A decree is entered, ordering the appointment of commissioners
to ascertain, retrace, remark and reestablish the boundary line
between the States of Virginia and Tennessee, as established by the
decree of this Court in Virginia v. Tennessee,
148 U. S. 503
without authority to run or establish any other or new line.
On the 16th day of April, 1900, the State pf Tennessee, having
obtained leave so to do, filed its bill of complaint against the
State of Virginia, setting forth the result of the suit of
Virginia v. Tennessee, 148 U. S. 503
establishing the boundary line between the two states; that a
subsequent attempt made to have the line run according to the
decree in that suit had failed because the power of the Court over
the original cause had ceased with the expiration of October Term,
1893, Virginia v. Tennessee, 158 U.
, and asking that the State of Virginia be made a
party defendant, and be required to answer the bill, and that, upon
the hearing, a decree be entered ordering a rerunning of the
boundary line as declared in Virginia v. Tennessee,
148 U. S. 503
148 U. S.
On the same 16th day of April, the State of Virginia appeared
and filed an answer in which it said that it fully accepted the
adjudication of this Court in Virginia v. Tennessee,
148 U. S. 503
that the true boundary line between the two states was the
compromise line of 1803, commonly called .the diamond line, and
believed that that line should be ascertained, relocated and
remarked by suitable and enduring monuments and concurred so far in
the prayer of the State of Tennessee that this Court should appoint
commissioners, residents of neither Tennessee nor Virginia, to
perform the work of relocating, retracing and remarking that
compromise line. On the 17th day of the same April, the parties
entered into the following stipulation:
Page 177 U. S. 502
"It is agreed by the parties to this cause as a basis for
"1. That the true boundary line between the States of Virginia
and Tennessee is the compromise line established by proceedings had
by the two states in 1801-1803 , which was actually run and located
at that time and marked with five chops in the shape of a diamond,
and commonly called the diamond line, and running from White Top
Mountain to Cumberland Gap."
"2. That said line has in some parts of it, if not along its
entire course, become so far obscured and uncertain as to embarrass
the administration of the state and federal laws and produce
confusion as to rights of property and conflict and litigation
between the citizens of the two states and to necessitate its
ascertainment, rerunning and remarking."
"3. That a decree be passed at once by this court providing for
the ascertainment, retracing and remarking of said line."
"4. That the names W. C. Hodgkins, A. H. Buchanan and J. B.
Baylor are suggested and agreed upon as satisfactory commissioners
to be appointed by this Court to ascertain, retrace, and remark
"5. That the record and opinion of the Supreme Court of Virginia
in the case of Miller v. Wills
shall not be considered as
any part of the pleadings in this cause, and need not therefore be
"6. That whatever costs may be required to be borne by the said
states shall be equally borne and divided between them."
"April 17, 1900."
"The State of Tennessee"
"By G. W. Pickle, Att'y Gen'l.
"The State of Virginia"
"By A. J. Montague"
On the same 17th day of April, the cause was submitted to the
court by the respective counsel.
Page 177 U. S. 503
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER announced that the court ordered the
following decree to be entered:
This cause coming on to be heard on the original bill filed
herein by the State of Tennessee against the State of Virginia, the
answer thereto by the State of Virginia, the reply to said answer
by the State of Tennessee, and the stipulations filed herein by
counsel for the respective parties, and the pleadings and
stipulations having been duly considered, and the decree of this
Court entered on the third day of April, A.D. 1893, at the October
term, 1892, in a certain original cause in equity, wherein the
State of Virginia was complainant and the State of Tennessee was
defendant, and the record of said cause having been examined:
It is thereupon, this thirtieth day of April, A.D. 1900,
ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the boundary line established
between the states of Virginia and Tennessee by the compact of 1803
between the said states is the real, certain, and true boundary
between the said states, which boundary line was actually run and
located under proceedings had by the two states in 1801-1803, was
then marked with five chops in the shape of a diamond, was commonly
known as the diamond line, and ran from White Top mountain to
And it appearing further to the Court that the said boundary
line has become so far obscured by lapse of time or loss of
monuments as to justify and necessitate its reestablishment and
remarking under the direction of this Court, it is therefore
further ordered, adjudged, and decreed that William C. Hodgkins, of
the State of Massachusetts, James B. Baylor, of the State of
Virginia, and Andrew H. Buchanan, of the State of Tennessee, be and
they are hereby appointed commissioners to ascertain, retrace,
remark, and reestablish said boundary line, but without authority
to run or establish any other or new line.
And it is further ordered that, before entering upon the
discharge of their duties, each of the said commissioners shall be
duly sworn to perform faithfully, impartially, without prejudice or
bias, the duties herein imposed, said oath to be taken before the
clerk of this Court, or before either of the clerks of the circuit
courts of the United States for the States of Massachusetts,
Page 177 U. S. 504
Virginia, or Tennessee, and returned with their report; that
said commissioners may arrange for their organization, their
meetings, and the particular manner of the performance of their
duties, and are authorized to adopt all ordinary and legitimate
methods for the ascertainment of the true location of said boundary
line, including the taking of evidence, but in the event evidence
is taken, the parties shall be notified and permitted to be present
and examine and cross-examine the witnesses, and the rules of law
as to admissibility and competency shall be observed, and all
evidence taken by the commissioners, and all exceptions thereto,
and action thereon, shall be preserved and certified, and returned
with their report.
And when the true location of said boundary line is ascertained,
said commissioners shall cause such marks and monuments of a
durable nature to be so placed on and along said line as to
perpetuate it, and enable the citizens of each state, and others,
to find it with reasonable diligence.
It is further ordered that the clerk of this Court at once
forward to the chief magistrate of each of said states, and to each
of the commissioners designated by this decree, a copy of the
decree duly authenticated, and that the commissioners proceed with
all convenient speed to discharge their duty in ascertaining,
retracing, remarking, and reestablishing said line, as herein
directed, and make their report thereof and of their proceedings in
the premises to this Court, on or before the first day of the next
term thereof, together with a complete bill of costs and charges
And it is further ordered that, should vacancies occur in said
board of commissioners while the Court is not in session, the Chief
Justice is hereby authorized and empowered to appoint other
commissioners, to supply the same, and he is authorized to act on
such information in the premises as may be satisfactory to
It is further ordered that all costs of this proceeding,
including remuneration not exceeding ten dollars per day for each
commissioner, and the other costs incident to the ascertaining,
retracing, remarking, and reestablishing said line, shall be paid
by the states of Tennessee and Virginia equally.