Wolcott v. Swan

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First page of the opinion Wolcott v. Swan, in Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, by Daniel Call. 3rd ed., ed. Lucian Minor. Richmond: A. Morris, 1854.

Wolcott v. Swan, 6 Va. 297, 2 Call 298 (1800),[1] was a land dispute case.


Smyth agreed to locate land in Russell County for Wolcott and his friends. On July 21, 1795, Smyth also agreed to locate land for M’Rae, a representative of James Swan. On September 14, 1795, M'Rae gave Smyth land-warrants amounting to 300,000 acres to purchase the land he found in Russell County. After this, Wolcott's friends decide not to purchase the land, but Wolcott paid Smyth a considerable sum of money to renew his contract for the land. As a result, Smyth gave Wolcott M'Rae's land-warrants and entries and transferred M'Rae's entries to land in Lee County. Wolcott took the entries to the Register of the Land Office to obtain a deed for the land. This prompted M'Rae and James Swan to sue Smyth, Wolcott, and Price, the Register for the Land Office in the High Court of Chancery. The complaint prayed that the Court enjoin the Register from issuing a patent on the land and that the 300,000 acres in Russel County be issued to Swan instead.

The Court's Decision

Chancellor Wythe found in favor of M'Rae and Swan, but also ordered “that plaintiff James Swan should, within two months from that date, release all his right and title in and to the lands entered for him in the county of Lee, by the defendant Smyth.” The Court of Appeals reversed in part, but upheld the portions of decree granting Swan property rights to the land in Russell County.

See also


  1. Daniel Call, Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia,3rd ed., ed. Lucian Minor. (Richmond: A. Morris, 1854), 2:298.