The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, District Judge.
The Declaration of Taking was filed February 23, 1951, under
authority of the various Acts of Congress cited in said
The declaration of the Secretary of the Army, inter alia,
alleges: "The public uses for which said lands are taken are as
follows: the said lands are necessary adequately to provide for
the construction and operation of a flood-control dam and
reservoir. The said lands have been selected by me for
acquisition by the United states for use in connection with the
establishment of the Bull Shoals dam and reservoir and for such
other uses as may be authorized by Congress or by executive
Attached to the declaration were segment maps showing the lands
to be taken and the sum estimated as just compensation.
The defendant, Nora Mitchell Eckles, is the owner of one of the
tracts so designated, which tract is described as follows: "Tract
M-1207-N½ N½ SE¼ Frl.NE¼ Sec. 9, Twp. 21, North, Range 17 West,
in Marion County, Arkansas, containing 10 acres."
A judgment by default fixing just compensation was entered, but
upon the statement of the attorney for the landowner that the
landowner desired to resist the right of the Government to
acquire her land or a portion of it, the judgment was set aside
and the landowner was permitted to file objections to the taking
of the land by the Government. The objections were filed in the
form of "First Amended Answer" and alleges that she had been
advised by the Chief of the Real Estate Division, Corps of
Engineers, United States Army, that a small portion of the tract
lies above the maximum elevation subject to inundation, and she
alleged that for that reason the portion lying above the maximum
elevation should be eliminated from the taking.
The defendant, Nora Mitchell Eckles, lives near Portland,
Missouri, and is the owner of Tract No. M-1207, hereinbefore
specifically described in the statement.
The tract is 1320 feet long East and West and 330 feet wide
North and South. The East portion of the tract lies below the 654
foot level and all of the tract except approximately 4 acres lies
below the 700 foot level. Land lying above the elevation of 700
feet will not be subject to inundation, so it appears that all of
the land will be inundated except approximately 4 acres lying in
the West end of the tract.
State Highway 125 runs in a Northerly and Southerly direction
and within 240 feet of the West line of the tract. The tract of
land does not adjoin the highway and the land between the tract
and the highway is owned by another individual.
The land on the South, East and Northeast of the tract lies
within the reservoir area and has been or will be acquired by the
Government and inundated. The land immediately North of the West
portion of the tract has not been acquired by the Government nor
has the land that lies immediately West of the tract between the
West line and the highway been acquired by the Government, but is
owned by individuals and the contour lines are so situated as to
not make it necessary that the Government acquire those
The defendant has owned the land for approximately 15 years and
testified that she had purchased it for the purpose of building
thereon a home, but there are no improvements on any portion of
the tract, and some of the tract has heretofore been used by
The landowner further testified that she had not and did not
intend to ask the Government to build a road from Highway 125 to
the tract; that she formerly owned an easement or right-of-way
from her land ...