Missouri v. Iowa
165 U.S. 118 (1897)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Missouri v. Iowa, 165 U.S. 118 (1897)

Missouri v. Iowa

No. 6, Original

Report filed December 14, 1896

Decree entered January 18, 1897

165 U.S. 118

ORIGINAL

Syllabus

The report of the commissioners appointed February 3, 1896, 160 U. S. 160 U.S. 688, to find and remark the boundary line between the states of Missouri and Iowa, is confirmed, and it is ordered that that boundary line be as delineated and set forth in said report.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER announced the decree of the Court.

This cause coming on to be heard on the application of the State of Missouri, the State of Iowa consenting thereto, for decree on the report of James Harding, Peter A. Dey, and Dwight C. Morgan, commissioners appointed by decretal order herein on February 3, 1896, to find and remark with proper and durable monuments such portions of the proper boundary line between the States of Missouri and Iowa as run, marked, and located by Hendershott and Minor, commissioners of this Court, under the orders and decrees of this Court of February 13, 1849, and January 3, 1851, as have become obliterated, especially between the fiftieth and fifty-fifth mile posts on the same, and it appearing that a difference of opinion has arisen in respect of certain allowances to be included in the expenses incurred in remarking said boundary line, it is ordered by the Court that Commissioner Morgan be allowed his per diem for 46 days' services, and that the account of expenses attached to said report be completed by the addition of that per diem in favor of said commissioner, and that said report as so completed in that particular be, and the same is hereby, in all things confirmed, as follows:

Page 165 U. S. 119

"To the Honorable the Supreme Court of the United States:"

"The undersigned commissioners, appointed by the decree of your honorable Court dated February 3, 1896, to find and remark with proper and durable monuments such portions of the boundary line between the States of Missouri and Iowa run, marked, and located by Hendershott and Minor in accordance with decree of your honorable Court dated January 3, 1851, as have become obliterated, especially between the fiftieth and fifty-fifth mile posts on said line, etc., respectfully submit the following report:"

"On the 27th day of February last, the commissioners met in the City of Chicago, and fully discussed matters pertinent to the proper performance of the duties imposed upon them. Construing the decree as applying to all portions of the boundary line in question, the commissioners decided to advertise in newspapers published in counties in Missouri and Iowa adjacent to the boundary for information regarding such parts of said line as were in dispute, or had become obliterated. This was done, and considerable information elicited, but as the officials of one of the states interested declined to authorize the work necessary in retracing the line, excepting where directed in the decree, nothing was done beyond the finding and remarking 'with proper and durable monuments' such portions of the line as was necessary for its proper relocation between the 40th and 60th mile points, as shown hereinafter."

"After careful consideration, it was decided to apply to Gen'l W. W. Duffield, Superintendent U.S. Coast and Geodetic survey, for a detail from his corps of assistants to perform all field work necessary in carrying out the instructions of the Court. It was decided that the employment of expert officers of the Geodetic Survey Corps for the services required would result more satisfactorily to the states concerned than would the selection of any private parties, as the high professional attainments of these officers, and their freedom from any possible bias regarding the boundary line to be established, were ample guaranties for the entire reliability and impartiality of any work done by them."

"Correspondence was accordingly had with Gen'l Duffield,

Page 165 U. S. 120

who consented to detail two of his assistants and also to supply them with a complete outfit of all instruments and appliances necessary in the prosecution of the proposed work. This offer was at once accepted. A meeting was afterwards had in St. Louis, March 11th ult., when it was decided to meet at Lineville, Iowa, a point immediately upon the boundary line between Missouri and Iowa, for the purpose of personal investigation as to the proper point or points at which to commence operations. Two of the commissioners accordingly met at Lineville on March 18th ult., and spent three days in the examination of the boundary line and of points on said line claimed to have been established by Hendershott and Minor in 1850. The first step taken was to decide regarding the proper points between which our work of relocation of that part of the line designated in the decree of your honorable Court, namely, from the 50th to the 55th mile points on the Hendershott and Minor line, should be commenced. It appeared to us that the cast-iron monuments placed by Hendershott and Minor at intervals of ten miles would naturally be more reliable than any traditional points, and the first investigations were made as regarding the 40th, 50th, and 60th mile points, these being originally marked by Hendershott and Minor with iron monuments, as stated. After careful examination and much inquiry, the commissioners were satisfied that the monuments marking the 40th and 60th mile points were in their original positions. As regarded the monument at the 50th mile point, whilst no positive evidence could be had as to its removal from its original position, the rumors and statements were such as to render its reliability a matter of doubt, and it was therefore determined to use the monuments at the 40th and 60th mile points as fixed points between which to relocate the boundary line."

