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Dewey County Court Case

Contributed by Sandy Denney

 

In Equity. Suit by the United States against John Pearson, County Treasurer of Dewey County, S. D., and Calvin M. Smith, Sheriff of said county. Decree for complainant.

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Robert P. Stewart, U. S. Dist. Atty., and E. W. Fiske and George Philip, Asst. U. S. Dist. Attys., all of Sioux Falls, S. D.

James E. Truesdale, of Isabel, S. D., and Morris & Caldwell, of Sioux Falls, S. D., for defendants.

ELLIOTT, District Judge. This is a suit in equity, brought by the United States of America against John Pearson, county treasurer, and Calvin M. Smith, sheriff, of Dewey county, S. D. Upon the face of this record there is practically no dispute as to the facts. The controversy arises upon the application of the settled law to the facts as disclosed by the undisputed testimony.

[1] It appears from the undisputed record in this case that John Pearson is the duly elected, qualified, and acting county treasurer, and that the defendant Calvin M. Smith is the duly elected, qualified, and acting sheriff, of Dewey county, S. D., which county is a duly organized municipal corporation, existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of South Dakota, within said state. It appears that Antoine Le Beau, Henry Le Beau, Eugene Standing Bull, Armstrong Four Bear, Alex Le Beau, and Thomas Low Dog are Indians, and members of the Cheyenne agency tribe of Sioux Indians, in the state of South Dakota, and have not abandoned their tribal relations; that at all times mentioned in the bill of complaint they were and are wards of the plaintiff, the United States of America, and under the guardianship and supervision of the plaintiff; that they are, and at all times named in the complaint were, residents of that portion of the Cheyenne River Indian reservation formerly situated and being in the county of Dewey, state of South Dakota; that each and all of them have been allotted Indian lands within the said Dewey county, and within the former Cheyenne River Indian reservation, which allotments were made under the provisions of the general allotment act approved February 8, 1887; that a particular description of the lands allotted to these Indians is as set forth in paragraph 3 of the bill of complaint filed herein; that each of these Indians lives, and at all times named in the complaint resided, upon his allotment, which was held by the government of the United States, subject to the trust patent referred to in the act of the United States above named, under which the allotment was made, except the Indian Armstrong Four Bear, who holds his allotment, but lived upon another allotment, made pursuant to the provisions of said statute to his mother, located in the same county; that during the year 1911 the proper officers of said Dewey county listed and assessed, and returned upon the tax rolls of that county, certain personal property against each of these Indians, consisting of horses, cattle, in one or two instances a wagon, and in another household goods; that the total tax for state and county purposes for the year 1911 against Antoine Le Beau amounted to $33.66, and at the time of instituting this action there appeared upon the books of Dewey county penalty and interest thereon amounting to $11.78, making a total tax, interest, and penalty, claimed to be due for state and county purposes for said year of 1911, in the sum of $45.44; that during the year 1912 the officers of said county listed and assessed Antoine Le Beau upon thfs same personal property a total tax for state and county purposes of $42.83, which, with penalty and interest, at the time of the commencement of this action, amounted to $52.25; that during the year 1913 the officers of said county listed and assessed Antoine Le Beau upon this same .personal property a total tax for state and county purposes of $22.83, which, with penalty and interest, at the time of the commencement of this action, amounted to $25.11; that during the year 1914 the officers of said county listed and assessed Antoine Le Beau upon this same personal property a total tax for state and county purposes of $23.64. It appears, further, that taxes were assessed against the personal property of the other Indians above named, for said years, in the amounts set forth in the bill of complaint, upon the property therein described, and it is unnecessary to set it forth fully herein.

It appears from the undisputed evidence that the personal property, consisting of cattle, horses, wagons, buggy, machinery, household goods, the same being all the property taxed as the property of Antoine Le Beau, and all of the property listed and taxed as the property of all of the other Indians referred to in the bill of complaint, was, at the time it was assessed, ever since has been, and now is, in the possession of the allottees, respectively, and was used by them in connection with their respective allotments as described in the bill of complaint. It is admitted that the legal title in and to said allotted lands has not passed from plaintiff, and that the same is held in trust by the plaintiff for the benefit and use of the said Indians. The court further finds that these Indians are wards of the plaintiff herein, and that the guardianship of the United States over said Indians has not been terminated.

I find from the undisputed record that this property is all of it either: (1) Issue property; that is, property issued direct by the government of the United States to the Indians, respectively. (2) Increase of such issue property. (3) Property purchased with the proceeds of the sale of trust or issue property. (4) Property purchased with the proceeds of the sale of the increase of issue property. (5) Issue property exchanged for similar property for similar use, and this consists of the increase of property received in such exchange. (6) The increase of issue property exchanged for similar property for similar use. (7) Property purchased with money given to the Indians by the United States. The Federal reporter: Volume 231,1916

 


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