R. T. Mutzabaugh, Nash & Mutzabaugh, Bradford, for appellants.
Robert B. Apple, Smethport, for appellee.
Before Ross, Acting P. J., and Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin, JJ.
[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 432]
Appellant partners brought an action to quiet title in the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County. The complaint averred that plaintiffs were seized of and in possession of a tract of 80 acres of land situate in Warrant 4910, Corydon Township, McKean County, and describing it; that the premises were conveyed
[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 433]
to them by deed dated September 8, 1949, from South Penn Oil Company, a Pennsylvania corporation, which deed was recorded; that defendant, Penn Charcoal & Chemical Company, claimed an interest in and title to the premises, and praying for a decree compelling the defendant to bring its action of ejectment. Defendant's answer denied seizin and possession in plaintiffs and averred such seizin and possession in itself; that the deed from South Penn conveyed no title whatever to plaintiffs because South Penn was not the owner of the premises at the time of the execution of the deed on September 8, 1949, or any time since that date; that the premises were conveyed to it by deed of Devonian Oil Company dated March 10, 1950 and recorded, and praying dismissal of the complaint. Counsel for the parties then entered into a stipulation of agreed facts which contained, inter alia, the abstract of title. The president judge of the Court of Common Pleas, on the basis of the record as stipulated, ordered dismissal of the complaint, and plaintiffs have appealed to this Court.
Plaintiffs' claim is based on the conveyance of the land to them from South Penn Oil Company, which corporation was named grantee in a deed from Devonian Oil Company, a Pennsylvania corporation, under date of November 18, 1897 and recorded December 31, 1897. Devonian, the Pennsylvania corporation, by deed dated December 28, 1920 and recorded November 21, 1922, conveyed to Devonian Oil Corporation, a Delaware corporation, 'all lands of the above named grantor in said McKean County'. Devonian, the Delaware corporation, conveyed the 80 acres in question to defendant by quitclaim deed dated March 10, 1950 and recorded March 24, 1950.
Our decision depends upon our construction of the 1897 deed from Devonian, the Pennsylvania corporation,
[ 175 Pa. Super. Page 434]
to South Penn. If thereby good title to the land passed to South Penn, it follows that plaintiffs as its grantees will prevail, since necessarily the land could not have been included in the Pennsylvania corporation's grant of all its land in the county to the Delaware corporation, defendant's grantor. Conversely, if the 80 acres were retained by the Pennsylvania corporation as grantor, title thereto became vested in the Delaware corporation by the 1920 deed, thence in defendant by virtue of the 1950 deed.
Item 4 of the 1897 deed contains a recital of a consideration of $450,000 and of chain of title, and states that the conveyance is made subject to reservation of gas and oil royalties to a named predecessor in title, her heirs and assigns. It reserves also all the timber sold to a named company by the grantor. Then follows the clause 'Excepting and Reserving, however, out of the above grant, in said tract of land [describing it] Containing 80 acres in Warrant 4910. Together with two oil wells complete and three wells * * *.' Item 5 conveys 'all the undivided 1/32 ...