McArthur v. Brue
In McArthur v. Brue, 190 Ala. 563, 67 So. 249 (1914), the Court stated:
"If the act of Congress in question provides that the title shall vest, by virtue of the act, when a survey is made, and the survey was so made, before the issuance of the patent, then the patent is merely a confirmation of the grant, survey, and location, by the Land Department of the government, and not the grant itself. What was said in the case of Price v. Dennis, 159 Ala. 625, 49 So. 248, is applicable here: 'If Congress had granted the land, and had thereby provided that the title should pass on selection as provided for in the act, the date of the selection would be the date of the passage of the legal title, as well as the equitable title, out of the government. The legal title can pass out of the United States as well by such a grant of Congress as by a patent; and if a patent is issued thereafter it may be that it is merely evidentiary of the prior grant and selection. ...'
"On the other hand, if the act of Congress, and the survey, merely authorized the grant to be made by a patent, then, of course, the title passed only when the patent issued." 190 Ala. at 564-65, 67 So. at 249-50 (1914).