Sunday, December 11, 2005

A transcription of a letter posted on the Innerarity Family Website which covers the history of litigation over the Forbes Purchase[1804], the greatest real estate deal in American History:

January 23rd, 1947
Mrs. Fannie Amelia Wilson Volck,
1202 Francis Avenue,
Houston 4, Texas.

Dear Fannie:

Indeed I do not need an introduction to you. I remember with perfect clarity your visit with your husband to our house at Roland Park, Baltimore, at the time of your marriage to Dr. Volck. I remember particularly Dr. Volck's Van Dyke beard. At the time Innerarity Wilson was living with us and attending the law school of the University of Maryland, so you will see your letter is by no means an intrusion.

I doubt very much if anything could be accomplished by opposing the proceeding in the Circuit Court of Santa Rosa County, Florida, to quiet the title to certain Florida lands, title to which was apparantly formerly held by or claimed by the Inneraritys.

There has been a vast amount of litigation regarding the vast properties formerly owned by the Inneraritys of Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. The litigation regarding the Florida lands went to the Supreme Court of the United States several times and lasted for some seventy-six years. The final decision was made by the Supreme Court in the case entitled United States v. Dalcour, which is reported in 203 U.S. 408.

Actions to quiet title to lands do not necessarily mean that the former claimants of title have an enforceable claim. They are frequently brought for the purpose of obtaining a judicial decree to remedy a defect in title.

To participate in the present proceeding would necessitate the retainer of counsel in Florida, who would certainly have to make extensive research, and substantial expense would be involved. From what little I know regarding the previous litigations, I could not hold out much hope that any opposition to the present proceeding to quiet title to the lands in question would be successful.

If you can get access to a law library where the United States Supreme court reports are available, you might be interested in reading not only the case of United States v. Dalcour, but also the case entitled Heirs of Innerarity, which is reported in 19 Wallace 595, and Innerarity v. Byrnes, which is reported in 5 Howard 295.

The most interesting of all of the cases is the one entitled Colin Mitchel, et. al. and James Innerarity v. United States, which is reported in 34 U.S. 711. This case, the opinion in which comprises some fifty pages, gives a complete history of the acquisition by Panton, Leslie & Company and John Forbes & Company to various tracts of Florida lands involving many hundreds of thousand of acres, and the confirmation of the titles acquired by those firms from the Creek and Seminole Indians, which were confirmed by the King of Spain. This case resulted in a decree by the United States Supreme Court confirming the title of Panton, Leslie & Company and John Forbes & Company to all of the grants of land, with the exception of a tract which occupied by the United States Government for the Fortress of St. Mark's. It is very interesting reading. As you undoubtedly know, William Panton, of the firm Panton, Leslie & Company, was the brother of Henrietta Panton who married our great, great grandfather, John Innerarity. John and James Innerarity were the senior members of the firm of John Forbes & Company, which succeeded Panton, Leslie & Company.

John Forbes Innerarity, the son of John Innerarity, my father's brother, is now living in New Jersey, and is, I would judge, about eighty years of age. He is a very charming gentleman, and visited us at our home not very long ago.

I suppose you knew Marie Greenslade, who was Marie Hulse before her marriage to Admiral Greenslade. She is now dead. She was the great grand-daughter of John Innerarity, of the firm of John Forbes & Company.

It was indeed very nice to hear from you, and I send you my affectionate regards.