Douglass v. County of Pike

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

101 U.S. 677

Douglass  v.  County of Pike

ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Missouri.

This was an action by Joseph M. Douglass on three hundred and twenty-one overdue coupons detached from bonds issued by the county to Pike, Missouri. The bonds are in the following form:--'No. ___.] STATE OF MISSOURI. [$500.00.


'Issued in payment of Stock of the Pike County Short Line Railroad Company.

'Know all men by these presents, that the county of Pike, in the State of Missouri, acknowledges itself indebted and firmly bound to the Pike County Short Line Railroad Company in the sum of five hundred dollars, which sum the said county promises to pay to the said Pike County Short Line Railroad Company, or bearer, at the National Bank of the State of Missouri, in St. Louis, Mo., on the first day of January, A.D. 1892, with interest thereon from the first day of January, A.D. 1872, at the rate of ten per cent per annum; which interest shall be payable semi-annually on the presentation and delivery at said National Bank, of the coupons of interest hereto attached; this bond being issued under and pursuant to an order of the county court of Pike County, by authority of an act of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, approved March 23, 1868, entitled 'An Act to facilitate the construction of railroads in the State of Missouri,' and authorized by vote of the people of Cuivre Township, in said county, taken as required by law, Feb. 7, 1871.

'In testimony whereof, the said county of Pike has executed this bond, by the presiding justice of the county court of said county, under the order thereof, signing his name hereto, and by the clerk of said court, under the order thereof, attesting the same and affixing the seal of said court; this done at Bowling Green, county of Pike aforesaid, this first lay of January, A.D. 1872.


'Presiding Justice of County Court of Pike County, Missouri.



'Clerk of County Court of Pike County, Missouri.

The declaration avers that the county, in behalf of said township, subscribed for and received and retains the stock of said railroad company to an amount equal to the bonds, and paid the coupons falling due up to Jan. 1, 1876; that the road was built through the township; that the subscription was authorized by a vote duly taken, as required by law, on the seventh day of February, 1871; that he is the holder for value of the coupons sued on, and that he duly presented them for payment at said bank as they became due, and that payment was refused.

Judgment was rendered in favor of the defendant on its demurrer to the plaintiff's declaration, the question involved being the constitutionality of the act whereof mention is made in the bonds.

The plaintiff thereupon sued out this writ of error.

Mr. John H. Overall and Mr. Frederic N. Judson for the plaintiff in error.

Mr. George F. Edmunds and Mr. Thomas J. C. Fagg for the defendant in error.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE 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).