« PreviousContinue »
in spoliation, owing to the steady vigilance exercised by the land officers in preventing depredations and enforcing fines against trespassers.
The early survey and offering of the timbered land would be an efficient means towards arresting depredations and securing economy in the use of lumber and wood for fuel, which are cut at a distance from places of consumption and by persons having no interest in preserving the growth of the forest. Looking to these considerations, the estimate of the surveyor general, slightly reduced, is submitted for an appropriation for surveys during the next fiscal year.
DAKOTA embraces a large scope of unoccupied territory, fringed with white settlements in its southern border along the Missouri river. It may be divided into two tracts nearly square, of which the eastern extends from the boundary of Nebraska northward to the national frontier, and measures a little more than 400 miles square. The western portion forms a sort of echelon to the eastern and extends from the boundary of Colorado northward to that of Montana, being an oblong figure the length of which and breadth respectively are 330 and 260 miles. The extreme length of the Territory is 900 miles, its extreme breadth 535, its area being 240,597 square miles, or 153,982,080 acres. The eastern section is traversed by the Missouri river, the numerous affluents of which form an extensive system of internal navigation and drainage. Dakota has been described by geographers as an undulating plain rising gradually westward to the Rocky mountains, with an occasional approach to hills or terraces. There is nothing that can be called mountair within its limiis. The eastern and southern parts of the eastern section are known to present very considerable agricultural facilities. Imperfect information has caused the country west of the Missouri to be reported as insufficiently watered. Further advices induce doubt in that respect. In other parts of the Missouri basin a deficiency of rain has been found, but experience has discovered that this inconvenience was very greatly remedied by the nature of the soil and by stores of subterranean moisture. There is reason to suppose that these alleviating influences will be found to exist to a considerable extent in the lands of the upper Missouri. The western portion of the Territory is traversed by ranges of the Rocky mountains. The agricultural character of this part, though imperfectly understood, is supposed to be much better than bas been represented. It is well wooded in the portions which have been traversed by surveying parties and others. The population in 1860 was 4,837, including 2,261 civilized Indians. There are about 30,000 uncivilized Indians within the limits of the Territory. These, however, are passing away by accelerating canses. Yancton, the capital, containing about eight hundred inhabitants, manifests an active and thriving spirit of industrial progress. Vermillion is also a point of considerable influence, the seat of the United States land office for the Dakota district. The public lands undisposed of in the Territory are equal to about one hundred and forty-five million two hundred and ninety thousand acres.
In Dakota during the last year the correction line coincident with the 43° 30' of north latitude has been extended nearly seventy-six miles from Dakota river west to its intersection with the left bank of the Missouri. Besides this, the township and range lines north and west of the Yancton Indian reservation have also been established, equal to four hundred and eighty miles. Besides, fiftyfive whole and fractional townships have been subdivided into sections, equal to over three thousand lineal miles, embracing nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand six hundred and sixty-six acres, which, with the one hundred and twentynine townships, or eight hundred and sixty thousand one hundred and eight acres, make an aggregate of two million eight hundred and twenty-nine thousand seven hundred and seventy-four acres surveyed in the Territory from the initiation of the system to the 30th of June, 1867, while the preparation of maps and other records has kept pace with the field service. Engagements have been
made for the performance of services requiring most of the appropriations for the year ending June 30, 1868. That service will effect the extension of standards from near the mouth of Wild Rice river in Minnesota, in 47° 18' 30" of north latitude, to the Pembina region in Dakota, adjoining the international boundary or 49° of north latitude, near the Red River of the North, where a considerable settlement exists. There, too, under the provisions of the eighth article of treaty with the Red Lake and Pembina bands of Chippewa Indians of October 2, 1863, and article seren of supplemental treaty of April 12, 1864, certain residents have a right to selection, each a quarter section when the surveys are made. To accommodate those distant settlements of years standing, a surveyor was despatched for the purpose of connecting the locality with the lines of the survey in Minnesota. The deputy was also directed to subdivide the Pembina lands to the extent of the means allowed for that service. He is progressing with the field work, the settlers awaiting surveys. The surveyor general therefore submits estimates of twenty-two thousand dollars for the service of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1869. The localities indicated by the surveying department as requiring field operations are on the Red River of the North, on the Missouri between Fort Randall and Fort Sully, and in the vicinity of the Black Hills of Dakota, where there is a vast extent of pine timber of excellent quality, needed for building material all over Dakota. Besides, this locality, it is reported, abounds also in mineral wealth, such as gold, silver, copper, and coal, and by memorial the legislature has sought the extension of the surveys in the White River valley to the pine lands of the Black Hills.
