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For reasons stated by the surveyor general in his report of 1877, he has been unable to open and conduct the investigation necessary to pass upon private land claims. Settlers and miners are coming in very fast, and the necessity exists for a speedy settlement of titles to these private claims. He speaks of the necessity for the establishment of the boundaries of the White Mountain Indian reservation, to prevent difficulties between miners and Indians and other settlers and Indians. He wants grazing lands surveyed and asks for a change in the law so as to allow of their survey when actually occupied.
The appropriation of $5,750 for salaries of his office was expended, and $1,397.55 were expended out of the $1,500 appropriated for contingent expenses,
The sum of $761.70 was deposited during the year for office work on surveys, and this added to $1,158.10, the amount previously deposited and unexpended, made the sum of $1,919.80 available to pay for office work. Of this, $518.50 were paid, leaving $1,401.30 unexpended.
There were prepared in the office of surveyor general 111 plats and diagrams of public surveys and 52 plats of mining and mill-site claims.
Number of miles surveyed during the year, 2,076. Number of mining and mill-site claims surveyed, 13.
Surveys were made in 36 townships to an extent of 615,494.38 acres, which, added to 3,872,478.36 previously surveyed, makes a total of 4,487,972.74 acres, besides 1,229.57 acres of mining and mill-site claims surveyed.
California.—The sum of $17,700 for public surveys and $6,000 for surveys of private claims was originally apportioned to California. Subsequently the sum of $3,000 was transferred to public land surveys in California from the apportionment to Nevada, and $4,000 from the private claim apportionment in California to the apportionment for public land surveys therein, thus making a total of $24,700, available out of the general appropriation for surveys of the latter class in California. Under this amount 18 contracts were let and the sum of $19,386.32 has been expended, leaving $5,313.68 applicable to contracts the work of which had not been audited at date of report, viz, August 22, 1878.
Fifty contracts were let payable out of special deposits.
The number of miles run and marked in the public surveys was 120 of standard and meridian, 736 of township, and 3,632 of section and meander lines. Surveys were made in 133 townshps of 1,793,423 acres of public land, 126,975 acres of private claims, and 15,561 acres of Indian reservation.
Five contracts were made payable out of the $2,000 remaining of the original apportionment of $6,000 for surveys of private land claims, and the sum of $1,077.14 remains unexpended of said $2,000.
Surveys of 157 mining claims were approved during the year. Total number of plats prepared in the office was 1,168, of which 697 were of mining claims and amendments, and 415 were of original, duplicate, and triplicate plats of township subdivisions and amendments.
There were prepared and transmitted to the General Land Office 181 transcripts of field notes of public surveys; also copies of descriptive notes, decrees of court and other papers relating to 29 private claims, some of them being very voluminous.
The amount deposited for surveys of public land was $13,190.90, and for office work on those surveys $4,121.86. The sum of $9,055 was deposited for office work on surveys of 151 mining claims.
The sum of $977.28 of special deposits for office work was withdrawn and the sum of $13,957.96 paid out for salaries of clerks and draughtsmen from special deposit fund, thus overdrawing the account for the year to the amount of $1,758.38, which amount was paid out of deposits subsequently made.
The appropriation of $3,000 for incidental expenses of the office was insufficient by $458.79 to meet the necessary expenses of the office. Of the appropriation of $2,750 for salary of suveyor general there have been expended $2,153.10, leaving a balance of $596.90 unexpended, owing to a vacancy in the office of surveyor general during a part of the year. The appropriation of $10,000 for clerk hire has been expended and a deficiency created in salary accounts amounting to $5,971.76, which is still unpaid.
The estimates for surveying service for the year ending June 30, 1880, are as follows: For surveys of public lands, $150,000 (including $50,000 for survey of timber lands); for surveys of private claims, $3,000 ; for salaries of clerks and draughtsmen, $15,000; for bringing up arrears of office work on public surveys, $10,000; for bringing up arrears of work on private claims, $2,000; for salary of surveyor general, $3,000; for fire-proof safe, $1,800; and for other incidental expenses, $3,000.
The surveyor general reports a large amount of office work in arrears, especially in segregation of swamp lands and settlement of boundaries of private land claims. He opposes the plan for consolidating the surveying districts with headquarters at Washington as sure to produce delay and confusion in the transaction of the public business, for the reason that the records of his office are so frequently consulted not only by people of the State and members of the bar in California, but by deputy surveyors in the course of their surveys. He advocates large appropriations for surveys of standard and exterior lines for a few years, after which the subdivisional surveys could be made under the special deposit system. He says that the most of the settlements in California are on unsurveyed lands, and that many of these lands are held in large tracts by a few individuals, who, under State laws giving possessory rights on unsurveyed lands, hold these tracts to the exclusion of others who desire to go upon them.
The report is quite full in respect to private land claims, giving the number presented for confirmation, the number and names of those which have been patented, and those which are still before his office and the department for action.
