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been already completed from Sacramento to Donner lake, within a few miles of the eastern boundary of California.
The estimate is intended also to cover the expenses of extending the lines of confirmed private titles, estimated at over three hundred, where surveys may not be applied for by the owners within ten months after the passage of the act of 23d July, 1866, quieting land titles in California. Those grants are principally in the southern part of the State, embracing lands well adapted for tillage, grazing, and the cultivation of tropical fruits and esculents.
The estimate of the surveying department, as reduced by this office to fifty thousand dollars, will apply to the surveys in the mineral districts to connect the mineral lines with the proper, regular township, range and legal subdivisions.
Nevada was admitted into the Union October 31, 1864. Its area, according to the boundaries defined in its own constitution, is 81,539 square miles, or 52,184,960 acres. By an act of Congress approved May 5, 1866, provision was made for incorporating within its limits additional territory on its eastern and southeastern borders, and which now constitutes a part of the soil of the State, increasing its area to 112,090 square miles, equal to 71,737,741 acres, included within the following boundaries, to wit : commencing on the 42d parallel of north latitude at the intersection of the meridian of the 37th degree of longitude west from Washington; thence south on said meridian to the middle of the river Colorado of the West; thence down the middle of said river to the eastern boundary of the State of California; thence with the eastern boundary of California to the 42d parallel of latitude ; thence east with said parallel to the place of beginning. The water surface of its numerous lakes may cover an area of 1,690 square miles, or 1,081,600 acres, leaving a land surface within the State of 110,400 square miles, equivalent to 70,656,141 acres, being more than twice the size of the State of Illinois, nearly four times the size of Indiana, and containing about one-fourth the area of the Persian empire, to which, in geological formation, it has sometimes been compared. About 1,000,000 acres of the public lands have been surveyed, and about 5,000,000 are held by the State under the various acts of Congress granting lands for internal improvements, schools, and roads.
Nevada constitutes a part of the great interior basin included between the Wasatch and Sierra Nevada mountains, and lies from 4,000 to 6,000 feet above the level of the sea, everywhere traversed by longitudinal mountain ranges, rising from 2,000 to 8,000 feet above the adjacent country, with intervening valleys and plains, the waters of which are absorbed in saline lakes or swallowed up by the earth, its rivers and lakes finding no outlet to the sea, except in the southeast corner bordering on the Colorado river.
The eastern part of the State is intersected by the East Humboldt, the Silver, the Mammoth, and Augusta ranges of mountains, and contains Pyramid, Winemucca, Tahoe, Washoe, Humboldt, Carson, Walker, and Fish lakes. It is watered by the Truckee, the Carson, the Walker, Humboldt, King's and Quinn's rivers and their tributaries.
In the central part of the State are the New Pass, Shoshone, Tai-ya-he, Simpson Park and Rough mountains, the Humboldt and Reese rivers, and a few tributary streams.
The East Humboldt, Ah-Young Spring, Shonicodit, and Diamond Spring mountains intersect the eastern portion of the State, where Pahranagat, Preuss, Goshoot, and Franklin lakes are found, with the Humboldt river in the north and the Colorado in the south,
The Humboldt river rises in the western slope of the East Humboldt mountains, and runs in a westerly course about 350 miles, emptying into Humboldt lake.
The climate of Nevada, considering the general elevation of the country above
the sea level, is mild, not being subject to great extremes of either heat or cold. The days of summer are not warmer than on the east side of the Rocky mountains, while the nights are uniformly cool and refreshing. The winters in the valleys are less severe than in northern New York or New England, and but little snow falls except on the mountain ranges. As in all elevated mountain countries, the temperature is subject to sudden transitions on account of the changing currents of the wind, but the atmosphere is at all times remarkably pure, and when not obscured by clouds or rain exhibits a transparency, and gives a distinctness to distant objects never witnessed in less elevated regions. 'There is an exhilaration and tonic effect in the air of this interior mountain plateau, to those who have become accustomed to breathing it, that is represented as eminently salutary and delightful.
