Land Patent Lectures by David Wilbur Johnson
(See Interesting Biography on David W. Johnson, below)
Private Property Rights and Land Grants
Fourteen hours of weekly telephone presentations
given from November 27, 2000 to April 16, 2001

## h:mm Topic
01 1:16 - Discovery and Colonization of North America, Property Rights, Land Grants
02 1:16 - How Europe ceded ownership to the original colonies
03 1:10 - Paris Peace Treaty of September 3, 1783 between England and the colonies
04 1:15 - Property Rights, Land Grants, Contracts, BLM, Survey Systems
05 1:13 - Zoning, historical consistency
06 1:11 - Acts of Congress in regards to property rights
07 1:12 - Acts of Congress Reviewed
08 0:47 - Open for Questions
09 1:13 - Property Surveys, Original titles
10 0:52 - Classes and Topics Reviewed, Property Rights, Abstracts
11 0:51 - Eminent Domain, Condemnation, Patents, Clear Chain of Title
12 0:51 - Blight, Historic Preservation Districts, Urban Renewal Projects, HUD
13 0:51 - Wild and Scenic Rivers, Wetlands and Woodlands
14 0:42 - Government rights over your property, Patent Requirements, Title Search

Biography on David Wilbur Johnson:

Back in 1974 my first wife and I had gone on a mini vacation to the upper part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. While at Mackinaw City, we stopped in at Ft. Michimilimackinac, originally built by the French in the 1740’s, and latter occupied by the British after the French and Indian War. There happened to be several fellows dressed up in American Revolutionary War artillery uniforms, who conducted a presentation of loading and firing a 6 pounder muzzle loading cannon. I asked a couple of these fellows where they lived and how they got into doing this. I discovered they all lived in the Pontiac, MI area, only about 12 miles from where I lived at the time, and that they were all members of an international historical group called ‘The Brigade of the American Revolution’, which is still active today. These fellows had chosen to represent the 3rd Massachusetts Artillery, Continental Line, which existed during the American Revolutionary War. Needless to say I got hooked!

The rules of this historical group required that one could only use those fabrics available during that time frame; 100% wool, cotton or linen [linen by the way shrinks like heck when you wash it, and expands like heck when you wear it]. On top of that requirement, all articles of clothing could only be hand stitched with anywhere from 10 to 12 stitches per inch. Socks had to be hand sewn from either worsted wool or linen, and held up with garters tied above ones knees. Uniform coats, waistcoats, overalls or breeches and, shirts were based on patterns copied from existing originals in various museums. Shoes and boots were special ordered as they had to be straight lasted, that is, there was no right or left foot! Back in the 18th century, one swapped their footwear when they went to bed at night so that the heels worn evenly. They bought either whole or half cow hides, dyed them the color they needed, and cut them to make cartridge boxes, waist or shoulder belts. All of the clothing, accouterments, weapons, canteens, buttons, etc. had to be presented to inspectors of this historical group for approval prior to actually wearing/using them at re-enactment events!! A terrible amount of historical research was required to do everything properly.

This is how I cut my teeth into doing research work, and how I know why it is so important.

While reading about the Revolutionary War I came across accounts of how the original 13 states compensated those veterans for their service during that war. These states didn’t have two nickels to rub together, BUT, they acquired millions of acres of land from England through the Treaty of Peace. So, in order to help open up the new frontier, these states issued ‘bounty warrants’ to the veterans for the ‘vacant and unappropriated lands’. The amount of land a veteran got was based on their rank and length of service.

During this reading, (history has always interested me even in high school) I learned that Virginia acquired from England, per that Treaty of Peace, all the land north and west of the River Ohio from which Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and the extreme eastern tip of Minnesota was created from. Virginia also acquired land south of the River Ohio from which Kentucky and Tennessee was formed.

Please note that Connecticut, per that treaty claimed a stretch of land along Lake Erie from the western edge of Pennsylvania, to approximately 30 miles east of present day Toledo, Ohio and south of Lake Erie of about 100 miles. This was called the Connecticut Western Reserve.

Virginia issued hundreds of bounty land warrants to land in what is now the southern third of Ohio, from present day Columbus to all along the Ohio River, prior to ceding any of its remaining ‘vacant and unappropriated’ lands to the new United States after the creation of the national Constitution. Per the terms of that cession, the titles issued from Virginia were to remain in full force and effect. The same held true in Connecticut’s cession of its ‘vacant and unappropriated’ lands. It was after these cessions, that the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was enacted, to create and administer that new territory of the then new United States. Of course during that time, I was reading about what the other remaining 13 original states did with their ‘vacant and unappropriated’ lands for their veterans or, what such lands they ceded to the new United States.

So, here I was happy and content with my reading and research, for the sake of mere self pleasure, when I happen to attend a meeting of my township's board of trustees one night. At that meeting an older gentleman happened to speak up and take on the township board for a revision being done with the township’s planning and zoning ordinance. He told the board that the township doesn’t have any jurisdiction to impose this ordinance on his land since the original title to his property came from the United States prior to Michigan becoming a state. Needless to say this is what got me started on this long, long road of research into property rights!

Now, remember Connecticut’s Western Reserve? In that state’s statute, for the outright sale of its ‘vacant and unappropriated’ lands, prior to its cession of those remaining lands to the United States, It stated that; “Connecticut transfers all title, interest and control including territorial and judicial jurisdiction from Connecticut to the patentee, his heirs and assigns forever.” In that cession of the ‘vacant and unappropriated’ lands from Connecticut to the United States, the titles to the lands which Connecticut had already sold into private ownership, were to be honored and upheld by the United States. Several years later, the United States Congress, under the authority of Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution created the new state of Ohio. What happened to those titles from Connecticut??

In the early 1920’s the federal Dept. of Commerce, under the direction of its then Secretary, Herbert Hoover, developed first one, and then a second method to enable the several then existing states to create planning and zoning statutes, then enable their lesser political subdivisions the power to create, enact and enforce their such ordinances. A property owner challenged its local government on their planning and zoning ordinance, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty. Naturally Ambler Realty lost, but why, one asks? My personal opinion is that Ambler Realty did not have competent legal counsel based on the following facts:

A. Ambler Realty's chain of title commences with the original title coming from Connecticut

B. Nothing in Connecticut’s deed of cession to the United States nullified those original titles

C. The United States did not hold ‘sovereignty’ over those lands formally located in the Western Reserve, they obtained those lands in the same form and manner as any other proprietor – by deed

D. Prior to the Dept. of Commerce, a department of the Executive Branch, the U.S. Supreme Court has always held that once land has been conveyed out of public domain all jurisdiction of the Executive Dept. ceases

E. Ambler Realty’s legal counsel failed to raise those facts

I have yet to make contact with a property owner who has a clear chain of title back to Connecticut that wants, or needs, to challenge a planning or zoning ordinance. Hello out there??

A corporation in New York used its chain of title with the original title being an English royal land grant to stop the City of New Rochelle from imposing its planning and zoning ordinances! That city has the monetary resources to have appealed to the highest court in that state but didn’t. Why? Think about the consequences if they lost since a considerable number of property owners in New York can trace their chain of title back to the Dutch or English crown.

I apologize for being so long winded but the above was necessary to show the chain of events that lead me to where I am today.

Further, I must thank my current wife her kindness and understanding for the thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars I’ve spent over the past 27 years in doing this research, and the head banging.