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United States Supreme Court


No. 11

Argued: Decided: April 30, 1900

[177 U.S. 501, 502]   Mr. G. W. Pickle, Attorney General of Tennessee, for complainant.

Mr. A. J. Montague, Attorney General of Virginia, for defendant. [177 U.S. 501, 503]  

Mr. Chief Justice Fuller announced that the court ordered the following decree to be entered:

This cause coming on to be heard on the original bill filed herein by the state of Tennessee against the state of Virginia, the answer thereto by the state of Virginia, the reply to said answer by the state of Tennessee, and the stipulations filed herein by counsel for the respective parties; and the pleadings and stipulations having been duly considered, and the decree of this court entered on the third day of April, A. D. 1893, at the October term, 1892, in a certain original cause in equity, wherein the state of Virginia was complainant and the state of Tennessee was defendant, and the record of said cause having been examined:--

It is thereupon, this 30th day of April, A. D. 1900, ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the boundary line established between the states of Virginia and Tennessee by the compact of 1803 between the said states is the real, certain, and true boundary between the said states, which boundary line was actually run and located under proceedings had by the two states in 1801-1803, was then marked with five chops in the shape of a diamond, was commonly known as the diamond line, and ran from White Top mountain to Cumberland gap.

And it appearing further to the court that the said boundary line has become so far obscured by lapse of time or loss of monuments as to justify and necessitate its re-establishment and remarking under the direction of this court, it is therefore further ordered, adjudged, and decreed that William C. Hodgkins, of the state of Massachusetts, James B. Baylor, of the state of Virginia, and Andrew H. Buchanan, of the state of Tennessee, be and they are hereby appointed commissioners to ascertain, retrace, remark, and re-establish said boundary line, but without authority to run or establish any other or new line.

And it is further ordered that, before entering upon the discharge of their duties, each of the said commissioners shall be duly sworn to perform faithfully, impartially, without prejudice or bias, the duties herein imposed, said oath to be taken before the clerk of this court, or before either of the clerks of the circuit courts of the United States for the states of Massachusetts, [177 U.S. 501, 504]   Virginia, or Tennessee, and returned with their report; that said commissioners may arrange for their organization, their meetings, and the particular manner of the performance of their duties, and are authorized to adopt all ordinary and legitimate methods for the ascertainment of the true location of said boundary line, including the taking of evidence, but in the event evidence is taken, the parties shall be notified and permitted to be present and examine and cross-examine the witnesses, and the rules of law as to admissibility and competency shall be observed; and all evidence taken by the commissioners, and all exceptions thereto, and action thereon, shall be preserved and certified, and returned with their report.

And when the true location of said boundary line is ascertained, said commissioners shall cause such marks and monuments of a durable nature to be so placed on and along said line as to perpetuate it, and enable the sitizens of each state, and others, to find it with reasonable diligence.

It is further ordered that the clerk of this court at once forward to the chief magistrate of each of said states, and to each of the commissioners designated by this decree, a copy of the decree duly authenticated, and that the commissioners proceed with all convenient speed to discharge their duty in ascertaining, retracing, remarking, and re-establishing said line, as herein directed, and make their report thereof and of their proceedings in the premises to this court, on or before the first day of the next term thereof, together with a complete bill of costs and charges annexed.

And it is further ordered that, should vacancies occur in said board of commissioners while the court is not in session, the Chief Justice is hereby authorized and empowered to appoint other commissioners, to supply the same, and he is authorized to act on such information in the premises as may be satisfactory to himself.

It is further ordered that all costs of this proceeding, including remuneration not exceding $10 per day for each commissioner, and the other costs incident to the ascertaining, retracing, remarking, and re- establishing said line, shall be paid by the states of Tennessee and Virginia equally. Ordered accordingly.

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