Cherokee Nation v. Southern Kan Ry Co

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHARLAN
Citation34 L.Ed. 295,135 U.S. 641,10 S.Ct. 965
Decision Date19 May 1890
PartiesCHEROKEE NATION v. SOUTHERN KAN. RY. CO

135 U.S. 641
10 S.Ct. 965
34 L.Ed. 295
CHEROKEE NATION
v.
SOUTHERN KAN. RY. CO.
May 19, 1890.

Page 642

J. E. McDonald R. J. Bright, and J. C. Fay, for appellant.

Geo. R. Peck, A. T. Britton, and A. B. Browne, for appellee.

Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an appeal from a decree of the district court of the United States for the e stern district of Arkansas. The litigation between the parties arises out of an act of congress, approved July 4, 1884, entitled 'An act to grant the right of way through the Indian Territory to the Southern Kansas Railway Company, and for other purposes.' 23 St. 73. By the first section of that act the above company was authorized to locate, construct, operate, and maintain a railway, telegraph, and telephone line, through the Indian Territory, beginning at a pointon the northern line of the territory, where an extension of the Southern Kansas Railway from Winfield in a southerly direction would strike that line, running thence south in the direction of Dennison, Tex., on the most practicable route, to a point at or near where the Washita river empties into the Red river, with a branch constructed

Page 643

from a point at or near where the main line crosses the northern line of the territory, westwardly along or near that line to a point at or near where Medicine Lodge creek crosses the northern line of the territory, and from that point in a southwesterly direction, crossing Beaver creek at or near Camp Supply, and reaching the west line of the Indian Territory at or near where Wolf creek crosses the same, with the right to construct, use, and maintain such tracks, turn-outs, and sidings as the company might deem it to their interest to construct along and upon the right of way and depot grounds by that act granted. The second section grants to the company a right of way of a prescribed width through the territory for its main line and branch road, stations, and telegraph and telephone lines, subject to the condition that no part of the lands granted shall be used otherwise than for the company's railroad, telegraph, and telephone lines, and that, if any portion ceases to be so used, it shall revert to the nation or tribe of Indians from which it was taken.

The third section, upon which some of the principal questions in the case depend, is in these words:

'Sec. 3. That, before said railway shall be constructed through any lands held by individual occupants according to the laws, customs, and usages of any of the Indian nations or tribes through which it may be constructed, full compensation shall be made to such occupants for all property to be taken, or damage done, by reason of the construction of such railway. In case of failure to make amicable settlement with any occupant, such compensation shall be determined by the appraisement of three disinterested referees, to be appointed by the president, who, before entering upon the duties of their appointment, shall take and subscribe, before competent authority, an oath that they will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of their appointment, which oath, duly certified, shall be returned with their, a ward. In case the referees cannot agree, then any two of them are authorized to make the award. Either party being dissatisfied with the finding of the referees shall have the right, within ninety days after the making of the award and notice of the same, to appeal by

Page 644

original petition to the courts, where the case shall be tried de novo. When proceedings have been commenced in court, the railway company shall pay double the amount of the a ward into court to abide the judgment thereof, and then have the right to enter upon the property sought to be condemned, and proceed with the construction of the railroad. Each of said referees shall receive for their services the sum of four dollars per day for each day they are engaged id per mile. Witnesses shall receive the usual under this act, with mileage at five cents per mile. Witnesses shall received the usual fees allowed by the courts of said nations. Costs, including compensation of the referees, shall be made a part of the award, and be paid by such railroad company.'

The fifth, sixth, and eighth sections are as follows:

'Sec. 5. That said railway company shall pay to the secretary of the interior, for the benefit of the particular nations or tribes through whose lands said mai line and branch may be located, the sum of fifty dollars, in addition to compensation provided for in this act, for property taken and damages done by the construction of the railway, for each mile of railway that it may construct in said territory, said payments to be made in installments of five hundred dollars as each ten miles of road is graded. Said company shall also pay, so long as said territory is owned and occupied by the Indians, to the secretary of the interior, the sum of fifteen dollars per annum for each mile of railway it shall construct in the said territory. The money paid to the secretary of the interior, under the provisions of this act, shall be apportioned by him in accordance with the laws and treaties now in force, among the different nations and tribes, according to the number of miles of railway that may be constructed by said railway company through their lands: provided, that congress shall have thr right, so long as said lands are occupied and possessed by said nations and tribes, to impose such additional taxes upon said railroad as it may deem just and proper for their benefit: provided further, that, if the general council of either of the nations or tribes through whose lands said railway may be located shall within four months

Page 645

after the filing of maps of definite location, as set forth in section six of this act, dissent from the allowances provided for in this section, and shall certify the same to the secretary of the interior, then all compensation to be paid to such dissenting nation or tribe under the provisions of this act shall be determined as provided in section three for the determination of the compensation to be paid to the individual occupant of lands, with the right of appeal to the courts upon the same terms, conditions, and requirements as therein provided: provided further, that the amount awarded or adjudged to be paid by said railway company for said dissenting nation or tribe shall be in lieu of the compensation that said nation or tribe would be entitled to receive under the provisions of this section. Nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit congress from imposing taxes upon said railway, nor any territory or state hereafter formed, through which said railway shall have been established, from exercising the like power as to such part of said railway as may lie within its limits. Said railway company shall have the right to survey and locate its railway immediately after the passage of this act.

