Page images

ter sections, and the adjacent grazing lands are literally classed unsurveyable.

Desert land act.-Not gaite one hundred declaratory statements made under it, twenty-six of which are on uusurveyed land, nearly all by actual residents of Arizona. Some applicants under the act have taken their claiins in a zigzag shape, confining it to lands on or near a level with the streams.

The surveyor general cites one case where a claim was taken so as to embrace fifty-four corners. These are not connected with the public surveys.

Recommends an amendment to the law to avoid the difficulty in future of having to close the lines of public surveys upon such irregular-shaped tracts.

Dakota Territory.-Amount of field work executed during the year ending June 30, 1877 :

Township lines 23 miles 51.61 chains, comprising sixty-five townships, with an area of 1,488,003 acres, making a total of 17,800,664 acres surveyed in the Territory, exclusive of Indian and military reservations.

The sum expended for field work was $23,500, and was divided into ten different contracts.

In the office of the United States surveyor general there were prepared the original duplicate and triplicate plats of the sixty-five surveyed townships, and transcripts of the field notes were prepared and forwarded to the General Land Office.

The rapid development of the mineral resources of the Black Hills country will greatly increase the office work during the present fiscal year.

The estimates for the year ending June 30, 1879, by the United States surveyor general, are as follows: For surveys...

.... $50,000 For salaries of surveyor general and clerks..............

6,500 For contingent expenses.......

.... 2,500 Nebraska.-The sums available for surveys of public lands were $25,000 from the general appropriation, and $250.87 deposited by the Union Pacific Railroad Company for field work. Of the former sum, all except $300.86 has been paid upon work embraced in two coutracts. Payment has been made of $2,019.15 out of deficiency appropriation, to White and Hull, for former survey of Ottoe and Missouria Indian res. ervation. A contract for a survey of Fort Kearney reservation, ander act of July 21, 1876, appropriating $3,000, was entered into, the returns of which bave not yet been made. Seventy-two miles of standard, 535 miles of exterior, and 3,371 miles of subdivisional lines were run and marked. Fifty-six townships were subdivided. The sum of $5,607.32 bas been expended for salaries, and $1,698.54 for incidental expenses. The amount of special deposits made by railroad companies remaining nexpended at the commencement of the year, was $9,794.07, to which $10.23 has been added, making the present unexpended balance of spe. cial deposits for office work $9,804.30. There remains an unexpended balance of the appropriation for salaries, for the year, amounting to $322.84. Original, duplicate, and triplicate maps, transcripts of field notes, and descriptive lists of fifty-four townships were prepared during the year. The estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, are: For surveys, $88,785; salaries, $11,600; incidental expenses, $3,000. Total for the service, $103,385. The field of future surveying operations will be for the most part the section of country watered by the Niobrara California.—The apportionment for surveys for the fiscal year was $23,500. Under it 30 contracts, extending to 117 townships, surveyed in whole or in part, have been entered into. Of these, 19 have been completed, 3 were either wholly or partially canceled, and the remainder are in various stages of progress. Twenty-eight contracts for the survey of public lanols, payable from special individual deposits, were made during the year, of which 9 are yet incomplete. Of the $5,000 appropriated for expenses connected with the surveys of private land claims, $3,325 have been expended. One hundred and forty-two mining claims were surveyed, at a cost to special depositors for office work of $5,917.10. The 1 ngar extent of the public land surveys for the year was 4,898 miles. The total area surveyed, including private land claims, is 1,623,781 acres, The amount paid to deputy surveyors for surveys of public lands is $11,575.08, leaving the sum of $11,925 applicable to payments upon contracts not yet completed. Incidental expenses of the office, $5,000. The compensation of clerks and draughtsmen engaged upou public land surveys amounts to $14,600. There remains an unexpended balance of appropriations for this service of $978.26. The special deposits for surveys of public lands were $6,718.48, and for office work of the same, $2,237.56. The special deposit account for the year is charged with $12,725.83, and the amount credited to said account is $12,241.13, show. ing a deficiency of $484.70.

One thousand tbree hundred and forty-eight plats, maps, and tracings were made in the office during the year, of which 337 were original, 366 sent to the Department, and 307 were forwarded to local land offices. One bundred and thirty-four transcripts of field notes of public surveys were made during the year. A large number of documents relating to the private land claims of California have been transmitted to the De. partment. Tbe surveyor general's estimate of the sum required for the surveying service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, is $167,750.

The scant congressional appropriations have been entirely inadequate for the survey of lands required for immediate settlement, and the redaced rates of compensation render it an impossibility to secure competent deputy-surveyors. As a consequence, settlers desiring surveys are obliged to advance the funds necessary to pay for the work. All mon. eys paid by such depositors in excess of the amounts allowed by the Government for the surveys are lost to them. The hardships thus imposed have been partially remedied by the restoration of the original rates of compensation for field-work. Most of the plain and all the arid waste lands of Southeru California hare been surveyed. In the northern part of the State there are yet many fertile; well watered valleys, embracing valuable forests, which are yet upsurveyed.