For these considerations it is suggested that when the existing Indian difficulties are settled, and their title extinguished in the locality of the Black Hills, that region could be reached by lines counting from the sixth principal meridian west of the Missouri river.
It is further reported that information has reached the surveyor general of the existence of settlers around Fort Laramie, and along the Union Pacific railroad in the Territory, and that there are now three thousand inhabitants asking for surveys in those places. In view of these facts it is submitted that an appropriation of fifteen thousand dollars would be necessary to meet the requirements of the service, and an estimate is accordingly submitted for the year which will end June 30, 1869.
The War Department on the 12th of September, 1867, relinquished that por tion of the Fort Randall reservation which lies north and east of the Missouri river, and west of the Yancton Indian reservation. The area thus released is estimated at twenty-one thousand acres, but it cannot be disposed of, owing to the general interdict in the sixth section of the act of June 12, 1858, (volume 11, page 336.) It is recommended that the interdict be removed by legislation restoring the premises not needed to the mass of the public domain, so that settlers may acquire legal title to the tracts they severally occupy.
NEBRASKA, the youngest State in the American Union, extends from the Missouri westward to the Rocky mountains, with an extreme length of 412 miles, decreasing to 310 miles on the southern border, its extreme width being 208 miles, diminishing to 138 miles on the west.
Its area is 75,995 square miles, or 48,636,800 acres.
The country through its entire length dips toward the Missouri river, being upon the western slope of the great central basin of the North American continent. The larger portion is elevated and undulating prairie; there are no mountains or high hills; the bottom lands of the river valleys are generally level. Above these, from forty to one hundred feet, are second bottoms or table lands, sloping backward to the bluffs, which range with the general level of the country. I'hese bluffs sometimes rise hundreds of feet above the river level; back of these is the undulating prairie, well watered with springs and running streams,
being covered with excellent grasses. This prairie resembles the waves of ocean suddenly arrested in their swell and changed into soil and rock.
In remarkable contrast with the general appearance of the State is the tract known as Mauvaises Terres, in the western part of the State, ninety miles long and thirty wide, produced by some powerful agencies of denudation and degradation of the land. Viewed from a distance it seeins like some deserted abode of civilization; the prismatic and columnar masses appear as residences of modern architecture or public buildings, with towers, columns, and walls. A near approach dispels the illusion, the imposing forms of architectural beauty resolve themselves into masses of rocks with labyrinthine defiles. These first appearances, however, are not correct exponents of geological character, as they are found upon examination to contain some excellent lands. .
The population of Nebraska in 1860 was 28,841; the inviting features of the country leave stimulated immigration to such an extent that in 1867 the State was admitted into the Union, having attained the requisite number of inhabitants. Its location is such as to command especial attention of immigrants.
The soil of the eastern portion is exceedingly fertile; the prairies are covered with a heavy sod, the matted growth of ages of vegetation, several teams of oxen being required to break it; the subsequent tillage is comparatively easy, the ground being rendered light and mellow. Along the rivers are groves of oak, walnut, cottonwood, hickory, and willow ; very dense forests of cottonwood grow along the Missouri river above the mouth of the Platte.
The climate is milder than the eastern States within the same parallels of latitude; the summer is of high temperature, but the sultrivess is alleviated by cool, refreshing winds blowing over the prairies. The quantity of rain is less than falls on the Atlantic side. This dryness does not become appreciable east of the 98th meridian. West of that meridian the soil, so far as known, is arid and not 80 well suited to agriculture; that part of the State to the eastward, however, is not deficient in moisture.
