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U.S. Supreme Court

Grand Rapids and Indiana R. Co. v. Butler, 159 U.S. 87 (1895)

Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Company v. Butler

No. 198

Argued and submitted January 29, 1895

Decided June 3, 1895

159 U.S. 87


The decision by a state court that the pleadings were sufficient to permit the examination and determination of the case presents no federal question.

While the rule is that this Court, upon a writ of error to the highest court of a state in an action at law, cannot review its judgment upon a question of fact, it is unnecessary to consider the extent of the power of the court in that particular in chancery cases, as this Court concurs with the result reached by the state court that when the survey was made of the land in controversy, there was no reservation made of the island, and no act on the part of the government showing any intention to reserve it.

In Michigan, a grant of land bounded by a stream, whether navigable in fact or not, carries with it the bed of the stream to the center of the thread thereof.

The court has no doubt upon the evidence that the circumstances were such at the time of the survey as naturally induced the surveyor to decline to survey the tract in controversy as an island; that there is nothing

Page 159 U. S. 88

to indicate mistake or fraud, and the government has taken no steps predicated on that theory, and that the judgment of the Supreme Court of the Michigan was right.

This was a bill filed by John Butler in the Circuit Court of the County of Kent, in the State of Michigan, against the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad Company and others to quiet title to certain land in that county, resulting in a decree in complainant's favor which was afterwards affirmed by the supreme court of the state, to review whose judgment this writ of error was sued out. The case is reported 85 Mich. 246.

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