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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Colton Marble & Lime Co., 146 U.S. 615 (1892)

United States v. Colton Marble & Lime Company

Nos. 862, 863

Argued November 9-10, 1892

Decided December 12, 1892

146 U.S. 615


The proviso in the Act of March 3, 1871, 16 Stat. 573, c. 122, granting lands in aid of the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad, that the grant should "in no way affect or impair the rights, present or prospective, of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company" operated to exempt the indemnity lands of the Atlantic and Pacific Company from the grant to the Southern Pacific Company.

These cases are similar in many respect, to those of United States v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, just decided. The lands involved are within the granted limits of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and the indemnity limits of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company, and the contention on the part of the government is that, because they were within such indemnity limits, they were not of the lands granted, or intended to be granted, to the Southern Pacific Company. In the first, the defendants claim under the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and are charged to be committing trespasses upon the lands, and the relief sought is, as in the two prior cases, to quiet the title of the plaintiff, and to restrain the trespasses. In the second, a patent has been issued, and the legal title conveyed to the railroad company, and the relief sought is the cancellation of that patent, and a decree establishing the title of the government. In this case, there is a further contention on the part of the government, and that is that the lands were sub judice at the time of the definite location of the Southern Pacific Company's road, inasmuch as they were within the exterior boundaries of a Mexican land grant known as the

Page 146 U. S. 616

Rancho San Jose, as those boundaries were marked on the surface of the ground by one of two official surveys, the accuracy of neither of which had then been determined. Decrees were entered below in favor of the defendants, dismissing the bills, from which decrees the government has appealed to this Court. See 39 F.1d 2; 40 F.6d 1; 45 F.5d 6; 46 F.6d 3.

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