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Opinion of the Court.
the survey at the cottonwood' corner (the S. E. corner) and marked and measured the east line and did not actually trace and measure the west line of said grant, you should foHow these footsteps of the surveyor, and from the point where you find his footsteps stop (for it is not disputed that this line is marked to a greater distance than the distance called for in the grant as the length of this line) — from this point where you find the footsteps stop you will run a line N. 70 W. to the west line of said grant for the north or back line; and if this line so run will fall wholly south of the Daws survey you will find for the plaintiff.
“If from the proof you are not able to fix the place where the two hackberries called for in the grant as a landmark to designate the N. E. corner of the Moreno grant then stood, and the proof does not satisfy you that to reverse the calls and trace the lines the other way would most nearly harmonize all the calls with the footprints left by the surveyor, you will fix the boundaries of the Moreno grant by the courses and distances of the first and second lines of the survey, extending the second line so as to meet the recognized east line, extended on its course to the point of intersection with the extended second or north line; and if the north line so fixed will embrace in the Moreno grant any part of the Daws survey, you will find for the defendant."
In our judgment this charge was justified by the testimony in the cause, and, on the whole, gave a correct view of the questions to be solved. The general rules laid down at the commencement are undoubtedly sound. The judge was also correct in saying, as we have already remarked, that the beginning corner does not control more than any other corner actually ascertained, and that we are not constrained to follow the calls of the grant in the order they stand in the field notes, but may reverse them and trace the lines the other way, whenever by so doing the land embraced would more nearly harmonize all the calls and the objects of the grant.
The next paragraph, relating to the two small hackberry trees, and instructing the jury that, if the proof satisfied them that they were the hackberries called for in the original sur
Opinion of the Court.
vey, the north line must be drawn from them, and the verdict must be for the plaintiff, was undoubtedly correct.
The third paragraph, which directed the jury, if the backberries were not sufficiently proved, and they were satisfied, from a consideration of all the proof, that the original surveyor began the survey at the S. E. corner and marked and measured the east line, and did not actually trace and measure the west line of the grant, they should trace his footsteps, and where they found them to stop they should 'run a line N. 70° W. for the north line, was, in our view, also correct. There was some evidence to show that the surveyor did commence the survey at the S. E. corner. The old map or sketch clearly showed this; and the correspondences of distances and other evidence showed that the east line must have been actually measured, contrary to the recollection of Mr. Johnson, the surveyor.
The last paragraph directed the jury, if not able to identify the hackberries as the original corner, and not satisfied that to reverse the calls would more nearly harmonize all the calls with the footprints left by the surveyor, they must follow the courses and distances of the survey, which, of course, would give the land to the defendant. This direction was clearly correct. And taking the whole charge together, it covers the whole case.
The first error assigned in regard to the charge is for the refusal of the judge to give the following instruction, requested by the defendant, to wit:
“If the proof satisfies you that there are old blazes along the east line above the backberries said to have been found by Bigham in 1854, and that such blazes extend to a distance of 4000 varas to the point of intersection with the course of the north or back line as run from the northwest corner as established by its calls, and that such back or north line is also marked with old blazes, and that these lines were so run and marked by the original surveyor in 1833, then in that case you will find for the defendant."
This instruction was substantially given, with proper qualifications, in the first paragraph of the charge, declaring it the
Opinion of the Court.
