Page images

30, 1878. This sum was apportioned among the sixteen surveying districts by the department, as shown in the following table :

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

Pursuant to the provisions of said act, and the apportionment made by the department of the money thereby appropriated, instructions were issued by this office on the 29th June, 1877, to the respective surveyors general slightly variant in their tenor, according to the nature of the public service devolving on them, but the general character of which will appear from the following example, being the instructions issued to the surveyor general for the district of Colorado:

By an act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, approved March 3, 1877, there were appropriated for survey of the public lands and private land claims $300,000, with proviso that the sum appropriated should be expended in such surveys as the public interest may require, under the direction of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, and at such rates as he shall prescribe, not exceeding the rates authorized by law, which are as follows: $10 per mile for standard lines; $7 per mile for township lines, and $6 per mile for section-lines, except that in heavily-timbered and mountainous lands the Commissioner of the General Land Office may allow not exceeding $16 per mile for the survey of standard, $14 for township, and $10 for section lines.

The law further provides that no lands shall be surveyed under the appropriation except

1st. Lands adapted to agriculture without artificial irrigation.

2d. Irrigable lands, or such as can be redeemed, and for which there is sufficient accessible water for the reclamation and cultivation of the same, not otherwise utilized or claimed.

3d. Timber lands bearing timber of commercial value.
4th. Coal lands containing coal of commercial value.
5th. The exterior bonndaries of town sites.
6th. Private land claims.

In conformity with the foregoing provisions of law, the Acting Secretary of the Interior, on the 25th June, 1877, directed that the sum of $35,000 be apportioned out of the appropriation for surveys of public lands in your district and $2,000 for the survey of private land claims at the rate prescribed by the law, which amount must not be exceeded in entering into contracts for surveys specifically authorized under the six different classes hereinbefore enumerated.

In so far as the survey of public lands is concerned, you will let contracts only to deputies of known ability, who are practical and faithful surveyors, for the survey of such standard lines as may be needed to reach townships settled by permanent agriculturists applying for the subdivision of the specific townships in which they are settled, or for the accommodation of mining interests, surveys of coal and timber lands and town sites; also for the survey of such lands as are adapted to farming withont artificial irrigation, or irrigable lands for which there exists sufficient water accessible for their reclamation and the cultivation of crops, and which lands are likely to attract settlers.

It is not intended to use the means assigned to your district for the survey of public lands subserving pastoral interests merely. You will, therefore, enter into no contract for lands of this character, but confine yourself to such as are allowed by law under the first five heads of the foregoing specifications, always giving preference to lands already settled upon and awaiting the survey.

Representations having been made to this office by the executive of the State of Colorado of the need of an early extension of the lines of public surveys in Bear River Valley, in order to prepare cultivable lands for an extensive colony of emigrants who intend to settle in that region of country, you will, upon consultation with the State authorities upon the subject, direct your field operations to that locality, provided the character of the land falls within the purview of the law.

In view of misapplication of public funds in certain surveying districts by surveyors general letting contracts for the survey of inarable lands during the past fiscal year, thus subjecting their deputies to losses voluntarily incurred by surveying desert lands in violation of law and instructions, you will caution your deputies to avoid the subdividing of unauthorized lands; for when, upon actual inspection in the field, surveys shall be found to have been executed either unfaithfully or in derogation of law, the offending deputies will be subjected to the loss of their labor and expenses incurred in unlawful surveys.

I have to inform you in this connection that the sum of $10,000 was set aside by the department out of the aforesaid $300,000 for the examination of surveys in the field in the different surveying districts. It is not intended to assign any particular sum to any of them for this service, but it will be applied by this office as exigencies may require.

In case any returns of surveys approved by you and transmitted here for payment shall be found indicative of irregularities and non-compliance with contracts and the requirements of the law and instructions, the necessary part of the funds thus set aside will be applied to cover the expenses of the examination by such agents as this office shall deem proper to appoint for the purpose, and in the mean time no payment will be made for work of that kind executed by deputy surveyors, unless the result of the inspection of the lands surveyed shall be favorably reported to this office.

Such being the policy adopted by the department, with the view of guarding against unlawful surveys in the future, you are hereby required to acquaint your deputies to whom you will let contracts for the public surveys, that unless their work shall be executed in accordance with the terms of their contracts, the law and instructions, not only in regard to the correctness of the survey, but also with respect to the character of the lands authorized to be surveyed, no accounts of such deputies will be paid.

In order to avoid as much as possible in future similarly ruinous occurrences, you will be very particular on your part to acquaint yourself with the true character of lands before entering into contract for the survey thereof, and in submitting contracts for the approval of this office you will state valid reasons for so doing.

By direction of the department, I have to inform you that if you should let contracts for the survey of lands not authorized by the appropriation act, which enumerates the six different classes of lands to be surveyed, you will be held 'to strict account for so doing; therefore, in order to avoid misapplication of the funds allotted to your district for the surveying service, you are required to be vigilant in the selection of the lands to be surveyed, taking only such as are known to you to be of the classes specified, either of your own knowledge or from that derived through actual settlers.

The instructions of the 23of August, 1876, to your predecessor in office, will be regarded as still in force, except where they conflict with the foregoing.

In regard to the operations of the several surveyors general, under the instructions issued to them, I submit the abstracts given below, while referring for further details to their reports in full, which are hereto appended.

Arizona.-Under the apportionment of $8,850 for public surveys in Arizona during the year ending June 30, 1878, two contracts were entered into, one of $5,000, and one of $3,850. The work returned under these contracts amounted to $8,984.81, of which only the amount of $8,850 was audited, that being the sum apportioned.

Of the apportionment of $5,000 for surveys of private land claims in Arizona for the year 1878, $2,000 was withdrawn and reassigned to another surveying district, and the balance, $3,000, remains unexpended and unavailable under the law.

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 survers, 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.
The sum of $5,500 was paid for salaries from the appropriation.

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 section 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 year, 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

« PreviousContinue »