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DUBUQUE & S.C. R. CO. V. DES MOINES VALLEY R. CO., 109 U. S. 329 (1883)

U.S. Supreme Court

Dubuque & S.C. R. Co. v. Des Moines Valley R. Co., 109 U.S. 329 (1883)

Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad Company v.

Des Moines Valley Railroad Company

Argued October 29, 1883

Decided November 19, 1883

109 U.S. 329


Previous decisions of this Court have settled: 1. That the grant of lands in 1846 to Iowa Territory for the improvement of the Des Moines River did not extend above the Raccoon Fork. 2. That the odd numbered sections within five miles of the river above Raccoon Fork and below the east branch, to which Indian title had been extinguished, did not pass under the act of 1856, granting lands to Iowa to aid in the construction of railroads. 3. That the act of 1862 transferred the title from the United States and vested it in Iowa for the use of its grantees under the river grant.

The Court now decides: 4. That when the act of 1862 took effect, there was no Indian title in the way of the grant, and the title of the defendants in error in this suit was perfected. 5. That the reservation made by the executive under the act of 1846 is to have effect according to its terms, and not according to any mistaken interpretation which may at some time have been given to it.

Action to recover lands and quiet title. It was commenced in the Humboldt District Court in the State of Iowa. The present plaintiffs by petition set forth that in May, 1856, Congress granted to the State of Iowa, for the purpose of aiding in constructing a railroad from Dubuque to Sioux City, every alternate section of land designated by odd numbers, for six sections in width on each side of said road; that this grant became vested in the plaintiffs, and that the present defendants had wrongfully

Page 109 U. S. 330

procured from the land office an illegal certification to certain designated sections within the grant, whereby the plaintiff's title was disquieted, and they prayed judgment that the lands might be decreed to them.

The answer set up that the lands in question were set apart prior to the act of 1856 as part of the lands granted to the State of Iowa by the Act of August 8, 1846, and that the defendants had succeeded to the rights of the state under the latter grant, and were entitled to the lands in controversy.

The district court gave judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. The supreme court of the state on appeal reversed that judgment. The cause was brought before this Court by writ of error. The facts necessary to the understanding of the issues involved appear in the opinion of the Court.

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