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NOBLE V. OKLAHOMA CITY, 297 U. S. 481 (1936)

U.S. Supreme Court

Noble v. Oklahoma City, 297 U.S. 481 (1936)

Noble v. Oklahoma City

No. 335

Argued February 4, 5, 1936

Decided March 2, 1936*

297 U.S. 481


1. The Act of Congress of February 18, 1888, and the amending Act of February 13, 1889, authorizing a railroad company to locate and construct a railroad across a portion of the Indian Territory then still held in trust for the Creek Indians, but which was afterwards acquired from them by the United States and opened to settlement, did not make a grant in praesenti of a right of way, but granted only a franchise, and authorized a taking of land only upon compensation secured or made. Pp. 297 U. S. 489, 297 U. S. 494.

2. Subsequent related legislation examined, and found not to require a different conclusion. P. 297 U. S. 491.

3. In view of the nature of the title of the Indians, an intention to grant or impose a servitude upon their lands without compensation to them cannot be imputed to Congress. P. 297 U. S. 493.

4. Even if it be assumed that the Act of 1888 granted the railroad a base or limited fee, title nevertheless could not have vested until plats of the location of the line were filed with the Secretary of the Interior for his approval, as required by the Act, and therefore the mere staking of a location of a proposed line was ineffectual to prevent the acquisition of superior rights by settlers and occupants under the homestead and townsite laws. P. 297 U. S. 494.

5. The provisions made by 43 U.S.C. 912 for transfer of title of abandoned railroad lands relate to such lands as were granted to the railroad by the United States, and do not apply to land which was conveyed to the railroad, subject to reverter, by an entryman who acquired title under the public land laws. P. 297 U. S. 495.

6. Whether a habendum clause in a private deed to a railroad operated to revest title in the grantor's heirs upon abandonment of the railroad held a question not of federal, but of state, law, to be decided by the state court. P. 297 U. S. 495.

172 Okla. 182; 44 P.2d 135, reversed.

Certiorari, 296 U.S. 560, to review a judgment of the state supreme court which affirmed judgments of the trial

Page 297 U. S. 482

court in favor of the city in two cases involving title to lands.

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