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This note is confined to the construction of conveyances of land abutting on a highway with respect to their effect to carry title to the fee to the center of the highway. Being thus limited to the construction of particular conveyances, it does not discuss the general presumption that an abutting owner holds the fee to the center of the highway; nor does it discuss the rights and liabilities of an abutter, resulting from his ownership of the fee in the street.

The question as to the riparian rights of a person taking a conveyance to land abutting on a street and opposite to a watercourse is also excluded.

II. Presumption generally. It is a rule of universal recognition that a private conveyance of land bounded by or abutting on a highway the fee to which belongs to the abutting owners is presumed to take the fee to the highway to the center line thereof.

England.

Mickelthwait v. Newlay Bridge Co. (1886) L. R. 33 Ch. Div. 133, 55 L. T. N. S. 336, 51 J. P. 132, 23 Eng. Rul. Cas. 165; Re White [1898] 1 Ch. 659, 67 L. J. Ch. N. S. 430, 78 L. T. N. S. 550, 46 Week. Rep. 479; Berridge v. Ward (1861) 10 C. B. N. S. 400, 142 Eng. Reprint, 507, 30 L. J. C. P. N. S. 218, 7 Jur. N. S. 876. And see dictum in Holmes V. Bellingham (1859) 7 C. B. N. S. 329, 141 Eng. Reprint, 843, 29 L. J. C. P. N. S. 132, 6 Jur. N. S. 534.

Canada.-O'Connor v. Nova Scotia Teleph. Co. (1893) 22 Can. S. C. 276. United States.-Banks v. Ogden (1865) 2 Wall. 57, 17 L. ed. 818; Herbert v. Rainey (1892) 54 Fed. 248;

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Paine v. Consumer's Forwarding & Storage Co. (1895) 19 C. C. A. 99, 37 U. S. App. 539, 71 Fed. 626; Stone v. Waukegan (1913) 123 C. C. A. 563, 205. Fed. 495.

Alabama.-Columbus & W. R. Co. v. Witherow (1886) 82 Ala. 190, 3 So. 23; Moore v. Johnston (1888) 87 Ala. 220, 6 So. 50; Southern Bell Teleph. Co. v. Francis (1895) 109 Ala. 224, 31 L.R.A. 193, 55 Am. St. Rep. 930, 19 So. 1; South & North Alabama R. Co. v. Davis (1914) 185 Ala. 193, 64 So. 606. Arkansas.-Taylor V. Armstrong (1862) 24 Ark. 102; Dickinson Arkansas City Improv. Co. (1906) 77 Ark. 579, 113 Am. St. Rep. 170, 92 S. W. 21.

V.

V.

California. Moody Palmer (1875) 50 Cal. 31; Wehl v. Sonoma Valley R. Co. (1886) 69 Cal. 202, 10 Pac. 510; Fraser v. Ott (1892) 95 Cal. 661, 30 Pac. 793; Merchant v. Grant (1915) 26 Cal. App. 485, 147 Pac. 484.

Colorado.-Overland Mach. Co. v. Alpenfels (1902) 30 Colo. 163, 69 Pac. 574.

Connecticut.-Peck v. Smith (1814) 1 Conn. 103, 6 Am. Dec. 216; Stiles v. Curtis (1810) 4 Day, 328; Chatham v. Brainerd (1835) 11 Conn. 60; Champlin v. Pendleton (1838) 13 Conn. 23; Read v. Leeds (1848) 19 Conn. 182; Church v. Meeker (1867) 34 Conn. 421; Gear v. Barnum (1870) 37 Conn. 229; Benham v. Potter (1884) 52 Conn. 248.

Florida. Florida Southern R. Co. v. Brown (1887) 23 Fla. 104, 1 So. 512; Jacksonville, T. & K. W. R. Co. v. Lockwood (1894) 33 Fla. 573, 15 So. 327. And see dictum in Garnett v. Jacksonville, St. A. & H. R. Co. (1884) 20 Fla. 889.

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v. Arnold (1893) 91 Ga. 659, 18 S. E. 370.

Idaho.-Shaw v. Johnston (1910) 17 Idaho, 676, 107 Pac. 399.

V.