The interest of the State in the settlement of the lands, and that of the General Government in disposing of the timbered lands, will be promoted by early surveys in such districts. The present appropriation for clerical and draugbting service is inadequate. The delays incident to the confirmation or rejection of claims growing out of the old Spanish land grants, and to the settlement of boundaries, have been serious drawbacks to the permanent settlement of the country. Titles to nearly all of the grants have been passed upou, but many cases are pending on ques. tions of survey; many suits before the courts are yet undecided, and others will doubtless be commenced.

Applicatious for surveys of mineral lands have increased in number during the year. Many new mines have been located, and others, that have from time to time been abandoned, have been resumed.

Renewed activity exists in the development of the petroleum interest,

[ocr errors]

operations in which are at present chiefly coufined to Ventura County, where there are now eleven producing wells. A district of country, on the edge of Tulare Valley, gives promise of an abundant yield of petro. leuin, and is attracting capital in that direction.

The ancient record of Southern California shows that ever since its occupation by the Spaniards it has been visited by seasons of drought so severe, that stock bave perished from hunger and thirst, and that at times, by order of the government, large numbers have been destroyed in order that the reinainder might be saved. Owing to these irregu. larities in the quantity of rainfall, almost all of Southern California, not susceptible of irrigation, may properly be considered desert lands, notwithstanding the fact that they yield abundantly in favorable seasons. The qnestion of irrigation, in connection with that portion of the State, is therefore an important one, and the passage of laws by Congress, tending to the encouragement of works similar to those in use in older inbabited parts of the world, which would thus reclaim the desert land, would prove to be a public benefit.

Much energy has been displayed in the construction of railroads in California. Serious difficulties, of a topographical nature, have been overcome, and the lines bave been carried across uninhabitable deserts and rugged mountains to rich and inviting valleys, thereby openiug to the settlers new agricultural districts, which beretofore have been practically inaccessible.

The Southern Pacific Railroad, which has been pushed forward at an immense cost of construction, has been extended to the eastern limit of the State, on the Colorado River.

Nevada.-Twenty thousand dollars was assigned for public surveys in Nevada, for the year ending Jupe 30, 1877.

Under this assignment four contracts were entered into, the surveys under two of which have not been returned.

Sixteen townships of agricultural and grazing land have been wholly or in part subdivided, embracing a surveyed area of 262,844 acres. Four hundred and seventy-one dollars and twenty-three cents was deposited by the Central Pacific Railroad Company for surveys, and $235.61 for office work.

One hundred and four mineral claims were surveyed with an area of 1,277 acres, one salt land tract of 1,280 acres, and one town site of 89,5% acres. The amount deposited for office work on said last named surveys was $3,180, it being $30 for each case.

The Sutro Tunnel grant was also surveyed at an expense of $996, which was paid for out of the appropriation of $300,000 for the survey of public lands and private land claims.

From the statement of the State controller of Nevada, appended to the surveyor general's report, it appears that the gross value of the yield of Nevada mines during the year was over $41,000,000.

The amount expended for salaries during the year was $6,552.71. The amount appropriated was $7,883.42, leaving a balance of $1,330.71 unexpended.

Nineteen hundred dollars was appropriated for incidental expenses, of which all but $9.52 was expended.

Five hundred and twelve plats were made, of which four hundred and twenty-nine were of mineral claims.

The estimates for fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, are: For surveys of public lands, $56,000; for salaries, $9,300; and for contingent espenses, $4,400.

Florida.-At the date of the last report there were three uncompleted

surveying contracts; of these, two have since been completed. The latter relate to the survey of islands on the Gulf Coast, and the unfinished work is the survey of an island in Lake Jessup.

Three contracts were entered into, during the fiscal year, for the survey of river and lake islands, and of lands and islands on the Gult coast, from which no returus have yet been received. Twenty one township plats bave been furnished to the local land office. Tbe special indi. vidual deposits for the year for the survey of public lands amount to $195. The total cost of surveying operations for the year, including salaries of surveyor general and clerks, and the contingent expenses of the office, is $17,200. The unfinished coast work of the previous fiscal year includes Charlotte Harbor. When it and the Georgia boundary. have been completed, the field work of the district thus far authorized will be exhausted.

South of the surveys now in hand, there are areas of the character donated to the State as swamp lands, but there is no provision of law for their conveyance to the State until surveyed. Some of the lands in this portion of the district are regarded as the inost valuable of any in the State. The State and local land offices show a large and continually increasing tide of immigration, and soil and climate favor a continuation of the present general prosperity. The recent enactments opening the public lands to pre-emption and other entries, will prove of much benefit to the State and people.

