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YUSCAVAGE v. HAMLIN. (01/06/58)

January 6, 1958

YUSCAVAGE
v.
HAMLIN.



Appeal, No. 388, Jan. T., 1957, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, May T., 1957, No. 289, in case of Frank A. Yuscavage et ux. v. Norma L. Hamlin et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Mitchell Jenkins, with him Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, for appellants.

James T. Shea, with him Shea & Shea, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

[ 391 Pa. Page 15]

OPINION PER CURIAM

On this appeal we are called upon to construe a deed in order to determine whether it conveys title to the subsurface gas and oil estates.

In this action to quiet title the facts are undisputed. On April 14, 1919, Pulaski Hamlin and his wife owned and possessed two tracts of land - 64 acres and 20 acres, respectively - located in Exeter Township, Luzerne County, Pa. Nineteen years previously, when Hamlin purchased these two tracts of land, an exception or reservation had been made in the conveyance of "All the coal in and under said two tracts of land, with the right to mine and remove two-thirds of the same by any subterranean process ...". On April 14, 1919 Hamlin and his wife conveyed the land by a general warranty deed to one Sarli. The instant problem involves the construction of that deed.

That deed conveyed "All the surface or right of soil" of the two tracts of lands (described by metes and bounds). In addition the following pertinent language and clauses then appear in the deed: (1) "The two pieces or parcels of land above described are known as the J. Benedict Jones farm"; (2) a reference to "The land above described and intended to be conveyed"; (3) another reference to the conveyance of "the said land" between predecessors in the line of title wherein a "certain cemetery lot" was reserved; (4) another reference to a conveyance of "the said land" by Hamlin's immediate predecessor in title; (5) another reference to a conveyance of "the said land" by Hamlin to his wife; (6) an appurtenance clause - "Together with all and singular, the ... appurtenances"; (7) a habendum clause - "AND ALSO, all the estate, right, title, interest

[ 391 Pa. Page 16]

..." of Pulaski Hamlin and his wife; (8) a general warranty clause. Subsequent to this deed, by various mesne conveyances the title to the premises became vested in the appellees.

Did the conveyance from the Hamlins to Sarli transfer title to the oil and gas under the two tracts of land?

As we recently pointed out in Brookbank v. Benedum-Trees Oil Co., 389 Pa. 151, 157, 131 A.2d 103, certain rules are applicable in the construction of deeds. Among such rules are those providing: (1) that the nature and quantity of the interest conveyed must be ascertained from the instrument itself and cannot be orally shown in the absence of fraud, accident or mistake and we seek to ascertain not what the parties may have intended by the language but what is the meaning of the words; (2) effect must be given to all the language of the instrument and no part shall be rejected if it can be given a meaning; (3) the language of the deed shall be interpreted in the light of the subject matter, the apparent object or purpose of the parties and the conditions existing when it was executed.

When the Hamlins acquired ownership of these two tracts of land they received a complete ownership of all the estates in, under and above the land except that which had been specifically excepted and reserved, to wit: the coal. Applying the rules of construction to the terms and language of this deed it is evident that the Hamlins conveyed to ...


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