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AN ACT to amend an act entitled "An act to encourage the growth of timber on the Western Prairies.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the act entitled “An act to amend the act entitled 'An act to encourage the growth of timber on Western Prairies,'” approved March thirteenth, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, be and the same is hereby amended so as to read as follows: That any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, who shall plant, protect, and keep in a healthy, growing condition for eight years ten acres of timber, on any quarter-section of any of the public lands of the United States, or five acres on any legal subdivision of eighty acres, or two and one-half acres on any legal subdivision of forty acres or less, shall be entitled to a patent for the whole of said quarter-section, or of such legal subdivision of eighty or forty acres, or fractional subdivision of less than forty acres, as the case may be, at the expiration of said eight years, on making proof of such fact by not less than two credible witnesses, and a full compliance of the further conditions as provided in section two: Provided further, That not more than one-quarter of any section shall be thus granted, and that no person shall make more than one entry under the provisions of this act.

SEC. 2. That the person applying for the benefits of this act shall, upon application to the register of the land-district in which he or she is about to make such entry, make affidavit, before the register or the receiver, or the clerk of some court of record, or officer authorized to administer oaths in the district where the land is situated; which affidavit shall be as follows, to wit: 1,- - , having filed my application, number — , for an entry under the provision

er the provisions of an act entitled "An act to amend an act entitled 'An act to encourage the growth of timber on the Western Prairies'” approved - - - 187–, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am the head of a family (or over twenty-one years of age), and a citizen of the United States (or have declared my intention to become such); that the section of land specified in my said application is composed exclusively of prairie lands, or other lands devoid of timber; that this filing and entry is made for the cultivation of timber, and for my own exclusive use and benefit; that I have made the said application in good faith, and not for the purpose of speculation, or directly or indirectly for the use or benefit of any other person or persons whomsoever; that I intend to hold and cultivate the land, and to fully comply with the provisions of this said act; and that I have not heretofore made an entry under this act, or the acts of which this is amendatory. And upon filing said affidavit with said register and said receiver and on payment of ten dollars, if the tract applied for is more than eighty acres; and five dollars if it is eighty acres or less, he or she shall thereupon be permitted to enter the quantity of land specified; and the party making an entry of a quarter-section under the provisions of this act shall be required to break or plow five acres covered thereby the first year, five acres the second year, and to cultivate to crop or otherwise the five acres broken or plowed the first year; the third year he or she shall cultivate to crop or otherwise the five acres broken the second year, and to plant in timber, seeds, or cuttings the five acres first broken or plowed, and to cultivate and put in crop or otherwise the remaining five acres, and the fourth year to plant in timber, seeds, or cuttings the remaining five acres. All entries of less quantity than one quarter-section shall be plowed, planted, cultivated and planted to trees, tree-seeds, or cuttings, in the same manner and in the same proportion as hereinbefore provided for a quartersection. Provided, howerer, That in case such trees, seeds, or cuttings shall be destroyed by grasshoppers, or by extreme and unusual drouth, for any year or term of years, the time for planting such trees, seeds, or cuttings shall be extended one year for every such year that they are so destroyed: Provided further, That the person making such entry shall, before he or she shall be entitled to such extension of time, file with the register and the receiver of the proper land-office an affidavit, corroborated by two witnesses, setting forth the destruction of such trees, and that, in consequence of such destruction, he or she is compelled to ask an extension of time, in accordance with the provisions of this act: And prorided further, That no final certificate shall be given, or patent issued, for the land so entered until the expiration of eight years from the date of such entry; and if, at the expiration of such time, or at any time within five years thereafter, the person making such entry, or, if he or she be dead, his or her heirs or legal representatives, shall prove by two credible witnesses that he or she or they have planted, and, for not less than eight years, have cultivated and protected such quantity and character of trees as aforesaid ; that not less than twentyseven hundred trees were planted on each acre and that at the time of making such proof that there shall be then growing at least six hundred and seventy-five living and thrifty trees to each acre, they shall receive a patent for such tract of land.

