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RIVER Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

A natural stream of water, of greater volume than a creek or rivulet, flowing in a more or less permanent bed or channel, between defined banks or walls, with a current which may either be continuous in one direction or affected by the ebb and flow of the tide. See Howard v. Ingersoll, 13 How. 391, 14 L. Ed. 189; Alabama v. Georgia, 23 How. 513, 16 L. Ed. 556; The Garden City (D. C.) 26 Fed. 772; Berlin Mills Co. v. Wentwortli’s Location, 60 N. H. 156; Dud- den v. Guardians of Clutton Union, 1 Hurl. & N. 627; Chamberlain v. Hemingway, 63 Coun. 1, 27 Atl. 239, 22 L. R. A. 45, 38 Am. St. Rep. 330. Rivers are public or private; and of public rivers some are navigable and others not. The common-law distinction is that navigable rivers are those only wherein the tide ebbs and flows. But, in familiar usage, any river is navigable which affords passage to ships and vessels, irrespective of its being affected by the tide.


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