out of which said States were formed, or during the period when any such government claimed sovereignty, or had the actual possession of the district or territory in which the lands so claimed are situated.

This warrants you in receiving and acting upon claims, which originated under the former governments, where they exercised the granting power de jure, and before such governments had ceded the country, and those made by the Spanish authorities while in actual occupancy of territory held by them as the government de facto. Thus, for example: Spain parted with her legal authority over the province of Louisiana by the Secret Treaty of 1800, at San Ildefonso; Spain ceded Louisiana to France, and during the period that elapsed from that time to the cession to the United States in 1803, by Napoleon, the Spanish authorities exercised the granting power, and so, several years subsequent to 1803, Spain, while in occupancy of the portion of the ancient province of Louisiana between the Iberville, or Manchac, and the Perdido, exercised the granting power, and during this period her grants were those of the government de facto.

Your attention is particularly directed to the 1st, 2d, 3d, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th sections of this act

SECTION 1. Under this section you will receive all applications of persons, or their legal representatives, having the right to claim under the provisions of the act; also, the evidence of claim, abstract of title, plat of survey, and the sworn statement required by the act. Should there be any conflict, your decision should carefully show the nature and extent of interference, whether by grant, sale, or location; and a complete record should be made of all the papers, in the order above mentioned, including your decision, in a substantial book kept for the purpose.

The cases will bear on the record a regular series of numbers, in the order in which they may be recorded, and after record the papers will be properly filed and retained in your office until otherwise directed.

SECTION 2. By this section you are authorized "to hear and decide, under such instructions as may be prescribed by the Commissioner of the General Land-Office, in conformity with this act, and according to justice and equity and the principles" thereinafter "established, in a summary manner, all matters respecting such claims within the districts aforesaid as come within the provisions of this act;" "to administer oaths, compel the attendance of and examine witnesses," &c. The expense of procuring witnesses must be borne by the claimants, as the act makes no provision for their payment; and in case it may be found necessary to compel the attendance of witnesses, you will avail yourselves of the services of the United States Marshal for that purpose. This section also provides for a final report to this office upon the claims presented, in which they shall be arranged in separate classes, as directed by the following section, viz:

SECTION 3. The classification will be in the following manner :
The classes will bear the following captions:

"Class No. 1. Twenty years' possession and cultivation claims, which, in the opinion of the commissioners, ought to be confirmed." "Class No. 2. Claims where there is no actual possession and cultivation for the period mentioned, but which, in the opinion of the commissioners, ought to be confirmed."

"Class No. 3. Claims which, in the opinion of the commissioners, ought to be rejected."

Each class will be arranged, in tabular form, under the following heads:

The 1st column will contain the "Number of the claim," according to the Record referred to under section 1; the 2d, the "Name of claimant;" 3d, "Derivation of title;" 4th, "Possession and cultivation," showing beginning and end of same: 5th, "Date of filing," before you; 6th, "Description," which should be by legal divisions and subdivisions, where the lands have been surveyed by the United States, with column of Remarks, distinctly designating interferences by sale or otherwise, with particulars as to dates, names of conflicting claimants,


SECTION 7. Requires that the facts reported as proven by any former Board of Commissioners acting under authority of Congress, "shall be taken as true prima facie, and the evidence offered before such former Board, and remaining of record, shall be admitted on the examination of the claims made under the provisions of this act."

In admitting such evidence you will be careful to state its substance, referring to the record where it may be found, if in the reports of former Boards; and if in the State Papers, to the vol, and page of same-Duff Green's edition, in 5 vols.

SECTION 8. The effect of this section is to withdraw from sale or location all lands claimed under the provisions of this act, immediately upon a claim being properly and legally filed for the same, with a plat showing, in connexion with the public surveys, its precise locality and limits. It will, therefore, be your duty to examine carefully all applications for claims, and note the same, in order that the lands covered thereby may be protected from interference; and in any case where the lands so claimed have been hitherto deemed to be public lands, you will report the fact immediately to this office, and furnish a copy of the plat, with the name of claimant and character of title. You will note on the face of such report, beginning with No 1, as follows: "Report No. der 7th Sec., Act 22d June, 1860."