SEC. 3. That if at any time after the filing of said affidavit, and prior to the issuing of the patent for said land, the claimant shall fail to comply with any of the requirements of this act, then and in that event such land shall be subject to entry under the homestead laws, or by some other person under the provisions of this act. Provided, That the party making claim to said land, either as a homestead-settler, or under this act, shall give at the time of filing his application, such notice to the original claimant as shall be prescribed by the rules established by the Commissioner of the General Land Office; and the rights of the parties shall be determined as in other contested cases.

SEC. 4. That no land acquired under the provisions of this act shall, in any event, become liable to the satisfaction of any debt or debts contracted prior to the issuing of the final certificate therefor.

SEC. 5. That the Commissioner of the General Land Office is hereby required to prepare and issue such rules and regulations, consistent with this act, as shall be necessary and proper to carry its provisions into effect; and that the registers and receivers of the several land-offices shall each be entitled to receive two dollars at the time of entry, and the like sum when the claim is finally established and the final certificate issued.

SEC. 6. That the fifth section of the act entitled “An act in addition to an act to punish crimes against the United States, and for other purposes," approved March third, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, shall extend to all oaths, affirmations, and affidavits required or authorized by this act.

Sec. 7. That parties who have already made entries under the acts approved March third, eighteen hundred and seventy-three, and March thirteenth, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, of which this is amendatory shall be permitted to complete the same upon full compliance with the provisions of this act; that is, they shall, at the time of making their final proof, have had under cultivation as required by this act, an amount of timber sufficient to make the number of acres required by this act.

SEC. 8. All acts and parts of acts in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.
Approved, June 14, 1878.

Timber culture-Act of June 14, 1878.

APPLICATION No. — -, hereby apply to enter, under the provisions of the act of June 14, 1878, entitled “An act to amend an act entitled 'An act to encourage the growth of timber on the Western Prairies," the — - of section - in township of range - , containing acres.

LAND OFFICE AT -
(Date)

- 187I,

-, register of the land office, do hereby certify that the above application is for the class of lands which the applicant is legally entitled to enter under the provisions of the timber-culture act of June 14, 1878; that there is no prior valid adverse right to the same, and that the land therein described, together with the lands heretofore entered under this act and the acts of which this is amendatory, in the said section, does not exceed one-quarter thereof.

- - Register.
Timber culture-Act of June 14, 1878.
AFFIDAVIT.

LAND OFFICE AT –
(Date) —

—, 187I,

-, having filed my application, No. -, for an entry under the provisions of an act entitled "An act to amend an act entitled 'An act to encourage the growth of timber on the Western Prairies,'” approved June 14, 1878, do solemnly — that I am the head of a family (or over 21 years of age], and a citizen of the United States for hare declared my intention to become such]; that the section of land specified in my said application is composed exclusively of prairie lands, or other lands devoid of timber: that this filing and entry is made for the cultivation of timber, and for my own exclusive use and benefit; that I have made the said application in good faith, and not for the purpose of speculation, or directly or indirectly for the use or benefit of any other person or persons whomsoever; that I intend to hold and cultivate the land, and to fully comply with the provisions of this said act; and that I have not heretofore made an entry under this act, or the acts of which this is amendatory.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this — day of — 18—,'

Timber-culture rulings have been made during the fiscal year as follows:

1. A party having filed an application to contest the validity of a timber-culture entry, together with his application and affidavit for the entry of the land embraced therein, and another party having afterward filed the written relinquishment of the entry by the party, and made application to enter the same land, it was held that the contestant had the preference right to enter, on the existing entry being canceled.—(Commissioner's letter to register and receiver at Niobrara, Nebr., of July 13, 1877, case of Barrett vs. Maybury.)

2. Where a party enters a tract on which a previous claimant had complied with the law by breaking and planting, that fact does not excuse him from complying with the timber-culture law in the same respects as if no such breaking or planting had been done.—(Commissioner's letter to Mark G. Lee, esq., of Shelton, Nebr., dated July 24, 1877.)

