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United States Supreme Court

PIGEON v. BUCK, (1915)

No. 199

Argued:     Decided: April 26, 1915

Mr. Lewis C. Lawson for plaintiffs in error in No. 199.

Messrs. Harry H. Rogers, J. L. Skinner, and George C. Crump for defendants in error in No. 199.

Messrs. H. A. Ledbetter, Winfield S. Farmer, and Gordon Fryer for plaintiff in error in No. 275.

Messrs. James R. Wood, George A. Fooshee, and D. D. Brunson for defendants in error in No. 275. [237 U.S. 386, 387]  

Mr. Justice McReynolds delivered the opinion of the court:

The opinion in McDougal v. McKay (No. 676) [ 237 U.S. 372 , 59 L. ed . --, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 605], announced to-day, considers and decides the questions involved in these writs of error and necessitates affirmation of the judgments of the supreme court of Oklahoma in both causes.

In No. 199, Pigeon v. Buck, all parties were enrolled full-blooded Creek Indians. The allottee, Lowiney Harjo, having received a patent to certain land, died July 12, 1905, intestate, without descendants, leaving father, mother, brothers, sister, and her husband. Thereafter the father and mother,-John and Mate Pigeon,-claiming the land must be treated as an ancestral estate which passed to them in fee, conveyed their interest therein to Buck. The brothers and sister, maintaining that it was a new acquisition in the deceased, and the father and mother took only a life estate with remainder in themselves, instituted suit to have their rights declared. The supreme court of Oklahoma (38 Okla. 101, 131 Pac. 1083) held the estate was ancestral, and went half to the father and half to the mother, according to the applicable provisions of chapter 49, Mansfield's Digest, Statutes of Arkansas.

In No. 275, Roberts v. Underwood, the land in question was allotted and patented to a full-blooded Chickasaw Indian who thereafter and in 1907 died intestate, leaving no descendants. A contest arose between his paternal relatives, Underwood and Byrd, and a maternal relative, Roberts, concerning their respective interests in the property. Under the act of April 28, 1904 (33 Stat. at L. 573, chap. 1824), 2, the devolution depended upon chapter 49, Mansfield's Digest, Statutes of Arkansas. The supreme court of Oklahoma (38 Okla. 376, 132 Pac. 673) adjudged the estate must be treated as ancestral, and that half passed to the paternal relatives and half to the maternal one. Affirmed.

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