Missouri, K. & T. Railway Co. v. Kansas P. Ry. Co. - 97 U.S. 491 (1878)
U.S. Supreme Court
Missouri, K. & T. Railway Co. v. Kansas P. Ry. Co., 97 U.S. 491 (1878)
Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company v.
Kansas Pacific Railway Company
97 U.S. 491
1. Subject to certain reservations and exceptions, the Act of Congress of July 1, 1862, 12 Stat. 489,
"to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, and to secure to the government the use of the same for postal, military, and other purposes,"
passed to the companies therein named a present interest in every odd-numbered section of public land within specified limits on each side of the lines of their respective roads. When those lines were definitely established, the title of the companies acquired precision, and became attached to such sections.
2. Said act having been amended by that of July 2, 1864, 13 Stat. 366, by substituting words of larger import, the grant must be treated as if it had been thus made originally, and therefore, as against the United States, the title of the companies to the increased quantity of land must be considered as taking effect July 1, 1862.
3. The company now known as the Kansas Pacific Railway Company was one of the companies mentioned in said acts. By the Act of July 3, 1866, 14 Stat. 79, it was authorized to designate the general route of its road and to file a map thereof at any time before Dec. 1, 1866, provided that after the filing of the map, the lands along its entire line, so far as designated, should be reserved from sale by the Secretary of the Interior. Within the specified time, the company filed a map designating as such general route a line from Fort Riley to the western boundary of Kansas by way of the Smoky Hill River. The lands upon this route, embracing, among others, those now in controversy, were accordingly withdrawn from sale, and in January, 1867, the road was completed for twenty-five miles, approved by the commissioners appointed to examine it, and accepted by the President. Held 1. that the title of the company attaching to those lands by the location of the road, followed by the construction thereof, took effect, by relation, as of the date of the said Act of 1862, so as to cut off all intervening claimants, except in the cases where reservations were specially made in it and the amendatory Act of 1864; 2. that such reservations operated as limitations upon the grant.
4. It was not within the language or intention of those acts to except from their operation any portion of the odd-numbered sections within the limits specified in either act, for the purpose of thereafter granting them to aid in the construction of other roads.
5. The claim of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway Company to the lands in controversy arises under the Act of July 26, 1866, 14 Stat. 289, under which the route of its road was designated, a map thereof filed, and the road constructed. At that date, the title to the lands along that route, which were covered by the previous grant to the Kansas Pacific Railway Company, had already passed from the United States.
6. Although the rights of said companies are determined by the date of their respective grants, it appears that the location of the Kansas Pacific was earlier than that of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas road.
The facts are sufficiently stated in the opinion of the Court.