In 1860 the farms of Nebraska embraced 118,789 acres of improved land, and 512,425 of unimproved. The productions of that year amounted to 1,482,080 bushels of maize, 147,867 bushels of wheat, 74,502 bushels of oats, 162,188 bushels of potatoes, 24,458 tons of hay, and 341,541 pounds of butter. In that year the return was made of about 5,000 horses, 7,000 cows, 30,000 oxen and other cattle, 2,500 sheep, and 25,000 swine. The peculiar characters of soil and climate indicate that stock-raising will become a very important and remunerative branch of its agricultural enterprise. The dryness of the climate and the copious vegetation, especially of nutritious grasses, will attract capital, with a view to the establishment of wool-raising interests.
The trade of Nebraska is in its infancy. Its facilities, natural and artificial, must soon develop an immense volume of domestic commerce, in addition to the aggregate of the carrying trade that will pass through the State upon the completion of the Union Pacific railroad. Five hundred miles of that route are completed, and a wonderful progress is announced in the prosecution of the remaining portions. Within a score of miles further lies the foot of the Rocky mountains. The massive grades and excavations of that portion of the route will of course not admit of the rapid daily progress that has been shown in the extraordinary operations of the past year. The mineral resources of Nebraska will be considered under another head. Nebraska City, on the Missouri, is a well built town in the centre of an extensive domestic commerce, requiring transportation amounting to 13,337,734 pounds in 1864, and employing 1,792 men, 1,410 mules, 13,808 oxen, and 1,587 wagons, the total expense of which was $2,134,037. The population of the town is estimated at 8,000.
Omaha City, the capital, is located upon high, undulating ground between the same river and the posterior bluffs, commanding a very fine view. Limestone for building is found in great quantities in the neighborhood of the city. This
city is the eastern terminus of the northern branch of the Pacific railroad, which gives it an immense importance as a commercial point, and is enlarging its wealth and population at a very remarkable rate. Its population in 1865 was 4,500, and is now estimated at 12,000.
In the State the public lands remaining undisposed of are equal to about forty-two and a third millions of acres.
By the act of July 28, 1866, the removal was ordered of the surveyor general of Iowa and Wisconsin from Dubuque to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and Iowa and Nebraska were made one surveying district, thereby detaching it from Kansas. As far as the surveys in Nebraska had been contracted for by the Kansas surveyor general at Leavenworth, they were prosecuted in the field to completion, and returns made to that office.
For the portion of the last year in which the Nebraska service was under the Kansas surveyor general, five different contracts were completed, involving a liability of over $28,000, the cost of 72 lineal miles of standard, 740 of townships, and 4,583 of sections, embracing 81 whole and fractional townships, equal to 1,656, 184 acres, the locality of those surveys falling within the counties of Monroe, Madison, Merick, Hall, and Buffalo.
When the surveyor general for Iowa and Nebraska entered on the discharge of his duties, which was on the 2d day of April, 1867, the necessary books, furniture, and surveying instruments were transferred from Dubuque to Plattsmouth, on the 5th day of May last, together with the records appertaining to Nebraska, which had been in the office of the surveyor general at Leavenworth.
The surveying archives of Iowa, as the service is completed in that State, are suffered to remain at Dubuque, in charge of a responsible party without compensation, until the legislature of the State shall pass a law for their acceptance, according to the terms of congressional legislation in that respect.
Upon opening the surveyor general's office at Plattsmouth, he proceeded to carry out his instructions respecting the service in Nebraska.
Surveying contracts were made for the extension of guide meridians, standard parallels, and subdivision of 21 whole and fractional townships, the work to be paid for out of the appropriation of $15,000 by act of July 28, 1866, no report having reached here of returns of the work. Certain deputies contracted for the establishment of standard lines extending from the Pawnee reservation west to the vicinity of the eastern boundary of Colorado, embracing the lands granted by Congress in aid of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, up the Platie river and Lodge Pole creek, a tributary of South Platte river. They have, however, encountered difficulties caused by Indian hostilities.