3. In a case where the growth of timber on a section was confined to fixed limits, with no prospect that it would ever spread to meet the demands of the people that usually reside upon one section, and a timberculture entry made in the section was contested on the ground that the section was not naturally devoid of timber, the contest was dismissed for the reason that the contestant failed to prove the allegation on which the order for the hearing was based.—(Commissioner's letter to the register and receiver at Benson, Minn., of July 25, 1877, case of Osmundson vs. Norby.)

4. Where a party had failed to get the requisite amount of planting done in one year on his entry, which was for 160 acres, on account of sickness, but had actually done the amount of breaking and planting required by law for an entry of 80 acres, he was permitted to relinquish 80 acres and retain the remaining 80 acres, provided that the 20 acres planted in trees should be embraced in the retained portion of the entry.- (Commissioner's letter to the register and receiver at Sioux Falls, Dak., of August 18, 1877, case of Willard D. Gould.) .

5. An application for a timber-culture entry was rejected because the affidavit on which it was based was made a considerable time before, and while the land was covered by a previous timber-culture entry. This action was on appeal affirmed by the head of the department.-(Secretary's letter of September 24, 1877, case of John Key.)

6. In contests of timber-culture entries, the contestants in making applications to contest and to enter the lands must tender the amount of fee and commissions at the same time; the register and receiver must note the facts on their records, and the money be retained in possession of the contestants, awaiting final decisions in the respective cases.- (Com. missioner's letter to register and receiver at Wichita, Kans., of December, 4, 1877.)

7. Application made for a timber-culture entry must be simultaneous with the making of the required affidavit, if the latter is made at the district land office, and if made elsewhere before some authorized officer, it must be produced within a reasonable time thereafter, but in no case can an affidavit made while the land is appropriated under the provisions of law be received.—(Secretary's letter of December 22, 1877, case of Hiram Campbell.)

8. The requisites of an affidavit for a continuance on the ground of the absence of a witness are that it shows: 1st. The name and residence of the witness, and the materiality of his testimony; 2d. The exercise of proper diligence to procure the attendance of the witness; and 3d. That the witness can be had at the time to which it is sought to have the trial deferred.—(Secretary's letter of May 29, 1878, case of Wilson vs. Simmons.) Desert-land entries.

Pursuant to instructions issued to the district land officers in the States of California, Oregon, and Nevada, and the Territories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and Dakota, under the desert-land act of March 3, 1877, as stated on page 41 of the last annual report of this office, returns have been received of entries allowed during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, to the extent indi. cated below, viz. :

In Arizona, 77 entries, calling for 48,552.75 acres; California, 200 entries, 72,578.28 acres; Dakota, 5 entries, 1,541 acres; Idahó, 32 entries, 17,916.45 acres ; Montana, 106 entries, 29,842.01 acres; Nevada, 303 entries, 79,295.34 acres; New Mexico, 17 entries, 6,183.62 acres; Oregon, 25 entries, 10,091.32 acres; Utah, 162 entries, 25,830.18 acres; Washington, 6 entries, 540.49 acres; Wyoming, 75 entries, 18,181.61 acres; totals, 1,008 entries, 310,553.05 acres.

Fort Kearney military reservation.

The act of Congress approved July 21, 1876 (19 Stat., pp. 94, 95), entitled " An act to provide for the sale of the Fort Kearney military reservation in the State of Nebraska,” provides :

That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to cause said tract of land to be surveyed, sectionized, and subdivided as other public lands, and after said survey to offer said land to actual settlers only, at minimum price, under and in accordance with the provisions of the homestead laws: Provided, That if any person has made permanent improvements upon said land prior to the first day of June, eighteen hundred and seventy-six (being an actual settler thereon), has exhausted his right to make a homestead entry, such person, or his heirs, may enter one quarter-section of said land under the provisions of the pre-emption laws: And provided further, That the heirs of any deceased person who had made settlement and improvement as above described prior to June first, eighteen hundred and seventy-six, may complete the pre-emption or homestead entry of the person so deceased.

