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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
October 30, 1879. SIR : I have the honor to report that pursuant to law there were sur. veyed during the fiscal year ending with the 30th June, 1879, 8,445,781.64 acres of public lands, and 1,039,214.26 acres of private land claims, making the total number of acres surveyed during the year 9,484,995.90. This shows an increase in the surveys of public lands as compared with the previous fiscal year of 414,769 acres. The total area surveyed from the beginning of operations to the close of the last fiscal year is 734,591,236 acres, leaving 1,080,197,686 acres yet to be surveyed of the total area of the public land containing States and Territories, viz., 1,814,788,922 acres.
Thé disposals of public lands during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, embrace an aggregate of 9,333,383.29 acres, being an increase of 647,204.41 acres, over the previous fiscal year, which aggregate is made up of the following particulars, viz: Cash entries...
622, 573. 96 Being a decrease of 254,981.18 acres as compared with the previous
fiscal year. In the above total of 622,573.96 acres is included the amount, 165,996.53 acres, entered under the desert land act of March
3, 1877. Homestead entries....
5, 260, 111.29 Being an increase of 841,766.37 acres over the previous fiscal year. Timber culture entries.
2,766, 573. 93 Being an increase of 896,139.75 acres over the previous fiscal year. Agricultural college scrip locations...
960.00 Being an increase of 3320 acres over the previous fiscal year. Locations with military bounty land warrants under acts of 1847, 1850, 1852 and 1855.....
50, 820.00 Being a decrease of 33,900 acres as compared with the previous fiscal
State selections approved :
vious fiscal year.
Scrip locations :
640.00 1, 417.70
4, 656, 75
Locations of scrip issued under the acts of June 2, 1858, and June 22,
1860, in lieu of lands embraced in private claims, but not taken in
8,979, 661. 10
Lands patented to States as swamp under act of September 28, 1850...
during the previous fiscal year, of 127,537.77 acres....
9,055, 049. 18 Lands certified for railroad purposes...
278, 334. 11 Being a decrease of 328,006.54 acres, as compared with the previous
fiscal year. Total number of acres disposed of during the fiscal year, being an increase of 617,204.41 acres over the previous fiscal year....
9, 333, 383, 29 The aggregate of moneys received during fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, is $1,883,113.56. This amount is less by $139,418.60 than the amount received during the previous fiscal year, and is made up as fol. lows, viz: Purchase money of lands sold...
$894, 840 93 Homestead fees and commissions.
578,705 92 Timber culture fees and commissions.
250, 529 00 Donation fees ......
1,587 00 Fees on pre-emption filings.
75, 381 00 Fees on homestead filings.
13, 580 00 Fees on mineral applications and protests.
10, 860 00 Fees on coal declarations ....
93 00 Fees on timber land entries..
930 00 Fees on military bounty land warrant locations..
1,212 72 Fees on agricultural college scrip locations..
32 00 Fees on Valentine scrip locations..
36 02 Fees on State school selections.
4,938 10 Fees on railroad selections...
7,724 56 Fees on wagon road selections...
4, 458 00 Fees for reducing testimony to writing in district land offices..
26, 870 83 Fees for transcripts of records in district land offices...
2,610 74 Fees for certified copies furnished by this office under section 461 Rev. Stats.. ...
7,957 70 Fees from miscellaneous sources..
1, 883, 113 56 During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, there were received in this office 82,575 letters, and there were written, recorded, and sent out, during the same period, 59,613.
Under the act of Congress approved June 20, 1878 (20 Stat., p. 229), the sum of $300,000 was appropriated for survey of the public lands and private land claims for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, with a proviso that not more than $8,100 of this sum be used for clerical force in this office to write tract books for the local land offices, thereby leaving $291,900 available immediately for the surveys, with an additional appropriation of $30,000 for the survey of timbered lands exclusively, waking an aggregate of $321,900 for the surveys in the field.
On the 13th day of July, 1878, the said amount was apportioned by the Secretary of the Interior, according to law, to the several surveying districts, as follows:
In pursuance of the provisions of the act of June 20, 1878, as aforesaid, and the apportionment made of the money appropriated, a circular letter embracing instructions pertaining to the duties of the sixteen surveyors general for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, was issued on the 15th July, 1878, with certain modifications in their tenor according to the variant nature of the public service devolving on them, of which the following is a copy:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., July 15, 1878. United States Surveyor General :
Sir: The following instructions are issued for your guidance in having public surveys made during the present fiscal year:
You will let contracts only to deputies of known ability, who are practical and faithful surveyors, for the survey of such classes of lands as are mentioned in the appropriation act approved June 20, 1878, viz:
First. Those adapted to agriculture without artificial irrigation. Second. 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.
Third. Timber lands bearing timber of commercial value, either foreign or domestic.
Fourth. Coal lands containing coal of commercial value. · Fifth, Exterior boundaries of town sites.
Sixth. Private land claims.
Settlements in valleys remote from the regular progress of public surveys, requiring the extension of the base and other standard lines in order to reach such localities and to have them surveyed, should receive at your hands proper attention, and should written application be made to you by bona fide settlers for the survey of such valleys for agricultural purposes, you will apply a proper share of the amount apportioned to your surveying district out of the $300,000 appropriated for the survey of public lands and private land claims per act of June 20, 1878.
Such valleys as may be thus reached, and are found either actually settled on or
presenting superior advantages for agricultural purposes to other unsurveyed lands immediately adjacent to the lands already surveyed into townships or sections, should be given preference in the surveys.