Illinois. Illinois & M. Canal Haven (1850) 11 Ill. 554; Gebhardt v. Reeves (1874) 75 Ill. 301; Chicago v. Rumsey (1877) 87 Ill. 348; Helmer v. Castle (1884) 109 Ill. 664; Hamilton v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. (1888) 124 Ill. 235, 15 N. E. 854; Thomsen v. McCormick (1891) 136 Ill. 135, 26 N. E. 373; Henderson v. Hatterman (1893) 146 Ill. 555, 34 N. E. 1041; Thompson v. Maloney (1902) 199 Ill. 282, 93 Am. St. Rep. 133, 65 N. E. 236; Chicago & E. I. R. Co. v. Willard (1910) 245 Ill. 391, 92 N. E. 271; Sullivan v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. (1911) 251 Ill. 113, 95 N. E. 1081; La Salle Varnish Co. v. Glos (1912) 254 Ill. 326, 98 N. E. 538. See dictum in Cicero v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. (1915) 270 Ill. 606, 110 N. E. 811.

Indiana.-Cox v. Louisville, N. A. & C. R. Co. (1874) 48 Ind. 178; Warbritton v. Demorett (1891) 129 Ind. 346, 27 N. E. 730, 28 N. E. 613; Montgomery v. Hines (1893) 134 Ind. 221, 33 N. E. 1100; Haslatt v. New Albany Belt & Terminal R. Co. (1893) 7 Ind. App. 603, 34 N. E. 845; Western U. Teleg. Co. v. Krueger (1905) 36 Ind. App. 348, 74 N. E. 25.

Iowa. See dictum in Dubuque v. Maloney (1859) 9 Iowa, 450, 74 Am. Dec. 358.

Kansas. Tousley v. Galena Min. & Smelting Co. (1880) 24 Kan. 328; Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. v. Patch (1882) 28 Kan. 470.

Kentucky. Hawesville V. Lander (1871) 8 Bush, 679; Schneider v. Jacob (1887) 86 Ky. 101, 5 S. W. 350; Jacob v. Woolfolk (1890) 90 Ky. 426, 9 L.R.A. 551, 14 S. W. 415; Coppin v. Manson (1911) 144 Ky. 634, 139 S. W. 860; Williams v. Johnson (1912) 149 Ky. 409, 149 S. W. 821; Blalock v. Atwood (1913) 154 Ky. 394, 46 L.R.A. (N.S.) 3, 157 S. W. 694; Carpenter v. Buckman (1897) 19 Ky. L. Rep. 700, 41 S. W. 579; Dollard v. Louisville, 3 Ky. Ops. 31.

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(1854) 38 Me. 195; Cottle v. Young (1871) 59 Me. 105; Webber v. Overlock (1876) 66 Me. 177; Oxton v. Graves (1878) 68 Me. 371, 28 Am. Rep. 75; Low v. Tibbetts (1880) 72 Me. 92, 39 Am. Rep. 303. And see dictum in Winslow v. Reed (1896) 89 Me. 67, 35 Atl. 1017. Compare Sutherland v. Jackson (1850) 32 Me. 80 (stated at length infra, in V. b.).

Maryland.-Peabody Heights Co. v. Sadtler (1885) 63 Md. 533, 52 Am. Rep. 519; Baltimore & O. R. Co. v. Gould (1887) 67 Md. 60, 8 Atl. 754.

Massachusetts.-Phillips v. Bowers (1856) 7 Gray, 21; Smith v. Slocomb (1857) 9 Gray, 36, 69 Am. Dec. 274; Newhall v. Ireson (1851) 8 Cush. 595, 54 Am. Dec. 790; White v. Godfrey (1867) 97 Mass. 472; Hollenbeck v. Rowley (1864) 8 Allen, 473; Boston v. Richardson (1866) 13 Allen, 146; Peck v. Denniston (1876) 121 Mass. 17; Dean v. Lowell (1883) 135 Mass. 55; O'Connell v. Bryant (1877) 121 Mass. 557; McKenzie V. Gleason (1904) 184 Mass. 452, 100 Am. St. Rep. 566, 69 N. E. 1076; Gray v. Kelley (1907) 194 Mass. 533, 80 N. E. 651.

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V.

Michigan. Purkiss Benson (1874) 28 Mich. 538; Plumber v. Johnston (1886) 63 Mich. 165, 29 N. W. 687.

