This is a trespass to try title suit brought by Scurry County, Texas, and H. R. Bright to recover title and possession of the surface and of the oil, gas and other minerals of a 6.87-acre tract of land in Block 21, Section 40, Kirkland and Fields Survey in Scurry County, Texas. Scurry County claimed the record and legal title to the property under a deed dated August 8, 1934 from Guy Stoker, Lowell Stoker and Frank Stoker, and their wives, and Beatrice Stoker Webb and her husband, who are hereafter referred to as the Stokers. The deed was filed for record in the Deed Records of Scurry County on July 19, 1952. H. R. Bright claimed under an oil and gas lease from Scurry County but during the trial of the case took a non-suit.
All defendants named in the suit filed pleas of not guilty and a general denial. Defendants Guy Glenn and wife, Amy B. Glenn, and their lessee, Charlie Lockhart, Jr., filed a cross action asserting title to the land in question under the ten-year statute of limitations. Scurry County and the Glenns have entered into an agreement settling their controversy. Other defendants were M. R. Estes, who claims an interest in the surface and minerals under a quitclaim deed from some of the Stokers. J. S. Abercrombie who claims under an oil and gas lease from the Stokers and their grantees, and in addition to a plea of not guilty and a general denial, filed a cross action urging pleas of the two and four year statutes of limitation, stale demand, estoppel, innocent purchaser and the three, five and ten year statutes of limitation. Defendants Sue Hill Metts, and husband, Dean Metts, Betty Felix Helis, William G. Helis, Jr., Adrienne Helis Malvin and husband, A. Malvin, Virginia Helis Droulia, Esther Helis Henry and husband, Paul Henry, C. S. Atchison, D. E. Kenney, R. B. Moncrief, W. A. Moncrief, Summerfield G. Roberts, Laura Sue Hall and Paul C. Teas, Jr., all claim royalty and mineral interests under the Stokers, H. J. Brice and O. B. Price. Defendants O. B. Price and wife, Lela Price claim under a mineral deed from H. J. Brice and wife dated July 13, 1945; H. J. Brice and wife claim under a deed from Lowell Stoker and Frank Stoker dated in October, 1934, conveying their one-half interest in the property.
The case was tried before a jury and based upon its verdict, the stipulations and agreements by and between the parties and such additional findings as the court was authorized to make, judgment was entered that Scurry County should recover a royalty interest of 1/8th of all oil, gas and other minerals produced on the 6.87 acre tract in question; that Guy Glenn and wife, Amy B. Glenn, have title and possession of such tract, subject only to the royalty interest awarded Scurry County and the oil and gas leasehold estate, which the court awarded to Charlie Lockhart, Jr., the leasehold interest of Lockhart being subject only to the royalty interest of Scurry County and an overriding 1/16th royalty interest in favor of Guy Glenn and wife. This appeal is
A settlement agreement was entered into between Scurry County and Guy Glenn whereby it was agreed, in effect, that if, upon the trial of the cause, it should appear that either of said parties was entitled to judgment for title and possession of the land that judgment should be entered by the court vesting title and possession of said land in Glenn and his wife with the exception of a royalty interest of 1/8th of all the oil, gas and minerals produced thereon.
It was stipulated that a warranty deed dated June 25, 1921 executed by Dallas Trust & Savings Bank, trustee, to the Stokers vested fee simple title from the sovereignty of the soil in the Stokers to the lands therein described by metes and bounds, which included tract 21 in which the 6.87-acre tract in controversy is located. Scurry County, in order to show its title to such tract, introduced the deed executed by the Stokers dated August 8, 1934, in which the county is grantee. The description of the land purported to be conveyed therein is as follows:
The County also introduced a map of the Grimes Ranch Land which shows tract 21 and introduced a deed from W. G. Grimes to the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Ry. Co., covering the railway right of way across Section 40 and a deed from the Stokers to the State of Texas covering the right of way for the relocation of Highway No. 7. The designation of the highway referred to as Highway No. 7 has now been changed to Highway No. 84.
