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not heretofore subdivided. 7. For the survey of the boundaries of the reservations of the Chippewas of the Mississippi and of the Red Lake, in Minnesota, pursuant to treaties of February 22, 1855, and October 2, 1863. 8. Seneca Indian reservation in the Indian Territory. This tract is bounded on the east by the State of Arkansas and on the south by the Cherokee national lands. The boundary lines formerly surveyed having been obliterated to such an extent as to preclude the possibility of their identification, the Secretary of the Interior, acting on reports of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, showing that the timber upou the Seneca lands was being despoiled by trespassers, directed a resurvey and the re-marking of the southern and eastern boundary lines of said lands. In accordance therewith instructions were issued by this office to the surveyor general of Kansas, and a contract has been entered into by that officer for such resurvey.

State and Territorial boundaries.

The northern boundary of Utak.-Under the appropriation of $6,480, made for the survey of this boundary, March 3, 1871, a contract was entered into by this oflice, dated May 18, 1871, with Daniel G. Major, and the work has been executed in a satisfactory manner. The boundary coincident with the 42d parallel of north latitude is common to the Territories of Utah and Idaho, and extends from the 34th to the 37th degree of west longitude from Washington. The length of the boundary line, as established by this survey, is 153 miles 56 chains, and it passes over a rugged and mountainous country. The survey places several towns and settlements in Idaho, which had previously been under the jurisdiction of Utah.

The eastern boundary of California.-Under the appropriation of $41,250, made June 10, 1872, for the survey of the eastern boundary of California, a contract was entered into with Allexey W. Von Schmidt, of California, who is now prosecuting the work of said survey,

The northern boundary of Nevada.-Pursuant to act of Congress ap proved June 10, 1872, making an appropriation of $15,500 for the sur vey of this line, a contract has been made with Daniel G. Major, of California, to survey said boundary line.

The southern boundary of Wyoming-An appropriation of $22,200 having been made by Congress for the survey of this boundary line, a contract has been entered into with Alon, o V. I, ebards to sarvey the


Live western boundary of Kansas.—Underta anropriation of $8,400 for the survey of this boundary, a contract was entered into with John J. Major.

Die mortiern boundary of Neraskia,—No eo, tract has been entered into for the survey of this boundary, for an appropriation of $8,500 was made by Congress on the 10th of Jane last, owing to the fact that the Commissioner of Indian Aflates thought that the prosecu tion of the work at this time would excite and casse trouble with the Indians in that locality.

Extendics for survey of Leuntry ives.—7he extension of the lines of public surveys to the vicinity of State sid territorial boundaries, the advance of settlements, the constract on of railroads, demanding an adjustment of their grants, and the dae sal y of setting questions of jurisdiction between States and Portitories, create a necessity for an early survey of the foilowing boundar es: 1. 1.e Washington-Idaho boundary 2. The castern boundary of Iusba 3. So much of the

southern boundary of Colorado as lies between the southeast corner thereof and the northwest corner of New Mexico. 4. That part of the eastern boundary of New Mexico which lies between the northwest corner of the State of Texas and the 37th parallel of north latitude. I have, therefore, submitted estimates for the survey of these lines. In connection with the subject of State and territorial boundaries, it is proper to remark that since my last annual report, in which I referred to the difficulties existing in consequence of the controversies as to the location of the boundary line between Georgia and Florida, evidence has been submitted to this office showing that a survey had been made in 1859 and 1860, under the joint authority of the States of Georgia and Florida, by Messrs. Whitner and Orr, and I am in receipt of an official copy of said survey, to which reference is made in the act of Congress approved April 9, 1872, and with the aid thereof it will be in the power of the surveyor-general of Florida to close the lines of public surveys on the true boundary.

Reference is made to the tabular statement showing the area embraced in the surveys of public lands and Indian reservations during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1872, also the total quantity of lands surveyed under the present system and the area of unsurveyed lands in each State and Territory.

Estimates for appropriations for the surveying service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1874, are submitted.

The extent of public surveys, limits of surveying and land districts, location of land-offices and railroad lines are shown by a connected map of the United States accompanying this report.

I append the annual reports of the different surveyors general, accompanied by maps showing the progress of public surveys, topographical features of the respective districts, and other matters of interest.


