Kindred v. Union Pacific R. Co.
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225 U.S. 582 (1912)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Kindred v. Union Pacific R. Co., 225 U.S. 582 (1912)
Kindred v. Union Pacific Railroad Company
Argued November 9, 1911
Decided June 10, 1912
225 U.S. 582
Under § 2 of the Act of July 1, 1862, 12 Stat. 489, c. 120, and other provisions of that act, the predecessor in title of the Union Pacific Railroad Company acquired a right of way four hundred feet in
width across the lands in Kansas, within the Delaware Diminished Indian Reservation, those lands having been assigned in severalty to individual Delawares under the Treaty of May 30, 1860, 12 Stat. 1129, providing for such right of way.
Quaere whether the individual Delaware Indians, to whom the lands were assigned under the treaty of 1860, obtained a better or different right in them than the tribe had in the lands in common.
Quaere whether, under § 2 of the Act of July, 1862, the United States, in extinguishing the Indian title to lands through which the railroads were given rights of way, is to bear the burden by compensating the Indians, or only by assisting in the negotiations.
While the phrase "public lands" is a term ordinarily used to designate lands subject to sale under general laws, it is sometimes used in a larger sense, and as used in § 2 of the Act of July, 1862, it includes lands within Indian reservations. Congress so intended, and such has been the construction placed on the words by the Interior Department.
Where an Executive Department has constantly given the same construction to a statute affecting title to real estate, rights acquired thereunder will not be lightly disturbed after a lapse of many years.
Purchasers of land over which a railroad has been constructed and operated cannot claim that they purchased without notice of the claim of the railroad to own the right of way.
Where a railroad company enters upon the land of another and constructs a railroad thereover under a statute entitling it to do so on condition that compensation be made to the owner, and the latter permits the construction and operation of the railroad without compliance with that condition, a subsequent vendee of the owner takes the land subject to the burden of the right of way, and the right to exact payment therefor from the railroad company belongs to the owner at the time of entry and construction.
168 F. 648 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the right of the Union Pacific Railroad Company to certain portions of its right of way within the Delaware Diminished Reservation, are stated in the opinion.