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WILCOX v. EASTERN OREGON LAND COMPANY.

decided: January 8, 1900.

WILCOX
v.
EASTERN OREGON LAND COMPANY.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Author: Harlan

[ 176 U.S. Page 51]

 MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

This case depends in part upon the construction of the act of Congress of July 2, 1864, 13 Stat. 365, c. 217, in aid of the

[ 176 U.S. Page 52]

     construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The provisions of that act, so far as they are material to the present controversy, are fully set forth in the opinion in United States v. Oregon & California Railroad Company, just decided.

By an act of February 25, 1867, Congress, in aid of the construction of a military wagon road in Oregon from Dalles City on the Columbia River, by way of Camp Watson, Canyon City and Mormon or Humboldt Basin, to a point on Snake River opposite Fort Boise in Idaho Territory, granted to the State of Oregon "alternate sections of public lands designated by odd numbers to the extent of three sections in width on each side of said road: Provided, That. . . any and all lands heretofore reserved to the United States or otherwise appropriated by act of Congress or other competent authority, be and the same are hereby reserved from the operation of this act, except so far as it may be necessary to locate the route of said road through the same, in which case the right of way to the width of one hundred feet is granted: And provided further, That the grant hereby made shall not embrace any mineral lands of the United States." 14 Stat. 409, c. 77.

Other sections of that act are as follows: "§ 2. That the lands hereby granted to said State shall be disponsed of by the legislature thereof for the purpose aforesaid, and for no other; and the said road shall be and remain a public highway for the use of the Government of the United States, free from tolls or other charges upon transportation of any property, troops or mails of the United States." "§ 4. That the State of Oregon is authorized to locate and use in the construction of said road an additional amount of public lands, not previously reserved to the United States nor otherwise disposed of, and not exceeding ten miles in distance from it, equal to the amount reserved from the operation of this act in the first section of the same, to be selected in alternate odd sections as provided in section first of this act. § 5. That lands hereby granted to said State shall be disposed of only in the following manner, that is to say, when the governor of said State shall certify to the Secretary of the Interior that ten continuous miles of said road are completed, then a quantity of the

[ 176 U.S. Page 53]

     land hereby granted, not to exceed thirty sections, may be sold, and so on from time to time until said road shall be completed; and if said road is not completed within five years, no further sales shall be made, and the lands remaining unsold shall revert to the United States. § 6. That the United States surveyor general for the district of Oregon shall cause said lands so granted to be surveyed at the earliest practicable period after said State shall have enacted the necessary legislation to carry this act into effect."

Subsequently, by an act approved October 20, 1868, the State of Oregon granted to the Dalles Military Road Company all the lands, right of way, rights, privileges and immunities granted or pledged by the above act of February 25, 1867, "for the purpose of aiding said company in constructing the road mentioned and described in said act of Congress upon the conditions and limitations therein prescribed." The State also, by the same act, granted and pledged to that company "all moneys, lands, rights, privileges and immunities which may be hereafter granted to this State to aid in the construction of such road for the purposes and upon the conditions mentioned in said act of Congress, or which may be mentioned in any further grants of money or lands to aid in constructing said road," and authorized it to locate the lands mentioned in the fourth section of the act of Congress, subject to the approval of the Governor. Sess. Laws 1868, p. 3.

The material facts out of which the present suit arises are alleged in the bill, and are substantially admitted in the answer. They are as follows:

Prior to June 23, 1869, the Dalles Military Road Company had duly surveyed and definitely located its line of road between the points designated by Congress and the State; had fully constructed and completed its road, and had filed in the office of the governor a plat or map upon which was traced and shown the definite location of the road from Dallas City to its terminus on ...


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