Maze v. Hamilton
Maze v. Hamilton, Wythe 51 (1789), was a case involving a dispute over 400 acres of land in Greenbrier County.
James Maze claimed 400 acres of land in Greenbrier County in 1764 through settlement, along with the right of preemption (the right to take priority over other parties in claiming land). William Hamilton claimed the same land based on settlement and a survey which Hamilton said was taken in 1774, but which seemed to have actually been taken in 1775. In 1779, Maze presented his claim to a special court of commissioners, which awarded the 400 acres of land and preemption rights for 500 adjacent acres to Hamilton in January 1780. Maze filed a caveat, asking to temporarily bar any land grants based on the commissioners' decision, and in October 1782, the General Court of Virginia reversed the commissioners court and ordered that a grant for the 400 acres plus preemption rights for 1000 acres be awarded to Maze. Hamilton appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals, which granted the appeal on April 30, 1783. On October 29, 1783, the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, stating that the General Court had the final word on decisions about caveats filed against commissioners' decisions. On October 30, 1783, the Court of Appeals restored the appeal, then dismissed it for good on November 1, 1783.
The Court's Decision
- George Wythe, Decisions of Cases in Virginia by the High Court of Chancery, (Richmond: Printed by Thomas Nicolson, 1795), 51.