Skip to comments.US Forest Land Swindle
Posted on 12/30/2001 10:28:46 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
Forwarded by Shiela Davis
Jumping Branch, WV ...
I got your name from Bill Monro from the landrights.com page. I want to know if you have had any success with the US Forest Service. I have been trying for 20 plus years to get justice and have basically know more than the Forest service about my rights than they do. Can you help me get publicly for this cover-up of basic land rights? Don Soeken
January 31, 2000
William E. Damon, Jr., Forest Supervisor
George Washington National Forest, USDA
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke VA 24019 File Code: 510/5510/7150
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Dr. Donald R. Soeken and I very much appreciate the six of you meeting with us January 11th. As he said, this is the first face-to-face meeting he has been afforded on this matter in the 25 years since he received a deed to the parcel. Dale Remington's having walked the perimeter of the property earlier this week was particularly helpful.
We request your favorable recommendation that Dr. Soeken receive a quitclaim deed covering what he bought June 26, 1975.
The process record the Forest Service has so carefully accumulated and preserved verifies and validates Dr. Soeken's explanation of his sole title to the parcel.
There occurred at Lynchburg, Virginia in 1939 a civil proceeding presided over by Judge John Paul. This was a "friendly condemnation" to compensate the bankrupt West Virginia Hardwood Company for 226 acres of its land for $565. Everyone proceeded either in ignorance or collusively, since none of the 226 acres in fact lay in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Constructive notice of the Order of Publication appeared in a general circulation newspaper published at Clifton Forge, Allegheny County, Virginia. The text of the notice specified that all the acreage affected lay in Allegheny County, Virginia. The entire suit and result was bogus.
Although Judge John Paul was a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia, his ruling affecting land title had force for any specified ground lying within the borders of the entire Commonwealth. Neither the notice nor the pleadings made any hint or pretense to be affecting land outside his bailiwick, such as 226 acres lying in Sweet Springs District, Monroe County, Southern District of West Virginia. (Such a ruling upon West Virginia land title would have needed judicial action from some other U.S. judge in a federal court at Bluefield, West Virginia.)
Prior to the 1939 condemnation, the federal government had prepared its own survey of West Virginia Hardwood Company holdings. The government's plat bearing date of 1934 is quite extraordinary in several very revealing respects. First, it mislocated one well-known ancient landmark (the Fletcher's Knob promontory of Fletcher's Ridge). More accurate survey work reveals the real state line to be 1,760 feet away from where the 1934 plat purported to site it.
Those persons who received the proceeds of the West Virginia Hardwood Company condemnation funds achieved private enrichment at public expense, like this one we are trying to correct from 1939. Their cleverness is seen in the fact that the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey demarcation of the true and correct state line is clearly shown on the 1934 plat. This protective disclosure shielded the guilty parties from fraud charges, since the real truth was not concealed. The West Virginia sharpsters then used the federal attorney across the line in Virginia in 1939 to liberate money from the federal treasury based upon Forest Service-supplied information that conflicted but was more recent. Pulling the wool over the eyes of authority during the Great Depression so as to assert a phony state line was at once shrewd, amusing, and lucrative. It was both prankish and profitable. It did turn out to be fatally stressful to West Virginia landowner I. W. Davis. He was arrested on his own land in West Virginia, and transported to East Virginia for arraignment. It's very disorienting to have your own government seize you on your own land, transport you under guard to another sovereignty, and arraign you for a crime against realty which the particular court completely lacked any legitimate authority to pursue. I suggest all this contributed to and provoked I. W. Davis' needless death.
It is noteworthy that the landowners like I. W. Davis and their successors in title never acquiesced in the scheme. Even the East Virginia prosecution of I. W. Davis never took place where any court had legitimate jurisdiction. In unbroken chain of title from I. W. Davis down to Donald R. Soeken today the West Virginia local government authorities still list on the public records this land to be individually owned. And why not? The schemers who set up the Virginia federal attorney in Lynchburg to gull Judge John Paul also arranged for the results to be put to public record only in the Alleghany County, East Virginia deed books where it has no legal force or effect.
Nobody but the bankruptcy court receiver in Charleston, West Virginia (1934) and the Forest Service (1936) had ever placed I. W. Davis' land in the Commonwealth of Virginia. When the interstate boundary commission had to be invoked in 1959 to rectify what had been in confusion for a mere 25 years, it became quite clear that the I. W. Davis land had always been in West Virginia. The '34 and '36 government- sponsored mislocations of the state line were instances of oppression by the sovereign.
