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or owners of such homesteads shall have a right of pre-emption thereto, and shall be entitled to purchase the same at the price of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, and in quantity not to exceed one hundred and sixty acres; or said parties may avail themselves of the provisions of the act of Congress approved May twenty, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled "An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain," and acts amendatory thereof.
SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That upon the survey of the lands aforesaid, the Secretary of the Interior may designate and set apart such portions of the said lands as are clearly agricultural lands, which lands shall thereafter be subject to pre-emption and sale as other public lands of the United States, and subject to all the laws and regulations applicable to the same.
Approved July 26th, 1866.
THE COAL AND MINERAL RESOURCES
THE following statements in regard to the mineral wealth of the country, are extracted from advance sheets of the Commissioner's Annual Report of the General Land Office, for 1867, for which the writer makes due acknowledgment.
From 1830 until 1861, mining was regularly carried on in Virginia, and from $50,000 to $100,000 annually received at the mint from that State, the whole amount deposited up to the year 1866 being $1,570,182 82, the first deposit of $2500 having been made in 1829. The gold belt in Virginia is from fifteen to twenty miles in width, and thus far developed chiefly in the counties of Fauquier, Culpeper, Orange, Spottsylvania, Louisa, Fluvanna, Goochland, Buckingham, Campbell, and Pittsylvania.
Gold was known to exist in North Carolina before the commencement of the present century, a good-sized nugget having been found in Cabarrus county in 1799, and another afterwards, weighing twenty-eight pounds avoirdupois. In the same locality it is estimated that over a hundred pounds were collected prior to 1830, in pieces each over one pound in weight. In the adjoining counties lumps were found weighing from one to sixteen pounds. From 1804 to 1827 North Carolina furnished all the gold of the United States, amounting, according to the mint returns, to $110,000. Up to the year 1866 the state deposited at the mint $9,278,627 67. The counties in which mining has been conducted are Rockingham, Guilford, Davidson, Rowan, Cabarrus, Rutherford, and Mecklenburg. Previous to 1825 the metal had been obtained from washings, but in that year auriferous vein stones were discovered and six hundred and twenty five ounces of gold obtained by rock mining, after which other leads were found in most of the counties above named.
In 1829 $3500 were deposited at the mint from South Carolina, and from 1830 to 1861 mining was prosecuted in that state with varying success. In 1852 the Dorn mine was opened in the Ab
beville district, and in a little more than a year produced $300,000 worth of gold by the aid of a single Chilian mill worked by two mules. The total deposit from this state amounts to $1,353,663 98. The whole northwestern part of South Carolina contains gold, but the districts in which it has been mainly developed are Abbeville, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union, York, and Lancaster.
In 1830 $212,000 were received from Georgia as the first contribution of its mines, which from that date to 1861 yielded a product of $6,971,681 50. The whole of the state lying along the base of the Blue Ridge has been found more or less auriferous, but the counties in which mining has been principally conducted are Carroll, Cobb, Cherokee, Lumpkin, and Habersham.
Gold has been found in Tennessee and Alabama, but the quantity has been small, the whole amount deposited from the former state since 1823 being only $81,406 75, and from the latter since 1838, $201,734 83.
Efforts are now being made to develop the quartz veins of the southern states with the aid of the improvements in mining found to be effective in California and elsewhere.
But the most important gold fields of the United States and of the world are found in the states and territories extending from the northern to the southern boundaries of the republic, and from the Pacific Ocean to the eastern spurs and outlines of the Rocky Mountains, embracing an area of more than a million of square miles.
OHIO.-The coal fields in the eastern and southeastern portions of this state cover an area of 12,000 square miles, extending through twenty counties, and embrace nearly one-third of the area of the whole state, it being estimated that the county of Tuscarawas alone is underlaid with an amount equal to eighty thousand millions of bushels. Iron ore of very superior quality for the finer castings is found in several counties in the southern bend of the Ohio, covering an area of 1200 square miles, and has already laid the foundation of a very extensive iron interest in the southern part of the state. In the northern part the furnaces are supplied with ore from the Lake Superior mines.
Large quantities of salt are manufactured for market.
Many oil wells have been sunk in the southeastern portion, and large quantities of oil have been exported.
In 1860, according to the estimates of the commissioner of statistics for the state, 50,000,000 bushels of coal were mined, and 2,000,000 bushels of salt manufactured. Ohio ranked next to Pennsylvania in the production of coal and pig iron, the latter state standing first in these industries. For the manufacture of salt Ohio stood third. The state has doubled its products and manufactures every ten years since 1840.