duty of the jury to follow the tracks of the surveyor, so far as discoverable on the ground, with reasonable certainty; and declaring that marked trees, designating a corner or a line on the ground, should control both courses and distances. This gave the defendant the benefit of all he could legitimately ask for in the instruction which he requested; and gave it in a form which better comported with the judge's view of the impression due to the evidence on the subject. A judge is not bound to adopt the categorical language which counsel choose to put into his mouth. Nothing would be more misleading. If the case is fairly put to the jury, it is all that can reasonably be asked. The instruction as requested, if given as an independent proposition, without qualification, was calculated to mislead the jury and draw their attention away from other marks and monuments equally or more controlling. The most controlling evidence of all, if the jury believed it, was that which identified the two hackberries discovered by Bigham as the original trees at the N. E. corner of the tract. Believing that, it ended the controversy. Believing that, the marked trees found farther north in the same easterly line, and the marked trees found in the northerly line, must be considered as having been marked at a later period, as several witnesses who examined them testified. It would not have been fair therefore, to have put forward the instruction asked as a naked independent proposition ; for though it be strictly true that if those trees were marked by the original surveyor, they denoted the position of the true line, there were so many considerations affecting the determination of the truth on that point, that an unqualified statement of the proposition as an independent one was not proper. It would have ignored, not only the hackberries, but the Cow Creek bottom, in which there was much evidence to show that the N. E. corner was originally located; and the stream-crossings on the north line itself. Of course, it may be said that all these circumstances would affect the belief of the jury in the identity of the marked trees referred to with those marked by the original surveyor. But the instruction as proposed would have tended to withdraw the minds of the jury from a consideration of this evi
Opinion of the Court.
dence. We think the charge was more correct as the judge delivered it, than it would have been if he had adopted the instruction as proposed by the defendant.
The last paragraph of the charge also gave the defendant the benefit of the lines sought to be established by him, by directing the jury to follow the courses and distances of the survey contained in the grant, if they were not satisfied as to the identity of the two hackberries with those called for in the grant, nor that the original survey was commenced at the S. E. corner. This direction would have led the jury to the identical marked trees referred to in the instruction.
We think there was no error in its refusal.
The fifth assignment of error is for the refusal of the judge to give the following instruction :
“The jury are charged that the field notes which entered into and formed part of the title originally made to Maximo Moreno are those which are to control them in their findings in respect to the work of the surveyor in the field ; that they will not consider any field notes of a survey purporting to have been made for Sawyer unless the evidence should show that the field notes last mentioned entered into and were incorporated in the grant made to Moreno, and unless the proof shows that the Sawyer field notes are those which entered into and formed part of the title to Moreno; otherwise they will disregard the Sawyer field notes, and look only to the field notes in the title issued to Moreno."
We think that the refusal was justifiable. The direction that the field notes in the title should control the jury in their findings would have been too absolute and unqualified. There is no real contradiction between the original field notes found in the General Land Office and the field notes contained in the title. The former are only somewhat fuller than the latter in specifying the water-courses crossed by the survey, some of which were omitted in the title; and if the jury were satisfied that the field notes produced from the Land Office were genuine, they would have a right to take them into consideration, and not be governed wholly by the field notes in the title.
The sixth assignment of error is for refusing to give the following instruction :
Opinion of the Court.
“If the testimony is not sufficient to identify the two hackberries claimed by the plaintiff as the northeast corner of the Maximo Moreno grant with those called for in the grant, and the jury cannot fix the northeast corner nor the back line by any other marks or monuments, then they shall fix it by the courses and distances of the first and second lines of the survey, except that the second line shall be extended so as to meet the recognized east line, as marked and extended beyond the hackberries, and in that case they shall find for the defendant."
This charge was substantially contained in the last paragraph of the charge actually given by the judge, with this qualification, that the jury should not be satisfied that the original survey was commenced at the S. E. corner of the tract. We think that the qualification was correctly made, and that the charge was right, and that in the refusal to give the instruction asked for there was no error.
The seventh assignment relates to the refusal to give the following instruction:
“If the testimony is not sufficient to identify the two backberries claimed by the plaintiff as the northeast corner of the Maximo Moreno grant with those called for in the grant, and the jury believe from the evidence that the Maximo Moreno survey was actually made on the ground by commencing at the beginning corner as called for in the grant and actually running out and tracing with a chain the upper or western line as called for (except the offset to avoid crossing the river), and that the northwest corner was fixed at a point on the course called for in the grant at the end of the northwest corner so established, the surveyor did actually run out and trace with a chain on the course called for to the northeast corner, they must find for the defendant."
This instruction was also substantially given in the last paragraph of the charge, and is involved in the whole charge taken together. We think there was no occasion for it, and no error in refusing to give it.
The last assignment of error relates to the refusal of the following instruction, to wit: