Page images

Upon the completion of the Choctaw boundary, the deputy surveyor proceeded, in accordance with law and instructions, to restore that portion of the eastern Cherokee boundary which lies between the northwest corner of the State of Arkansas and the northeast corner of the Choctaw lands.

This boundary was defined by a convention concluded at the city of Washington May 6, 1828, which required its establishment upon a direct line extending between the above-mentioned points. By direction of the Office of Indian Affairs this line was originally run in 1831, and it became the legalized boundary, though subsequent observations have revealed the fact that the line curves slightly to the westward, encroaching to that extent upon the Indian lands.

Subsequent also to the original survey of this boundary the line between the States of Missouri and Arkansas was resurveyed, and the monument which marks the northwest corner of the State of Arkansas was moved 4 chains 83 links to the southward from its original position.

In accordance with the provisions of a second treaty, concluded July 19, 1866, the boundary was resurveyed under direction of the Office of Indian Affairs. This work was accomplished under the supervision of two commissioners, one of whom was chosen by the United States and the other by the Cherokee Nation. This line, run in the year 1871, proved to be erroneous, from the fact that the initial monument of the Choctaw boundary heretofore described, which was placed at a safe distance south of the Arkansas River, was taken as the southern terminal point of the Cherokee boundary. This error carried the line of 1871, at its point of greatest departure, about 10 chains west of the legally established boundary.

The resurvey of 1877 had, then, a threefold object: First, the re-estab. lishment and permanent marking of the original line; second, the determination of the quantity of land embraced between the established boundary and a true treaty or direct line; third, the obliteration of all evidences of the survey of 1871.

The resurvey of the boundary proper was commenced at the re-established monument at the northwest corner of the State of Arkansas, July 12, 1877, and the field work, including the obliteration of the landmarks of the line of 1871, terminated on the 25th of August following. The distance from the northwest corner of Arkansas to the post on a sand bar in the Arkansas River which marks the corners of the Choctaw and Cherokee lands was found to be 76 miles 72.14 chains. The bearings of sections of line between the different mile posts were found to vary from south 6° 57' east to south 100 11' east; whereas the true bear. ing of a direct line extending between the points named proved to be south 70 45' east. The area of Indian land thus improperly transferred by the original survey to the public lands lying in the State of Arkansas amounts to 2,539.54 acres.

The original line was identified at many points, usually from one to three miles apart, by reference to original witness trees, all other evidences of that survey having disappeared. This boundary line is marked in the same permanent manner as the Choctaw line, already described.

The face of the country along the eastern Cherokee boundary is generally broken, possessing an abundant supply of timber of inferior qual. ity for mechanical purposes. The principal body of prairie land lies in the vicinity of Maysville, a village of about 500 inhabitants, situated some six miles south of the Missouri and Arkansas State line. The western limits of the town are identical with the established boundary. The most productive lands lie in the narrow valleys of the principal streams


crossed by the boundary, but good and well cultivated farms are occasionally found among the uplands, particularly those lying north of the Boston Mountains. In the last-named section springs of good water are abundant.

Survey of Cherokee lands in North Carolina. In the last annual report of this office may be found, on pages 70 and 71, a statement of the partial survey which had been made of Cherokee lands in North Carolina, under the act of Congress of June 23, 1874. A contract for further surveys was subsequently entered into with M. S. Temple, esq., of Greenville, Tenn., and the following instructions were given to him by this office, under date of the 8th April, 1878, viz :

Having entered into contract with you this day for the survey of the lands of the Eastern Cherokee Indians, recently purchased from William H. Thomas, and described in the deed dated October 9, 1876, executed by William Johnston, L. M. Johnston, James W. Terrell, and Thomas D. Johnston to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, copy of which has been furnished you, you will be governed in the execution of the work contracted for by the terms of said contract and the following special instructions, to wit:

The lands to be surveyed are situated in Graham, Jackson, and Cherokee Counties, in the State of North Carolina, and include sixty tracts, as enumerated in the deed above referred to.

It will be your duty to trace and mark each of the tracts described in the said deed, in accordance with the descriptions of the same as shown by the county records, by planting appropriately marked posts, of good material, of the size prescribed in instructions from this office dated March 30, 1875, for the survey of the Qualla boundary.

In regard to running, marking, and describing the lines, corners, and topographical features, you will be governed by said instructions of March 30, 1875, so far as the same may be applicable.

In carrying out your contract it will be necessary to retrace and mark the several tracts as they were originally marked, and for that purpose it will be necessary to procure transcripts from the records of the several counties, showing the description of the original lines. The expense of obtaining said transcripts oust be covered by the $1,500 allowed for these surveys, there being no other means available for paying for the same.

In a letter to this office in regard to these surveys the Commissioner of Indian Affairs states that “the object of the surveys recommended by this office was to obtain a more perfect description of the lands to be conveyed, that the same might be incorporated in a new deed, to be substituted for the one herewith, conveying the lands directly to the Indians in fee simple."