But little rain fålls between April and October in the northern and western part of the State. In the southern and eastern there is more rain, and showers are not unusual during the summer months. The greatest quantity of water falls during the autumn and winter.
The arable lands are found on the borders of lakes and rivers, and in alluvial belts at the bases of mountain ranges. These alluvial valleys and belts are of the very highest fertility, and wherever there is sufficient water for irrigation, or during seasons of sufficient rain, their productiveness is extraordinary.
There is nowhere to be found, perhaps, a more profitable branch of industry than farming in these mountain valleys.
When water can be obtained for artificial irrigation the yield is regular and abundant, and in the vicinity of mining settlements the demand for all kinds of agricultural products is active and constant, the ruling prices much higher than in the Atlantic Sates or on the Pacific. Wheat, barley, potatoes, and hay are in constant demand at remunerative prices.
Even without the aid of irrigation, and with inadequate methods of cultivation common in new settlements, Nevada produced in 1866, in all parts of the State where agriculture was attempted, superior crops of wheat, barley, oats, hay, potatoes and other vegetables, demonstrating not only the prolific character of the numerous valleys in the State, but that the quantity of tillable land is sufficient, with proper cultivation, to support a population as numerous as that which is at present occupying the State of New York.
Irrigation would further render valuable many acres of land in this State now regarded as worthless, and drainage and protection from overflow would reclaim hundreds of thousands of acres more.
Were means adopted thus to render available for the purposes of cultivation all the lands susceptible of such improvement, and within convenient reach of the necessary supply of water for purposes of irrigation, it is believed that the tillable lands would amount in the aggregate to several millions of acres, probably equal to the aggregate of the surfaces of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
The grazing lands of the State may be said to embrace about one-half of its entire surface. The valley of the Humboldt river is perhaps the most extensive. It follows the borders of that stream for nearly 300 miles, and is a rich alluvion, covered with a variety of nutritious grasses, and fringed with willow and cotton-wood trees. This valley lies on the route usually travelled by emigrants to California and Oregon, and has for many years furnished the vast trains passing along this route west continued supplies of water, wood, and grasses.
There are perhaps in this valley, capable of cultivation at the present time, half a million of acres, with opportunities for greatly enlarging the quantity by proper efforts in the way of irrigation.
The Pacific railroad pursues the valley of this river from its headwaters to its mouth, enhancing its importance over valleys more remote from the great thoroughfare between the Atlantic and Pacific States.
The valleys of Carson and Walker rivers, in the western part of the State, may rank as next in importance. These rivers are both beautiful, clear-water streams, about 100 miles in length, flowing from the eastern spurs of the Sierra Nevada and respectively emptying into Carson and Walker lakes. They form large bottoms of excellent farming land, amounting probably from 150,000 to 200,000 acres, the breadth of which is susceptible of great enlargement by using the waters of Lake Tahoe for the purpose of irrigating a large belt of land lying west and southwest of Carson City, and which by such process would be rendered as valuable as any lands in the State.
Northward from Carson river are Washoe, Steamboat, and Truckee River valleys, partially occupied and cultivated, and producing excellent crops of hay, grain, and vegetables.
Probably one-half of the land in Carson and Walker valleys is occupied and cultivated, and until within the last few years the agriculture of Nevada may be said to have been almost entirely confined to these and the valley of the Humboldt, and their productiveness has been such as to meet the highest expectations of their occupants.
In the northern part of the State are King's, Quinn's, and Paradise valleys, on King's. Quinn's, and Little Humboldt rivers. These contain considerable quantities of good land, most of which is still unoccupied. They lie in Humboldt county, and with the exception of narrow belts of alluvion at the base of Silver mountains, and certain portions of the west Humboldt range, and a narrow valley along the Humboldt river, they constitute the principal agricultural lands in the county. In the central portion of the State, and in the southwest part of Lander county, is the valley of Reese river, walled in by the Shoshone and Tai-ya-he mountains, consisting of a narrow belt along the river ; but wherever cultivation has been attempted, the soil has shown extraordinary fertility.
