Green Bay Canal Co v. Patten Paper Co

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSHIRAS
Citation172 U.S. 58,43 L.Ed. 364,19 S.Ct. 97
PartiesGREEN BAY & M. CANAL CO. v. PATTEN PAPER CO. et al. 1 No. ____
Decision Date28 November 1898

172 U.S. 58
19 S.Ct. 97
43 L.Ed. 364
GREEN BAY & M. CANAL CO.

v.

PATTEN PAPER CO. et al.1

No. ____.
November 28, 1898.

This was a suit brought in 1886 in the circuit court of Outagamie county, Wis., by the Patten Paper Company and others, against the Kaukauna Water-Power Company, the Green Bay & Mississippi Canal Company, and others. The object

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of the proceeding, as set forth in the complaint, was to have determined what share or proportion of the flow of Fox river, where the same passes Islands Nos. 3 and 4, in township No. 21 N., of range No. 18 E., is appurtenant to, and of right should be permitted to flow in, the south, middle, and north channels of said river, respectively, and to have the defendants restrained from drawing from said Fox river, above the head of Island No. 4, and so that the same shall not come into the middle channel of said river and into the mill pond of the plaintiffs, more water flow of said river than the one-sixth part thereof, or more than the amount which by nature was appurtenant to, and flowed in, the south channel of said river.

The scope of the investigation was widened by reason of the answer of the Green Bay & Mississippi Canal Company, which it was agreed and stipulated should have the effect of a cross bill in the action, and which asserted that any decree to be entered in the suit, determining or adjudicating what share or proportion of the flow of the river should be permitted to flow in its several channels, should be made subject to the right of the canal company, by reason of the facts stated, to use all of the river power created by the government dam and improvements on the river.

The principal facts disclosed in the case were the following:

The Fox river is a navigable stream, and flows through township 21 N., of range 18 E., in the county of Outagamie, Wis.; and in said river, below Lake Winnebago, there are, and always have been, rapids and abrupt falls. To permit navigation through or by said rapids and falls necessarily requires the building of dams, locks, and canals, at great expense. By an act approved August 8, 1846, congress granted to the state of Wisconsin, on its admission into the Union, a large amount of public lands, for the express purpose of, and in trust for, improving the navigation of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. The state accepted said grant of land for said purposes, and by an act of its legislature approved August 8, 1848, undertook the improvement of said rivers, and enacted, among other things, that 'whenever a water power shall be created by reason of any dam erected

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or other improvements made on any of said rivers, such water power shall belong to the state, subject to the future action of the legislature.'

One of the rapids in Fox river, around which it was necessary to secure slack-water navigation by means of dams, locks, and canals, was commonly known as the 'Kaukauna Rapids.' The state adopted a plan and system for the construction of a dam and canal at said Kaukauna rapids, whereby there was to be built a low dam, beginning on the south side, near the head of the rapids, extending downstream, on or near the south bank of the river, across lots 8, 7, 6, and onto lot 5, of section 22, and thence extending at about a right angle with the south bank across the river; leaving an opening at the north end through which the water of the river could pass, and be conducted by a conduit or canal to a certain point, at which should be placed a lock.

The sales of lands granted by congress not proving sufficient to carry on the work, the board of public works were authorized by the legislature to issue certificates of indebtedness, which were declared to be a charge upon the proceeds of the lands granted by congress, and upon the revenues to be derived from the works of improvement.

In July, 1853, the state legislature created a corporation, under the name of the Fox & Wisconsin Improvement Company, to which, by the second section thereof, were granted and transferred the uncompleted works of improvement, together with, all and singular, the rights of way, dams, locks, canals, water power, and other appurtenances of said works. The company agreed to pay the outstanding certificates, and forthwith undertook the work. Additional lands were granted by congress in 1854 and 1855 to aid the state in the improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. The company subsequently executed a deed of conveyance of the works of improvement, the incidental water powers, and all of the lands, in trust to apply all revenues derived from the improvement and the proceeds of sales of the lands to the payment of the unpaid certificates and of bonds issued by the company, and to the completion of the works.