Further examples of official oppression by the Forest Service followed. The Forest Service carved up the original 315 acre tract. This official action left the I. W. Davis Estate with 15 acres on Route 602 Cove Road in Monroe County, plus landlock-ing another 89 acres above the 226 acres so cavalierly dealt with at Lynchburg federal court. The Forest Service conception of the false state line claiming 226 acres as the heart, isolated the 89 acre head and the 15 acre arm.
It is now time for the current generation of Department of Agriculture officials to right this wrong administratively. It would be a further wrong and oppression to make Dr. Soeken litigate at private expense the controversy of whose state line was where as seen by three sovereignties - West Virginia, East Virginia, and Uncle Sam.
A federal judge presiding in Bluefield, West Virginia would surely spot the lack of symmetry and denial of fair play that this 1939 scheme so baldly presents. A party such as the Forest Service is not permitted in law to profit from its own wrong. A inept survey job by rangers in 1936 was not sanitized by whatever Judge John Paul was tricked into signing in 1939. When this substantial error was carried into the condemnation proceeding in 1939, the results were comic, collusive, or both. The second extraordinary feature of the government's 1934 plat is that it offers two distinct straight lines diverging in a vee to be the same boundary (and opted for the demonstrably wrong one).
Third, the "schizophrenic" boundary proposed by this plat's vee-line happened to be the one separating not only two distinct counties, but also two states of the union! Fourth, the plat was commissioned by the U.S. receiver in bankruptcy stationed at the U.S. District Court in Bluefield, West Virginia.
While the Forest Service exercises good authority to survey a proposed taking, the authority to survey a state line seems to be lacking, since the state line is normally thought to be an immutable and settled starting point. For example, it is unseemly for the U.S. Forest Service to make any attempt to place elsewhere a state border previously specified as reliable by the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. Yet that is what happened in 1934; it is a documentary fact on the plat's face.
Normally, condemnation proceedings done in exercising the power of eminent domain clear up questions of land title for the areas of taking shown on the plat exhibited in court. In this instance that usual expectation could have no effect upon Monroe County, West Virginia land; it was as legally remote from Judge John Paul's lawful perview as if it had lain in Monroe County, Michigan.
The Virginia-based condemnation proceeding in 1939 could not pretend to affect the cross-border land title taken up by Dr. Soeken in 1975. He and his predecessors have faithfully paid Monroe County, West Virginia real estate taxes as if [East] Virginia's Judge John Paul had never ruled. What force if any did the 1939 ruling have on the side of the border not the judge's state? Soeken and his several predecessors in title (see Monroe Co. WV land records) never intended any disrespect to Judge Paul; keeping land tax paid current is one of the expected burdens of ownership, and is not the act of any speculative volunteer.
We take it as a kindness you and your staff's willingness to consider any pressing need for reasonable access to road egress and power line right of way. The way to clear up how a utility can lay its line in a right of way paralleling a state-maintained road to reach Dr. Soeken's Balkanized parcel is to quitclaim it to him as was done for his adjoining landowner Woodrow Anderson. So long as the federal government asserts a conflicting interest in Soeken's parcel, Route 8 at the parcel's edge will continue to be the responsibility of Uncle Sam. If the Forest Service would kindly recede to the state line, and cease to blight the Soeken parcel, the State of West Virginia would then be unambiguously responsible for the continuity of Route 8, and the electric company could go forward on the Soeken side without offending some imagined national interest. (The edge of Route 8 opposite the Soeken parcel is a sheer drop to a stream at the bottom; this isn't the sort of terrain through which running a power line comes cheap.)
Many of us present January 11th are the descendants of Scotch-Irish and English pioneers who proved
Welcome to the War. Misery loves company.
The last link is a bunch of articles that have to do with the government stealing land.
In the eyes of some, that makes you a nut. To them, you are a peasant. Peasants aren't smart enough to know what to do with property. Only a government agancy filled with self-proclaimed 'enlightened' persons have that knowledge.
If you want to BUMP the thread to the top of the Latest Posts lists, just look at post #8.
I really admire your spunk and wish you vast amounts of success. Yes, you will have Freepers rooting for you from the sidelines as they are already helping you re-post with better formatting.
As the British used to say during the darkest days of WWII, "Keep yer pecker up!" (that's not nasty! they mean what'cha give someone a peck on the cheek with -grin)
There was a post on here the other day concerning the Range Wars Heating up in the West....one person posted, I think it was the 3rd post, how it was about time these folks quit getting something for nothing....I had a fit!
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