He also states some of the difficulties attending the proper adjustment of private claims, and under date of 24th August, 1878, incloses a report of the keeper of the Spanish archives in his office, in support of the statements of the surveyor general. He recommends legislation by Congress to limit the time in which mining claimants should be required to apply for a patent, and gives reasons why the local land officers should be instructed to notify the surveyor general when an entry of a mine is made and when a patent for a mining claim is issued.
Colorado.—Under date of September 2, 1878, the surveyor general reports that in view of the assignment of $35,000 for public surveys in Colorado during the year ending June 30, 1878, 19 contracts were made for surveys of agricultural and timber lands. All the work under these contracts is completed, except in one case.
The apportionment has been paid out except $702.99, with some work not yet returned.
Surveys were made in 49 townships, from the sixth principal meridian, and in 3 townships from the New Mexico meridian.
Three thousand five hundred and seventy-one dollars and ninety-three cents were deposited by settlers for surveys of public land, which amount has been paid out, except $550, with some work not yet returned.
The surveyor general states that larger appropriations for surveys are needed, and that settlements are far in advance of the surveys.
Two hundred miles of railroad were built during the past year.
He reports that the amount deposited by individuals for office work on public surveys was $130, and by railroad companies $439.78; by Vigil and Saint Vrain claimants, $67.99, and for office work, on mining claims, $6,041 ; all of which added to $5,580.22, the balance of special deposits on hand from last year, made a total of $12,258.99 available to pay clerk hire. Of this sum, $7,493.60 were paid out, leaving a balance unexpended, June 30, 1878, of $4,765.39, according to statement E accompanying his report. The statement E shows 252 mining surveys with a deposit for office work of $5,859 thereon.
The incidental expenses of the office were $1,787.16, of which $1,500 were paid from the appropriation, $244.45 from special deposits for office work, and $12.71 were in excess of the means provided for such expenses.
Of the assignment of $2,000 for survey of private land claims, and the assignment made December 17, 1877, of a sum sufficient to meet the expenses of the examination of the boundaries of the Beaubien and Miranda grant, the sum of $3,250.11 was paid for survey of the Sangre de Cristo grant, $18.60 for printing, and a balance of $731.29 is reported as unexpended.
The estimates for the year ending June 30, 1880, are, for surveys, $104,400 ; for salaries, $10,800 ; for contingent expenses, $3,000. The estimates for clerk hire are made in view of the fact that the office work is considerably in arrears, viz, four years' descriptive lists, connected map of mineral claims, and arranging and indexing the field notes of the last year. He wants to survey in North Park, Middle Park, on Bear River, in the San Juan country, on the head of Gunnison River, near Pagosa Springs, and in numerous places in the mountains, to accommodate actual settlers and enable the State commissioners to make selections of lands for the State.
Dakota.—The amount of the appropriation of $300,000, which was assigned for surveys in Dakota, is $17,700. The amount expended was $17,703.08, under five contracts. The number of miles surveyed and marked was 2,904, being 7 of standard, 244 of township, and 2,653 of sertion and meander lines.
The area subdivided was 938,086 acres in 49 townships, making a total of surveyed lands in the Territory of 18,738,760 acres, exclusive of Indian and military reservations, town sites, and mining claims.
Six contracts were made under special deposits, amounting to $535 for field work, and $150 for office work. Out of the latter the sum of $139.33 has been paid.
Four town sites in the region of the Black Hills were surveyed during the vear, viz: Deadwood, with an area of 745.45 acres; Ingleside, 28.64 acres, but included within the surveyed boundaries of Deadwood; Oro, containing 320 acres; and Rapid City, containing 640 acres.
Thirty-eight placer-mining claims and fifty lode claims were surveyed. Office work: Field notes transcribed and protracted, and duplicate and triplicate plats made of the 49 townships surveyed, and descriptive lists of the same furnished the local land offices. One copy of the field notes and four copies of each mining plat of 88 mineral claims were made in his office; also much labor performed incident to the organization of a mining district before unknown in Dakota.
The expenses of the office, paid out of the appropriation, were as follows: For salaries, $5,500; for incidentals, $1,500. Out of the $2,615 deposited for office work on 88 mineral claim surveys, $1,705 were paid to mineral clerks, leaving an unexpended balance of $910 on June 30, 1878.
The surveyor general estimates for the surveying service in Dakota during year ending June 30, 1880, as follows: $1,620 for survey of standard lines; $19,000 for township and $105,000 for section lines, being a total for surveys of $125,620; for salaries, $11,500, and for contingent expenses, $2,700,
In explanation of the surveying estimates, he says he is in receipt of many petitions for surveys from settlers in numbers as high, in one case, as 59, and as 23 in another, asking for surveys of lands on which they have settled.
Disposals of land in the Territory during the vear, about 2,083,078 acres, including 600,000 acres sold by the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.