"It was subsequently arranged for the commissioners to meet at Davis City, Iowa, a point on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad adjacent to the 40th mile point, where it was proposed to commence work. Gen'l Duffield was accordingly notified, and on Wednesday, April 8th ult., the commissioners reached Davis City, and met Messrs. W. C. Hodgkins

Page 165 U. S. 121

(in charge of work) and A. L. Baldwin, of the U.S. Geodetic Survey Corps, detailed as per arrangements made with Gen'l Duffield. These gentlemen brought with them a very complete outfit of instruments of the best description used in geodetic work, including all necessary equipment for astronomical observations as well as field work. We proceeded to the 40th mile point on the afternoon of April 8th ult., and arranged for the commencement of work the following day. On April 9th ult., a party for field work having been organized and the necessary teams and wagons hired, the entire party proceeded to Pleasanton, Iowa, a point situated immediately on the boundary line just east of the 45th mile point. Pleasanton and Lineville subsequently became the bases of operation, our parties changing from one of these points to the other as the necessities of the work required."

"Work was commenced at the 40th mile point, as arranged. It soon became quite evident that the actual boundary line as indicated by points shown and satisfactorily identified differed from the line as would be established by the field notes of the Hendershott and Minor survey. In order that the relative positions of the actual mile points between the 40th and 60th mile points could be properly determined, and also their true relation to the theoretical points as found in accordance with the courses and distances shown in Hendershott's report, it was deemed necessary to establish a chord or baseline twenty miles in length between the 40th and 60th iron monuments to which all points actually found and definitely located or shown and claimed as being upon the boundary line could be referred, and from which all points finally determined could be accurately located. For the details of the actual field work and its results, we respectfully refer to the accompanying report of Mr. W. C. Hodgkins, in charge of party (Appendix A). It is proper here to state that the field work, done as it was in accordance with the precise methods of the U.S. Geodetic Surveys, was necessarily very slow and tedious; but its accuracy, in our opinion, cannot be questioned. The measurement of the twenty-mile baseline involved a very great amount of labor, whilst the computations necessary in the

Page 165 U. S. 122

exact reduction of the measurements were also very laborious. Complete topographical notes were also taken for the entire work, but the commissioners have deemed it unnecessary to have maps prepared, as their preparations would involve a considerable expense without any corresponding benefit. The very unfavorable weather during a great portion of May and a part of June interfered seriously with the prosecution of the field work, causing a delay of from two to three weeks."

"Careful examination was made in every instance for the precise location of the original Hendershott and Minor mile points, but out of twenty-one of these points included in the survey. only nine, including three iron monuments, could be satisfactorily identified. The 42d, 43d, 44th, 49th, 54th, and 58th mile points were identified and located by evidence entirely satisfactory to the commissioners. As regards the 50th mile point (iron monument), concerning the reliability of which doubt had existed, the commissioners are satisfied that it is very little, if at all, out of its original position; its relation to the 49th mile point (which was clearly identified as Hendershott's original point), as determined by the baseline, confirming our judgment. After the work of relocation had commenced and preliminary work on the twenty-mile base well advanced, statements were made to the commissioners to the effect that the iron monument at the 60th mile point had at one time been moved from its original position. This being a matter of importance, the monument in question being considered as a fixed point in establishing the baseline, an inquiry was had regarding it, and a considerable amount of testimony heard. This testimony was very conflicting, but after its careful consideration and the prolongation of the baseline some four miles eastward of the 60th mile point, the commissioners were satisfied that the monument was occupying its original position."

"The location of the 52d mile point was more difficult, and involved a much more extended investigation than for any point established by the commissioners. It was claimed and strongly urged that the original 52d mile point as established by Hendershott and Minor was at a point witnessed by two

Page 165 U. S. 123

trees -- an elm and an oak -- which trees, as well as a point established from them in accordance with Hendershott and Minor field notes, were shown. The field notes regarding this and also the 53d mile point are as follows:"

" (Chains.)"

" 80.00 Set 52d mile post."

" Bearings, elm, 18 inches diameter, N., 87 1/4

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