Wright v. Columbus Hocking Valley Athens Railroad Company

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

176 U.S. 481

Wright  v.  Columbus Hocking Valley Athens Railroad Company

 Argued: December 13, 1899. --- Decided: February 26, 1900

This was also a petition in the same court to enjoin the railroad company from entering upon or taking possession of the canal property and constructing a railroad thereon, but in certain particulars differs from the case already considered.

Plaintiff averred that he is the owner in fee simple of a certain tract of land in the county of Hocking, through and along which said canal passes; that he is also the owner of a mill located on said land on the south side of the canal, which is now and has been for many years past operated by water power supplied by the canal; that such mill was originally constructed before the location and construction of the Hocking canal, and was run and operated by water power from the Hocking river until the canal was constructed, when it became necessary to appropriate the Hocking river and the water power which had been used to supply his mill for the purposes of the canal; that at that time the land and the mill were owned by one Worthington, who entered into a contract with the state, by which the latter agreed to enlarge and forever maintain the dam across the Hocking river above the grist mill, in order to afford an ample supply of water, in consideration of his granting to the state the right to construct the canal through his lands; that the canal was constructed and the dam built in pursuance of such contract, and that all the water power necessary to operate the mill has been supplied from the said canal and the Hocking river up to the present time; that the plaintiff is the present owner of the land by deeds from Worthington, and that the grist mill has been supplied by such power from the Hocking river and the canal from the date of the construction of the canal, a period of fifty-seven years; that, relying upon such contract, he has made improvements and repairs upon said mill, put the same in excellent condition, and is doing a large and profitable business; that if the defendant is permitted to enter upon the canal and construct its railroad the water power will be cut off and destroyed, and the property rendered of little value; that he is also the owner of other lands on both sides of the canal for a long distance, to the amount of 1,000 acres, and that the construction of the railroad will place increased burdens upon his lands, and cut off and destroy his access to parts of them through the highways, and that he will be deprived of watering privileges for his stock.

A general demurrer was filed to this petition, which was sustained by the court and the petition dismissed. Plaintiff appealed to the circuit court, which also sustained the demurrer and dismissed the petition. Whereupon plaintiff appealed the case to the supreme court of the state, which affirmed the judgment of the dircuit court, whereupon plaintiff sued out writ of error from this court.

Messrs. J. B. Foraker, T. E. Powell, and D. J. Ryan for plaintiff in error.

Messrs. C. H. Grosvenor, D. L. Sleeper, and John J. Stoddart for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice Brown delivered the opinion of the court:


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).