"Sec. 6. That said company shall cause maps showing the route of its located lines through said territory to be filed in the office of the secretary of the interior, and also to be filed in the office of the principal chief of each of the nations or tribes through whose lands said railway may be located; and, after the filing of said maps, no claim for a subsequent settlement and improvement upon the right of way shown by said maps shall be valid as against said company: provided that, when a map showing any portion of said railway company's located line is filed as herein provided for, said company shall commence grading said located line within six months thereafter, or such location shall be void; and said location shall be approved by the secretary of the interior in sections of twenty-five miles before construction of any such section shall be begun.'

'Sec. 8. That the United States circuit and district courts for the northern district of Texas, the western district of

Page 646

Arkansas, and the district of Kansas, and such other courts as may be authorized by congress, shall have, without reference to the amount in controversy, concurrent jurisdiction over all controversies arising between said Southern Kansas Railway Company and the nations and tribes through whose territory said railway shall be constructed. Said courts shall have like jurisdiction, without reference to the amount in controversy, over all controversies arising between the inhabitants of said nations or tribes and said railway company; and the civil jurisdiction of saidc ourts is hereby extended within the limits of said Indian Territory, without distinction as to citizenship of the parties, so far as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.'

The Cherokee Nation having dissented from the allowance provided for in the fifth section of the above act, commissioners were appointed by the president, as provided in the third section. They met at Topeka, Kan., on the 26th of August, 1886, and, having duly qualified according to law, proceeded to the Indian Territory in the discharge of their duties. Their report to the president, made September 25, 1886, states that they inspected the located line of road as it traversed the territory of the Cherokee Nation, with its branch, and that, upon an actual view of the lands proposed to be taken and appropriated for right of way, station grounds, etc., under the act of congress, they found that said nation was entitled to receive as adequate compensation for such lands, and for damages for 35 1/2 miles of the main line, the way, for 35 1/2 miles of the main line, the sum of $93 for each mile, aggregating for the whole distance $3,301.50. They also found and awarded as adequate compensation and damages in respect to the lands to be taken and appropriated for the branch line, 112.54 miles in length, the sum of $36 for each mile, aggregating for the whole distance the sum of...

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266 practice notes
  • United States v. Crary
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • October 24, 1932
    ...and it thereupon obtains title to the land. Then for the first time is the land "taken." See Cherokee Nation v. Southern Kansas Ry. Co., 135 U. S. 641, 659, 10 S. Ct. 965, 34 L. Ed. It is often difficult to estimate fairly the value of land as of the time when the estimate is made. And in a......
  • East Tennessee Natural Gas Co. v. Sage, No. 03-1708.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 22, 2004
    ...certain, and adequate provision for obtaining compensation before his occupancy is disturbed." Cherokee Nation v. S. Kan. Ry. Co., 135 U.S. 641, 659, 10 S.Ct. 965, 34 L.Ed. 295 (1890). Rule 71A provides the procedure for determining just compensation, and ETNG has deposited cash with the co......
  • Pub. Serv. Co. of N.M. v. Barboan, No. 16-2050
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 26, 2017
    ...that authorizes condemnation of tribal land, a result Congress has full power to order if it chooses. Cherokee Nation v. S. Kan.Ry. Co. , 135 U.S. 641, 656-57, 10 S.Ct. 965, 34 L.Ed. 295 (1890). Thus, as we have noted, "a plain and clear distinction" exists "between the granting of rights-o......
  • Vestavia Plaza, LLC v. City of Vestavia Hills, Case No. 2:11-cv-4152-TMP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • September 9, 2013
    ...Act Cases, 419 U.S. 102, 124-125, 95 S. Ct. 335, 349, 42 L. Ed. 2d 320 (1974) (quoting Cherokee Nation v. Southern Kansas R. Co., 135 U.S. 641, 659, 10 S. Ct. 965, 971, 34 L. Ed. 295 (1890)). ... If the government has provided an adequate process for obtaining compensation, and if resort to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
264 cases
  • United States v. Crary
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
    • October 24, 1932
    ...and it thereupon obtains title to the land. Then for the first time is the land "taken." See Cherokee Nation v. Southern Kansas Ry. Co., 135 U. S. 641, 659, 10 S. Ct. 965, 34 L. Ed. It is often difficult to estimate fairly the value of land as of the time when the estimate is made. And in a......
  • East Tennessee Natural Gas Co. v. Sage, No. 03-1708.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 22, 2004
    ...certain, and adequate provision for obtaining compensation before his occupancy is disturbed." Cherokee Nation v. S. Kan. Ry. Co., 135 U.S. 641, 659, 10 S.Ct. 965, 34 L.Ed. 295 (1890). Rule 71A provides the procedure for determining just compensation, and ETNG has deposited cash with the co......
  • Pub. Serv. Co. of N.M. v. Barboan, No. 16-2050
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 26, 2017
    ...that authorizes condemnation of tribal land, a result Congress has full power to order if it chooses. Cherokee Nation v. S. Kan.Ry. Co. , 135 U.S. 641, 656-57, 10 S.Ct. 965, 34 L.Ed. 295 (1890). Thus, as we have noted, "a plain and clear distinction" exists "between the granting of rights-o......
  • Vestavia Plaza, LLC v. City of Vestavia Hills, Case No. 2:11-cv-4152-TMP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • September 9, 2013
    ...Act Cases, 419 U.S. 102, 124-125, 95 S. Ct. 335, 349, 42 L. Ed. 2d 320 (1974) (quoting Cherokee Nation v. Southern Kansas R. Co., 135 U.S. 641, 659, 10 S. Ct. 965, 971, 34 L. Ed. 295 (1890)). ... If the government has provided an adequate process for obtaining compensation, and if resort to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles

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