Packer v. Bird - 137 U.S. 661 (1891)
U.S. Supreme Court
Packer v. Bird, 137 U.S. 661 (1891)
Packer v. Bird
Submitted December 3, 1890
Decided January 1891
137 U.S. 661
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT
OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
The undoubted rule of the common law that the title of owners of land bordering on navigable rivers above the ebb and flow of the tide extends to the middle of the stream, having been adopted in some of the states, and not being recognized in other states, federal Courts must construe grants of the general government without reference to the rules of construction adopted by the states for such grants by them.
Whatever incidents or rights attach to the ownership of property conveyed by the United states bordering on navigable streams will be determined by the states in which it is situated, subject to the limitation that their rules do not impair the efficacy of the grant or the use and enjoyment of the property by the grantee.