The surveying department suggests the importance of the survey of the boundary between Nebraska and Colorado and of the western boundary of Nebraska. The establishment of these boundaries is required in order 'properly to make the allotments in aid of the Union Pacific railroad, which has been completed from Omaha almost to the western line of the State, and is further required to accommodate settlers along the route, as well as to determine political jurisdictions, the uncertainty in that respect causing inconvenience in the collection of national and State revenues, and in the maintenavce of law and order in communities adjacent to territorial and State lines.
In view of the rapid progress made in the construction of the Union Pacific railroad, and of settlements keeping pace with the improvements, the surveyor general has presented an estimate to realize the objects contemplated, but, in consideration of the wants of other surveying districts, the estimate has been reduced by this office to $50,000 for the surveys during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1869.
Under the treaty with the Omahas, concluded March 6, 1865, a contract has been awarded by the department for the subdivision of that reservation, to be in the first instance divided into northern and southern portions, the former
having been sold to the United States for the home of the Winnebagoes, and the latter to be occupied by the Omahas. The returns of survey have been received amounting to 302,832 acres, consisting of 205,335 acres of the Omaha reservation and 97,497 acres of the Winnebago Indian lands.
Allotments to the Omahas under treaty stipulations are to be made for their exclusive use, in parcels not exceeding forty acres, to persons eighteen years of age, and to each head of a family 160 acres. The lands in Nebraska surveyed from the commencement of operations, in 1855, embrace 15,520,249 acres. Besides these surveying operations, in that State, authority of law was given for a geological reconnoissance, results of which will be presented under another head in this report.
KANSAS, one of the youngest and largest States in the Union, occupying the western slope of the Missouri valley, varies in length, from east to west, from 344 to 408 miles, with uniform breadth of 208. Its area is $1,318 square miles, or 52,043,520 acres.
The eastern half is undulating prairie, alternating with timber. The latter is generally found skirting the streams, which flow through beautiful valleys. The western part of the State is more level, the depressions more gradual, and timber less abundant. The extreme western portion forms part of a sterile belt running from the 47th parallel to New Mexico. The State is drained by a number of large rivers, affluents of the Missouri. No mountains, swamps, or marshes, have been discovered. The timber consists of cottonwood, sycamore, oak, ash, hickory, walnut, hackberry, sugar maple, sumac, and willow. The growth of timber is probably adequate to home demand, but not sufficiently abundant to form the basis of an export lumber trade.
The population in 1860 was 107,206. At the time of the previous decennial census the whole State was a wilderness, with a few scattering white settlements. The present population is estimated at three hundred thousand to four hundred thousand. The general features of the country are of a character to attract large immigration.
The soil of the eastern part is excellent, there being two classes of land, the first embracing the alluvions of the river and the strips of timber. Of this class there are at least 10,000,000 acres in the State, or fully five times the amount of improved land. For the production of the heavier kinds of cereals this land is surpassed in richness by none of the neighboring States. For wheat and other small grains, the second-class lands, embracing the upland or rolling prairies, are preferred. These are covered by a soil averaging from two to three feet in depth, with a sub-soil of fertilizing qualities sufficient to furnish inexhaustible fertility if skilfully managed.
The scarcity of building timber is amply compensated by the general distribution of rocks admirable for the construction of dwellings and fences. Watercourses are well distributed. Unfailing springs of pure cold water are very abundant, and wells, furnishing copious supply, need not be sunk over twenty to forty feet.
Facts collected from old settlers show that the soil of Kansas has a remarkable power of compensating the absence of rain by its subterranean stores of moisture. The records of meteorological observations at military posts indicate that the average precipitation of rain during the months of June, July, and August is about one-fourth of an inch in favor of Kansas as compared with the neighboring States.
The climate of the State is temperate and healthful. Its locality, half-way up the slope of the eastern Cordilleras, gives it the advantage of the higher strata of the atmosphere, with more general circulation. The equability of teinperature is especially favorable to stock-raising
The statistics of 1860 show remarkable aggregates of different kinds of live