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2. STATES 12(2)-BOUNDARY LINE MUST BE the Minnesota shore, leaving portions of LOCATED BY REFERENCE TO SITUATION AT them in each state. See Wisconsin v. Duluth, TIME ACT DEFINING BOUNDARIES WAS 96 U. S. 379, 24 L. Ed. 668; Norton v. Whiteside, 239 U. S. 144, 36 Sup. Ct. 97, 60 L. Ed.


The location of the main channel of the St.

Louis river, designated as the northern bound-
ary of Wisconsin by Act Aug. 6, 1846, must be
determined upon consideration of the situation
existing in 1846.



In Upper St. Louis Bay, the main channel of the St. Louis river, constituting the boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota by Act Aug. 6, 1846, is not the narrow winding channel near the Minnesota shore, with a ruling depth of 10 or possibly 8 feet, but the shorter and more direct course westward to the deeper channel, about seven-eighths of a mile northeast of Big Island.


The doctrine of "thalweg," under which the boundary line between states separated by a navigable river is the middle of the main channel of the stream, has reference to actual or probable use of the stream, and does not necessarily refer to the line of the greatest depth, if it is not the channel generally used.

[Ed. Note. For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, First and Second Series, Thalweg.]

In Equity.

Original suit by the State of Minnesota against the State of Wisconsin. Decree entered, fixing the boundary line as stated in the opinion.


"An act to enable the people of Wisconsin Territory to form a Constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union," approved August 6, 1846 (9 Stat. 56, c. 89), described the boundary in part as follows:

"Thence [with the northwesterly boundary of Michigan] down the main channel of the Montreal river to the middle of Lake Superior; thence [westwardly] through the center of Lake Superior to the mouth of the St. Louis river; thence up the main channel of said river to the first rapids in the same, above the Indian vil lage, according to Nicollet's map; thence due south to the main branch of the River St. Croix," etc.


With the boundaries described by the En

abling Act, Wisconsin entered the Union May 29, 1848 (9 Stat. 233, c. 50).

"An act to authorize the people of the ter ritory of Minnesota to form a Constitution and state government, preparatory to their admission in the Union," approved February 26, 1857 (11 Stat. 166, c. 60), specifies a portion of the boundary thus:

"Thence by a due south line to the north line of the state of Iowa; thence east along the northern boundary of said state to the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence up the main channel of said river, and following the boundary line of the state of Wisconsin, until the same intersects the St. Louis river; thence down said river to and through Lake *Messrs. W. D. Bailey and H. B. Fryberger, Superior, on the boundary line of Wisconsin both of Duluth, Minn., Lyndon A. Smith, of and Michigan, until it intersects the dividing St. Paul, Minn., Charles R. Pierce, of Wash-line between the United States and the British 'ington, D. C., and Clifford L. Hilton and possessions." Frank B. Kellogg, both of St. Paul, Minn., for complainant.


Messrs. M. B. Olbrich, of Madison, Wis., Walter C. Owen, of Maiden Rock, Wis., and Walter Drew, of Milwaukee, Wis., for defendant.

With boundaries as therein described, Minnesota became a state May 11, 1858 (11 Stat.

285, c. 31).

The present controversy arises from conflicting interpretations of the words:

"Thence [westwardly] through the center of

Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the Lake Superior to the mouth of the St. Louis opinion of the Court.

river; thence up the main channel of said river to the first rapids in the same, above the Indian village, according to Nicollet's map."

We are asked to ascertain and establish the boundary line between the parties in Upper and Lower St. Louis Bays. Complain- The situation disclosed by an accurate surant claims to the middle of each bay-half- vey gives much room for differences concernway between the shores. The defendant does ing the location of the "mouth of the St. not seriously question this claim as to the Louis river" and "the main channel of said lower bay, but earnestly maintains that in river." Nicollet's map of the "Hydrographthe upper one the line follows a sinuous ical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River," course near complainant's shore. Since 1893 published in 1843, and drawn upon a scale a deep channel has been dredged through of 1: 1,200,000-approximately 20 miles to the these waters and harbor lines have been estab-inch-is too small either to reveal or to give lished. According to Wisconsin's insistence, material aid in solving the difficulties. A its border crosses and recrosses this channel sketch from it-approximately on original and intersects certain docks extending from scale-is printed on the next page.

For other cases see same topic and KEY-NUMBER in all Key-Numbered Digests and Indexes

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During 1823-1825 Lieut. Bayfield, of the British Navy, surveyed and sounded the westerly end of Lake Superior and the lower waters of St. Louis river. A chart compiled from data so obtained (1:49,300-4,108 feet to the inch) and published in 1828, shows the general configuration and lays the proper sailing course southward of Big Island. Prior to 1865 this was the only available chart, and navigators often used it.


The first accurate map of these waters was drawn from surveys and soundings made under direction of Capt. George W. Meade in 1861, and is now on file in the Lake Survey Office at Detroit. After being reduced onehalf-to a scale of 1:32,000 or approximately two inches to a mile-it was engraved and published in 1865 or 1866. Known as the Meade Chart, this reproduction is accepted by both parties as adequately disclosing conditions existing in 1846. A rough sketch based upon the chart-about one-third of its size and also a photographic reproduction of a portion of the original map, are printed on succeeding pages.

