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Ken. Rev. Stat. § 4076g (repealed 1938) provides that all title and claim proceeded against under this article and forfeited to, and vested in, the commonwealth and not purchased back by the owner or claimant thereof, as authorized in Ken. Rev. Stat. § 4076e, whether such forfeiture be for past delinquencies or for future delinquencies as authorized under § 4076k hereof, shall be, and is hereby, transferred to, and vested in, any person for so much thereof as such person, or those under whom he claims, has had the actual adverse possession for five years next preceding the judgment of forfeiture, under claim, or color of title, derived from any source whatsoever, and who, or those under whom he claims, shall have paid taxes thereupon for the five years in which such possession may have been or may be held; and in those in privity with such person, his heirs, representatives or assigns, as to the mineral or other interests or rights in or appurtenant to such land.
Appellee possessors Howard et al., instituted an action against appellant landowners Matt Brock to quiet title to a 76-acre portion of property which were divided into three tracts of land. Appellee based their claim solely on adverse possession. Appellees likewise based their adverse possession claim on Ken. Rev. Stat. § 4076g, an old forfeiture statute which was repealed in 1938, but which was in force in 1931 when the title to the Morehouse patent, under which the defendants claim was forfeited. Appellant landowners, on the other, likewise claimed ownership of the lands alleging that the subject lands were conveyed to them in 1914 in a deed of conveyance which described them in one boundary. The court found in favor of the appellee possessors. Appellant challenged the judgment.
Was the appellees claim in their action for quieting of title meritorious?
On appeal, the court reversed the judgment in favor of the possessors in their action to quiet title. The court rejected appellee’s argument that they had acquired title to the entire 76-acre property through adverse possession of one of the three tracts of land. The court found that since the appellee’s predecessor occupied one of the tracts of land for 17 years, the predecessor established ownership of that tract of land and, thus, was able to convey title to appellees. However, the court held that the predecessor was unable to convey title to the remaining two tracts of land through the same adverse possession despite the fact that the predecessor conveyed the three tracts of land to appellees in the same instrument. According to the court, the predecessor did not occupy the other two tracts and his acquisition of title through adverse possession on one tract of land did not extend to the other two tracts.