INDIANA. The great coal field of Illinois extends into Indiana, covering in the western part an estimated area equal to 7700 square miles, or more than one-fifth part of the whole surface. On White River the seams are upwards of six feet thick. In other localities seams of eight feet in thickness are found. Some of the coal measures, it is estimated, are capable of yielding 50,000,000 bushels to the square mile. At Cannelton, on the Ohio, a bed of cannel coal is found from three to five feet in thickness, at an elevation of seventy feet above the river.
Besides coal, iron, limestone, marble, freestone, gypsum, and grindstones, slate of several varieties, clays useful in the arts, and some copper are found in the state.
ILLINOIS. The Illinois coal field stretches from the Mississippi, near Rock Island, eastward toward Fox River, thence southeast through Indiana, and southward into Kentucky, occupying the greater part of Illinois, the southwestern portion of Indiana, and the northwestern part of Kentucky, measuring three hundred and seventy-five miles in length from northwest to southeast, and two hundred in width from St. Louis eastward-estimated to contain 1,277,500,000,000 tons of coal, sufficient to furnish an annual supply of 13,000,000 tons for nearly a hundred thousand years, being more than six times as large as all the coal fields of Great Britain, and embracing one-third of all the coal measures of North America.
The present annual product of the state is 1,500,000 tons, the amount increasing every year, and, as the coal is of good quality and easily mined, it is destined to become one of the most prominent interests of the state.
The great lead district of the Mississippi river occupies a portion of northwestern Illinois, southwestern Wisconsin, and northeastern Iowa, covering an area of about 1,000,000 acres, one-sixth of which lies in Illinois, in Jo Daviess county, which has furnished the entire lead product of the country for twenty years. A few mines in Wisconsin and Illinois have supplied and smelted 15,000,000 pounds a year.
Iron ore has been mined in Hardin county, on the Ohio, several furnaces being in operation. Valuable beds of the ore are reported between the Kaskaskia and the Mississippi; also in Union county and in the northern part of the state. Copper has been found in several counties; also marble, crystallized gypsum, quartz crystal, and silex for glass manufacture; salt also existing in the southern counties, while small quantities of gold and silver have been obtained in the lead district in the northwest corner of the state. Petroleum is found in the northeast part, zinc ore in the lead district in Jo Daviess, sulphur and chalybeate springs in Jefferson and other localities.
MICHIGAN. The upper peninsula, rich in minerals, prominent among which is copper, is mostly of primitive geological character; the lower exclusively secondary. The copper deposits among the primary rocks of the northern peninsula are the richest in the world, the copper belt being one hundred and twenty miles long and from two to six miles wide. A block of several tons of almost pure copper, taken from the mouth of Ontonagon river, has been built into the wall of the Washington monument at the national capital. A mass weighing one hundred and fifty tons was uncovered in 1854 in the North American mine.
Isle Royale abounds in this mineral; one house in that district, during five and a half months of 1854, shipped over two millions of pounds, and in the nine years previous there were produced four thousand eight hundred and twenty-four tons. The yield of copper in the state has risen to an annual average of eight thousand tons, with promise of steady increase. The opening of the St. Mary's canal and the clearing of the entrance into Portage Lake have given fresh impetus to this branch of mining industry, which is becoming one of the most cherished interests of the state. Silver has been found in connection with the copper in the proportion of from twenty-five to fifty per cent. of the precious metal. Iron of superior quality has been discovered in a bed of slate from six to twenty-five miles wide, and one hundred and fifty long, extending into Wisconsin. In the production of this mineral in 1863, Michigan was second only to Pennsylvania, having produced two hundred and seventy-three thousand tons of ore. Bituminous coal is mined on an enlarging scale to meet the demand of manufactures. Salt also exists in quantities repaying the investment of capital.
The high prices lately prevailing have caused a rapid development of the salt fields around Saginaw, a basin some forty or fifty miles square, in which by boring some eight hundred feet an inexhaustible supply of brine is obtained, yielding eighty or ninety per cent. of salt.
WISCONSIN.-The mineral resources of the state are varied and valuable. The lead region of Illinois and Iowa extends over an area of 2140 square miles in Wisconsin, which compares with the other portions in the abundance and richness of the ores. In 1863 there were 848,625 pounds of lead received at Milwaukee. The completion of the southern Wisconsin railroad will raise the ag gregate to 2,500,000 pounds. It is mingled with copper and zinc ores.
The iron region of Lake Superior presents within the limits of this state abundant deposits of great richness. Magnetic iron, plumbago, and the non-metallic earths abound. Copper deposits have also been developed, but as yet have only been worked to