In the same county are Lone, Smith's, Smoky, Grass, Keys, Cold Spring, Crescent, Ruby, Clover, Steptoe, Antelope, and Thousand Spring valleys, formed at the bases of various mountain ranges, and fertilized by the wash and abrasion of their sides. Most of these ranges, extending above the snow-line, are covered at their summits during a great part of the year with snow; which, melted by the summer heats, flows down the sides of the mountains, and the particles of rock and clay becoming disintegrated by the combined action of water and air, are held in solution by the descending currents; and being constituent elements of all vegetable structures and the food of plants, impart to the valleys skirting the bases of such mountains the astonishing fertility which they are known to possess, and which has enabled the Pima Indians, in southern Arizona, to take two annual crops from their lands in continued succession for two hundred years, without manuring and without impoverishing the soil.
In the southern part of the State other valleys of like character are found, in Nye and Lincoln counties, as Monitor, Ralston, Stretch's, Sierra, Coal, Cave, Pahranagat, Ash, Utah, Buel's, Death, and Amayosa valleys. Fish lake and Indian valleys are in Esmeralda county; and in the southeast corner of the State, in the tract cut off from Arizona by the act of May 5, 1866, are the valleys of the Rio Virgen and its tributaries, the East fork and Muddy river, being the only part of Nevada not constituting a portion of the Salt Lake or Great Interior basin.
All these valleys in the eastern and central part of the State are settled, and those in the western are partially occupied. Many of the mountains are covered with pine. Wells and springs abound throughout the State, and many eligible localities are to be found where valuable farming lands might be obtained, surrounded by extensive grazing scopes ; where mining has not yet been carried on, but is destined in a few years to fill the mountains with a busy population, furnishing a market for the products of the soil, for beef, mutton, and the dairy.
Although many of these valleys are narrow, and the amount of land and the means of irrigation limited, and the facilities for acquiring large plantations not so great as in the States east of the Rocky mountains, the opportunities for the industrious settler, without capital, are perhaps none the less favorable.
The constant demand for the products of his labor, and the high price they usually command, give to the farmer in the mining districts of the west many advantages over his co-laborers upon more expansive fields, and enable him often to realize from twenty or forty acres of land skirting the base of some gold or silver bearing mountain, more satisfactory returns than could be obtained from five or ten times the amount of land in localities remote from market and where transportation is expensive.
Silver mining is the leading industrial pursuit of this State. The average monthly yield of the mines in the districts of Virginia, Gold Hill, Reese river, Esmeralda, and Humboldt, during the first nine months of 1865, was $1,331,555. Of this amount the greater part was extracted from a lode near Virginia City, in the western part of Nevada, where there is a ledge of ore running along the side of a mountain for three miles, with a width of fifty to one hundred feet, having a depth as yet unascertained. Over thirty companies have been working the same. The most prominent one of these has mined to the depth of eight hundred feet. Prior to April, 1866, the product of this Jode was valued at $51,380,588; since then it is understood that fourteeu millions more have been extracted. The bullion shipped from Virginia City and Gold Hill districts by express, during 1866, exceeded the shipment of the previous year by $2,074.174.
The mineralogist of the California State geological survey has expressed an opinion, supported by many scientific men, that the lode referred to is a fissure vein of extraordinary width and productiveness, and that ore will be found as deep as it is profitable to extend underground operations. The extension of railroad communications to such localities will render profitable the extraction of a low grade of ore with a fair margin of profit, adding $5,000,000 to the annual product of these mines.
