Bybee v. Oregon & California R. Co.
139 U.S. 663 (1891)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bybee v. Oregon & California R. Co., 139 U.S. 663 (1891)

Bybee v. Oregon and California Railroad Company

No. 276

Argued March 31, 1891

Decided April 20, 1891

139 U.S. 663

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED

STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON

Syllabus

The grant of "lands to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Central Pacific Railroad, in California, to Portland in Oregon," made by the Act of July 25, 1566, 14 Stat. 239, c. 242, was a grant in praesenti, and the provision in section 8 of that act that in case the companies should fail to complete the road on or before July 1, 1875, this act shall be null and void, and all the lands not conveyed by patent to said company or companies, as the case may be, at the date of any such failure shall revert to the United States, is a condition subsequent, of which only the United States can take advantage.

Under the Act of July 26, 1566, 14 Stat. 251, c. 262, "granting the right of way to ditch and canal owners over the public lands," no right could be acquired to any portion of the public lands until the actual taking possession of the same for the purpose of constructing a ditch.

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