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sponse to charges or complaints filed by residents, to institute special examinations, testing the fidelity of adherence by sworn deputies to the letter of their obligations.
By order of the honorable Secretary of the Interior, the sum of $30,000 was set apart from the appropriation for surveys for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, to be applied, if necessary, in defraying expenses of such examinations. The sum actually expended for service of this kind during the year amounted to $14,367.96, resulting in 36 special examinations in States and Territories, as follows: Alabama (coal lands), 5; California (public lands and private claims), 22; Dakota (agricultural and mineral lands), 2; Illinois and Idaho (public lands), 1 each ; Louisiana (private claims), 2; Montana (public lands), 2; Utah (public lands), 1. Of the foregoing, 9 related to surveys of private claims, 21 to agricultural and 6 to mineral lands. As a result of these examinations, four cases now await final action upon the question of approval or rejection. In the remaining cases the surveys have, in accordance with favorable reports of the examiners, met with approval.
Complaints or charges, where the ability or integrity of a deputy is involved, are subject to careful examination before they are accepted as authorizing an examination of his work. When made in malice or at the suggestion of opposing interests, without proper foundation, they cause unnecessary delay in adjustment and payment of accounts, resulting in serious vexation and loss of time and money upon the part of a public servant who may be totally undeserving of such treatment.
The tendency of existing low rates of compensation for surveys, especially those of timbered lands is to discourage applications for contracts by many reliable and experienced surveyors, and to pare the way for the employment of deputies of less experience and integrity. To this is added the disadvantage that surveyors are usually not allowed to commence work upon their contracts at any date prior to the commencement of the fiscal year credited with the appropriation from which they are paid. This requirement results injuriously, especially in northern latitudes, causing a loss of from one-third to two-fifths of each surveying season, while the cost of equipment for the field is about the same as for a full term. In the face of these facts, surveying contracts are freely taken, and for reasons best known to deputies operating in certain localities, they would in all probability be as freely taken under a still further reduction of rates, while the difficulty in obtaining satisfactory surveys would be correspondingly enhanced.
Whatever views may be entertained on the question of advancing rates of payment for surveys, it appears that special examinations do not afford sufficient safeguard against imperfect and fraudulent surveys, as they give no assurance that the worst cases may not be overlooked. Under existing laws and regulations, the only remedy seems to lie in providing for prompt examination or inspection in the field of every survey of public lands that may be executed hereafter. To be satisfac. tory, inspections should be made at the time of the completion of the work embraced in any given contract or soon after. In cases where the execution of the contract is completed simultaneously with the close of a surveying season, inspection as now performed would necessarily be postponed until the following year, and payment upon such contracts would be correspondingly delayed.' To obviate this difficulty, such methods of perfecting original surveys should be enforced as would confine the work of inspection simply to an examination of the manner in which the marks or monuments of the surveys have been established
Circles indicate proposed locations of iron posts, 16 in all, I of which are chargeable to one township of a series of surveys.
or constructed. This accomplished, the cost of inspection may be reduced to a comparatively small sum.
Specifications, intended as supplementary to existing requirements, have been prepared, the enforcement of which it is beliered would assure the desired accuracy in the performance of the field work, and also furnish to this office satisfactory evidence of faithful service.
Existing laws require that corners of the public surveys shall be marked by posts or stones, and where possible witnessed by reference to marked trees, rocks, &c. In many localities durable material cannot be procured ; there are no trees or rocks; fires destroy the posts, and wind and rain-storms obliterate the mounds and pits. In such cases the money expended in surveys is almost a total loss; residents become urgent in their applications for resurveys, local difficulties arise, and much correspondence relating thereto is rendered necessary.
Iron posts have been suggested as a substitute for the kind of landmarks now in use, but the cost of construction and transportation attending their establishment at all the corners of the public surveys is deemed too great. A post of this kind, however, has been designed by the office, strong and conspicuous, without excessive weight, which may be placed at certain corners on exterior and subdivisional lines, and furnish permanent means of reference, from which the surveys of a township may be satisfactorily and economically restored by local surveyors in cases where all other landmarks have disappeared. This arrangement would call for the establishment of but nine iron-posts in each township, to be disposed at alternate section corners.
