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** And the interior lines of townships intersected by the Muskingum, and of all the townships lying east of that river, which have not been heretofore actually subdivided into sections shall also be run and marked. * * And in all cases where the exterior lines of the townships thus to be subdivided into sections or half sections shall exceed, or shall not extend, six miles, the excess or deficiency shall be specially noted, and added to or deducted from the western and northern ranges of sections or half sections in such township, according as the error may be in running the lines from east to west or from south to north."
The act of Congress approved February 11, 1805, directs the subdivision of the public lands into quarter sections, and provides that all the corners marked in the public surveys shall be established as the proper corners of sections or subdivisions of sections, which they were intended to designate, and that corners of half and quarter sections not marked shall be placed as nearly as possible "equidistant from those two corners which stand on the same line." This act further provides that "The boundary lines actually run and marked shall be established as the proper boundary lines of the sections or subdivisions for which they were intended; and the length of such lines as returned * the surveyors by * shall be held and considered as the true length thereof, and the boundary lines which shall not have been actually run and marked as aforesaid shall be ascertained by running straight lines from the established corners to the opposite corresponding corners; but in those portions of the fractional townships, where no such opposite or corresponding corners have been or can be fixed, the said boundary line shall be ascertained by running from the established corners due north and south or east and west lines, as the case may be, to the external boundary of such fractional
The act of Congress approved April 25, 1812, provided "That there shall be established in the Department of the Treasury an office to be denominated the General Land Office; the chief officer of which shall be called the Commissioner of the General Land Office, whose duty it shall be, under the direction of the head of the department, to superintend, execute, and perform all such acts and things touching or respecting the public lands of the United States, and other lands patented or granted by the United States, as have heretofore been directed by law to be done or performed in the office of the Secretary of State, of the Secretary and Register of the Treasury, and of the Secretary of War, or which shall hereafter by law be assigned to the said office."
The act of Congress approved April 24, 1820, provides for the sale of public lands in half quarter sections, and requires that "in every case of the division of a quarter section the line for the division thereof shall run north and south * * * and fractional sections, containing 160 acres and upwards, shall, in like manner, as nearly as practicable, be subdivided into half quarter sections, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury; but fractional sections containing less than 160 acres shall not be divided."
The act of Congress approved May 24, 1824, provides "That whenever, in the opinion of the President of the United States, a departure from the ordinary mode of surveying land on any river, lake, bayou, or watercourse would promote the public interest, he may direct the surveyor-general in whose district such land is situated, and where the change is intended to be made, under such rules and regulations as the President may prescribe, to cause the lands thus situated to be surveyed
in tracts of two acres in width, fronting on any river, bayou, lake, or watercourse, and running back the depth of forty acres.' * * *
The act of Congress approved May 29, 1830, provides for the fine and imprisonment of any person obstructing the survey of the public lands, and for the protection of surveyors, in the discharge of their official duties, by the United States marshal, with sufficient force, whenever necessary.
The act of Congress approved April 5, 1832, directed the subdivision of the public lands into quarter-quarters; that in every case of the division of a half-quarter section the dividing line should run east and west, and that fractional sections should be subdivided under rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Under the latter provision the Secretary directed that fractional sections containing less than 160 acres, or the residuary portion of a fractional section, after the subdivision into as many quarter-quarter sections as it is susceptible of, may be subdivided into lots, each containing the quantity of a quarterquarter section as nearly as practicable, by so laying down the line of subdivision that they shall be 20 chains wide, which distances are to be marked on the plat of subdivision, as are also the areas of the quarterquarters and residuary fractions.
The two acts last above mentioned provided that the corners and contents of half quarter and quarter-quarter sections should be ascertained, as nearly as possible, in the manner and on the principles directed and prescribed in the act of Congress approved February 11, 1805.
The act of Congress approved July 4, 1836, provided for the reorganization of the General Land Office, and that the executive duties of said office "shall be subject to the supervision and control of the Commissioner of the General Land Office under the direction of the President of the United States." The repealing clause is, "That such provisions of the act of the twenty-fifth of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twelve, entitled 'An act for the establishment of a General Land Office in the Department of the Treasury' and of all acts amendatory thereof, as are inconsistent with the provisions of this act, be, and the same are hereby, repealed."
