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mission, a portion of the appropriation providing for the survey of Indian reservations was set apart for that purpose. The sum thus pro. vided was finally fixed at $4,500. The commissioners were further instructed, in reply to their letter of inquiry, dated April 30, that their accounts " will embrace all items of expenditures in connection with their respective duties," and they were also informed that one of their num. ber, who might act as disbursing officer of the commission, could, upon the filing of proper bonds, receive advance payments to be accounted for ip final settlement.

Op the 3d of June, 1875, the special commission transmitted a certi. fied copy of a resolution adopted by the council of the Seneca Nation asking the said commission to apply to the Secretary of the Interior of the United States to appropriate a sufficient amount of funds to pay for the surveying of the Allegany and Cattaraugus reservation. The commission also at the same time subinitted a communication setting forth the fact that they 6 found difficulty in ascertaining the lines of the Allegany Indian reservation according to the original survey made in 1798." The commission further states that

A survey of the reservation was made in 1841 by Silas Cornell, wh) presented a map of it to the Seneca Nation. This survey differs materially from that of 1798, and makes the contents more than 1,200 acres less than the original reserve. We regard the original survey made in 1798, by Richard M. Stoddard, which was, by authority of the legislature of the State of New York, authorized to be used in evidence in the courts of that State, as the authoritative survey, and the one which should govern our survey in the location of the several villages authorized in the act of Congress of the 19th of February, 1875.

In the progress of our work we have become convinced that many of the line-marks have been obliterated, and as a consequence encroachinents will very likely be made upon the lands embraced within the reservation. We are informed that this has already occurred in several instances, and the Indians having no authoritative marks are prevented from getting intruders to acknowledge their claims.

The special commissioners further expressed the opinion that "it would be greatly to the advantage of the Indians to have the lines of the reservation determined and marked," and that in accordance with such opinion they had determined to run and mark the north line of the reservation for a distance of fifteen miles, or for a greater distance if necessity seemed to require it.

They further expressed the opinion that it would be desirable to have the lines defined around the whole reservation, but not finding them. selves clearly authorized by law to do so, the commission requested fuller instructions on the subject.

In reply to the foregoing coinmunication, the Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to whom it was referred, submitted the recommendation to the Department

That the commission be instructed that they should have so much of the boundary of the Allegany reservation surveyed as in their discretion is necessary to carry out tbe intent of the laws onder which they are acting, having due regard in incurring expense to the amount which bas been estimated to be set apart froin the appropriation for the survey of the Indian reservations, ($191,820 by act March 3, 1875,) to defray the expense of this commission, namely, $4,500. If further surveys of the boundaries of either of the reservations referred to are deemed necessary to protect the interests of the Indians, estimates to defray the expenses can be submitted to Congress at the next session.

The commission, acting upon these latter instructions, which were approved by Departiment letter bearing date June 10, 1875, exteuiled their operations to the survey and restoration of the boundary lives of the reservation as established in the year 1798. The work of restoring these lives, the aggregate length of wbich is 67.92 miles, proved to be a difficult and tedious undertaking.

The original boundaries, which have evidently been established in accordance with the wishes of the Indians, and so run as to embrace within the reservation certain topographical features, is composed of fifty-one angles. Many of these lines pass over rugged surfaces which, the piue and hemlock timber having been removed, are now covered with a dense growth of underbrush that greatly bindered the search for original land-marks. Only two of the original corners of the boundary line were found to be in a good state of preservation; at many points, however, which have been designated upon the general map, the remains of corners or of-witness-trees were found to furnish evidence that the lines as re-established adhered faithfully to those of the original survey.

The commissioners report that their work in restoring the boundary has, in like manner as the subdivisional surveys, received the approbation of all parties interested in the same.

In order that the numerous boundary corners restored by this survey should be perpetuated the commission caused the preparation of hollow cast-iron cylinders, five feet in length and six inches in diameter, which were provided with solid heads suitably marked by letters cast thereon. These monuments were placed at a depth of four feet below the natural surface of the ground, the remaining portion, one foot in length, being protected by a mound which was built up around it.

