Grinels,v,. Daniel.

Decision Date21 March 1910
Citation67 S.E. 534,110 Va. 874
PartiesGRINELS v . DANIEL.
CourtVirginia Supreme Court

1. Navigable Waters (§ 46*) — Riparian Rights—Licenses.

The owner of a tract of land fronting on the Rappahannock river leased to another a portion thereof, situated on the beach, to be used by the lessee for a steamboat wharf. Held, that the lessor did not part with his riparian rights to any greater extent than was necessary to enable the lessee to erect the wharf and use it for the purposes for which it was built, and the lessee had no right to erect between low-water mark and the line of navigability houses for the carrying on of any business not connected with the conducting of the wharf.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Navigable Waters, Dec. Dig. § 46.*]

2. Navigable Waters (§ 43*)—Shore Lands —Title.

Title to land between low-water mark and the line of navigability on the Rappahannock river is in the commonwealth, but between low-water mark and the line of navigability the riparian owner has the right of access to the navigable part of the river, the right to make a wharf or pier, which right is property, and can only be taken from him in accordance with law.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Navigable Waters, Cent. Dig. § 257; Dec. Dig. § 43.*]

3. Navigable Waters (§ 462-*) — Riparian Rights.

Where the owner of land fronting on the Rappahannock river gave another permission to erect between low-water mark and the line of navigability houses for the purpose of barreling oysters, he did not have the right to use or occupy the houses for any other purposes.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Navigable Waters, Dec. Dig. § 46.*]

4. Fish (§ 7*)—Licenses—Construction.

An assignment by the state under Code 1904, § 2135b, of land for oyster-planting purposes, did not confer upon the assignee the right to erect houses, and use them to carry on a mercantile business.

[Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Fish, Dec. Dig. § 7.*]..

Appeal from Circuit Court, Middlesex County.

Action by James Grinels against George W. Daniel, Jr. From a decree dismissing the bill, complainant appeals. Reversed.

Scott, Buchanan & Cardwell and John R. Saunders, for appellant

. H. I. Lewis and T. G. Jones, for appellee.

BUCHANAN, J. In the year 18S3 S. Grinels, who was the owner of a tract of land lying in the county of Middlesex fronting on the Rappahannock river, entered into an agreement with Georgiana Williams and Matilda S. Forbes, by which he leased to them and their successors one-fourth of an acre of land, "situated on the beach of the river, together with a right of way through the lands of the said Grinels, to be used by the parties of the second part for the purposes of constructing a steamboat wharf and to give the public an uninterrupted travel thereto and from." The wharf was built, and has ever since been used, by the lessees and their successors for the purposes for which it was built.

The lessor was at that time, in connection with his son, the appellant, carrying on a general merchandise business, including the buying and selling of oysters and fish, on his land near the wharf. Subsequently they erected a breakwater, running parallel with the shore in front of the land, to make a safe and convenient harbor for the craft accustomed to ply in those waters.

In the year 1897 or 189S two houses were erected on piles in the river near the wharf between low-water mark and the line of navigability, by and with the consent of S. Grinels, for the purpose of barreling oysters and perhaps crabs. These houses are now occupied and used by George W. Daniel, the appellee, for carrying on "various lines of commercial business."

After these houses were erected, S. Grinels departed this life, leaving a will by which his son, James Grinels, the appellant, became, the owner of the land fronting the river where the said wharf and houses were erected.

The object of this suit, which was brought by the appellant, was to restrain the appellee from occupying and using the said houses, from erecting new buildings, and from doing any business except such as is consistent with the proper conduct of the wharf, and such business as is properly connected with carrying passengers and freight to and from the wharf; to adjudicate the appellant's rights; and to ascertain and recover the damages inflicted upon him by the alleged wrongful acts of the appellee in the occupation and use of the said houses.

The right of the appellant to the relief sought is denied by the appellee upon two grounds: First, that the appellant has no riparian rights growing out of the ownership of the land, because his father, S. Grinels, in his lifetime had parted with all riparian rights to the land by his lease to Williams and Forbes for the erection of the wharf; and, second, if he did not part with his riparian rights when the lease was made, he and those who claim under him are estopped from asserting such rights against the appellee because of S. Grinels' conduct in consenting to and inducing the appellee and those he claims under to incur costs and great outlay in erecting the said buildings.

As to the first contention, it is clear that S. Grinels in leasing the quarter of an acre of land for the erection of the wharf did not...

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10 cases
  • Bostick v. Smoot Sand and Gravel Corporation
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • August 21, 1957
    ...pier, but he did not own the bed of the river, or have any right to remove sand, gravel or other materials therefrom. Grinels v. Daniel, 1910, 110 Va. 874, 67 S.E. 534; 2 Virginia L.Rev. 436 The Compact preserved as to riparian owners in Virginia, and conferred upon riparian owners along th......
  • Greenleaf Johnson Lumber Co. v. United States
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • February 20, 1913
    ...same effect are the decisions of Virginia to the present time, the most recent case having been decided within the last two years (110 Va. 874, 67 S.E. 534¢). Groner v. Foster, Va. 650, 27 S.E. 493; Taylor v. Commonwealth, 102 Va. 759, 771, 47 S.E. 875, 102 Am.St.Rep. 865; Grinels v. Daniel......
  • Evelyn v. Com.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Virginia
    • October 25, 2005
    ...is in the Commonwealth. . . .'" Avery v. Beale, 195 Va. 690, 702, 80 S.E.2d 584, 591 (1954) (quoting Grinels v. Daniel, 110 Va. 874, 877, 67 S.E. 534, 535-36 (1910)); see Code § 28.2-1200. This "property of the Commonwealth . . . may be used as a common by all the people of the Commonwealth......
  • Avery v. Beale, 4159
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Virginia
    • March 15, 1954
    ...the navigable part of the water, that are not enjoyed by non-riparian owners. In this connection Judge Buchanan said in Grinels v. Daniel, 110 Va. 874, 877, 67 S.E. 534: 'It is true * * * that the title to the land between low water mark and the line of navigability is in the Commonwealth (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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