From the wording of this act it would appear that the control of the General Land Office was removed from the Treasury Department, and that the Commissioner reported direct to the President, but, as a matter of fact, the Secretary of the Treasury still had supervisory control, for the act of Congress approved March 3, 1849, by which the Department of the Interior was established, provided "That the Secretary of the Interior shall perform all the duties in relation to the General Land Office, of supervision and appeal, now discharged by the Secretary of the Treasury *." By this act the General Land Office was transferred to the Department of the Interior, where it still remains.
In 1855 a manual of instructions to surveyors general was prepared, under the direction of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, by John M. Moore, then principal clerk of surveys, and the act of Congress approved May 30, 1862, provided "That the printed manual of instructions relating to the public surveys, prepared at the General Land Office, and bearing the date February twenty-second, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, the instructions of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and the special instructions of the surveyor-general, when not in conflict with said printed manual or the instructions of said Commissioner, shall be taken and deemed to be a part of every contract for surveying the public lands of the United States."
The instructions contained in this volume are issued under the author
ity given in the clause in said act providing that "The instructions of the Commissioner of the General Land Office * * shall be taken
and deemed to be a part of every contract for surveying the public lands of the United States."
The following comprise so much of the general laws relating to the survey of the public domain as it is deemed necessary to incorporate in this volume, reference being made by chapter and section to the codification of the Public Land Laws, prepared pursuant to acts of Congress approved March 3, 1879, and June 16, 1880, and by section number to the Revised Statutes of the United States.
THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE.
SEC. 32. The Commissioner of the General Land Office shall perform, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, all executive duties ap- Duties of Commissioner. pertaining to the surveying and sale of the public lands of the
United States, or in anywise respecting such public lands, and, also, such as relate to private claims of lands, and the issuing of patents for all grants of land under the authority of the government. (R. S. 453.)
tive to lands.
SEC. 35. All returns relative to the public lands shall be made to the Commissioner of the General Land Office; and he shall have power to audit and settle all public accounts relative to the public lands; and upon the Returns and accounts realsettlement of any such accounts he shall certify the balance, and transmit the account with the vouchers and certificate to the First Comptroller of the Treasury for his examination and decision thereon. (R. S. 456.)
SEC. 38. Upon the discontinuance of any surveying district the authority, powers and duties in relation to the survey, resurvey, or subdivision of Commissioner to perform lands therein and all matters and things connected therewith, as duties of surveyor-general, previously exercised by the surveyor-general, shall be vested in &c.
and devolved upon the Commissioner of the General Land Office; and deputy surveyors or other agents under his direction shall have free access to any field-notes, maps, records, and other papers, turned over to the authorities of any State pursuant to law, for the purpose of making copies thereof, without charge of any kind. (R. S. 2219, 2220.)
SEC. 45. The Commissioner shall approve all contracts for the survey of the public lands. (R. S. 2398.)
Approval of surveying contracts.
SEC. 46. The instructions issued by the Commissioner of the General Land Office not in conflict with law shall be deemed part of deemed part of contract for every contract for surveying the public lands. (R. S. 2399.)
SEC. 61. The Commissioner, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, is authorized to enforce and carry into execution every part of the Power of Commissioner to public land laws not otherwise specially provided for. (R. S. 2478.) make regulations.
SURVEYS AND SURVEYORS.
Surveyors-general, how and
SEC. 77. There shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a surveyor-general for the States and Territories herein named, embracing respectively, one surveying district, where appointed. namely: Louisiana, Florida, Minnesota, Kansas, California, Nevada, Oregon, Nebraska and Iowa, Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona. (R. S. 2207.)
SEC. 83. Every surveyor-general, while in the discharge of the duties of his office, shall reside in the district for which he is ap- Residence of surveyor-genpointed. (R. S. 2414.)
SEC. 84. Every surveyor-general shall, before entering on the duties of his office, execute and deliver to the Secretary of the Interior a bond, with Bond of surveyor-general. good and sufficient security, for the penal sum of thirty thousand dollars, conditioned for the faithful disbursement, according to law, of all public money placed in his hands, and for the faithful performance of the duties of his office; and the President has discretionary authority to require a new bond and additional security, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, for the lawful disbursements of public moneys. (R. S. 2215, 2216.)
