Southwestern Historical Quarterly
channel as the boundary line in accordance with common law
governing boundaries along streams where such a stream alone
is mentioned as constituting the boundary. The Department of
Justice intervened in behalf of the United States, claiming that
the south bank had been fixed as the northern boundary of
Texas, but that, as nothing had been said concerning the
southern boundary of Oklahoma, such boundary was in fact
the medial line of the channel.2
The case was tried before a special commissioner appointed
by the court in the fall of 1921. The case was argued April 25-27,
1922, and decided on January 15, 1923. A decree was entered on
March 12, 1923, and a commission was appointed on June 4,
1923, to lay out the boundary and also to map the medial line of
the channel. The report of the commission was received on April
25, 1924, and adopted on June 9, 1924.
As a basis for discussion of problems arising from the case, it
appears pertinent to quote excerpts from the record as found in
Cases Argued and Determined in the United States Supreme
Court October Term, 1922.
The boundary between Oklahoma and Texas, where they are sep-
arated by the Red River, is along the southern bank of such river. ...
The bank of the Red River, fixed as the boundary between the
states of Oklahoma and Texas, is the water-washed and relatively per-
manent elevation or acclivity at the outer edge of the river bed, which
separates the bed of the river from the adjacent upland, and serves
to confine the waters within the bed, and to preserve the course of
the river. ...
The bed of a river is the area which is kept practically bare of
vegetation by the wash of the waters of the river from year to year in
their onward course, although parts of it are left dry for months at
a time. ...
The doctrine that a river continues to be a boundary, notwithstand-
ing erosion and accretion, applies to the Red River so far as it con-
stitutes a boundary between Oklahoma and Texas, notwithstanding
that, during periods of high water, the changes in the banks are
rapid and material. ...
One asserting material changes in the course of a boundary river,
which will affect the boundary, has the burden of proving them. ...
2The Supreme Court Reporter: Cases Argued and Determined in the United
State Supreme Court October Term, 1922 (St. Paul, 1924), XLIII, 376-378.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed November 24, 2015.