SECTION 10. Contemplates an annual report to Congress, by this office, of the progress of the work under this act.

To enable us to make such report, an annual statement will be required of you, after the present year, on or about the 15th September, during the period the act remains in operation, which is limited to five years. With such statement you should send up a transcript of the record, contemplated in the first section of the act, which should be accompanied by an index.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. S. WILSON, Commissioner.


No. 473.


GENERAL LAnd Office, Washington, D. C., July 18, 1872.

GENTLEMEN :—I inclose herewith a copy of an Act of Congress, approved June 10, 1872, entitled "An Act to extend the provisions of an act entitled An Act for the final adjustment of private land claims

in the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri, and for other purposes,'" (Part II., No. 79,) by virtue of which you are authorized, as Commissioners, to hear and decide, under instructions from this office, all matters respecting such claims to land within your district as come within the provisions of the Act of June 22, 1860, as extended and amended by this act.

The first section extends the provisions of the act of 22d June, 1860, for three years from and after the passage of this act.

The second section provides that "all persons claiming lands as specified in the first section" of the Act of June 22, 1860, “ may have their claims confirmed in accordance with the forms and in the manner prescribed in said act, in all cases where it shall be satisfactorily proved that the claimants, and those from whom they derive title, have held continuous possession of the land claimed from the date of the cession to the United States of the territory out of which the States of Florida, Louisiana, and Missouri were formed."

As the only lands specified by the first section of the Act of 1860 are private land claims, lying within the States named, and claimed "by virtue of grant, concession, order of survey, permission to settle, or other written evidence of title," it is evident that Congress, by said section, did not intend to enlarge the classes of claims mentioned in the Act of 1860, but simply to vary the proof required so as to afford relief to claimants whose written evidence of title, properly acquired from the former government, had been lost or destroyed. You will, therefore, require, in all cases presented under this section, satisfactory proof

1. That the land for which confirmation is sought, was acquired by virtue of grant, concession, order of survey, permission to settle, or other written evidence of title emanating from the French, Spanish, or British governments This fact must be established in all cases by the production of the original title papers, unless it shall be proven that said title papers have been lost or destroyed, in which case parol evidence of their contents may be admitted.

2. That the claimants, or those from whom they derive title, have held continuous possession of the land claimed from the date of the cession to the United States of the territory out of which the States of Florida, Louisiana and Missouri were formed, which date, for the States of Louisiana and Missouri, is the 30th day of April, 1803, and for the State of Florida, the 22d day of February, 1819. (See U. S. v. Lynd's heirs, 11 Wallace, p 632.)

The proof of possession in claims presented under this section should be full and explicit, showing not only the date when such possession was taken, but also the character of such possession and any other facts by which the good faith of the claimant may be shown.

Where not modified by the second section of this act and this letter, the Act of June 22, 1860, and our instructions (copy herewith) of Oct. 25, 1860, relative to claims under said Act, will guide your investigations of claims presented under this Act.

WILLIS DRUMMOND, Commissioner.


Approved: C. DELANO, Secretary of the Interior.

No. 474.


Certificates of location can only be issued for such portion of a confirmed private land claim as is found to be in conflict with a prior confirmation. The location of a private land claim must be by a United States surveyor. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

GENERAL LAND OFFICE, Washington, D. C., April 12, 1873.

E. W. FOSTER, ESQ., U. S. Surveyor General, New Orleans, La. SIR-Your predecessor, Wm. J. McCulloh, Esq., with his letter of December 20, 1860, transmitted to this office, for approval and authentication, twenty-three certificates of location, dated December 18, 1860, and numbered 11 A. to 11 W., inclusive, each for eighty acres except the last, which is 104.26 acres, all in favor of Rudolphus Ducros or his legal representatives, and issued in satisfaction of so much of claim No. 484, in the report of the register and receiver at New Orleans, Louisiana, confirmed by the act of 11th May, 1820, as is stated to be in conflict with other claims.