Minnesota.-Re Robbins (1885) 34 Minn. 99, 57 Am. Rep. 40, 24 N. W. 356; White v. Jefferson (1910) 110 Minn. 276, 32 L.R.A. (N.S.) 784, 124 N. W. 373, 641, 125 N. W. 262.

Missouri. Snoddy v. Bolen (1894) 122 Mo. 479, 24 L.R.A. 507, 24 S. W. 142, 25 S. W. 932.

Nevada.-Lindsay v. Jones (1890) 21 Nev. 72, 25 Pac. 297.

New Hampshire.-Reed's Petition (1843) 13 N. H. 381; Goodeno v. Hutchinson (1873) 54 N. H. 159; Woodman v. Spencer (1874) 54 N. H. 507.

New Jersey.-Winter v. Peterson (1854) 24 N. J. L. 524, 61 Am. Dec. 678; Hoboken Land & Improv. Co. v. Kerrigan (1864) 31 N. J. L. 13; Salter v. Jonas (1877) 39 N. J. L. 469, 23 Am. Rep. 229; Dodge v. Pennsylvania. R. Co. (1887) 43 N. J. Eq. 351, 11 Atl. 751, affirmed in (1889) 45 N. J. Eq. 366, 19 Atl. 622; Hess v. Kenney

(1905) 69 N. J. Eq. 138, 61 Atl. 464; Lewis v. Pennsylvania R. Co. (1896) — N. J. Eq. — - 33 Atl. 932.

New York.-Bissell v. New York C. R. Co. (1861) 23 N. Y. 61; Perrin v. New York C. R. Co. (1867) 36 N. Y. 120; English v. Brennan (1875) 60 N. Y. 609; Mott v. Mott (1877) 68 N. Y. 246; Re Ladue (1889) 118 N. Y. 213, 23 N. E. 465; Haberman v. Baker (1891) 128 N. Y. 253, 13 L.R.A. 611, 28 N. E. 370; Van Winkle v. Van Winkle (1906) 184 N. Y. 204, 77 N. E. 33, affirming (1904) 95 App. Div. 605, 89 N. Y. Supp. 26; Pell v. Pell (1901) 35 Misc. 472, 71 N. Y. Supp. 1092, affirmed in (1901) 65 App. Div. 388, 73 N. Y. Supp. 81, which is affirmed in (1902) 169 N. Y. 607, 62 N. E. 1099; and see the reported case (RE BRONX PARKWAY, ante, 1).

North Carolina.-See dictum in Hays v. Askew (1860) 53 N. C. (8 Jones, L.) 226.

Oregon. -McQuaid v. Portland & V. R. Co. (1889) 18 Or. 237, 22 Pac. 899. Pennsylvania. - Paul v. Carver (1856) 26 Pa. 226, 27 Am. Dec. 413; Grier v. Sampson (1856) 27 Pa. 183; Cox v. Freedley (1859) 33 Pa. 124, 75 Am. Dec. 584; Trutt v. Spotts (1878) 87 Pa. 339; Spackman v. Steidel (1879) 88 Pa. 453; Firmstone v. Spaeter (1892) 150 Pa. 616, 30 Am. St. Rep. 851, 25 Atl. 41; Pittsburg, V. & C. R. Co. v. Fischer Foundry & Mach. Co. (1904) 208 Pa. 73, 57 Atl. 191; Oliver v. Ormsby (1909) 224 Pa. 564, 73 Atl. 973; Seibert v. Sebring (1913) 22 Pa. Dist. R. 530, affirmed in (1913) 55 Pa. Super. Ct. 475; Socket v. Norristown Transit Co. (1916) 62 Pa. Super. Ct. 542.

South Carolina.-Witter v. Harvey (1821) 1 M'Cord, L. 67, 10 Am. Dec. 650.

South Dakota.-Sweatman v. Bathrick (1903) 17 S. D. 138, 95 N. W. 422 (by express terms of statute).

Tennessee.-Iron Mountain R. Co. v. Bingham (1889) 87 Tenn. 522, 4 L.R.A. 622, 11 S. E. 705.

Texas.-Mitchell v. Bass (1862) 26 Tex. 372; Guadalupe County v. Poth (1914) Tex. Civ. App. —, 163 S. W. 1050; Cocke v. Texas & N. O. R. Co. (1907) 46 Tex. Civ. App. 363, 103

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Wisconsin. Kimball v. Kenosha (1855) 4 Wis. 331; Gove v. White (1866) 20 Wis. 426; Pettibone v. Hamilton (1876) 40 Wis. 402.

