132 U.S. 174 (1889), Yazoo & M.v.r. Co. v. Thomas

Citation:132 U.S. 174, 10 S.Ct. 68, 33 L.Ed. 302
Party Name:YAZOO & M. V. R. CO. v. THOMAS, Sheriff, et al. [1]
Case Date:November 18, 1889
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 174

132 U.S. 174 (1889)

10 S.Ct. 68, 33 L.Ed. 302

YAZOO & M. V. R. CO.


THOMAS, Sheriff, et al. 1

United States Supreme Court.

November 18, 1889

In error to the supreme court of the state of Mississippi.

[10 S.Ct. 69] The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Company was incorporated by an act of the Mississippi legislature, approved February 17, 1882, the preamble and sections 2, 8, 13, and 14 being as follows:

'Whereas, the construction of railroads to, in, through, and along the Mississippi River basin, and the Yazoo and Sunflower River basins, penetrating these and other alluvial lands in this state, west of the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad, and connecting them by railroads and branches with other railroads west, east, north, and south, is deemed and hereby declared to be a work of great public importance, and, in strict accordance with the true policy and interest of this state, should be encouraged by legislative sanction and liberality; and, whereas, the physical difficulties of constructing and maintaining railroads to, across, along, or within either the Mississippi, Sunflower, Deer Creek, or Yazoo bottoms or basins, or the other alluvial lands herein referred to, are such that no private company has so far been able to establish a railroad and branches developing said basins and alluvial lands, and connecting them with the railroad system of the country: Now, therefore, in order to induce the investment of capital in the construction, maintenance, and operation of such a railroad and branches, and thus develop the resources and wealth of this state,'----

'Sec. 2. Be it further enacted that the said corporation shall also have, and it is hereby authorized and invested with, the right and power to build and construct, and thereafter to use, operate, own, and enjoy a railroad or railroads, with one or more tracks, into, along, and across that part of the state of Mississippi lying between the Mississippi river and the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad, on such line or lines as shall be deemed best by the board of directors of the company hereby chartered; one of said lines, or a branch therefrom, to reach the Mississippi river at or near a point opposite Arkansas City if practicable, so as to connect such point on the east bank of the Mississippi river with some point or points on the line of the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad; one of said lines of railroad, or a branch therefrom, to be extended to or pass through Yazoo city, Mississippi; and said company shall have the right and power, and are hereby authorized, to build one or more branches or lines of railroads between the Mississippi river and Deer creek, and between Deer creek and the Sunflower river, and between the Sunflower and Yazoo rivers, in the direction of or to the north line of this state, and extend the same, or any one thereof, in the direction of or to the south boundary line of this state, as shall from time to time, in the judgment of said company, be deemed proper; and shall also be authorized to construct and operate such spurs or laterals from or along such main line or branches, not exceeding one hundred miles in length, as may from time to time be necessary or proper to fully develop said country lying west of the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad, and east of the Mississippi river, in this state; and the said company, as soon as and whenever, from time to time, they have located said line or lines of railroad or branches, spurs, or laterals thereto, or any of them, shall file in the office of the secretary of state a statement showing the general line thereof, as far as the same has up to that time been located.'

'Sec. 8. Be it further enacted that in order to encourage the investment of capital in the works which said company is hereby authorized to construct and maintain, and to make certain in advance of such investment, and as an inducement and consideration therefor, the taxes and burdens which this state will and will not impose thereon, it is hereby declared that said company, its stock, its railroads and appurtenances, and all its property in this state necessary or incident to the full exercise of all the powers herein granted,--not to include compresses and oil-mills,--shall be exempt from taxation for a term of twenty years from the completion of said railroad to the Mississippi river, but not to extend beyond twenty-five years from the date of the approval of this act; and, when the period of exemption herein prescribed shall have expired, the property of said railroad may be taxed at the same rate as other property in this state. All of said taxes to which the property of said company may be subject in this state, whether for county or state, shall be collected by the treasurer of this state, and paid into the state treasury, to be dealt with as the legislature may direct; but said company shall be exempt from taxation by cities and towns.'

'Sec. 13. Be it further enacted that, unless said company shall construct and have in operation twenty miles of railroad within three years from the passage of this act, the legislature shall have the right to declare this charter forfeited.

'Sec. 14. Be it further enacted that all acts in conflict with this act, or any part thereof, be and the same are hereby repealed, and that this act take effect and be in force from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.' Laws Miss. 1882, p. 838.

By section 1 the corporation is authorized to hold, purchase, receive, and enjoy real and personal estate in Mississippi and other states, however acquired, and to sell, rent, lease, mortgage, or otherwise dispose thereof. By section 5 it is empowered to consolidate with any other company or companies, and acquire or lease other railroads in or out of the state for a term of years or in perpetuity; to do an express business over its own and other lines of railroads and steam-boats, or other conveyances, in and out of the state; and to acquire, put up, use and operate a line or lines of telegraph in this or other state or states; by section 6, to fix its own rate of charges, not to exceed a maximum indicated, provided, it may make special agreements with shippers as to lumber, coal, iron, etc., and other freights transported in [10 S.Ct. 70] car-loads, without discrimination; by section 7, to enter on state lands anywhere, and take in fee-simple 100 feet on each side of the center of any of its tracks, as right of way; to use any rocks, timber, earth, sand, gravel, water, or other materials anywhere found on such state lands; to build bridges across any stream, whether navigable or not, with power and authority 'to build, construct, maintain, and operate, of itself or with others, in or out of this state, a ferry across, or a tunnel under, or a bridge over, the Mississippi river, at any point within this state, where its railroads, branches, laterals, or spurs may reach said river;' to acquire all lands and materials necessary for landings, wharves, inclines, or approaches thereto; to establish such landings, wharves, etc., as may be necessary or convenient in transporting freights, passengers, cars, or rolling stock, loaded or unloaded, upon and...

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