Missouri v. Iowa
51 U.S. 1

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U.S. Supreme Court

Missouri v. Iowa, 51 U.S. 10 How. 1 1 (1850)

Missouri v. Iowa

51 U.S. (10 How.) 1



The report of the commissioners appointed by this Court in 48 U. S. 7 How. 660, to run and mark the line dividing the States of Missouri and Iowa adopted and confirmed, and the boundary line finally established.

The commissioners appointed by this Court to run and mark the boundary line between said states, according to our decree of the December term, 1848, having performed that duty and reported to the Court at this term the manner in which said work had been performed, and it appearing that two surveyors had been employed by said commissioners to aid them in doing the work in the field, and that other assistants had been employed, and that various expenses had been incurred in running and marking said line, now, in order that the parties to said controversy may be informed of the amount of means necessary to be provided to pay for said services, and also for other costs and charges incident to the suit, it is ordered that the clerk of this Court do examine witnesses, and resort to other evidence for the purpose of ascertaining what is the proper compensation to be allowed to said commissioners and the surveyors they employed, and also what compensation is due to the Hon. Robert W. Wells for such services as he may have performed as commissioner before he resigned. And said clerk will also ascertain the amount of expenses, of every description, incurred by said commissioners, besides the compensation to themselves and said surveyors, together with the costs and charges incurred in this Court in carrying on the

Page 51 U. S. 2

controversy here. All of which he will include in a detailed account, and report the same to this Court at an early day, for its final action thereon.

And in taking said account, the report of said commissioners will be taken as prima facie true.

Said clerk will also ascertain and report the amount of moneys already advanced to said commissioners by the States of Missouri and Iowa respectively, and the manner in which said moneys have been expended.

12 December, 1850.

And now, on this third day of January, A.D. 1851, this cause came on for further order and decree therein, when it appeared to the Court that at the December term, 1848, thereof, Henry B. Hendershott and Joseph C. Brown were appointed commissioners to run and mark the line in controversy between the States of Missouri and Iowa, and the said Brown having died, the Hon. Robert W. Wells was appointed in room and stead of said Brown by THE CHIEF JUSTICE of this Court, in vacation. And said Wells having resigned his appointment, William G. Minor was appointed commissioner in room and stead of said Wells, by this Court, at its last December term of 1849, and at which term the time for running and marking said line was extended to this present term of December, 1850, for the reasons stated in the report of said Wells and Hendershott, made to the last term, and which is hereinafter embodied. And the present commissioners, Henry B. Hendershott and William G. Minor, have made their report in the premises to this term; and which report is as follows:


"The undersigned, appointed commissioners by this Honorable Court, in the above cases, to establish the boundary line between the aforesaid states, respectively report that, for the purpose of arranging the operations in the field so as to combine economy with speed, we met in the City of St. Louis, in March last, and there, after consulting experienced surveyors as to the time that might be consumed in running the line, the probable amount of expense to be incurred, the necessary force to be employed, and the proper outfit, we determined a plan of operations and agreed to meet at the supposed site of Sullivan's 'northwest corner,' between the 1st and 20th of April last. While in St. Louis, we obtained from Major M. L. Clark, Surveyor General of the States of Missouri and Illinois, a copy of the field notes of the survey made by John C.

Page 51 U. S. 3

Sullivan, in the year 1816, of a line beginning on the east bank of the Missouri River, opposite the middle of the mouth of the Kansas River, and extending north one hundred miles, where he made a corner, and also of the line run by him in an easterly course to the Des Moines River. We were also furnished by Major Clark with several charts, diagrams, and copies of surveys which had at various times been made of portions of Sullivan's line and which were of much service in the prosecution of the work."

"The surveyors severally appointed by us were William Dewey, Esq., of Iowa, and Robert Walker, Esq., of Missouri. Both these gentlemen had been connected with the public works of their respective states and enjoy a high professional reputation."

"According to our agreement, we left our respective homes on the 10th of April last, and soon after reaching the point of meeting, in view of increased prices of transportation, provisions &c., caused by the immense emigration through Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri to California, we altered our plan of work and reduced our force."

"No precise trace of the 'old northwest corner' remained -- the witness trees to it were on the margin of a vast prairie, and had apparently been destroyed by fire years ago. Consequently its exact position could not be ascertained. Yet from the running of many experimental lines, diligently examining the evidences before us, together with the reports of the surveyors, we became satisfied of its proper position, and accordingly established it."

"Its latitude taken resulted as follows:"


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