Unless a contract can be made for the survey of these lands so as to furnish a welldefined, accurate, and complete description of all the tracts embraced in said deed, the purpose for which a survey was requested will not be reached.

With a view, therefore, to affording an accurate description of each tract, you will so describe the initial point of each survey and all the lines and corners thereof that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs may be enabled, when conveying the lands to the claimants, to describe each tract accurately by metes and bounds. Your field notes should show the course and distance from the initial point of each survey to a corner of an adjacent survey, or to some prominent landmark. Where a line is a common boundary, either wholly or in part, between two claims, the extent to which said line forms a common boundary must be expressed in the field notes and indicated upon your diagrams. The diagrams of the separate tracts should show the connections with burrounding claims, also the numbers thereef. In addition to the diagrams of the individual tracts accompanying the field notes, you will submit connected plats of the claims in each county.

The form of field notes of the survey of a private claim given on pages 66 to 68 of the manual of “Instructions to Surveyors General” is applicable to the surveys under your contract, and you will adopt the same.

In transcribing your field notes upon the paper furnished by the department, you will confine the writing between the red lines; the narrow column on the left is for the measured distances. Both margins are to be left blank (see sample herewith).

For use in the field and in making returns of your surveys to this office, I transmit, by this day's mail, one dozen field books, four quires of field-note paper, and five yards of tracing linen; the latter for the connected diagrams required by these instructions.

Returns of surveys under this contract hare been made, and are now undergoing examination in this office.

Survey of townships 18 and 19 north, range 1 west, Michigan. Under authority of act of Congress approved February 16, 1877 (19 Stat., p. 231), townships 18 and 19 north, of range 1 west, Michigan, were surveyed by T. Gale Merrill under contract dated March 31, 1877, entered into with this office, there being no surveyor general in Michigan, and returns thereof were made July 17, 1877, and being found correct were approved August 3, 1877.

In many cases the corners of the original survey, formerly reported as fraudulent, were found, and under instructions from this office the surveyor adopted such corners where found in their proper places.

The expense of the survey was $2,136.22, which was paid from the appropriation of $2,500 made for the purpose by said act of February 16, 1877.

The following circular has been issued by this office in reference to the survey of desert lands under the act of Congress of March 3, 1877:



Washington, D. C., June 25, 1878. UNITED STATES SURVEYOR GENERAL :

SIR: The following instructions are issued under the act of Congress approved March 3, 1877, entitled "An act to provide for the sale of desert lands in certain States and Territories." (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, page 377.)

By the terms of the act the quantity to be entered by any one person is limited to one section, or to a tract not exceeding six hundred and forty acres, and it is required to be in compact form.

If the land is surveyed it is required to be particularly described, and if unsurveyed it shall be described as nearly as possible without a survey.

As the land to be entered under this act is public land, and no provision is made for any departure from the rectangular system in the survey of claims under said act, the claimants on unsurveyed land will be required to take their claims by legal subdivisions when the lines of public surveys shall have been extended over the same.

Yon will, therefore, instruct your deputies that in subdividing townships when they reach one of these desert land claims they will extend their lines in the usual manner, and from the best information obtainable represent by an outline sketch the approximate limits of the reclaimed tract, or the tract in process of reclamation, so that the same may appear upon the township plat when prepared in your office.

In case a survey is asked of claims under said act which are isolated from the regular progress of public surveys, and the land intervening is not of a character authorized to be surveyed under existing laws, in order to reach such claims it will be necessary to extend the nearest standard line to the neighborhood of such claims, and then extend the proper township and section lines sufficiently to embrace such claims.

This extension will only be authorized in cases where a person has made satisfactory proof to the register and receiver of the reclamation by conducting water upon the tract within the period of three years from the filing of his declaration therefor in cases where the party desires to make payment and obtain patent for the land, and after the evidence of reclamation has been submitted to this office and authority is given for such extension. Very respectfully,


Commissioner. The divisions of this office having charge of matters relating to sur. veys and draughting report with regard to the character and extent of the work done during the fiscal year, and the present condition of the work, as follows, viz: Number of letters received ...........

2, 574 Number of letters written .......

2, 239 Number of folio pages of record occupied .

1, 765 Number of reports on adjusted accounts...

1, 090 Number of folio pages of record occupied ..

1.090 Amounts of adjusted and reported accounts............................. $532, 786.76

In the draughting division: 1. Work on the annual map of the United States.

Number 01 levers Written..............................................

2. Two special maps of States where the lines of public surveys have been completed, viz, Michigan and Wisconsin.

3. Volumes of field notes arranged according to States and Territories, and particular bases, principal meridians, townships, and ranges, indexed for easy reference-61.

4. Railroad maps constructed with lateral limits of land granted to different railroad companies and copies of same for land offices; also tracings of railroad maps-151.