It is a familiar principle of law that "a grant of land bordering on a road or river carries the title to the center of the river or road unless the terms or circumstances of the grant indicate a limitation of its extent by the exterior lines." Banks v. Ogden (1865) 2 Wall. (U. S.) 57, 17 L. ed. 818.

"Where the highway is a boundary, the center line of the street is presumed to be the limit unless the description excludes the soil of the highway. Under ordinary circumstance nothing except express words will prevent the street in front of the prem. ises from passing." Oxten v. Groves (1878) 68 Me. 371, 28 Am. Rep. 75.

"It seems to be the universally recognized rule that the conveyance of land bordering upon a public highway conveys title to the center of the highway, subject to its use by the public, whether it is so expressed in the deed or not; and where a conveyance or bond to convey designates the public highway, (or street) as one of the boundaries of the tract, it will, in the absence of language showing a contrary intention, be construed as including the highway itself to the center or middle thereof." Williams v. Johnson (1912) 149 Ky. 409, 149 S. W. 821.

"Deeds may expressly exclude the streets, but unless they do, the implication is that the street is included." Bradley v. Spokane & I. E. R. Co. (1914) 79 Wash. 455, L.R.A.1917C, 255, 140 Pac. 688.

In Dodge v. Pennsylvania R. Co. (1887) 43 N. J. Eq. 351, 11 Atl. 751, the court said: "As to the fee of the street in front of the lands conveyed, the law is settled. A grantee, in such case, if his grantor owns the fee of the street in front of the land conveyed, takes to the middle of the street, by mere force of legal construction, unless a contrary intention is apparent on the face of the deed, or is unmistakably shown by the situation of the parties, and the nature and character of the transaction."

In Columbia & W. R. Co. v. Witherow (1886) 82 Ala. 190, 3 So. 23, the court said: "In paragraph 7 it is admitted, on information and belief, that complainant had purchased the lots in question from one Montgomery, for the sum of $100. On this motion, the latter admission is to be taken as true, and must prevail over the former insufficient denial. This being true, it would follow, as an implied inference, that the complainant would also be the owner of the ultimate fee in the avenue adjacent to the lots, to the center of the highway. The property in the soil and freehold in the street would still be hers. This follows from the principle that, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, a conveyance of land bounded by the public highway, or of lots in a city bounded by a public street, carries with it the fee to the center of such road or street, as part and parcel of the grant; and the grantee has the exclusive right to the soil, subject to the right of way implied from the original dedication, whatever that right may be held to embrace, which varies with the decisions of the different courts."

The cases enunciating the general rule heretofore stated ordinarily apply it to city streets and rural highways without reference to any distinction between them. In the case of Re White [1898] 1 Ch. (Eng.) 659, it was

held that the rule is applicable equally to streets and highways, the court saying: "Now, it is suggested that that general rule does not apply at all to streets in towns. I have never heard it before argued, and certainly it has never been actually decided, that the presumption does not apply to conveyances of houses bordering on streets in towns; nor do I see any sufficient reason why the general rule should not apply to streets in towns as well as to highways in the country. Why should towns be excluded? And if towns were excluded, where would you limit the exception from the rule? Would a country town be excepted? Would a small town? Would a village? Would a hamlet? Where are you to stop? It seems to me that unless there are certain circumstances connected with the particular town, the rule applies to streets in towns as it does to highways in the country."

So in Hammond V. McLachlan (1848) 1 Sandf. (N. Y.) 323, it was said: "We see no reason for holding a different construction in respect of these deeds, from that which prevails in regard to deeds of lands in the country. The reason for that construction in country deeds was based upon principles of great public convenience, which forbade that one should be the owner of a farm, and another of a road or a stream running through it. The practical inconveniences of a contrary rule have led to this construction uniformly, unless where it expressly appears that the parties intended the contrary."

However, in English v. Brennan (1875) 60 N. Y. 609, the presumption was said to be much less strong in respect to lots abutting on streets in large cities.

In Hochalter v. Manhattan R. Co. (1890) 31 N. Y. S. R. 112, 9 N. Y. Supp. 341, it was held that the presumption was applicable to streets opened by statutory proceedings. In Illinois, however, a statutory dedication vests the fee in the public, and the rule is not applicable. See infra, VI. d.