No material change has been made in the laws relating to pre-emption rights since my last report.

Any person seeking the benefits of pre-emption under the laws now in force must be the head of a family, a widow, or a single man over twenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States, or must have filed a declaration of intention to become such, and not the owner of 320 acres of land within the United States, and must be a person who has not quit or abandoned his or her own land in the same State or Territory to reside upon the public lands.

Actual settlement upon the tract claimed, for the exclusive use and benefit of the pre-emptor, and not for purposes of sale or speculation, must be shown, under the rules and regulations of the Department, to the satisfaction of the register and receiver. Upon these simple requisites entry may be made to the extent of one quarter-section or other compact body, not exceeding 160 acres, upon any of the public lands of the United States to which the Indian title has been extinguished, ex cept in the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida, in which, by special act of Congress of June 2, 1866, the public lands are brought exclusively under the provisions of the homestead


To secure these privileges the settler must comply with the provisions of law as expressed in the acts of Congress, which are substantially as follows: Upon offered lands, which designation for the purposes of the statute is held to cover all lands which have once been formally

offered at public sale, even though afterward temporarily withdrawn, he must file with the register of the proper land office his written declaratory statement, describing the tract and giving the time of settlement. This filing must be made within thirty days after settlement, and within twelve months from such date of settlement he must present proof of cultivation, and make payment for the land so described. Upon unoffered lands the filing must be made within three months from the date of settlement, and within thirty months from such prescribed date of filing, or thirty-three months after settlement, the requisite proof and payment must be made. When the settlement is upon unsurveyed lands of course no filing can be made, describing it by legal subdivisions, but after survey, and within three months after the filing of the township plat in the district land office, the settler must file his declaratory statement, and within thirty-three months from the filing of the township plat, proof and payment are required.

Forfeiture of the land claimed is incurred by failure to comply with either of the respective conditions named above. If, however, a party has a legal settlement, and actually files his declaratory statement before the inception of any adverse right, he is held to be entitled to a preference over a subsequent settler, though he may have neglected to file within the precise period named in the statute. This principle has been fully settled by decision of the United States Supreme Court rendered December 11, 1871, in the case of Johnson et al. vs. Towsley, which has been followed by the Department since its rendition. It will be observed that the rule laid down in my last annual report has been modified by this decision.

The practice referred to in my last annual report of declining to reopen pre-emption cases after proof satisfactory to the Department has been made and entry admitted, except upon a showing of an actual adverse interest, prior to such entry, has been strictly adhered to; and having been sustained by repeated decisions on appeal to the Department proper, may now be considered as the settled rule of administration. This rule is applied to homestead as well as pre-emption entries.

I would respectfully but earnestly renew my recommendation of last year, for a complete consolidation of the statutes respecting settlement rights into a general homestead law, giving the first settler the right of entry. For this purpose a bill was prepared by this office last winter, and submitted to the appropriate committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, with a request for favorable action. This bill, with a slight amendment, passed the Senate too late in the session for action by the House.

By limitation of the statute of July 14, 1870, amended by resolution of March 3, 1871, all filings based on settlement prior to April 14, 1870, in the States and Territories not specially provided for by subsequent acts, ceased to have any legal status on the 14th of July last.

Many settlers, who have deliberately allowed the time to elapse without making proof and payment, have since applied to file again for the same tract, alleging a new settlement subsequent to the limitation. As this is a manifest attempt to evade the law requiring proof and payment, and as a settler has really but one settlement on a tract, this office has ruled that he cannot thus escape the obligation of the law, and at the same time secure its benefits. To allow this would defeat the object of the legislation, and make a farce of congressional enactments designed for the wise purpose of securing from the settler perfect good faith in prosecuting his claim. While this rule has been adopted eare has been taken to favor any settler who has, without fraudulent

intention, negligently allowed his preference right to expire. Such settler has been permitted to prove up his claim and make entry even after the lapse of the statutory period, provided he presented his claim before any valid adverse interest had attached to the land.

This rule seems in accord with the settled policy of the Government to recognize, first, the claim of the actual settler in the disposal of the public lands, while it also operates as an incentive to the exercise of good faith and diligence on the part of the claimant by holding him responsible for his own negligence.