Louisiana.–Seven thousand dollars was assigned for surveys in Louisiana, out of which two contracts were made. One has been completed and the other partially.

The United States surveyor general estimates that 25 per cent. of the homestead entries in Louisiana are fraudulent, and are only made for the purpose of cutting off valuable timber, then abandoning the lands. Recommends that deputy surveyors be furnished by the local offices with abstracts of all homestead entries in their respective townships under contract, and that the deputy furnish a sworn report of tbe condition of such tracts, whether abandoned, &c., so that, if necessary, the entry could be canceled. Where the townships being despoiled are not in contract, that the surveyor general be authorized to send the deputies into such townsbips to examine them and report.

The surveyor general renews his recommendation made in 1874, that Congress pass a law to confirm certain unconfirmed private land claims in Louisiana, which claims do not, he states, exceed in extent 80,000 acres, excluding the Houmas grant and a few others of large extent. He asks again for an appropriation to enable bim to bring up the arrears of office work, two items of which are as follows:

First. The potes of 784 townships of old surveys should be copied and copies sent to the General Land Office. Some of the old records were lost during and since the war, and cannot be renewed.

Second. Under the law the United States surveyor general is required to furnish the local land office patent plats to the number of 6,170, of claims beretofore surveyed.

In consideration of the arrears in the above and other matters, an appropriation of $14,000, for fourteen clerks at $1,000 each, is asked for to prepare plats and field potes.

The estimates for 1878–79 are For surveyor general and regular clerks, $6,800; for fourteen extra clerks, $14,000; for contingent expenses, $2,000; for surveys, $64,450.

Of this amount $34,800 is estimated for completing the resurveys in

the southwest district, made in 1807 and now obliterated, of which there are 44 townships.

These resurveys are necessary to enable the Government officers to identify the Government timber lands being despoiled. Seven thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars is estimated for resurveys in the southeast district, and for the location of private land claims; $14,000 for surveys of pine timber lands in southwest district; $1,800'for finishing the survey of lands on Southeast Pass of Mississippi River, &c., and $6,000 for original surveys of islands in the several districts, traversing the Sabine River, locating private claims, and finishing survey of townships 4 S., ranges 1 and 2 E, southwest district, contracted for by J. L. Bradford, July 26, 1875, but not surveyed for lack of funds.

Total estimate for surveys at $12 per mile for township, and $10 for section lines, $64,450. Total estimate for surveying service, $87,250.

Minnesota.-Surveys were made in this State to the extent of 33 town. ships, with an area of 532,510 acres, which, with amounts previously surveyed, make the present surveyed area in the State to be 39,282,418 acres. Distances were run and marked to the extent of 2,162 miles.

The amount of the appropriation assigned to Minnesota for surveys was $13,500, which was exhausted in five contracts.

The completion of the survey of the Leech Lake Indian reservation, urder contract of June 24, 1875, was also made. Two islands in Cedar Lake were meandered, expense of same paid out of a special deposit.

Besides miscellaneous work, the original duplicate and triplicate town. ship plats to the number of eighty-pine were prepared in the office.

An increase in clerical force is asked for to bring up arrears of office work.

The estimates for 1878–279 are: For surveys, $34,030; for salaries, $10,500. Proposed surveys are of timber lands along the international line, and of mineral lands in Lake Superior region.

In view of great depredations on timber, recommendation is made that a law be passed to allow timber lands to be disposed of at private sale or entry inmediately after survey and appraisal.

Utah.The surveyor general shows that during the year the surveys of public lands bare been principally confined to tbe western and southern portions of the Territory. The sbare of the general appropriation for surveys apportioned to Utah for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, was $20,000. The work performed during the year embraced the establisbment of meridian lives, standard parallels, and township and subdivisional boundaries, the total linear extent of which is 3,457 miles 78.77 chains. In this mileage is included untinished work contracted for during the previous fiscal year, and the whole was done at a cost of $25,568.12. The amount chargeable to the fiscal year just closed is $13,063.90, leaving an unexpended balance from the apportionment of $6,936.10. The surveying operations extended to 96 townships, adding to the surveyed area of Utah 881,483 acres of agricultural and grazing land, and 64,137 acres that furnish evidence of the existence of underlying minerals of commercial value.

(In addition to the above, which shows a total of 945,620 acres of newly surveyed land, 64,389 acres were incidentally resurveyed in consequence of a necessity for the identification of the lines of some of the earlier surveys, in order that the lines of surveys about to be commenced might be connected therewith. This work was performed by the deputy surveyor, wbo submitted returns of the same in the usual manner, but in the absence of any appropriation therefor the work was not accepted. The recognition by the General Land Office of the re

« PreviousContinue »