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GREGG V. LESSEE OF SAYRE, 33 U. S. 244 (1834)

U.S. Supreme Court

Gregg v. Lessee of Sayre, 33 U.S. 8 Pet. 244 244 (1834)

Gregg v. Lessee of Sayre

33 U.S. (8 Pet.) 244


The eighth section of the statute of limitations of Pennsylvania fixes the limitation of twenty-one years as taking away the right of entry on lands, and the ninth section provides that if any person or persons having such right or title be or shall be, at the time such right or title first descended or accrued, within the age of twenty-one years, femes coverts, &c., then such person or persons and the heir or heirs of such person or persons shall and may, notwithstanding the said twenty-one years be expired, bring his or their action, or make his or their entry, &c., within ten years after attaining full age, &c. The defendant in error was born in 1791, and was twenty-one years of age in 1812. An interest in the property for which this ejectment was brought descended to her in 1799. The title of the plaintiff in error commenced on 13 April, 1805, under deeds adverse to the title of the defendant in error, and all others holding possession of the property under the same. On 13 April, 1826, twenty-one years prescribed by the statute of limitations for a right of entry against her possession expired, and the bar was complete at that time, as more than ten years had run from the time the defendant in error became of full age. This suit was not commenced until May, 1830.

This Court has frequently remonstrated against the practice of spreading the charge of the judge at length upon the record, instead of the points excepted to, as productive of no good, but much inconvenience.

It is an admitted principle that a court of law has concurrent jurisdiction with a court of chancery in cases of fraud. But when matters alleged to be fraudulent are investigated in a court of law, it is the province of a jury to find the facts and determine their character.

Fraud, it is said, will never be presumed, though it may be proved by circumstances. Now where an act does not necessarily import fraud, where it has more likely been done through a good than a bad motive, fraud should never be presumed.

Even if the grantor in deeds be justly chargeable with fraud, but the grantees did not participate in it, and when they received their deeds had no knowledge of it, but accepted the same in good faith, the deeds upon their face purporting to convey a title in fee, and showing the nature and extent of the premises, there can be no doubt the deeds do give color of title under the statute of limitations.

The case is fully stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 33 U. S. 245

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