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Manigault v. Springs

Supreme Court of the United States

Submitted November 2, 1905 ; December 4, 1905

No. 46


 [*477]   [**129]   [***277]  MR. JUSTICE BROWN, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court.

The gravamen of the bill is the alleged impairment by the statute of 1903 of the contract entered into in 1898, by which defendants agreed to remove the dam then existing, and to allow such creek to remain open and unobstructed.

It was also charged that the constitution of South Carolina declaring that all navigable waters should forever remain public highways was a privilege [****9]  annexed to and constituting a part of the value of the lands, and that the damming of the creek, except for the purpose of the public health, welfare and safety and without due compensation therefor, was a destruction of the property of the plaintiff and a deprivation thereof without due process of law.

The specific injury complained of is that the plaintiff is the owner of a rice plantation on the North Santee River, bordering on Minim Creek, a tributary of the Santee, and lying in part just opposite the mouth or entrance of Kinloch Creek; that, relying on the agreement of the defendants, he had also purchased a millsite on the Santee, which could be used for a rice mill or a saw mill, the chief element of value of which was the water connection by means of a canal with Bluff Back Creek, accessible only through Kinloch Creek, and the consequent necessity of keeping Kinloch Creek, open and unobstructed; that Kinloch Creek is a water highway, navigable by vessels into the Santee River and thence into the ocean; that the erection and retention of a dam across Kinloch Creek would not only interrupt his use of Kinloch Creek and Bluff Back Creek by preventing access to the public landing [****10]  on the state road from his plantation on Kinloch Creek, but would obstruct the inflow of the tide of the Santee River through Minim Creek, causing the water from the river to flow back upon the banks to the plantation opposite the mouth of Kinloch  [*478]  Creek, and would thus compel him to raise and strengthen his banks.

1. The first question considered by the court below was whether Kinloch Creek was a navigable water of the United States, as defined in the case of The Montello, 11 Wall. 411; S. C., 20 Wall. 430, or navigable, as navigable streams are defined by the constitution and the laws of South Carolina. The court was of opinion, based apparently upon affidavits not sent up with the record, that the creek was not a navigable stream under these definitions.

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199 U.S. 473 *; 26 S. Ct. 127 **; 50 L. Ed. 274 ***; 1905 U.S. LEXIS 992 ****




Creek, River, dam, Bridge, highways, navigation, impairment, erection, cases, navigable waters, purposes, overflowed land, overflow, banks, swamp, navigable stream, state power, contracts, obstruct

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