The supervision of the labors of the commission was transferred from the office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to this office on the 7th of August, 1876. During the progress of the work the commission have, from time to time; by written reports and verbal explanations, furnished this office with satisfactory evidence of faithful and intelligeut service, and on the 30th of April, 1877, they submitted a general statement of accounts, accompanied with estimates placing the amount of money necessary to complete the work at $15,500.

This sum was appropriated by the Forty-fourth Congress at its first session, by act approved July 31, 1876. (Stats., chap. 216, p. 120.)

In addition to full accounts and vouchers of expenses incurred, the returus made by the commission consist of

1st. Copies of map and field notes of the survey of 1798. 2d. Bound volumes of transcripts of the 800 leases.

3d. Field notes of the recent surveys made under direction of the special commission, anil of the locations of all the villages of the reservations, namely, Vandalia, Carrollton, Great Valley, Salamanca, West Salamanca, and Red House.

4th. A general map of the reservation made from the recent surveys, showing the boundary lines, locations of the several villages, and all the principal topographical tratures of the reservation.

5th. Folio maps or plats suitable for binding and preservation in this office, showing all the villages and leased lands in detail, and the conflict of lines as leased with those of the lands as actually occupied by the lessees, and showing the names of all occupants of leased lands.

A large general map was also prepared, under the direction of the commission, showing all the features above enumerated, and which the commissioners have, as they report, filed in the office of the clerk of Cattaraugus County, New York. The documents bear date of execution January 16, 1877.


During the year, information was communicated by the War Department to the Hon. Secretary of the Interior that the State of Texas as

serted jurisdiction over that part of Indian territory between the Red River and the North Fork of Red River as a part of her domain.

A report upon the subject having been called for from this office, the following was submitted to the Hon. Secretary of the Iuterior for information of the War Departmeut:



Washington, D. C., May 10, 1877. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by reference froin the Depart ment for report, of a letter from the Secretary of War, dated the 3d instant, inclosing copy of a statement of the commanding officer at Fort Sill, to the effect that a map of Texas, in bis possession, represents ibat part of Indian territory bounded on the north and east by the North Fork of Red River and on the west by the one hundredth meridian, as a portion of the State of Texas called Greer County.

The Secretary of War invites attention to the remarks of the commanding general, Department of the Missouri, asking that a decision be made on the question of jurisdiction over the tract above described.

In reply, I have the honor to report that the question of the jurisdiction over that portion of country represented upon maps from this office as a part of Indian territory, and lying between Red River and the North Fork of Red River, was originally defined to be within the United States of America:

Ist. By the treaty of limits between Spain and the United States, signed February 22, 1819. (U. S. Stats, at Large, vol. 8, page 254, art. 3.)

In thi. treaty the line from the south, after reaching Red River, was to follow the course of Red River westward to the degree of longitude 100 west from London, then to cross said river, and thence due north to the river Arkansas, &c., * * * “the whole being as laid down in Melish's map of the United States, published at Pbiladelphia, in proved to the 1st of Jannary, 1818.”.

2d. By treaty with the United Mexican States, January 12, 1828, (U. S. Stats., vol. 8, p. 372, art. 1,) confirms the validity of the limits described in the treaty with Spain, February 22, 1819, and art. 2 quotes the boundary line.

3d. The joint resolntion for annexing Texas to the United States, March 1, 1845, (Stats. at Large, vol. 5, p. 797,) stipulated that the territory properly included within and rightfully belonging to the republic of Texas may be erected into a new State to be called the State of Texas.

4th. By joint resolution of December 29, 1845, (U. S. Stats., vol. 9, p. 108,) the State of Texas was admitted into the Union in accordance with the terms of toe joint resolution of March 1, 1845, cited above.