The devastating fires that swept over portions of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota during the fall of 1871 rendered it difficult for preemptors to make payment for their lands within the time prescribed by existing laws. Congress, therefore, extended the time in those States for one year, thus rendering material aid to the settlers who had suffered by the fire.

Numerous special acts have been passed bringing into market Indian and other reservations in various localities, all of which have received due attention, and the necessary instructions have been issued for carrying them into effect at the earliest practicable period.


There has been no legislation by Congress, since the date of my last report, relative to the location of town-sites upon the public lands. It is now held by the office that patents may issue to the proper authorities for lands claimed as mineral, stating that no title shall "be hereby acquired to any mine of gold, silver, cinnabar, or copper, or to any valid mining claim or possession held under existing laws of Congress." This obviates the necessity of suspending the issue of a patent, until the non-mineral character of the land has been shown, and allows parties claiming lots on a town-site to obtain title thereto at an early day after the entry has been made, while any part of the land upon which minerals exist is specially reserved and excepted from the operation of the patent.

A great number of towns have been built in California, Utah, and Kansas, and they have aided materially in developing the wealth of the country.

The returns for the past year show a rapid increase in the number of towns upon the public domain, and the consequent enhancement in the value of surrounding lands is a matter of peculiar interest to the country. Many of these towns are situated upon the lines of the railroads already built, and upon the routes of those projected, but a large number have also been located in regions remote from the line of any railroad, thus forming the nuclei around which hardy pioneers have gath ered and established their homes upon the lands in the immediate neighborhood.


The demand for the benefits of the homestead law still increases, with results showing the wisdom of the law as a measure for quickening the expansion of the productive area and material wealth of the country by offering land for homes at a nominal cost to the hardy pioneers of our American civilization. In its appropriate place in this report is given an exhibit of the number of acres taken up as homesteads in the several States and Territories containing public lands, with the aggre gate number in all, during the last fiscal year.

At the last session of Congress the homestead law was amended by the act of June 8, 1872, in favor of parties who served in the Army or Navy of the United States, for ninety days or more, during the late war, conceding to this meritorious class, on account of their services to the country, certain rights not allowed in the general law, in taking up homesteads on the public lands. Under this act the following instrue tions were issued to the several district land offices:


June 13, 1572. GENTLEMEN: Attached is a copy of the amended law of Congress granting homesteads to soldiers and sailors, their widows and orphan children.

This law allows

1st. Every soldier and officer of the Army, and every seaman, marine, and officer of the Navy, who served for not less than ninety days in the Army or Navy of the United States during the recent rebellion," and who was honorably discharged, and has remained loyal to the Government, to enter, under the provisions of the homestead law, one hundred and sixty acres of the public land, including the double minimum lands. 24. That the time of service, or the whole term of enlistment, when discharged on account of wounds or disability, shall be deducted from the time heretofore required to perfect title: Profided, however, That the person shall reside upon, improve, and cultivate his homestead for a period of at least one year after he shall commence his improvements. It is required that the period (whether ore year or more) of actual resadence, in provement, and cultivation that may be fourd necessary to perfect each case of entry under this act, shall follow immediately upon the date of entry.

d. That any person entitled to the benefit of this act, and who has heretofore mada domestead entry of less than one hundred and saty acres, may enter under this act an additional quantity of land contiguous to the first entry, which shall make in the aggregate ore hundred and sixty acres.

4th. That the widow, if unmarried, or in case of her death or marriage, then the minor orphan children of a person who would be entitled to the benents of this act, *ay enter lands under its provisions, with the anditonal privilege accorded, that if the person died during his term of enlistulett, the widow, or minor children, shall have the bevett of the whole term of enlistments

3th. List where a person may heretofore Lave hade an entry under the homestead "aws wake in the United States military or naval service, or before entering such servce, tõe time et service shall be equivalent to a residence for the same length of time - pop the tract so et tered: Proridad, That the party shall show at least one year's contrued resider on non, and tæprovement and cnitivation of the tract. The law also Tr. states stich ett osastav Lave been canceled becarse let the party's alisezee from the lar! w' bar ther tary or naval service, provi lod the land has not been dis posed of. A d where it has been a sposed of the statute auti tos apetuer entry and the application to the scourd entry of the proots ton bing his resiú, tre and improve

ment on the host tract.

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