The presumption that a conveyance of land with respect to a highway on which it abuts presumptively conveys

the fee to the center is applicable to the conveyance of land abutting on a public alley. Bergan v. Co-Operative Ice & Fuel Co. (1908) 41 Ind. App. 647, 84 N. E. 833; Jacob v. Woolfolk (1890) 90 Ky. 426, 9 L.R.A. 551, 14 S. W. 415; Albert v. Thomas (1890) 73 Md. 181, 20 Atl. 912; Snoddy v. Bolen (1894) 122 Mo. 479, 24 L.R.A. 507, 24 S. W. 142, 25 S. W. 932; Lindsay v. Jones (1890) 21 Nev. 72, 25 Pac. 297; Freeman v. Sayre (1886) 48 N. J. L. 37, 2 Atl. 650; Hennessey v. Murdock (1893) 137 N. Y. 317, 33 N. E. 330; Oliver v. Ormsby (1909) 224 Pa. 564, 73 Atl. 973; Weiss v. Goodhue (1907) 46 Tex. Civ. App. 142, 102 S. W. 793; Richmond v. Thompson (1914) 116 Va. 178, 81 S. E. 105.

The general rule that a description of land with reference to a highway on which it abuts presumptively carries the fee to the center of the highway is applicable to a judgment on condemnation to the same extent as to a deed of conveyance. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. v. Patch (1882) 28 Kan. 470; Challiss v. Atchison Union Depot & R. Co. (1891) 45 Kan. 398, 25 Pac. 894; Michigan C. R. Co. v. Miller (1912) 172 Mich. 201, 137 N. W. 555; Witt v. St. Paul & N. P. R. Co. (1888) 38 Minn. 122, 35 N. W. 862; Pennsylvania S. Valley R. Co. v. Reading Paper Mills (1892) 149 Pa. 18, 24 Atl. 205; Amerman v. Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. (1915) Tex. Civ. App.

182 S. W. 56.

In Snoddy v. Bolen (1894) 122 Mo. 479, 24 L.R.A. 507, 24 S. W. 142, 25 S. W. 932, it was held that where, in dedicating a street, the dedication reserved mineral rights, a subsequent conveyance of abutting lands without reservation passed the mineral rights.

III. Reason for presumption.

It has in a few cases been assigned as a reason for the presumption that the grantee takes to the center of a street designated as a boundary that the street as a whole is a monument within the rule that a boundary line runs through the center of a monument. Illinois & M. Canal v. Havens (1850) 11 Ill. 557; Helmer v. Castle (1884) 109 III. 664; Jacob v. Woolfolk

(1890) 90 Ky. 426, 9 L.R.A. 551, 14 S. W. 415.

The reason ordinarily assigned is, however, that a mutual intention that the grantee shall take to the center of the street is to be presumed from the fact that retention of the fee to the half of the highway is of little value to the grantor, while it is of distinct value to the grantee. "There is no purpose to be served in the retention by the grantor of a narrow strip of land along the boundaries of the land conveyed." Mott v. Mott (1876) 68 N. Y. 246.

"The rule seems to be based on the supposed intention of the parties and the improbability of the grantor desiring or intending to reserve his interest in the street when he had parted with his title to the adjoining land." Florida Southern R. Co. v. Brown (1887) 23 Fla. 104, 1 So. 512. See to the same effect, Gear v. Barnum (1870) 37 Conn. 229. "It will not be supposed that a man would care to keep title to the highway in himself when he had parted with the land bordering thereon." Henderson v. Hatterman (1893) 146 Ill. 555, 34 N. E. 1041.

In Merchant v. Grant (1915) 26 Cal. App. 485, 147 Pac. 484, it was said that the presumption rests on the unreasonableness of assuming that the grantor intended to retain a right of no use to him, and which might result in serious injury to the grantee.

In Johnson v. Anderson (1841) 18 Me. 76, the court said: "Could the grantor, after these conveyances, contemplate that he was to continue to be the owner of the land over which the road was laid, and that he might, subject to the public rights, cut away or protect at his pleasure the trees, and remove the earth and manure, that might be useful? Could the grantees have imagined that they had not these rights, usually belonging to the owners of the adjoining land? The effect of admitting the principle. that a conveyance bounding on a highway does not extend to the center of it would deprive the owners of farms without, and the owners of house lots within, our villages and

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