Union Pacific Ry. Co. v. McAlpine
129 U.S. 305 (1889)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Union Pacific Ry. Co. v. McAlpine, 129 U.S. 305 (1889)

Union Pacific Railway Company v. McAlpine

No. 128

Argued December 14-15, 1885

Decided January 28, 1889

129 U.S. 305

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE

UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS

Syllabus

In October, 1814, Mrs. M. owned a tract of land consisting of four acres on Kansas River in the Town of Wyandotte, Kansas, called Ferry tract, and the Kansas Pacific Railway Company owned a tract of 25 1/4 acres lying north of Wyandotte. In that year, negotiations were opened between her and the company for an exchange of 2.7 acres of the Ferry tract, valued at $2,000, for the 25 1/4-acre tract, valued at $1,500, Mrs. M. offering to take for the difference in value a quarter section of land estimated at $3 an acre. Negotiations for the exchange were had between Mrs. M. and officers of that company. On February 26, 1878, the president of the company informed its general superintendent in substance that the exchange would be made, and directed him to proceed with the matter. The superintendent turned the matter over to the attorney of the company, who acquainted Mrs. M. with the conclusion. She, considering the proposition for an exchange of lauds accepted, took possession of the 25 1/4- acre tract with her husband, and made valuable improvements upon it, and has remained in possession ever since. The railway company, who had previously been permitted to lay a track across the land for temporary use, took possession of the 2.7 acres and made improvements thereon. In June, 1878, at a meeting of the directors of the company, the president presented a form of deed to Mrs. M. of 25 1/4 acres in exchange for the 2.7 acres at the landing, and asked for instructions. It was then resolved that an exchange of said lands be made and the deed executed to Mrs. M. whenever the land to be conveyed by her was released from a tax claim thereon. A deed from her and her husband of the 2.7 acres had previously been executed to the company and sent to its officers. After this resolution of the board, proceedings were taken by her for the release of the tax claim mentioned in it, which was accomplished, under the advice of the attorney of the company, by purchasing

Page 129 U. S. 306

in the property upon the sale made for such alleged tax. A deed was then demanded of the company for the 25 1/4-acre tract, and being refused, the present suit was brought for the enforcement of the contract. On the 24th of January, 1880, the Kansas Pacific Railway Company had become consolidated with the Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company and the Union Pacific Railway Company under the name of the latter. By the articles of consolidation, all the property of the constituent companies was conveyed to the new company with a declaration that the assignment and transfer were made "subject to all liens, charges and equities pertaining thereto." Previous to this transfer and consolidation, and in May, 1879, a mortgage was made by the Kansas Pacific Company of its property, including the 25 1/4-acre tract, to Gould and Sage as trustees.

Held:

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