The act of June 2, 1858, (11 Stats., p. 295,) authorizes the issue of scrip of this character in all cases "where any private land claim has been confirmed by Congress, and the same, in whole or in part, has not been located or satisfied, either for want of a specific location prior to such confirmation, or for any reason whatsoever other than a discovery of fraud in such claim subsequent to such confirmation." There is no other authority of law under which scrip for confirmed claims in Louisiana can issue, and hence to entitle Rudolphus Ducros or his legal representatives to the scrip under consideration, it must uppear that claim No. 484 has not been located or satisfied. This location I understand to mean a location by a United States surveyor.

Now, it appears by an examination of the record in this case that Rudolphus Ducros' claim, No. 484, confirmed on the 11th of May, 1820, was surveyed by United States Deputy Surveyor Augustus S. Phelps in the winter of the years 1830 and 1831, and at that time there were but two surveyed confirmed claims in conflict therewith, namely, the claim of Silvano Veillon and the claim of Francis Versaille, confirmed as Nos. 250 and 318 respectively by the old board of land commissioners for Louisiana. (Am. State Papers, Pub. Lands, D. Green's Ed., vol. 2, pp. 273 and 278.) The remaining fifty-six claims now in conflict with the claims of Ducros were confirmed by act of Congress approved June 25, 1832, and therefore could not have been legally surveyed by the United States authorities until after the date when the record shows the proper officer located the claims of Rudolphus Ducros, Francis Versaille and Silvano Veillon.

It is true that the present claimants for Ducros' confirmation are willing to yield their superior title in favor of subsequent and conflicting confirmations and locations, providing they can receive compensation in scrip; but from a careful examination of the law governing this case I am unable to find any authority for disregarding the plain language of the act of June 2, 1858, which clearly does not authorize the issue of a scrip for any part of a confirmed claim which, at the date of its location, was not in conflict with a prior confirmation.

It is therefore decided by this office that the issue of scrip in this case, December 18, 1860, by the United States surveyor general for Louisi

ana, was erroneous, and that scrip can properly issue to Rudolphus Ducros or his legal representatives only for so much of claim No. 484, in township 13 south, of ranges 13 and 14 east, as is interfered with by the claims of Francis Versaille and Silvano Veillon, confirmed by the old board of land commissioners for Louisiana.

You will notify the parties in interest of this decision, and allow sixty days from the service thereof for appeal to the Hon. Secretary of the Interior. If at the expiration of said sixty days appeal be taken, you will transmit the same to this office; but if no appeal be taken, you will cancel the record made in your office of the scrip issued December 18, 1860, as aforesaid, and, upon a proper application, prepare and forward scrip in this case for the valid interferences, as indicated in this decision. Very respectfully, WILLIS DRUMMOND, Commissioner.

Affirmed by the Secretary, March 2, 1874.

No. 475.



Washington, D. C.,--


relative to the

SIR: In reply to your inquiries of the validity of an alleged grant of land in Missouri and Arkansas, said to have been made on the 10th day of June, 1793, to Don Jose Valliere, by the Baron de Carondelet, then Governor General of the Province of Louisiana, you are hereby informed that about fifty years after the date when said alleged grant is stated to have been made, it was brought to the attention of the United States District Court, at Little Rock, Arkansas, by petition, for confirmation under the Act of June 17, 1844 (5 Stats., page 676); and subsequently, as appears by a letter dated June 6, 1847, from the District Attorney for the United States at Little Rock, Arkansas, all proceedings in said Court relative to the confirmation of said alleged grant were dismissed for want of prosecution.

The records of the General Land-Office do not show that this alleged grant was ever confirmed by the United States, or ever presented for confirmation except as above set forth, and hence it is not considered by this Office as of any validity whatever.

Very respectfully,

WILLIS DRUMMOND, Commissioner.

No. 476.


Proof in Surveys of Private Land Claims.


GENERAL LAND OFFICE, Washington, D. C., August 13, 1872.

SIR-My attention has been called to the insufficiency of the ex parte testimony offered as proof in the determination of the various and im

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