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In 1864 the company failed, the deed of trust was foreclosed; and in 1866 the property of the company, consisting of the works of improvement, the water powers, and the lands, were sold, pursuant to a decree of court entered February 4, 1864. The purchasers became incorporated under the name of the Green Bay & Mississippi Canal Company, and that company was authorized by the third section of an act of the legislature approved April 12, 1866, to 'enlarge and increase the capacity of said works and of the said rivers so as to make a uniform steamship navigation from the Mississippi river to Green Bay, or to surrender the same to the United States for such enlargement, on such terms as may be approved by the governor for the time being of the state.'

July 7, 1870, congress passed an act entitled 'An act for the improvement of water communication between the Mississippi river and Lake Michigan by the Wisconsin and Fox rivers.' By this act congress authorized the secretary of war to ascertain the sum 'which in justice ought to be paid to the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company as an equivalent for the transfer of, all and singular, its property and rights of property in and to the line of water communication between the Wisconsin river and the mouth of Fox river, including its locks, dams, canals, and franchises, or so much of the same as shall, in the judgment of said secretary, be needed'; and to that end he was authorized to 'join with said company in appointing a board of disinterested and impartial arbitrators,'—one to be selected by the secretary, one by the company, and the third by the two arbitrators so selected. The act provided that in making their award the arbitrators should take into consideration the amount of money realized from the sale of lands granted by congress to aid in the construction of said water communication, which amount should be deducted from the actual value thereof as found by the arbitrators. It was further enacted that no money should be expended on the improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers until the Green Bay & Mississippi Canal Company should make and file with the secretary of war an agreement, in writing, whereby it shall agree to grant

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and convey to the United States its property and franchises upon the terms awarded by the arbitrators.

By an act, approved March 23, 1871, by the legislature of Wisconsin, the directors of the Green Bay & Mississippi Canal Company were authorized to sell and dispose of the rights and property of said company to the United States, and to cause to be made and executed all papers and writings necessary thereto as contemplated in the act of congress.

Subsequently, in November, 1871, the arbitrators fixed the then value of all the property of the company at $1,048,070, and the amount realized from land sales, to be deducted therefrom, at $723,070, leaving a balance of $325,000 to be paid to the company. And, in anticipation that the secretary might decide that the personal property and 'the water powers created by the dams and by the use of the surplus waters not required for purposes of navigation' were not needed, these water powers and the water lots necessary to the enjoyment of the same, subject to all uses for navigation, were valued at the sum of $140,000; personal property, $40,000; and the improvements, $145,000.

The secretary of war recommended to congress that it should take the works of improvement, and not the water powers and personal property. Congress accordingly, by act approved June 10, 1872, made the necessary appropriation; and the company, by its deed of September, 1872, conveyed and granted to the United States 'all and singular its property and rights of property in and to the line of water communication between the Wisconsin river and the mouth of Fox river, including its locks, dams, canals and franchises, saving and excepting therefrom, and reserving to the said company, the following described property, rights and portions of franchises which, in the opinion of the secretary of war and of congress, are not needed for public use, to wit: First. All of the personal property of the said company, and particularly of all such property described in the list or schedule attached to the report of said arbitrators, and now on file in the office of the secretary of war, to which reference is hereto made, whether or not such property be appurtenant to

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said line of water communication. Second. Also all that part of the franchise of said company, viz., the water powers created by the dams and by the use of the surplus waters not required for the purpose of navigation, with the rights of protection and preservation appurtenant thereto, and the lots, pieces or parcels of land necessary to the enjoyment of the same, and those acquired with reference to the same, all subject to the right to use the water for all purposes of navigation, as the same is reserved in leases heretofore made by said company, a blank form of which attached to the said report of said arbitrators is now on file in the office of the secretary of war, and to which reference is here made, and subject also to all leases, grants...

