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CHICAGO v. UNITED STATES.

decided: October 21, 1895.

CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE & ST. PAUL RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
UNITED STATES.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA.

Author: Harlan

[ 159 U.S. Page 373]

 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

After the Circuit Court had announced its conclusions in the case of Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad Company v. United States, just decided, the Milwaukee company obtained leave to intervene as a defendant, and by cross-bill assert its right to the lands in Dickinson and O'Brien Counties, originally patented to the State of Iowa for the use of the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad Company, and within the conflicting place limits of the two roads, but which the State held and never conveyed to that company, and which the court below found to be the property of the United States as against the Sioux City company and the trustees in the mortgages executed by it.

Such a cross-bill was filed before the entry in the court below of a final decree on the original bill, and the cause was left undetermined as to the claims asserted by the Milwaukee company in its cross-bill.

Benjamin Olson, Peter Anderson, and others, parties defendant in the original suit, intervened, with leave of the court, as defendants, and, by a cross-bill against the Milwaukee company and the Sioux City company, asserted rights to portions of the lands in controversy -- having settled, they alleged, on such lands, under the laws of the United States, between the years 1881 and 1887, and made valuable improvements thereon.

The United States answered the cross-bill of the Milwaukee company, and also filed an amended bill, in which it prayed that by final decree its title to the lands awarded to it by the original decree as against the Sioux City company, be established and quieted as against the Milwaukee company.

The court below rendered a decree in favor of the United States on this amended bill, and dismissed the cross-bill of the Milwaukee company.

The cross-bill of Olson and others was dismissed without prejudice. This was done because the pleadings presented no issue as between the settlers and the United States; the cross-bill of the settlers being against the railroad companies only.

[ 159 U.S. Page 374]

     We are of opinion that the appellant has no reason, in law, to complain of the decree of the Circuit Court.

Although the act of May 12, 1864, would, if its title alone were consulted, furnish some slight ground for the contention that the object of the grant therein was to aid in the construction of "a railroad," its provisions plainly show that Congress had in view two railroads; one extending from Sioux City to the Minnesota line; the other from South McGregor, by a named route, to a point of intersection, in the county of O'Brien, with the Sioux City road.

The grant was of every alternate section, designated by odd numbers, for ten sections in width, "on each side of said roads," and, therefore, for the benefit of the roads separately. As decided in the other case, no part of the lands granted in aid of the construction of one road could be applied in aid of the other road. The act is to be interpreted as if Congress by one act made a grant to the State in aid of the construction of the Sioux City road on the route designated, and, by another and separate act, passed at the same time, made a grant to the State in aid of the construction of the other road from South McGregor to a point of intersection with the Sioux City road.

It appeared in the original case, and appears in the present case made by the cross-bill of the Milwaukee road -- and Congress, in requiring an intersection of the two roads, must have anticipated such a condition of things -- that because of the conflict between the two grants, it was impossible to set apart for each road every alternate odd-numbered section for ten sections in width on each side of every part of its located line. Consequently, in the suit brought against the Sioux City company by the Milwaukee company as the last successor to the McGregor Western Railroad Company, by a final decree framed pursuant to the directions given by this court in Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad v. ...


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