The effect of increased railroad facilities upon the product of other parts of the State will be even greater. These are rapidly progressing. The Central Pacific will be open from San Francisco to the Nevada State line by December 1, 1867. The grading through the latter State being comparatively light, it is supposed the road will be finished to the territorial line of Utah in eighteen months, leaving but a few hundred miles, over which the Union Pacific, with its present remarkable energy of progress, will soon complete the final link between the Atlantic and Pacific. A bianch called the Truckee and Virginia railroad, twentytwo miles long, connecting the cities of Virginia and Gold Hill with the Central Pacific, will probably be completed within fourteen months. The completion of these roads will enhance the silver product of the State to an extent now beyond calculation. The mines further up the Humboldt river at the west Humboldt ridge are estimated by men of excellent capacities and opportunities as even more valuable than the lode before alluded to. The riches of the mineral country of Nevada are but very imperfectly known. New mines are constantly announced. Coal, copper, and lead have been discovered in different parts of the State, abundant in quantity and superior in quality. Gold has also been mined to some extent. Salt, however, is, next to silver, the most copious mineral deposit. About fifty miles south of Mineville is a salt field of some sixteen thousand acres of great purity; excavations to the depth of three feet are soon filled up by fresh deposits of equal purity. It has been observed that the power of preserving organic matter manifested by the salt of this locality surpasses that of any salt deposits in the world. Sand Spring mine is another copious deposit. Salt springs exist in different parts of the State. Mineral springs abound, and with extraordinary capacities for the cure of chronic and other diseases. Many of these are of a very elevated temperature..
This country possesses large and beautiful lakes; Pyramid lake is especially remarkable for immense flocks of waterfowl. Carson City, the capital of the State, is situated in Eagle cañon. It is a flouri-hing and rapidly increasing town, in the midst of a fertile and will watered country, with several fine rivers of very cold water from the Sierra Nevada in the peighborhood. Its population is about three thousand five hundred.
Virginia City, in Story county, is the head of an immense mining interest. It is situated in a cañon of very productive land. The original shanties raised to meet pressing demands of rapid immigration have given way to well built brick structures of tasteful style and imposing appearance, the population being twenty thousand. Gold Hill and American Flat may be considered as suburbs of the city.
Aurora, in Esmeralda county, is the centre of an important mining district, with a population of two thousand.
Geneva, the oldest settlement in the State, is on Carson river, surrounded by rich agricultural land.
Austin, in Lander county, with a population of twelve thousand, Belmont, the third city in the State, in Nye county, and Pahranagat, in Lincoln county, are proininent points of mineral production.
The undisposed-of public lands in the State amount to upwards of sixty-seven millions of acres.
Six years ago, when Nevada was a Territory, it was organized as a separate surveying district; afterwards it was united to the California surveying service; then to the Colorado; subsequently reannexed to the Cali ornia; and finally in 1866, as a State, was made a separate surveying department, with the surveyor general's office at Virginia City.
During the fractional part of the last fiscal year, extensive reconnoissance has been made by the surveyor general, looking to future surveying operations. The valleys of Humboldt, Paradise, and Quinn's river were found the richest agricultural districts, Paradise valley producing wheat from thirty to sixty bushels, and of barley from forty to eighty, to the acre. The surveyor general during the present fiscal year has made engagements for the establishment of the Humboldt River guide, and the Reese River guide meridian ; also for the standard parallels and for the exterior lines of townships. By these lines the best portions of the agricultural and mineral regions can be reached without the delay and large outlay requisite for the ordinary gradual extension of the surveys. In order to accommodate numerous settlers, Carson River valley, the soil of which may be made highly productive by irrigation, has been placed under contract for survey. The Walker River valley, the counties of Douglas and Esmeralda, the latter containing rich mineral lands, will also be surveyed during the present fiscal year, as well as the country traversed by the railroad grant along the Humboldt river, whilst the Ruby Valley guide meridian north and south of the fourth standard parallel north will be extended.
It is important that the precise limits of jurisdiction should be known between Nevada and Utah, and hence the survey of the eastern boundary of Nevada, the dividing line, is suggested by the surveying department, and it is now recommended, with an estimate for that purpose submitted. To expedite the surveys of mineral lands, the surveyor general reports that the State has been divided into eight different mineral districts, and district surveyors appointed in accordance with the system adopted for carrying into effect the congressional enactment of 26th July, 1866, respecting the disposal of mineral lands, a measure represented as giving general satisfaction, and likely to result in substantial benefit to the mining interest.
While the surveying service of Nevada was under the control of the surveyor general at San Francisco for part of the last fiscal year, sixteen thousand three hundred and pineteen acres were surveyed; and from the organization of the