Pompton v. Cooper Union,
101 U.S. 196 (1879)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pompton v. Cooper Union, 101 U.S. 196 (1879)

Pompton v. Cooper Union

101 U.S. 196


1. The bonds of "the inhabitants of the Township of Pompton, in the County of Passaic" and State of New Jersey, for $1,000 each, bearing date Jan. 1, 1870, issued by the commissioners appointed for that township, and reciting that they are issued in pursuance of an Act of the Legislature of New Jersey approved April 9, 1868, entitled "An Act to authorize certain townships, towns, and cities to issue bonds and take the bonds of the Montclair Railway Company," are valid in the hands of a bona fide purchaser for value before maturity.

2. The Act of the Legislature approved March 18, 1867, incorporating that company authorized it to construct a railway from the Village of Montclair, in the Township of Bloomfield, to the Hudson River, at one or the other of certain designated points, and also to construct a branch thereof in said township, and to "extend the said railway into the Townships of Caldwell and Wayne." By the act of April 9, 1868, provision was made for the appointment of commissioners for any township, town, or city "along the routes of the Montclair Railway Company, or at the termini thereof," who, upon the performance of certain precedent conditions, were authorized to issue its bonds, dispose of the same, and invest the proceeds thereof in the bonds of said company. By a supplemental Act approved March 16, 1869, the company was authorized to extend its railway from any point thereon to any point in the Township of West Milford, provided that said act should not be construed as extending the operation of said act of 1868 to any township,

Page 101 U. S. 197

town, or city through or to which the said railway was not authorized to be made before the passage of said act of 1869. When the bonds were disposed of by the commissioners, no route of the road west of Montclair had been surveyed. A survey which commenced at that village and extended to a point in the southern part of Wayne Township was filed April

6, 1870. Another survey was filed June 9, and in accordance therewith the road was built. It began at the terminus last mentioned, crossed the line between Wayne and Pequannock Townships, then proceeded to the line between Pequannock and Pompton (the latter being a parallelogram), and after traversing Pompton diagonally about two-thirds of its length, crossed its west line into West Milford, and thence proceeded in that township to the boundary line between New Jersey and New York. Thus, though Pompton did not get a terminus on its southwest line, as originally contemplated, it got for the same consideration the length of the road within its territory and the extension beyond its limits.


1. That the commissioners being the sole judges upon the question of disposing of the bonds, their decision was conclusive.

2. That the fact that under the act of 1869, Pompton, instead of being a terminal township, became thereafter a township "along the route of the road," cannot affect the previously vested rights of a bona fide transferee of the securities.

3. That the act of 1869 was in effect a legislative declaration that the authorized, and not the actual, routes were those intended by the act of 1868.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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