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Issued July 11, 1899.



Econ 2173.6


JAN 9 1900


from the
UJ. S. Government




Washington, D. C., July 11, 1899.

The public lands of the United States are included within the States of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, the Ter ritories of Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and the District of Alaska.

In Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois only a few isolated tracts of public land remain.

In these States and Territories, with the exception of the three last mentioned, there are land districts with defined boundaries, in each of which a land office is established by law, where a register and receiver are in attendance, for the sale or other disposal of the public lands embraced therein. For appointments, term, compensation, and general duties of these registers and receivers, see sections 2234 to 2247 of the Revised Statutes of the United States. (Appendix No. 1, pp. 144-146.)

A land office, with an ex-officio register and receiver, was established for the District of Alaska, under the act of Congress of May 17, 1884 (23 Stat. L., 24; Appendix No. 26, p. 182), which provides for the disposal of the minerals therein; and sections 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. L., 1095; Appendix No. 44, p. 221), admit of entries therein for town-site purposes and of lands used and occupied for the purposes of trade and business, but the agricultural lands in that district are not subject to survey or disposal under the general land laws.

Additional legislation respecting Alaska lands is contained in the act of Congress of May 14, 1898 (30 Stat., 409; Appendix No. 77, p. 248). Districts have been established with land offices at Sitka, Peavy, Rampart City, and Circle.

Any proper information regarding vacant public lands may be obtained by application at any of the land offices, a list of which will be found on page 270.


The sale of lands at public auction was, prior to March 3, 1891, provided for by law (Rev. Stat., secs. 2353, 2357, 2358, 2359, 2360, and 2455; Appendix No. 1, 158 and 161), but such sales were prohibited by sections 9 and 10 of the act of that date (26 Stat. L., 1095; Appendix


No. 44, p. 221), save under the exceptions noted in said sections, which read as follows:

SEC. 9. That hereafter no public lands of the United States, except abandoned military or other reservations, isolated and disconnected fractional tracts authorized to be sold by section twenty-four hundred and fifty-five of the Revised Statutes, and mineral and other lands, the sale of which at public auction has been authorized by acts of Congress of a special nature having local application, shall be sold at public sale.

SEC. 10. That nothing in this act shall change, repeal, or modify any agreements or treaties made with any Indian tribes for the disposal of their lands, or of land ceded to the United States to be disposed of for the benefit of such tribes, and the proceeds thereof to be placed in the Treasury of the United States; and the disposition of such lands shall continue in accordance with the provisions of such treaties or agreements, except as provided in section five of this act.

The first section of the act of Congress of March 2, 1889 (25 Stat. L., 854; Appendix No. 32, p. 187), provides that from and after its passage "no public lands of the United States, except those in the State of Missouri, shall be subject to private entry." This relates to the private sale or entry of "offered" lands under sections 2354 and 2357, United States Revised Statutes. No sale or location at private entry will be admissible under said first section, except in Missouri, in which State all public lands are subject to private sale by section 2 of the act of Congress approved May 18, 1898 (30 Stat., 418), but in making purchase under that act the purchaser is required to show the absence of any prior adverse settlement right.

These provisions of said acts of 1889 and 1891, while forbidding the disposal at public auction or private sale of the mass of public lands under the general statutes that formerly provided therefor, do not necessarily prevent the disposal of lands under any act of Congress of a special nature having local application, in such manner as therein provided for, in reference to any specific lands or class of lands, although this may include the disposal thereof at public auction or private sale, as, for example, coal lands at private entry under section 2347, Revised Statutes, circular July 31, 1882, 1 L. D., 687; Osage trust and diminished reserve lands at private entry, last sentence, section 3, act of May 28, 1880, 21 Stat. L., 143; salt spring reserve lands, act of January 12, 1877, 19 Stat. L., 221.


No land shall be sold, either at public or private sale, for less than $1.25 per acre, which is therefore called the "minimum price," and lands held for sale at that price are called "minimum lands." (Rev. Stat., 2357; Appendix No. 1, p. 158.)

The double minimum price established by law is $2.50 per acre, and lands held for sale at that price are called "double minimum lands."

Alternate reserved sections within the limits of railroad grants are double minimum in price (sec. 2357, Rev. Stat.), except such as were put in market at the enhanced price prior to January 1, 1861, and were subject to entry June 15, 1880, all of which were reduced in price to $1.25 per acre by the third section of the act of Congress of June 15, 1880 (21 Stat. L., 237; Appendix No. 20, p. 178), and except those opposite those portions of railroads not completed on March 2, 1889, which were reduced in price by section 4 of the act of that date (25 Stat. L., 854; Appendix No. 32, p. 187), or where a different price is provided for in statutes for the disposal of lands under special conditions. Lands reduced in price under act of June 15, 1880, are not, however, subject to private entry at the reduced price until again offered at public sale (Eldred v. Sexton, 19 Wall., 189).


Any party desiring the sale of an isolated tract under the provisions. of section 2455, Revised Statutes, as amended by the act of February 26, 1895 (28 Stat. L., 687; Appendix No. 63, p. 238), will be required to file in the district land office having jurisdiction over the tract an affidavit made by himself and duly corroborated by two witnesses, setting forth the character of the land; stating whether it is covered with timber or contains stone or any mineral, whether it is agricultural in character, for what purpose the land would be chiefly valuable, and why he desires the same ordered into market. It must also be shown that the tract is unoccupied by anyone having color of title thereto.

No lands are subject to be ordered into market as aforesaid until the same shall have been subject to homestead entry for a period of three years after the surrounding lands have been entered, filed upon, or sold by the Government.

Care must be taken by the district land officers in reporting any such application for the Commissioner's favorable action thereon that their plats and other records do not show the existence of any objection to the offering of such lands under said law. When instructions are received from the General Land Office ordering such tract or tracts to be exposed at public sale, they will cause a notice to be published once a week for the space of thirty days in a newspaper of general circulation in the vicinity of the land, using the form given on page 299.

The day of sale must be fixed so as to take place at least thirty days after the date of the first publication of the notice. The register will also make proper posting of notice. The sale must close immediately after offering the lands thus advertised; but should any of the lands thus offered not be purchased at the public sale, they will not subsequently be regarded as subject to ordinary private entry unless located within the State of Missouri, in view of the provisions of the first section of the act of March 2, 1889 (25 Stat. L., 854; Appendix No. 32, p. 187).

The party desiring such offering to be made must first make a deposit of sufficient money to pay the cost of publishing the notice and all other expenses of the sale, the deposit to be made with the receiver, who will notify the register thereof, that he may cause the notice to be published; but applicants are not to be deprived of the right to make their own contracts for the publication of notice, following rule 5, page 84, of this circular in reference to final-proof notices.

Such action will, however, give the applicant no preference right over others desiring to purchase the land, as the same must be offered at public sale, and in case of competition must be disposed of to the highest bidder.

A nonmineral affidavit (Form 4-062) must be furnished by the purchaser. It will be observed that no more than 160 acres shall be sold to any one person at the offering under said section 2455, but this amount is not limited by the provisions of the acts of August 30, 1890, and March 3, 1891. (Charles H. Boyle, 20 L. D., 255.)

Immediately after each sale the district officers will transmit to the General Land Office a joint report showing the lands offered, indicating the sales, the numbers of the certificates, date of sale, and names of the purchasers.

They will issue the cash papers the same as in ordinary cash entries, and report them in their current monthly returns, forwarding with said entries the affidavit of the publisher, showing the thirty days' publication, together with the register's certificate of posting.

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