William and Mary Law Review, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Summer 1976), pp. 621-670


This Article will explain how the 19th-century entrepreneur, faced with a hostile rule of strict liability for interference with the use and enjoyment of property, avoided the heavy hand of the chancellor's injunction. Although the term "entrepreneur" describes a diverse group of businessmen--from the mill owner to the early 19th century to the slaughterhouse operator of later in the century--the denominator common to all nuisance action in this period was a developmental use of real property that interfered with the use of neighboring property. An examination of the responses of courts to private nuisance suits between an individual property owner and the entrepreneur at various stages of economic development will provide the framework for this study of the evolution of nuisance doctrine.