5th. By the astronomical su1Vy made of the 100th meridian west from Greenwich, being the bonndary line between the Choctaw and Chickasaw country, in the Indian territory and the State of Texas, in the month of April, 1859, under contract of 13th of October, 1857, between Messrs. A. H. Jones and H. M. C. Brown and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the initial point of the boundary was determined to be at the intersection of the said meridian with what is designated upon maps from this office as Red River, and a monument was established thirty chains due north from the north bank of he river.

Tbe surveyors in their field Dites of the survey remark: “The river due south from monument is 76 chains and 85 liuky wide from high-water mark to high-water mark; while the North Fork of Red River is 23 chains wid-, It will be sufficient to say to those interested that there can be no doubt as to the fact of its being the main branch of Red River, as was doubted by some persons with whom we had conversed relative to the matter before seeiog it, for tbe reason the channel is larger than all the rest of ita tributaries combined, besides affording its equal share of water, though like the other branches in many places the water is swallowed up by its broad and extensive Band-beds; but water can, at any season of the year, be obtained from 1 to 3 feet from the surface in the main bed of the stream. Captain Marcy, in his report and map, also specifies it as the Keche-ab-que-hono, or main Red R ver.”

6tb. Under the act of Congress approved June 5th, 1858, (U.S. Stats., vol. 11, p. 319,) authorizing tbe President of the Uuited States in conjunction with the State of Texas to run and mark the boundary line between the territories of the United States and the State of Ters, and by the second section of said act, it was required that landmark- be establisörd at the point of beginning on Red River, aud at the other corDers, &c.

Accordingly, joint commissioners on the part of the United States and the State of Texas proceeded to the field in May and June, 1860, and commenced work from the point w bere the 100rb meridian crossed the Canadian River; they retraced the meridian libe established by Messrs. Brown and Jones in 1859, as aforesaid, and prolonged it farther north to the intersection of the 36° 30' of north latitude, or the northeast corner of the State of Texas, thereby determining the jurisdiction over said territory west of the North Fork of Red River to be within the United States. .

Referring to that part of the report of Lieutenant Ruffuer, chief engineer officer Department of Missouri, (received with letter of Secretary of War,) wherein Lieutenant Ruffner states that the tract in question is represented upon maps from the Interior Department as public land, I have to say tbat this land is a part of the ceded lands to the United States by the Choctaws and Chickasaws by treaty of April 28, 1866, (see U. S. Stats. at Large, vol. 14, page 769,) and forms a part of Indian territory, though not yet permanently located by any tribe of Indians.

The strip of land worth of Texas and west of the 100th meridian, the jarisdiction over which is also referred by Lieutenant Ruffner, is public land belonging to the United States, and as proposed by act of Congress approved September 9, 1850, vol. 9, p. 446, was subsequently relinquished by ihe State of Texas (sve proclamation of the President, U. S. Stats. at Large, vol. 9, p. 1005) declaring act of 1850, respecting the boundaries of Texas, to be in force.

In consideration of the foregoing statement, it is the opinion of this office that the land in question is within the jurisdiction of the United States and does not belong to the State of Texas, as the map of the State, in the possession of the commanding officer at Fort Sill, is made to represent as belonging to 'Texas. The opinion is based on the fact that the Red River mentioned in the treaty with Spain in 1819, as laid down on Melish's nap and referred to in the treaty, is identical with the present main Red River delineated on the maps of the United States, as upon inspection of the map referred to in the treaty, and now on the files of the State Department, is made to appear. Additional evidence of the identity of the Red River as represented on the Melish map with the main Red River as shown on the maps of this office, consists in the fact that the map of the United States of the republic of Mexico by Disturnell, published in Spanish in 1848, compiled from the best authorities and laws of Mexico, and which was used by the Mexican boundary commission in surveying the boundary between the United States and the republic of Mexico, corroborates the course of the Red River as laid down on the Melish's map referred to in the aforesaid treaty with Spain in 1819.

