Burgess v. Gray

In Burgess v. Gray, 16 How. 48 (1853), the plaintiff and those through whom he claimed had been in possession of the land, for which the action was brought, for more than half a century; and, among other grounds, he relied upon this long-continued possession to recover against defendants, who had entered under title derived from the United States. But the court said, "The mere possession of public land without title will not enable the party to maintain a suit against any one who enters on it; and, more especially, he cannot maintain it against persons holding possession under title derived from the proper officers of the government. He must first show a right in himself before he can call into question the validity of theirs."