The land embraced in said reservation, which lies in part in the Grand Island and in part in the Bloomington land district, having been surveyed, sectionized, and subdivided, according to law, the registers and receivers of the district land offices were instructed by this office how to proceed to dispose of said land under the provisions of the act above quoted, as per letter of the 9th January, 1878. The total area of the reservation is 72,240.47 acres. From this is to be deducted the total area of tracts in sections 16 and 36, which, it is decided by this office, enure to the State under the grant for common schools within the reservation, viz, 3,807.51 acres, which leaves 68,432.96 acres as the quantity of land subject to disposal to actual settlers under said act. Of this quantity, 32,914 acres had been entered at the close of the fiscal year.

Detroit arsenal grounds.

It was stated on page 42 of the last annual report of this office, that the Detroit arsenal grounds were subdivided into town-lots, 153 in number, with streets to render the same accessible, and offered at public sale, pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress of March 3, 1875 (18 Stat., p. 510). Since that report was made, the sale having been adjourned from time to time, nine unimproved lots have been sold at the appraised prices, amounting to $1,975 in the aggregate. This leaves 122 of the whole number of lots yet to be sold, appraised with the improvements thereon at $50,065.

Pawnee reservation in Nebraska..

By the act of Congress of April 10, 1876 (19 Stat. p. 28), provision was made for the survey, appraisement, and sale of the lands embraced in the Pawnee Indian reservation in Nebraska, comprising 278.837.20 acres, with certain buildings and other improvements existing thereon. The lands were surveyed accordingly, and, with the improvements, were appraised by commissioners appointed for the purpose by the Secretary of the Interior. Instructions for the disposal thereof were issued by this office to the register and receiver of the district land office at Grand Island, Nebr., under date of the 5th February, 1878, pursuant to which, after proper advertisement, a public offering was had at Central City, Merrick County, Nebraska, on the 15th July, 1878, continuing until the 19th of the same month, when all the land contained in the reservation was offered for sale in tracts not exceeding 160 acres. Sales were then made to the extent of 13,129.29 acres, leaving 265,707.91 acres for sale thereafter at private entry, according to the terms of the act. Improvements were disposed of with a portion of the land sold, amounting at the appraised price to $2,975. The remaining lands are to be sold at the appraised prices, which range from $1.25 to $6 per acre, qualified, however, by the provision contained in the act that none shall be sold for less than $2.50 per acre. The purchase money is required to be paid, “one third cash in hand, and the balance in two equal annual payments, drawing interest at the rate of six per centum per annum from the day of sale."

Sac and Fox and Otoe and Missouria Indian reserrations in Kansas and

Vebraska.

As was stated in the last annual report, on page 13, a portion comprising 6,398.20 acres of the Sac and Fox reservation, and a portion comprising 119,846.17 acres of the Otoe and Missouria reservation in Kansas and Nebraska, have been brought into market pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress of August 15, 1878 (19 Stat., p. 208). During the last fiscal year entries have been made of the Sac and Fox lands to the amount of 3,120.54 acres, and of the Otoe and Missouria to the amount of 25,423.66 acres.

Entries of these lands are restricted to the class of actual settlers by the terms of said act. They are subject to entry at the district land office at Beatrice, Vebr., in quantities not exceeding 160 acres to each settler, at prices fixed by appraisement of the several tracts, but not less in any case than $2.50 per acre. The terms of payment with reference to both reservations have been fixed by the Secretary of the Interior under the act as the following, viz: One-third of the purchase money is to be paid in cash at the date of entry, one-third in one year, and one-third in two years thereafter, with interest at 6 per centum per annum.

Cherokee strip.

In the annual report of this office dated November 1, 1876, pages 21 and 22, the condition at that date of what are known as the “Cherokee strip" lands was stated, and the area thereof remaining unsold was given as 295,577.84 acres.

On the 28th of February, 1877, an act was passed by Congress which provided that this remnant should be offered for sale at the proper district offices to settlers at $1.25 per acre, and that all of said lands re

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