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SURVEYORS GENERAL OF PUBLIC LANDS
THE UNITED STATES,
SURVEYING DISTRICTS ESTABLISHED IN AND SINCE THE YEAR 1850;
A MANUAL OF INSTRUCTIONS
REGULATE THE FIELD OPERATIONS OF DEPUTY SURVEYORS.
ILLUSTRATED BY DIAGRAMS.
PRESCRIBED, ACCORDING TO LAW, BY THE PRINCIPAL CLERK OF SURVEYS, PURSUANT TO ORDER OF THE
TO THE SURVEYORS GENERAL
PUBLIC LANDS OF THE UNITED STATES
SURVEYING DISTRICTS ESTABLISHED IN AND SINCE THE YEAR 1850.
By the direction of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, the accompanying instructions are prescribed for your official government, including a Manual of Instructions to regulate the field operations of your deputy surveyors. The latter is a revision of the Manual of Surveying Instructions prepared for Oregon in 1851, (the edition of which is now exhausted,) and presents, in some respects, more copious illustrations, both in the specimen field notes and in the diagrams, than could be furnished amid the pressure of the exigency under which the former had to be prepared. It will be observed that, in the former edition, the township and section lines south of the base are made to start therefrom, and close on the first standard parallel south; whereas, under the present instructions, such lines are made to start from the first standard parallel south, and to close to the north on the base; and thus there will be closing corners and starting corners, both on the base and standard lines. Such modification is introduced for the sake of entire uniformity of method in new fields of survey, and will not, of course, affect any past operations under the original instructions.
The starting corners on the base line and on the standards will, of course, be common to two townships or to two sections lying on and north of such lines; and the closing corners on such lines, from the south, should be carefully connected with the former by measurements to be noted in the field book.
Where STONE can be had to perpetuate corner boundaries, such, for obvious reasons, should always be preferred for that purpose, and the dimensions of the stone, as herein prescribed, (on page 9,) are to be regarded as the minimum size; but in localities where it is found practicable to obtain a stone of increased dimensions, it is always desirable to do so, particularly for TOWNSHIP CORNERS, and especially for those on base, meridian, and standard lines; and to such purport the deputy surveyor is to be especially instructed.
Prior to entering upon duty, the deputy surveyor is to make himself
thoroughly acquainted with the official requirements in regard to field operations in all the details herein set forth, and to be apprised of the weighty moral and legal responsibilities under which he will act.
Unfaithfulness in the execution of the public surveys will be detected by special examinations of the work to be made for that purpose, and, when detected, will immediately subject the delinquent deputy and his bondsmen to be sued by the district attorney of the United States, at the instance of the proper surveyor general-the institution of which suit will act at once as a lien upon any property owned by him or them at that time; and such delinquency, moreover, is an offense punishable by the statute, with all the pains and penalties of perjury, (see act of 1846, quoted on pages 19 and 20 hereof,) and will of necessity debar the offending deputy from future employment in like capacity. Hence, in the execution of contracts for surveying public lands, there is every incentive to fidelity that can address itself either to the moral sense or to motives of private interest.
By order of the Commissioner:
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
JOHN M. MOORE, Principal Clerk of Surveys.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
System of rectangular surveying; range, township, and section lines; mode of
Insuperable objects on line; witness points; marking irons
Bearing trees; how many at the different corners, and how to be marked.
Stones for corner boundaries; minimum size; marking same.
Mounds around posts, of earth or stone; how to be constructed and conditioned.
Double corners only on base and standard parallels
Summary of objects and data to be noted in field books..
Swamp lands granted to the State by act of 28th September, 1850; their outlines
to be specially noted by the deputy surveyor..
Noting of settlers' claims in Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico..
Affidavits to field notes, and provisions of act of 8th August, 1846, respecting the
same; pains and penalties which attach to false surveys.
Forms of official oaths, prior to entering upon duty, for a deputy and his assist-
Exteriors or township lines, and limitations within which they must close.
Limitations within which section and meander lines must close
Of Diagram A, showing a body of township exteriors
Of Diagram B, showing the subdivision of a township into sections.
Township plats to be prepared by the surveyor general in triplicate.
land offices; details to be shown thereon, respectively
"Descriptive notes," showing the quality of soil and kind of timber found on the
surveyed lines in each township, and describing each corner boundary, are to
accompany the plat of the same, to be furnished by the surveyor general to the
The original field books of surveys, bearing the written approval of the surveyor
Certified transcripts of field books to be furnished to General Land Office.
Meander corners to be numbered on township plats
Variation of the needle, and mode of ascertaining the same
Specimen field notes A and B-the former of the extérior lines of a township, and
the latter of the subdivision of the same-constitute a separate series of pages,
from 1 to 53, inclusive; and they are preceded by an INDEX referring the town-
ship, section, closing, and meander lines, as shown on Diagram B, to their
corresponding pages in the notes A and B..
The "General Description" of the character of public land in the township fol-
lows the subdivisional notes, with a "list of names" of assistants, and the
mode of authenticating the survey, under the provisions of the act of 8th
August, 1846, and form for certifying copies of field notes to be transmitted to
Conclusion. "Table showing the difference of latitude and departure in running
80 chains, at any course from 1 to 60 minutes'