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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Northern Pacific R. Co., 193 U.S. 1 (1904)

United States v. Northern Pacific Railroad Company

No. 196

Argued January 5, 1904

Decided February 23, 1904

193 U.S. 1


The Act of July 2, 1864, granting lands to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, did not take any lands out of the disposition of Congress until the line of the road was definitely located by maps duly required by the act, and it has been decided by this Court that the Perham map of 1865, even if valid as a map of general route, did not operate as a reservation.

When Congress, by resolution of May 31, 1870, made an additional grant to the Northern Pacific Railroad Company for a branch road to Puget Sound via the valley of the Columbia, the United States still had full title not reserved, granted, sold or otherwise appropriated to the lands of the new grant which fell within the lines of the former grant, and on completion of the branch road, the railroad company was entitled to a patent for such overlap of said lands as it had earned. United Stales v. Oregon & Cal. R. Co., 176 U. S. 28, followed.

This was a suit brought by the United States against the Northern Pacific Railroad Company and the Northern Pacific Railway Company to cancel patents issued in May, 1895, by the United States to the railroad company, to whose rights the railway company had succeeded. The lands are situated in the State of Washington, north of Portland, in the State of Oregon. The case was heard in the circuit court on facts stipulated, and the bill dismissed, whereupon it was carried to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and that

Page 193 U. S. 2

court certified to this Court certain questions on which it desired instructions. The whole record and cause were then required to be sent up for consideration.

Page 193 U. S. 5

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