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27 practice notes
  • Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority, Nos. 403
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 17 Febrero 1936
    ...energy thus produced constitute property belonging to the United States. See Green Bay & M. Canal Company v. Patten Paper Company, 172 U.S. 58, 80, 19 S.Ct. 97, 101, 43 L.Ed. 364; United States v. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Company, 229 U.S. 53, 72, 73, 33 S.Ct. 667, 57 L.Ed. 1063; Utah Po......
  • Alabama Power Co. v. Gulf Power Co.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • 15 Marzo 1922
    ...the sole owner of the same subject only to the control and regulation of its use by the United States. Green Bay & M.C. Co. v. Patten, 172 U.S. 58, 19 Sup.Ct. 97, 43 L.Ed. 364. A careful reading of the act under review, section by section, shows that navigation is the predominant idea of Co......
  • Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians v. FEDERAL POWER COM'N, No. 71-2012.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 9 Noviembre 1973
    ...later, the Court applied this principle in the second Green Bay case, Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company v. Patten Paper Company, 172 U.S. 58, 19 S.Ct. 97, 43 L.Ed 364 (1898), rehearing denied, 173 U.S. 179, 19 S.Ct. 316, 43 L.Ed. 658 (1899), to uphold the right of a grantee of the Uni......
  • Rethinking the Supreme Court’s Interstate Waters Jurisprudence
    • United States
    • Georgetown Environmental Law Review Nbr. 33-2, January 2021
    • 1 Enero 2021
    ...Water Power Co. v. St. Paul Water Comm’n, 168 U.S. 349, 358–71 (1897) (reviewing cases); Green Bay & Miss. Canal Co. v. Patten Paper Co., 172 U.S. 58, 68–82 (1898); Scranton v. Wheeler, 179 U.S. 141, 152–65 (1900). 167. See Hudson County Water Co. v. McCarter, 209 U.S. 349, 356–58 (1908). 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority, Nos. 403
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 17 Febrero 1936
    ...energy thus produced constitute property belonging to the United States. See Green Bay & M. Canal Company v. Patten Paper Company, 172 U.S. 58, 80, 19 S.Ct. 97, 101, 43 L.Ed. 364; United States v. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Company, 229 U.S. 53, 72, 73, 33 S.Ct. 667, 57 L.Ed. 1063; Utah Po......
  • Alabama Power Co. v. Gulf Power Co.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • 15 Marzo 1922
    ...the sole owner of the same subject only to the control and regulation of its use by the United States. Green Bay & M.C. Co. v. Patten, 172 U.S. 58, 19 Sup.Ct. 97, 43 L.Ed. 364. A careful reading of the act under review, section by section, shows that navigation is the predominant idea of Co......
  • Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians v. FEDERAL POWER COM'N, No. 71-2012.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 9 Noviembre 1973
    ...later, the Court applied this principle in the second Green Bay case, Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company v. Patten Paper Company, 172 U.S. 58, 19 S.Ct. 97, 43 L.Ed 364 (1898), rehearing denied, 173 U.S. 179, 19 S.Ct. 316, 43 L.Ed. 658 (1899), to uphold the right of a grantee of the Uni......
  • St Louis, Iron Mountain Southern Railway Company v. Starbird No 275 Starbird v. St Louis, Iron Mountain Southern Railway Company No 796, Nos. 275 and 796
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 30 Abril 1917
    ...under § 709 of the Revised Statutes, now § 237 of the Judicial Code, this court said, in Green Bay & M. Canal Co. v. Patten Paper Co. 172 U. S. 58, 67, 43 L. ed. 364, 368, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. 97: 'But no particular form of words or phrases has ever been declared necessary in which the claim of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Rethinking the Supreme Court’s Interstate Waters Jurisprudence
    • United States
    • Georgetown Environmental Law Review Nbr. 33-2, January 2021
    • 1 Enero 2021
    ...Water Power Co. v. St. Paul Water Comm’n, 168 U.S. 349, 358–71 (1897) (reviewing cases); Green Bay & Miss. Canal Co. v. Patten Paper Co., 172 U.S. 58, 68–82 (1898); Scranton v. Wheeler, 179 U.S. 141, 152–65 (1900). 167. See Hudson County Water Co. v. McCarter, 209 U.S. 349, 356–58 (1908). 1......

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