Nihegemawin or Sleeping BeanR

Minnesota and Wisconsin Points are low narrow strips of sand-the former 6 miles in length, the latter approximately 3. Between them there is a narrow opening known as "The Entry," and inside lies a bay (Allouez and Superior) 9 miles long and a mile and a half wide. A narrow channel between Rice's Point and Connor's Point leads into Lower St. Louis Bay, approximately a mile and a half wide and 3 miles long. Passing south of Grassy Point, another channel leads into irregular shaped Upper St. Louis Bay, with Big Island at its southwesterly end. Southeast of this island begin the well-defined banks, deep narrow channel, and obvious current characteristic of a true river; these continue through many windings to the falls above the Indian village noted on Nicollet's Map.

Meade's Chart indicates: A depth of not over 8 feet across the bar at "The Entry"; a deep channel through Superior Bay; rather shallow water, with a ruling depth of 8 feet, in Lower St. Louis Bay; 8 feet of water on a fairly direct course, about a mile

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(40 Sup.Ct.)



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*in length, from the deep channel south of Grassy Point and east of Fisherman's Island

to the deep water immediately westward of *279

the *bar, about seven-eighths of a mile northeast of Big Island. It further discloses a curving channel along the west side of Grassy Point, and thence close to the Minnesota shore and around Big Island, with a depth of 15 or more feet, except at the bar, where there are only 10, possibly 8, feet. To the south of Big Island lies the well-known and formerly much-used course indicated on Lieut. Bayfield's Map.

rior, that within "The Entry" there were only small boats of light draft, and that navigation long remained rather primitive.

[3] Lower St. Louis Bay was shallow, with a ruling depth of 8 feet, and had no welldefined channel. From the deep water at

the southern tip of Grassy Point a vessel drawing less than 8 feet bound north of

Big Island and beyond could have turned northwest and followed the narrow winding channel near the Minnesota shore with a ruling depth of 10, possibly 8, feet, or it could have proceeded westward, approximately one mile, over a more direct course with a depth

of 8 feet or more, until it came to the deeper channel about seven-eighths of a mile northeast of Big Island. This latter course is indicated by the red trace "A, B, C," on Min

The level of the water within all the bays is substantially the same as in Lake Superior; such current as exists flows in opposite directions, according to the wind and movement within the lake. The shores are ir-nesota's Exhibit No. 1-Meade's Chart. For regular and much indented.

Since 1893 the United States have dredged a 22 foot channel through Upper St. Louis Bay and around Grassy Point; thence through Lower St. Louis Bay (where there are two branches) and between Rice's and Connor's Points; thence through Superior Bay to "The Entry" and into the lake. Ex

tensive docks have been constructed from

the Minnesota shore in both the upper and lower bays; those extending southwest from Grassy Point cross the boundary claimed by Wisconsin. The general situation of 1846 continued until long after 1861, but during the last 30 years extensive improvements required for a large and busy harbor have produced great changes.

[1] The complainant maintains that within the true intendment of the statute the "mouth of the St. Louis river" is southeast of Big Island, where end the banks, channel, and current characteristic of a river and lake features begin. On the other hand, the defendant insists, and we think correctly, that such mouth is at the junction of Lake Superior and the deep channel between Minnesota and Wisconsin Points-"The Entry."

It is unnecessary to specify the many facts and circumstances, historical and otherwise, which lead to the conclusion stated. They


seem adequate, notwithstanding *some troublesome objections based upon the peculiar hydrographic conditions.

[2] Treating "The Entry" as the mouth of the St. Louis river, where is the line "thence up the main channel of said river to the first rapids," etc.? This must be determined upon consideration of the situation existing in 1846, which the parties admit remained substantially unchanged until after the Meade survey. No alterations now material have come about through accretion or erosion.

many years officers and representatives of both states regarded the boundary as on or near this line; and, considering all the circumstances, we think it must be accepted as the main channel within intendment of the statute. No current controlled navigation, and vessels proceeding in opposite directions followed the same general course.


Both parties say that in 1846"practically all of Upper and Lower St. Louis Bays between the shores were navigable for such vessels as were accustomed to use said bays at said time for the purpose of navigation, and there was no defined course, or channel, in said bays, which said vessels followed, but, owing to the depth of the water, they were permitted and accustomed to travel across said bays in any direction."

For very many years subsequent to 1846 there were no vessels with 8-foot draft upon these waters, and probably none of such size regularly plied there until 1890 or later.

The course south of Big Island shown on the Bayfield Map was never accepted as the boundary, and need not be further considered. Wisconsin's claim to that island is not denied.

Manifestly, from the description heretofore given, the waters between Big Island and Lake Superior were broad sheets, without any definite uninterrupted deep channel extending throughout their entire length; also there was no steady, controlling current. Such vessels as plied there in 1846 and long thereafter moved with freedom in different directions. The evidence convinces us that, as navigation gradually increased prior to 1890, the northerly course in Upper St. Louis Bay commonly followed by vessels going to or coming from points above Big Island was not along the narrow curving channel skirting Grassy Point, but over the shorter one near the middle of the bay.

This court approved the doctrine of ThalThe line through Superior Bay is not here weg, as opposed to the physical middle line, called in question. But let it be noted that in Iowa v. Illinois, 147 U. S. 1, 13 Sup. Ct. no vessel drawing more than 8 feet could 239, 37 L. Ed. 55, and has adhered thereto. have passed into that bay from Lake Supe-Louisiana v. Mississippi, 202 U. S. 1, 26 Sup.

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