5. Exemplifications of plats, copies of town sites, tracings of private land patents, and copies of same in record books; also other records prepared for applicants under act of Congress approved July 2, 1864—1,508. In addition to this, surveys of islands and lakes have been tested, areas calculated, and diagrams of same made; also other miscellaneous calculations and protractions.

6. The work of this division, in consequence of the insufficiency of the draughting force has constantly been accumulating, and is now greatly in arrears. In order to keep up the current work called for by the different divisions of the office a certain class of work had to be abandoned altogether. This work waiting to be completed and absolutely necessary for the best interest of the office is as follows:

1. Arranging and indexing field notes and plats.
2. Twenty-nine field note diagrams forming the index volume.

3. Sixteen railroad volumes. These are important as they are the only evidence the office will have giving a complete history of each road. The railroad withdrawal maps in use by the different bookkeepers are so injured by incidental wear and tear that unless this work is soon completed it will be difficult to reproduce some of the maps at all.

4. The tracing of the annual map of the United States was progressing very favorably when, in consequence of the reduction of force, it had to be abandoned. Very nearly two-thirds of this work has been completed.

The following table exhibits the comparative progress of surveys and the disposal of public lands during the period of eleven years ending June 30, 1878, also cost of surveys:

[blocks in formation]

1868 1-69 1870. 1871. 1872. 1.73. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878.

13 12 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 16 16

68 $325, 779 50
66 497, 471 00
81 560, 210 00
83 683, 910 00
92 1, 019, 378 66
90 1, 305, 531 67
96 995, 353 39
97 1,030, 180 24
97 1, 269, 321 94
99 550, 054 03

532, 786 76

10, 170, 656 6, 665, 742.00 10, 822, 812 7, 666, 151. 00 18, 165, 278 8, 095, 413. 00 22, 016, 607 10, 765, 705. 00 29, 450, 939 11, 864, 975. 64 33, 834, 178 13,030, 606. 87 29, 492, 110 9, 530, 872. 93 26, 077, 531 7, 070, 271. 29 20, 271, 506 6,524, 326. 36 10, 847, 082 4, 849, 767. 70 8, 041, 012 8, 686, 178.88

DISPOSALS OF PUBLIC LANDS. I now invite attention to the operations of the last fiscal year for disposing of the public lands. This object was pursued through the agency of 98 district land offices, in the methods contemplated in the laws providing for sales at ordinary private entry, for pre-emptions, for entries for

homestead, timber culture, town-site, and mining purposes, and in the laws making grants for specific objects and exceptional provisions with regard to abandoned military and other reservations. The first mentioned method of disposal is confined to lands which have been brought into market at public sale and not in any manner withdrawn therefrom, this being the simplest method known to the land system, and one in which if the proceedings are regular, and the money paid, the patent conveying the fee simple issues as a matter of course. The quantity of land thus disposed of during the fiscal year, with the additional quan tity embraced in pre-emption cash entries allowed during the same period, in cash entries allowed in commutation of homesteads, and in other cash entries, allowed under special laws, of lands not subject to ordinary private entry, makes up the total of cash entries before given as 877,555.14 acres.

Pre-emptions. Under the pre-emption laws, public lands are disposed of to actual settlers only, they being allowed a preference right to purchase the lands covered by their settlements on prescribed conditions and in limited quantities. Cases frequently arise under these laws involving very nice and difficult questions. A special division of the clerical force of this office is charged with the duty of examining matters involving the principle of pre-emption under existing laws, as entries under the preemption" and town-site laws, sales of Osage Indian trust and diminished reserve lands, and claims of parties who purchased from Mexican gran. tees or their assigns, lands within grants subsequently rejected, or which were excluded from final survey of confirmed grants. The condition of the work in the pre-emption division is thus stated, viz: Contested cases, in divsion, undecided July 1, 1877 r..*.... saini..... .. 849 Received during the year ending June 30, 1878.... isati...........iii.ivos 532

Total .....
Decided during the year .....................
Referred to other divisions ........cii.

- 293 In division, undecided July 1, 1878 ....

........ 488 During the year there were closed on the docket by decisions of the department, or on failure to appeal from decisions of this office, 318 cases.

By a comparison with the statement made one year ago (Annual Report, 1877, page 94), it will be seen that, while the number of new cases received has been about the same, there have been fewer cases by over one hundred decided during the past year, and, consequently, the statement of undecided contested cases indicates an increase of nearly one hundred per cent.

This is mainly the result of the reduction in the clerical force of the division. With the present force it will require nearly two years to adjudicate the cases on file July 1, 1878, without examining a single case received since that date.

In regard to the pre-emption entries in which there is no contest the increase in arrearages is more marked. At the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, there remained in the division undisposed of 415 of these cases; but at the close of the last year we found upon our files, undisposed of, 3,140 cases, as follows: Not acted upon .......

•"•••• 1........... 2, 058 Suspended for varions causes ...

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



...... 1, 082

« PreviousContinue »