Surrey of Calumet Lake. In February, 1876, applications supported by affidavits were made to the then commissioner of this office for a survey of the bed of Calumet Lake, in township 37 north, range 14 east, near the eastern line of Cook County, Illinois.
The affidavits related to tủe character of said lake and its bed, embodying the following allegations : that a great portion of the area shown by the public surveys, as a part or parts of the lake, is in a condition suitable for cultivation; that the lake is not navigable, and has no navigable connection between it and other waters navigable or otherwise; that it is not of a fixed character, but is undergoing reduction by drainage and evaporation, and is rapidly filling up with vegetation, and is not fed by springs or other source of perennial supply: that said pond is shallow, and that its whole area can be surveyed and the corners to all the sections and quarter sections fixed and established by any competent skillful surveyor.
Upon the aforesaid showing, a survey was authorized by this office, and it was subsequently executed by Alexander Walcott, esq. The returns of the survey appeared in great measure to confirm the statements embraced in the affidavits which accompanied the applications for the survey, whereupon the latter was approved, and the usual steps were taken by this office for the disposal of the newly surveyed area as a portion of the public lands. These proceedings were opposed by parties owning lands in close proximity to the lake. Among the papers filed by the opponents were a report of a hydrographic reconnaissance of Lake Calumet, made at their instance by Capt. G. J. Lydecker, of United States Engineers, bearing date December 11, 1878, and ten affidavits of citizens dated in January, 1879, furnishing evidence in direct conflict with the statements contained in the papers submitted by the applicants. A motion was also made by the opponents to vacate the order approving the survey above-mentioned. Upon consideration of this motion, action, relating to disposal of the area in controversy, was stayed. A cross-motion by the applicants for a resurvey was entertained, and a surveyor connected with this office was appointed with instructions
To proceed and make in the presence of such of the parties as shall elect to attend thereupon, either in person or otherwise, a careful, accurate, and complete survey, report, and plat, showing the facts in relation to the matter in controversy, &c.
Following due notice to the parties in interest, the special examination was commenced May 20, 1879, and concluded in July following. The special examination involved the retracement of two separate public land surveys, made some forty years ago, which closed upon an Indian boundary or treaty line established in 1816, which latter crossed the lake in a diagonal direction: The area of the surface in controversy was found to be 2,680 acres. All lines of these old surveys, necessary to the restoration of the meander posts as originally established, were carefully retraced. Following this, and in obedience to instructions, a careful hydrographic survey of the lake was made, showing the condition of each portion of its surface corresponding to legal subdivisions of forty acres. This survey determined the present and mean depths of water at the corners of each of the aforesaid subdivisions. The work also necessarily embraced a hydrographic reconnaissance relating to the question of navigability of the aforementioned channel connecting the lake with Calumet River, and of the river and of a portion of Lake Michigan, in the immediate vicinity of Calumet harbor.
Upon completion of the field work the special examiner submitted a report, accompanied by map and field notes in detail. These papers are now before the office awaiting a time when the facts therein set forth can be duly considered.
Surrey of Cherokee lands in North Carolina.
As will be seen by reference to my annual report for 1877 (p. 70), surveys were commenced in 1875 for the purpose of identifying, marking, and mapping the general boundaries and the numerous subdivisions of lands occupied or claimed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. This band, numbering about 2,000, of which about 1,500 are “full-blood" Indians, compose a remainder of the Cherokee Nation who chose to remain in North Carolina in preference to removing west of the Mississippi in the year 1838, the date at which the main body, as provided for by treaties of 1828, 1833, and 1835, emigrated to the country near that which is now occupied by them. The Eastern Band have since the date above mentioned remained in the same general locality, and by them. selves or through other parties have been dealing in lands by descriptions and title-papers so obscure in their nature as to require tedious labors upon the part of a board of arbitrators to determine many im. portant questions relating to their possessory rights.
Upon the appointment of the board of arbitrators it was agreed that the award made by them should be final and a rule of court, and to have effect from and after its approval by the judge of the United States circuit court, the Secretary of the Interior, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Justice. The action of the board, bearing date October 23, 1874, having been thus approved, and the execution of certain deeds to the Indians in accordance with the requirements of the award having been accomplished, it became necessary, in order to place the Indians in undisputedl possession of the lands therein desig.