Duration of office.
Continuance of duties and
SEC. 85. The commission of each surveyor-general shall cease and expire in four years from the date thereof, unless sooner vacated by death, resignition, or removal from office. (R. S. 2217.) SEC. 86. Every surveyor general, except where the President sees cause otherwise to determine, is authorized to continue in the uninterrupted discharge of his regular official duties after the day of expiration of his commission and until a new commission is issued to him for the same office, or until the day when a successor enters upon the duties of such office; and the existing official bond of any officer so acting shall be deemed good and sufficient and in force until the date of the approval of a new bond to be given by him, if recommissioned, or otherwise, for the additional time he may so continue officially to act, pursuant to the authority of this section. (R. S. 2222.)
bond after expiration of com
continuance of office in case. of completed surveys.
SEC. 87. Whenever the surveys and records of any surveying district are completed the surveyor-general thereof shall be required to deliver over to Transfer of papers and dis- the secretary of state of the respective States, including such surveys, or to such other officer as may be authorized to receive them, all the field-notes, maps, records, and other papers appertaining to land titles within the same; and the office of surveyor-general in every such district shall thereafter cease and be discontinued. (R. S. 2218.)
SEC. 88. In all cases of discontinuance, as provided in the preceding section, the authority, powers, and duties of the surveyor-general in relation to Devolution of powers the survey, resurvey, or subdivision of the lands therein, and all matters and things connected therewith shall be vested in and devolved upon the Commissioner of the General Land Office. (R. S.
upon Commissiorer in case of discontinuance.
Free access to public rer: conditions of such delivery.
ords delivered to States and
SEC. 89. Under the authority and direction of the Commissioner of the General Land Office any deputy surveyor or other agent of the United States shall have free access to any such field-notes, maps, records, and other papers for the purpose of taking extracts therefrom or making copies thereof without charge of any kind; but no transfer of such public records shall be made to the authorities of any State until such State has provided by law for the reception and safe-keeping of such public records and for the allowance of free access thereto by the authorities of the United States. (R. S. 2220, 2221.)
SEC. 90. Every surveyor-general shall engage a sufficient number of skillful surveyors as his deputies, to whom he is authorized to administer the General duties of surveyor- necessary oaths upon their appointments. He shall have authority to frame regulations for their direction, not inconsistent with law or the instructions of the General Land Office, and to remove them for negligence or misconduct in office.
Second. He shall cause to be surveyed, measured, and marked, without delay, all base and meridian lines through such points and perpetuated by such monuments, and such other correction parallels and meridians as may be prescribed by law or by instructions from the General Land Office in respect to the public lands within his surveying district, to which the Indian title has been or may be hereafter extinguished. Third. He shall cause to be surveyed all private land claims within his district after they have been confirmed by authority of Congress, so far as may be necessary to complete the survey of the public lands.
Fourth. He shall transmit to the register of the respective land offices within his district general and particular plats of all lands surveyed by him for each land district; and he shall forward copies of such plats to the Commissioner of the General Land Office.
Fifth. He shall, so far as is compatible with the desk duties of his office, occasionally inspect the surveying operations while in progress in the field, sufficiently to satisfy himself of the fidelity of the execution of the work according to contract, and the actual and necessary expenses incurred by him while so engaged shall be allowed; and where it is incompatible with his other duties for a surveyor-general to devote the time necessary to make a personal inspection of the work in progress, then he is authorized to depute a confidential agent to make such examination, and the actual and necessary expenses of such person shall be allowed and paid for that service, and five dollars a day during the examination in the field; but such examination shall not be protracted beyond thirty days, and in no case longer than is actually necessary; and when a surveyor-general, or any person employed in his office at a regular salary, is engaged in such special service, he shall receive only his necessary expenses in addition to his regular salary. (R. S. 2223.)
SEC. 91. Every deputy surveyor shall enter into bond, with sufficient security, for Bond of deputy sur. the faithful performance of all surveying contracts confined to him; and the penalty of the bond in each case, shall be double the estimated amount of money accruing under such contract, at the rate per mile stipu
lated to be paid therein. The sufficiency of the sureties to all such bonds shall be approved and certified by the proper surveyor-general. (R. S. 2230.)
