238 U.S. 325 (1915)

Producers Oil Co. v. Hanzen

No. 165

Submitted March 3, 1915

Decided June 14, 1915

238 U.S. 325


The effect of riparian rights, attached to land conveyed by patent of the United States, depends upon the local law.

As a general rule, meanders are not to be treated as boundaries, and when the United States conveys a tract of land by patent referring to an official survey which shows the same bordering on a navigable river, the purchaser takes title up to the waterline.

Where the facts and circumstances, however, affirmatively disclose n intention to limit the grant to actual traverse lines, these must be treated as definite boundaries, and a patent to a fractional section does not necessarily confer riparian rights because of the presence of meanders.

Where, as in this case, the survey of improved lands was made at the express request of the occupant to whom they were subsequently patented, and the grant specified the number of acres, and other circumstances also indicated that only the lands conveyed were those within the traverse lines, the patent of the United States conferred no riparian rights, but simply conveyed the specified number of acres.

In a controversy between individuals as to the extent of the land conveyed by a patent of the United States, and to which the United States is not a party, nothing in the opinion or judgment should be taken to prejudice or impair any of the rights of the United States in the lands affected.

61 So. 754 affirmed. ,

The facts, which involve the title to property conveyed by a United States patent and the construction of such patent and the amount of land conveyed thereby, are stated in the opinion.

Page 238 U. S. 329

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