In regard to the survey of “timberlands bearing timber of commercial value, either foreign or domestic," as provided under the third class of lands allowed to bé surveyed, you will confine your field operations to non-mineral timber lands, and those lands where depredations have been practiced or are likely to be carried on by unlawful parties, as under the provision of "An act authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories, to fell and remove timber on the public domain for mining and domestic purposes," approved June 3, 1878, all citizens of the United States and other persons, bona fide residents of the States of Colorado or Nevada or either of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Dakota, 'Idaho, or Montana, and all other mineral districts of the United States, are authorized and permitted to fell and remove for building, agricultural, mining, or other domestic purposes, any timber or other trees growing or being on the public lands, said land being mineral.
You will survey coal lands and extend township lines in mining districts, so that mineral claims may be located with reference to township and range of the public surveys.
You will not contract for the survey of lands which subserve merely pastoral interests, such lands not being of the character authorized by law to be subdivided.
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, you will be held to strict account for so doing; you will therefore be vigilant in the selection of the lands to be surveyed, taking only those which are known to you to be of the classes specified, either of your own knowledge or from that derived through actual settlers applying to you for the extension of public lines over their settlements.
In letting contracts for the subdivision of the public lands, you are required to stipulate the condition that the survey must include all the lands in the township contracted for subdivision, which are by law classed as surveyable, and except in case of triangulation, that the deputy shall start from the proper bases or standard parallels.
If these last shall not have been established, that must first be done, and then, if there are no exterior lines of the township surveyed the deputy must first survey them, and finally subdivide the township into sections, running, measuring, and marking the lines from south to north, in the regular progress, avoiding the practice in some surveying districts of surveying partly from north to south and partly from south to north, leaving the interior of the township partly unsurveyed, and thereby causing difficulty when the effort is made to complete the survey of the township and connect the surveys made from the south with those from the north by due north and south or east and west lines, as the law requires.
Where by reason of impassable objects the south boundary of a township cannot be established, an east and west line should be run through the township, first random, then corrected, from one range line to another, and as far south as possible, and from such line extend the section lines in the usual manner, except over any fraction south of said line, which may be surveyed in the opposite direction from the section corners on the auxiliary base ihus established.
When you have townships subdivided, you will furnish your deputies with descriptions of all exterior corners, and instruct them to either describe particularly all the corners on the south township lines from which they start, and the corners on the east, north, and west township lines upon which they close, or, if they find such corners corresponding to the description furnished them, they must state that fact in their field notes, and if a corner on the township line is re-established, the notes should show in what manner.
In addition to the requirements of the Manual of Surveying Instructions and tho Supplement of June 1, 1864, you will require your deputies in all cases where stones are used for corners to dig pits in the same manner as for corners marked by posts and mounds.
No mountains, swampy lands, or lands not classed as surveyable by law are to be meandered. All lines approaching such lands must be discontinued at the section or quarter-section corner.
All connection lines must be charged at the minimum rate provided in the appropriation act.
Augmented rates will not be allowed for meander or other lines of survey unless the field notes show that between the corners and at the line the land is mountainons or heavily timbered.
All modifications or changes in contracts after approval by the Commissioner, such as the substitution of an arable township for an inarable one named in contract, must be immediately reported to this office, and a copy of your instructions relating thereto be transmitted to this office and to the First Comptroller of the Treasury.
In regard to deputies commencing work before they are notified of the approval of their contracts, and as to certificate of sufficiency of sureties to their bond, and as to the proper officer to administer oaths to deputy surveyors, your attention is invited to the new form of contract and bond, copies of which will be sent you for immediate use, in lieu of the old form.
In order to guard against deficiencies arising from an excess of the estimated cost of work under contracts to be made, you should, for the present, leave a margin of the apportionment uncontracted for until you are satisfied from actual returns of all contracts let that no excess of work shall have been incurred requiring the application of said margin in payment thereof.
On pages 18 and 19 of the Manual of Instructions, which is made part of the laws governing the public surveys, the objects, whose description, character, and position should be noted and shown upon the plats, are carefully itemized.
Too little attention is now paid to these very important particulars. You are, therefore, instructed to require more exact compliance with such instructions, both in noting and delineating the objects therein enumerated.
It is also of great importance that the transcripts of field notes, which are expected to endure for ages, should be written in a clear, bold hand, so that every word and figure shall be legible and unmistakable as to its signification.
J. A. WILLIAMSON,
The surveying operations have been prosecuted during the last fiscal year to the extent of the appropriations made for that purpose, em. bracing 8,445,781.64 acres of the public land and 1,039,214.26 acres of private land claims, as shown by the following tabular statement :
Areas surveyed in States and Territories, sererally considered, both of public lands and pri
vate claims, during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879.
For the details of the surveying operations during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879, reference is made to the accompanying annual reports of the sixteen surveyors general, of which the following synopsis is submitted :
Arizona.--The apportionment to this district for surveys of public lands for the past fiscal year was $6,000. Under it one contract was let for surveys near the San Francisco Mountains. The cost of the work amounted to 86,358.39, of which $6,000 was paid, leaving a deficiency of $358.39. Special deposits during the year for field work of survey of townships settled upon, $949.99, which amount was expended.
The apportionment of $2,000 for the survey of private land claims was not called for by any contracts entered into, and is now unavailable under the law. The amount paid to surveyor general was $2,750. There were appropriated for clerks, $3,000, which were expended, except a balance of $70.36. The appropriation of $1,500 for contingent expenses was all expended except $33.10.