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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.




FANNING V. GREGOIRE

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FANNING V. GREGOIRE. Argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1853 by Dubuque attorney Platt SMITH, the case involved the right to operate a ferry line from Dunleith (East Dubuque, Illinois) across the MISSISSIPPI RIVER to Dubuque. Only one carrier could have the franchise. In 1838 Timothy FANNING had acquired a territorial permit for twenty years. Charles H. GREGOIRE, a member of the family who had operated the main ferry line since 1838, had given up his territorial permit and obtained a Dubuque city license when Iowa became a state. This license was to begin on April 1, 1852.

Between 1852 and 1854 Gregoire arranged to sell his equipment and route to the ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD for $40,000. Fanning, in an attempt to obtain Gregoire's route, sued claiming that his territorial permit took precedence over a city license.

Smith representing Gregoire, successfully argued that the city license was an act of a new state and was superior to a territorial permit. The Court's decision in favor of Gregoire affirmed the legal status of Iowa and the rights of Iowa citizens against any claims made on colonial or territorial law.

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Source:

Klein, Robert F. Dubuque: Frontier River City. Research Center for Dubuque Area History, Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, 1984, p. 97

Fanning v. Gregoire 57 U.S. 524 (1853) Justia US Supreme Court. Online: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/57/524/case.html