Oath of deputy sur
SEC. 92. The surveyors-general, in addition to the oath now authorized by law to be administered to deputies on their appointment to office, shall require each of their deputies, on the return of his surveys, to take veyor. and subscribe an oath that those surveys have been faithfully and correctly executed according to law and the instructions of the surveyor-general. (R. S. 2231.)
SEC. 93. The district attorney of the United States, in whose district any false, erroneous, or fraudulent surveys have been executed, shall upon Suit on bond of deputy surthe application of the proper surveyor-general, immediately insti- veyor; lien of.
tute suit upon the bond of such deputy, and the institution of such suit shall act as a lien upon any property owned or held by such deputy or his sureties at the time such suit was instituted. (R. S. 2232.)
SEC. 98. The President is authorized, in any case where he thinks the public interest may require it, to transfer the duties of register and receiver Duties of register and rein any district to the surveyor-general of the surveying district in ceiver performed by surveyor. which such land district is located. (R. S. 2228.)
SEC. 99. The public lands shall be divided by north and south lines run according to the true meridian, and by others crossing them at right angles, Rules of survey. so as to form townships of six miles square, unless where the line of an Indian reservation, or of tracts of land heretofore surveyed or patented, or the course of navigable rivers may render this impracticable; and in that case this rule must be departed from no further than such particular circumstances require.
Second. The corners of the townships must be marked with progressive numbers from the beginning, each distance of a mile between such corners must be also distinctly marked with marks different from those of the corners.
Third. The township shall be subdivided into sections, containing, as nearly as may be, six hundred and forty acres each, by running through the same, each way, parallel lines at the end of every two miles; and by making a corner on each of such lines, at the end of every mile. The sections shall be numbered, respectively, beginning with the number one in the northeast section and proceeding west and east alternately through the township with progressive numbers till the thirty-six be completed.
Fourth. The deputy surveyors, respectively, shall cause to be marked on a tree near each corner established in the manner described, and within the section, the number of such section, and over it the number of the township within which such section may be; and the deputy surveyors shall carefully note, in their respective field-books, the names of the corner trees marked and the numbers so made.
Fifth. Where the exterior lines of the townships which may be subdived into sections or half sections exceed, or do not extend six miles, the excess or deficiency shall be specially noted, and added to or deducted from the western and northern ranges of sections or half sections in such townships, according as the error may be in running the lines from east to west, or from north to south; the sections and half sections bounded on the northern and western lines of such townships shall be sold as containing only the quantity expressed in the returns and plats, respectively, and all others as containing the complete legal quantity.
Sixth. All lines shall be plainly marked upon trees, and measured with chains, containing two perches, of sixteen and one-half feet each, subdivided into twenty-five equal links; and the chain shall be adjusted to a standard to be kept for that purpose. Seventh. Every surveyor shall note in his field-book the true situations of all mines, salt-licks, salt-springs, and mill-seats which come to his knowledge; all water-courses over which the line he runs may pass; and also the quality of the lands.
Eighth. These field-books shall be returned to the surveyor-general, who shall cause therefrom a description of the whole lands surveyed to be made out and transmitted to the officers who may superintend the sales. He shall also cause a fair plat to be made of the townships and fractional parts of townships contained in the lands, describing the subdivisions thereof and the marks of the corners. This plat shall be recorded in books to be kept for that purpose; and a copy thereof shall be kept open at the surveyor-general's office for public information, and other copies shall be sent to the places of the sale and to the General Land Office. (R. S. 2395.)
SEC. 100. The boundaries and contents of the several sections, half sections, and quarter sections of the public lands shall be ascertained in con- Boundaries and contents of formity with the following principles:
public lands, how ascertained.
First. All the corners marked in the surveys returned by the surveyor-general shall be established as the proper corners of sections, or subdivisions of sections, which they were intended to designate; and the corners of half and quarter sections, not marked on the surveys, shall be placed as nearly as possible equidistant from two corners which stand on the same line.
Second. The boundary lines, actually run and marked in the surveys returned by the surveyor-general, shall be established as the proper boundary lines of the sections