He estimates that during that period settlers located upon 82,000 acres of unsurveyed land, thus making a total area taken by actual settlers in the year, of 2,165,078 acres, not including the Black Hills country, with 25,000 inhabitants, where no public surveys, except town sites, have been made. He thus shows that more than double the number of acres surveyed in the year have been settled upon, showing the demand for in creased appropriation for surveys.
He reports a great increase of land under cultivation throughout the Territory, also wonderful developments of mineral and agricultural resources of the Black Hills country. He closes with extracts from a letter written to him by the general agent of the land department Northern Pacific Railroad Company, showing the rapid disposals of land granted to that road, and the necessity for additional surveys by government of the granted lands.
Florida.-Six contracts were made by the surveyor general during the year ending June 30, 1878, three of which were for the survey of islands, one for survey of a private claim, and one for survey of the lots lying between the boundaries known as the Orr and Whitner, and the Watson lines. The other contract was canceled. Work under two contracts was forwarded.
Of the eight contracts not closed at date of last annual report, two were canceled, the work in three contracts has been forwarded, and in three cases the work has not yet been returned and approved.
Sixteen plats have been furnished to the local land office, also 62 descriptive lists and several indexes. Much office work is in arrears.
The contract for surveys along the Florida and Georgia boundary has been nearly filled, and the work will be forwarded soon. The $6,000 assigned for surveys in Florida for the year ending June 30, 1879, will be expended in surveys along the Florida line and the islands, &c., along the Gulf coast.
Estimates for service of year ending June 30, 1880, are as follows: for surveys, $10,000 ; for salaries, $6,200; and for incidentals, $1,000.
Louisiana.—The surveys entered into during the year ending June 30, 1875, have all been completed, approved, and transmitted, except in township 14 south, range 6 west, and township 15 south, range 7 east, southwest district. The work has been paid for, except in contract of S. P. Henry, in which the sum of $618.08 was found due but could not be paid because the unexpended balance had gone to the surplus fund.
For the year ending June 30, 1877, two contracts were made and have been partially completed. The sum assigned ($7,000) has been paid out and exceeded by the sum of $115.06.
For the year ending June 30, 1878, the sum of $7,200 was apportioned to Louisiana, and two contracts were made, one of which has been completed and the work in the other partly so. The sum assigned has been exhausted, and a balance of $361.89 is due for work in excess of the apportionment.
The work of the past year consisted mostly of the resurvey of ten townships in the pine timber belt” in the southwest district.
Out of the apportionment of $17,500 for surveys during the present year, two contracts have been let for the resurvey of 29 townships in the pine timber belt of the Calcasieu country.
The deputies will, without extra compensation, examine into the condition of lands entered as homesteads in that region, and report such as are abandoned and should be canceled.
A great decrease in timber depredations is reported through the instrumentality of Agent Carter and his surveyor, George R. Bradford. Settlers and homestead claimants still carry on depredations on a small scale.
Office work: But little done in the issuance of certificates of location; certificates issued on 56 claims. Several hundred applications are on file, but claimants fail to comply with the requirements of the General Land Office.
Attention is called to a great amount of office work in arrears. Field notes of 784 townships are to be copied, over 6,000 private land claims yet unpatented and requiring to be acted upon, &c. Some of this work will be brought up under the increased allowance of $4,000 for the present year ending June 30, 1879.
Estimates for expenses of the service during year ending June 30, 1880, are as follows: For surveys and resurveys, $64,450 ; for salaries, $4,800; for arrears of office work, $14,000; and for incidentals, $2,000.
The resurveys are regarded as necessary to check the depredations on timber and to enable settlers to describe the lands desired to be entered by them.
Idaho.—Surveyor general reports that the surveys of the public lands for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, have been contined to the southern and southeastern portions of this Territory, where there are large portions of valuable agricultural lands insurveyed, which are being gradually settled, especially along the lines in the vicinity of the Utah Northern Railroad, which is expected to be completed to Snake River, in the neighborhood of Old Fort Hall, next fall.
The surveys contracted for during the last fiscal year have all been completed, and notes returned, with the exception of Mr. Allen M. Thompson's, whose work lay in close proximity to the hostile Indians, and on this account an extension of time to complete the surveys has been granted.
The first standard parallel north ought to be extended the distance given, for many valuable mines and rich agricultural valleys lie contiguous to it.
The timber lands are being despoiled of their timber, so that unless they be surveyed the day is not far distant when the heavily timbered mountains will be stripped of timber, and thus rendered worthless to government, yet at the present rates allowed by law it is almost impossible to get competent surveyors to take a contract in the timbered and mountainous parts of the Territory.
The appropriation of $2,500 is entirely too small for clerk hire; $1,500 per annum is paid to the chief clerk and the remaining $1,000 will not secure a competent draughtsman the year round, which fact is detrimental to the public service.