It further appears that neither the Melish map nor that of Disturnell's shows the North Fork of the Red River, and hence the latter could not have been regarded at the cotemporaneous dates of the treaties as the boundary between the United States of America, Spain, Mexico, or finally the republic of Texas.

In view, therefore, of the foregoing data the extreme portion of the Indian territory lying west of the present North Fork of the Red River and east of the 100th meridian of west longitude from Greenwich, having been ceded by Spain to the United States, subsequently confirmed by the United Mexican States by treaty of January 12, 1828, and not claimed by Mexico since her independence from Spain, estops the State of Texas from claiming jurisdiction over that part of the Indiau territory, her own maps of later dates showing the same as embraced within Greer County to the contrary notwithstanding.

The letter of the Secretary of War, with its inclosure and the wrapper, are herewith returned. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commissioner. Hon. CARL SCHURZ,

Secretary of the Interior.


This office is frequently in receipt of letters from county surveyors and others in various parts of the country, seeking information in regard to the proper method of re-establishing lost corners of the public surveys.

There being no special law upon the subject, this office has prepared the following rules, based upon the act of February 11, 1805, which de. clares that all corners marked in the surveys shall be established as the proper corners of sections or subdivisions of sections which they were intended to designate; that the boundary lines actually run and marked in the field sball be the proper boundary lines of the sections or subdivisions for which they were intended, and that the lengths of such lines as returned by the surveyor general shall be beld and considered as the true lengths:

1st. The original corners, when they can be found, must stand as the true corners they were intended to represent, even though not exactly wbere strict professional care might have placed them in the first instance.

2d. Missing corvers should be re-established in the identical localities they originally occupied. When the point cannot be determined by existing lard marks in the field, resort must be had to the field notes of the original survey. The law provides that the lengths of the lines, as stated in the field notes, shall be considered as the true lengths thereof, and the distances between corners set down in the field notes constitute proper data from which to determine the true locality of a missing corner; hence all such sbould be restored at rlistances proportionate to tbe original measurements between existing original corners. That is, if the measurement between two existing corners overruns or falls short of t at stated in the field notes, the excess or deficiency should be distributed proportionately among the intervening section lines between the said existing corners standing in their original places.

As has been observed, no existing original corner can be disturbed, and it will be plain that any excess or deficiency in measureipents between existing corners cannot in any degree affect the distances beyond said existing corners, but must be added or subtracted proportionately to or from the intervals embraced between the corners which are still standing.


In the adjustment of land grants for railroad purposes considerable progress has been made. In July, 1872, a division was organized in this office to which are referred all questions growing out of the adjustment of railroad, wagon road, canal, and other internal improvement grants.

Tbe examination of settlers' claims in conflict with those of railroad companies forms a large part of the business of this division.

Prior to 1871 it was the practice of this office to treat all reversions of alternate sections within the limits of such grants as iniuring to railroads, and the only question relating to settlement was determined by the date of its inception.

By the ruling of the Department, inade during that year, known as the “Boyd decision,” the practice was changed, and the adjustment is no longer confined to the question of the right of the first settler or homestead claimant, but the right of the parties is now determined by ascertaining the exact status of the land at the date the grant took effect. A party originating a claim prior to such time is permitted to enter. In the case of a pre-emption claim, if the party abandon the land prior to the attachment of the company's right, or was not legally qualified to bave perfected an entry, the land is awarded to the company upon its complying with the terms of its grant. If the person was qualified and bad a bona fide subsisting claim to the land at the date when the grant became effective, the tract reverts to the Government and again becomes subject to appropriation under the laws of the Un ted States.

By the decision of the Department of February 7, 1877, in the case of Chalkley Thomas vs. The Saint Joseph and Denver City Railroad Compapy, the ruling respecting homestead entries was modified, and it was decided that a legal bomestead entry of record segregates the land from the mass of public lands and excepts the tract covered thereby from the operation of a railroad graut attacbing during the existence of such

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