In numerous points appellants attack the deed from the Stokers to Scurry County as being invalid for lack of sufficient description. In some of the points it is urged that Scurry County failed to prove record title by reason of the invalidity of such deed. In other points it is contended that the Glenns, who base their claim for title on the ten-year statute of limitations, never had or exercised such possession over the mineral estate in said land as to acquire title thereto by limitation. Appellants' contention in this regard is that because the deed in question was void for lack of sufficient description, title to the 6.87-acre tract was not conveyed but remained in the Stokers and was, on December 10, 1938, vested in Guy Stoker and H. J. Brice, at which time they gave to C. L. Griffin an oil and gas lease which severed the mineral estate prior to the time Glenn entered upon the premises; that the possession and occupancy of the Glenns was not therefore either actual or constructive possession of any part of the mineral estate therein. Appellants contend that the descriptive language used in the deed is unintelligible and, therefore, constitutes no legal description of any particular property and that the deed is, therefore, void. They admit that a beginning point and an ending point of the tract description is given, that is, where the east boundary line of tract No. 21 intersects the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Ry. Co. right of way but contend that in all other respects the description is insufficient. It is urged that although the general course and direction of the first line leading away from
It is urged by appellees that the reference in the questioned deed dated August 8, 1934 by the Stokers to Scurry County is to a deed executed by the Stokers on the same date, of record in the Deed Records of Scurry County, Texas, in which a certain described 4.277-acre tract of land is conveyed to the State of Texas as right of way for the relocation of highway No. 7. The material portion of the deed claimed to be referred to, as introduced in evidence, is as follows:
We overrule appellants' contention that the questioned deed dated August 8, 1934 from the Stokers to Scurry County is void for uncertainty of description. When the language of reference and the terms of the questioned deed and the contents of the deed of the same date executed by the Stokers to the State of Texas covering the 4.277-acre tract are considered together and in connection with the facts and circumstances in evidence, there is in our opinion sufficient basis for the use in evidence of the latter deed in aid of identification of the 6.87-acre tract. The description in the questioned deed as aided by the provisions of the deed referred to is sufficient to identify the 6.87-acre tract and effect a transfer of title thereto. The test of whether the reference or information contained in a deed is sufficient to permit the claimed instrument of reference to be looked to in determining what property is intended to be conveyed was set out by our Supreme Court in the case of Maupin v. Chaney, 139 Tex. 426, 163 S.W.2d 380, 383, as follows:
In this connection, see also 14 Tex.Jur., pages 1005, 1007, where it is stated as follows:
When we examine the questioned deed along with the claimed deed of reference in the light of the tests set out in the above quoted authority and text, there can be no doubt that the identity of the deed referred
These facts, in our opinion, come clearly under the rule laid down in the case of Maupin v. Chaney, supra. The deed dated August 8, 1934 from the Stokers to Scurry
Extrinsic evidence shows there is no other instrument which would comply with the descriptive language of reference used. The deed covering highway right of way from the Stokers to the State of Texas shows by recitations therein that the right of way for the relocation of highway No. 7 was on August 8, 1934, the date of the execution of both deeds fully surveyed and laid out on the ground. The evidence shows that a surveyor can, by the description in the questioned deed from the Stokers to Scurry County, with the aid of the description in the deed referred to, for highway right of way from the Stokers to the State of Texas, locate on the ground the point of beginning and all calls in the description of the 6.87-acre tract in controversy. The description in the questioned deed is not fatally defective or void but is sufficient to pass title to the tract to Scurry County.
The deed from the Stokers to Scurry County dated August 8, 1934, under which appellee county claims title to the 6.87-acre tract was not filed for record in the Deed Records of Scurry County until July 19, 1952. Article 6627, Vernon's Revised Texas Civil Statutes, provides that deeds shall be void as to subsequent purchasers for a valuable consideration without notice unless they shall be filed for record as required by law. We overrule appellants' contention that under the above statute the questioned deed is void as to them because of their alleged lack of notice thereof, and the further contention that such void status of the deed and the oil and gas lease to C. L. Griffin in 1938 affected a severance of the minerals and defeated Guy Glenn's limitation claim.
It was stipulated by and between the parties that none of the appellants at or before the time they acquired their respective conveyances had actual knowledge or actual notice of the warranty deed from the Stokers to Scurry County, and that all appellants paid value for their respective interests. There remained in the case, however, for the decision of the court, upon the issue of purchase for value without notice, the issue of constructive notice to appellants because of the recitals of various instruments in their respective chains of title. Included in the chain of title of each of the appellants is a deed from Lowell Stoker and wife and Frank Stoker and wife to H. J. Brice, and the deeds by which Guy Stoker acquired the interest of Beatrice Webb in Tract 21. Each of such instruments, after the description of Tract 21 therein contains the following language: "This conveyance is executed, however, subject to land to Scurry County for Highway purposes."
A purchaser is charged with notice of the contents and legal effect of instruments which are in his chain of title although he may never have had any actual knowledge thereof. Steed v. Crossland, Tex.Civ.App., 252 S.W.2d 784 (Writ Ref.); Wessels v. Rio Bravo Oil Co., Tex.Civ. App., 250 S.W.2d 668 (Writ Ref., and cases there cited); Loomis v. Cobb, Tex.Civ. App., 159 S.W. 305 (Writ Ref.); Matthews v. Rains County, Tex.Civ.App., 206 S.W.2d 852 (Writ Ref.); Wallace v. Hoyt, Tex. Civ.App., 225 S.W. 425 (Writ Ref.); City of Dallas v. Rutledge, Tex.Civ.App., 258 S.W. 534; Havard v. Smith, Tex.Civ. App., 13 S.W.2d 743; Spencer v. Maverick, Tex.Civ.App., 146 S.W.2d 819.
Scurry County was entitled to recover against all appellants by reason of its deed from the Stokers dated August 8, 1934. Contrary to appellants' contention the deed was valid and conveyed title to the 6.87-acre tract in controversy. Although the deed was not filed for record until after appellants had acquired their respective interests therein, they were not, for the reasons hereinabove stated, innocent purchasers without notice.
As previously noted, there was an agreement between Scurry County and Guy Glenn who claims under the ten-year statute of limitations that in the event either party was entitled to judgment, the court should decree title and possession of the land to be in Glenn and his wife and in Charlie Lockhart to whom the Glenns had executed an oil and gas lease, except that Scurry County should be vested with title to royalty interest of 1/8th of all the oil, gas and other minerals in and under the 6.87-acre tract in controversy. The validity of the questioned deed, together with the fact that appellants were not innocent purchasers without notice under Article 6627, supra, and the agreement between Scurry County and the Glenns and Charlie Lockhart required the rendition of the judgment entered by the court. Since this is true, other points which question or deal with the adverse nature of Glenn's possession under the ten-year statute of limitations become immaterial and need not be discussed. No reversible error is presented.
The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.