Texas & Pacific Railway Co. v. City of Marshall
136 U.S. 393 (1890)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Texas & Pacific Railway Co. v. City of Marshall, 136 U.S. 393 (1890)

Texas and Pacific Railway Company v. City of Marshall

Decided May 19, 1890

136 U.S. 393




A railroad's contract with a city that, in exchange for the city's donating specified city bonds and real estate to the railroad, the latter would establish its eastern terminus in Texas in the city and would construct at the city its main machine shops and car works there could not be interpreted as preventing the railroad from ever moving its offices and machinery elsewhere; in any case, a court of equity would not order specific performance of a contract so interpreted.

These are appeals from a decree of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Texas. The suit was originally brought by the City of Marshall in the court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Texas against the Texas and Pacific Railway Company, and was afterwards removed by that company into the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Texas. The suit was a bill in chancery which sought relief for a violation of its contract by the railway company that it would establish the eastern terminus of its railroad at the City of Marshall, in the State of Texas, and would also establish its principal offices of the road at that place. The bill sets out as the written evidence of this contract a letter from F. B. Sexton, E. D. Blanch, and M. D. Ector, on the part of the City of Marshall, to Thomas A. Scott, president of the railway company, and the reply of Mr. Scott to this communication. These letters are set out as exhibits to the bill, and are as follows:

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