Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, during the latter part of the Austin term, 1884, and the Tyler term, 1884. Volume 62. Page: 17
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1884.] I. & T. C. R'Y Co. v. TRAIS COUNTY. 17
Opinion of the court.
is in legal effect thus excepted under the general principle and maxim
of law applicable to statutes of limitations, " nullum tempus occurrit
regi "- that time does not run against the sovereignty; that counties
being but political subdivisions of the state, exercising the functions
and powers intrusted to them in the general interest of state government
as an integral part of that government, the reason of the rule
exempting the state would equally apply to its counties.
The authorities are numerous tot the contrary effect of such an
exemption, whether the doctrine contended for by the appellee be
applied to towns and cities, or to counties.
Wood on Limitations of Actions, sec. 53, says: " The maxim nullimi
tenpus occurrit regi only applies in favor of the sovereign power,
and has no application to municipal corporations deriving their
powers from the sovereign, although their powers in a limited sense
are governmental. Thus the statute runs for or against towns and
cities (citing Cincinnati v. Evans, 5 Ohio St., 594; Lane v. Kennedy,
13 id., 42; Cincinnati v. First Presbyterian Church, 8 Ohio,
298; Conyngham School Dist. v. Columbia Co. (Penn.), 6 Leg. Gaz.,
26; School Directors v. Goerges, 50 Mo., 194; K]ennebunkport v.
Smith, 22 Me., 445; Gibson v. Chouteau, 13 Wall. (U. S.), 92; Alton
v. Illinois Transp. Co., 12 Ill., 38), and also for or against counties
(citing County of St. Charles v. Powell, 22 Mo., 525; Evans v. Erie
County, 66 Penn. St., 222; Baker v. Johnson Co., 33 Iowa, 151;,
Armstrong v. Dalton, 4 Dev. (N. C.), 568; County of Lancaster v.
Brinthall, 29 Penn. St., 38), in the same manner as it does for and
against individuals." The author adds, that in some of the states
the statute is in terms extended to towns, cities and counties; "but
independent of such provision the rule is as stated supra."
"Although," says Judge Dillon in his work on Municipal Corporations,
2d vol., sec. 668, "municipal corporations are considered as
public agencies, exercising, in behalf of the state, public duties, there
are many cases which hold that such corporations are not exempt
from the operation of limitation statutes, but that such statutes, at
least as respects all real and personal actions, run in favor of and
against these corporations in the same manner and to the same
extent as against natural persons" (citing authorities in an elaborate
This doctrine was applied in the case of City of Galveston v. Menard,
23 Tex., 408, which decided that the statute of limitation may
be set up to bar the right of the city to a public street; and that possession
of it for five years, with the requisites prescribed by the statute,
will confer upon the possessor full title. The opinion in that case
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Texas. Supreme Court. Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, during the latter part of the Austin term, 1884, and the Tyler term, 1884. Volume 62., book, 1885; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28512/m1/39/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .