Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
4/23/2021

§ 41.1-7. Copies of unsigned grants admissible in evidence; Commonwealth's right relinquished when certain taxes paid; correction of record.

Where the records in the Land Office disclose the fact that the land warrants used as the foundation for a grant of any of the public lands of the Commonwealth, subject to grant, were fully paid for and that the right to such grant was finally and fully completed in the manner prescribed by law and a grant therefor made out and spread upon the record book in the Land Office, in due form of law and regular in every respect only that the name of the then Governor of Virginia was not recorded at the foot thereof on the record book, it shall be the duty of the Librarian of Virginia, upon the request of any person interested, to furnish a copy of such grant as it appears of record in the Land Office, together with a certificate to the effect that the land warrants upon which such grant was founded, were fully paid for; that the right to such grant had been finally and fully completed in the manner prescribed by law, and that the grant was regular in every respect except only that the signature of the Governor did not appear at the foot thereof on the record. Such copy and certificate shall be received in evidence in any legal proceeding in which the title to the land described in such grant, or any part thereof, is brought in controversy, and shall be prima facie evidence of title to such land; and when the land embraced in such grant, or any part thereof, shall have been regularly on the proper land books and the taxes and levies regularly assessed thereon and paid by the claimants thereof, claiming under such grant, for a continuous period of ten years, any title which may rest in the Commonwealth, to so much of the land as has been so on the land books and upon which the taxes and levies shall have been so paid, shall be relinquished to the person so claiming the same, and any such claimant of such land, on which the taxes and levies shall have been so paid, may file a petition in the circuit court of the county or city in which such land lies, after ten days' notice in writing to the attorney for the Commonwealth for such county or city who shall appear and defend the same on behalf of the Commonwealth and the county or city; and upon satisfactory proof of the fact that such land has so been on the land books of the county or city and all the taxes and levies regularly paid thereon for the period of time hereinbefore specified, and the production before the court of the copy of such grant and the certificate of the Librarian of Virginia, hereinbefore provided for, the court shall make an order which shall recite and set forth all of such facts so proved and shown, which order, when so made and entered of record on the proper order book of the court, shall operate to effectually relinquish to the person so claiming such land through and under such grant, whatever right and title may rest in the Commonwealth, thereto; and a copy of such order shall be conclusive evidence of the better right of the claimant under such grant, in any caveat proceeding, or in any other controversy between such claimant and any other person claiming under a location of such land or any part thereof, made after the date of such order.

But nothing contained in this section shall in any manner affect any right adverse to any person claiming under such grant, which vested prior to June 22, 1926, nor divest the right or title, if any, of any junior grantee of any part of the land embraced within the exterior bounds of such grant, claiming under a junior grant which was regularly issued prior to June 22, 1926, or anyone holding or claiming through or under such junior grantee, but in any controversy between such adverse claimants or junior grantees, or persons claiming or holding through or under them, and any person holding or claiming through or under such grant as is first herein mentioned, the contesting parties shall be left to the strength of their respective rights and titles according to the nature of the case, independent of this section, and just as if it had not been enacted.

If it shall appear from the original of any such grant as is first hereinbefore referred to, that such original was actually signed by the Governor, the Librarian of Virginia shall, upon the presentation to him in the Land Office, of such original grant so signed, correct the record thereof so as to conform to such original grant, and affix thereto the date of such correction and a certificate of the fact that such original, duly signed by the Governor, had been presented to him.

Code 1950, § 41-9; 1970, c. 291; 1998, c. 427.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.