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STEWART OIL COMPANY v. SOHIO PETROLEUM COMPANY

March 23, 1962

STEWART OIL COMPANY, A CORPORATION, MICHIGAN OIL COMPANY, A CORPORATION, STEWART PRODUCERS, INC., A CORPORATION, KENNETH PATTERSON, G.F. STEWART, W. ROLLAND STEWART, FRANK J. TIERNAN, AND MORRIS YARBROVE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SOHIO PETROLEUM COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT AND COUNTERCLAIMANT, V. WALTER E. KLINE, STELLA P. KLINE, R.E. HAYES, CARL E. MOSES, DAVID R. STEWART, W.T. FREDERKING, A.P. WAGEMANN, JOHN J. STEINER, JOSEPHINE M. STEINER, AND DONK BROS. COAL & COKE COMPANY, COUNTERDEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juergens, District Judge.

This action was commenced by the plaintiffs to recover the proceeds from the sale of oil produced from the Southeast Quarter of the Southeast Quarter of Section 29, Township 6 North, Range 4 West of the Third Principal Meridian, Bond County, Illinois, and sold to Sohio Petroleum Company, defendant. After the action was instituted, the defendant paid the funds received from the sale of the oil into the Registry of this Court, alleging that there were adverse claims to the proceeds and that the defendant-counterclaimant was in doubt as to the person or persons entitled to said proceeds and that it could not safely determine as between the adverse claims without hazard to itself and asked that this Court determine to whom the proceeds should be paid. The defendant-counterclaimant, Sohio Petroleum Company, does not claim any part of the proceeds.

On October 24, 1957, this Court entered an interlocutory decree which provided that the amended counterclaim was in the nature of a bill of interpleader, that it was aptly filed, and that the Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. The Sohio Petroleum Company was allowed to deposit the sum of money in dispute in the Registry of the Court, subject to further order of the Court. The Sohio Petroleum Company was released and discharged from any and all liability for the proceeds of the oil produced from the property from the first purchase until the first day of September, 1957. Additional funds have subsequently been deposited in the Registry of the Court to abide the result of the trial.

The counterdefendants, John J. Steiner and Josephine M. Steiner, having failed to plead or appear, were judged and ordered defaulted.

The plaintiffs and the counterdefendants, Donk Bros. Coal & Coke Company, Carl E. Moses and David R. Stewart, claim that they are entitled to the proceeds by virtue of an oil and gas lease dated October 21, 1955, from Donk Bros. Coal & Coke Company, lessor, to Carl E. Moses and David R. Stewart, lessees, and subsequently assigned to the plaintiffs subject to a royalty of 1/8 interest in the original lease reserved to Donk Bros. Coal & Coke Company and an overriding royalty of 1/16 of 7/8 reserved to Carl E. Moses and 1/32 of 7/8 reserved to David R. Stewart.

Donk Bros. Coal & Coke Company acquired its interest in the property from one Theodore Rassieur, who had in turn acquired title from Samuel J. Brown by warranty deed dated September 21, 1907, which provides in pertinent parts as follows:

    "The Grantor Samuel J. Brown, (unmarried), of Town
  of Old Ripley, in the County of Bond and State of
  Illinois, for and in consideration of Other good and
  valuable considerations, and the sum of One DOLLARS
  CONVEY and WARRANT to Theodore Rassieur, of St.
  Louis, Missouri, the following described real estate
  to-wit: All coal and other mineral under the surface
  of the following described tracts of land:
    "The Southeast quarter (¼) of the Southeast quarter
  (¼) of Section No. Twenty-nine (29), in Township No.
  Six (6), North; Range No. Four (4), West of the Third
  (3rd) Principal Meridian, 40 acres; containing in all
  143.55 acres, more or less, in Townships Nos. 5 & 6,
  North, Range No. Four (4), West of the Third
  Principal Meridian, in the County of Bond and State
  of Illinois, together with the right to mine and
  remove said coal and other mineral and the right to
  conduct mining operations under the surface of said
  tracts of land therefor, and the right to use all
  rooms, entries and mining ways at coal depth under
  the surface of said tracts of land as and for mining
  ways, to and from beds of coal or other mineral in
  other lands, hereby releasing and waiving all rights
  under and by virtue of the Homestead Exemption Laws
  of the State of Illinois.

"Dated this 21st day of September, A.D. 1907.

"/s/ Samuel J. Brown."

The words "at coal depth" are added by interlineation to the printed deed.

The counterdefendants, Walter E. Kline, Stella P. Kline, R.E. Hayes, W.T. Frederking and A.P. Wagemann, claim the proceeds by virtue of mesne conveyances from Samuel J. Brown originating with a deed from Samuel J. Brown to Albert T. Brown dated the 21st day of September, 1907, which provides in pertinent parts as follows:

    "The Grantor, Samuel J. Brown, (unmarried), of the
  Town of Old Ripley, in the County of Bond and State
  of Illinois, for and in consideration of Other good
  and valuable considerations, and One DOLLARS in hand
  paid CONVEY AND WARRANT

  to Albert T. Brown, of the same place, in the County
  of Bond and State of Illinois, the following
  described Real Estate, to-wit:
    "Also the Southeast quarter (¼) of the Southeast
  quarter (¼) of Section No. Twenty-nine (29), in
  Township No. Six (6) North; Range No. Four (4), West
  of the Third (3rd) Principal Meridian, 40 acres, more
  or less;
    "Containing in all 143.55 acres, more or less;
  (Coal etc. underlying said premises reserved, same
  having been heretofore sold); situated in the County
  of Bond, in the State of Illinois, hereby releasing
  and waiving all rights under ...

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