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tion of the surveying system, and the laws and instructions relating thereto. To give directions how to restore a lost corner without also affording some insight into the laws and practice under which it was originally established, would be like giving a theoretical explanation of a difficult field operation in civil engineering to one not conversant with that branch of mathematical science.
The government system of surveying is in some respects peculiar and unlike any other, and no adequate facilities have been afforded surveyors not employed in the public service to make themselves acquainted with its rules and principles. Hence it is in many cases impracticable to make instructions intelligible to the local surveyor, without first giving some explanations as to the manner in which the public surveys are executed.
The writer has been frequently and forcibly impressed with this truth, when endeavoring to relieve correspondents of embarrassments occasioned by a want of the proper knowledge in regard to the laws and practice of the government surveying system. Where these are understood the instructions become comparatively simple and are readily comprehended.
In 1855, a manual of instructions to regulate the field operations of United States deputy surveyors, was prepared and printed under the direction of the General Land Office. Other instructions had been printed at earlier periods, but the manual prepared in 1855 embraced all the improvements suggested by the experience of the surveying department up to that time, and was much more comprehensive and complete than anything of the kind which had preceded it.
By the second section of an act of Congress, approved May 30th, 1862, it is provided: "That the printed manual of instructions relating to the public surveys, prepared at the General Land Office, and bearing date February 22d, 1855, 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."
A supplemental pamphlet containing many recent changes
authorized by the department was prepared by the writer for the use of the office, and printed July 1st, 1864. The modifications and additions contained in this pamphlet are now made a part of every surveying contract, subject of course to such subsequent changes as may from time to time be found. necessary.
These rules and instructions are only intended to be furnished by the department to persons in the government service, and the aim of the writer has been to embody them in a practical form for the use of the student and the general public; he has endeavored to furnish a TEXT-BOOK which will enable surveyors to fit themselves for the public service. To this end the present work has been systematized and arranged in convenient divisions and subdivisions under appropriate heads, and illustrated by examples, forms, diagrams and maps.
To the Manual proper are added instructions for restoring extinct lines and corners of the public surveys, and for subdividing sections. These directions are based upon the laws of Congress and the well-established precedents of the General Land Office, and are very complete, embracing, it is believed, the principles at least, of nearly every case that will arise in practice. County surveyors in the public land states know well the difficulties experienced in executing this kind of surveys, and will find these instructions a great aid in performing their work.
The manner of proceeding to have certain public lands surveyed in advance of the regular progress of the public surveys, under the provisions of the 10th section of the act of May 30th, 1862, known as the deposit system, is explained; also how to proceed to get certain small islands surveyed.
An Appendix is added to the work containing instructions, forms, and rulings of the General Land Office, in regard to entering, locating, purchasing, and settling lands under the several acts following, to wit: Pre-emption Laws, Homestead Laws, Military Bounty Act, Agricultural College and Revolutionary Land Scrip, Mining Laws, etc.
Also in regard to the adjustment of public grants of land to states and corporations, for railroads, canals, schools, universities and other purposes, and the survey and settlement of private
land claims, under foreign titles and special acts of Congress, with various forms, etc.
The comprehensive index attached to the book will enable the reader to turn readily to any subject desired.
The writer cheerfully acknowledges his indebtedness to HoN. JAMES M. EDMUNDS, late Commissioner of the General Land Office, for his valuable aid in selecting and preparing the instructions contained in the Appendix. He also takes this occasion to return his acknowledgments to HON. JOSEPH S. WILSON, the present Commissioner, for the uniform courtesy and kindness shown him in affording every facility to obtain the necessary data to complete the work and bring it down to current date.
Trusting that he has to some extent succeeded in producing a hand-book of the public land system suited to the wants of a large and intelligent class of his fellow-citizens, the writer respectfully submits the following pages to the public, with the earnest wish that they may be instrumental in securing a uniformity in the laws and practice in the several land states, conforming to the laws of Congress and the decisions of the United States Courts.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
The Public Land System........
The Public Land Department....
Areas of the States and Teritories, and public lands surveyed in each... 18
Comparative Table of Land Measures of the United States....................... 19
United States Land Offices, where located......
U.S. SYSTEM OF RECTANGULAR SURVEYING.
PRIMARY SUBDIVISIONS, ETC.
Townships-Sections-Subdivisions of sections-Principal meri-
COURSING, MEASURING, AND MARKING LINES.
Burt's solar compass-Standard chain-Tally pins-Marking tools
-Horizontal measurement-Process of chaining-Line trees-
Marking lines-Insuperable objects on line-Random lines—
Chief object of surveys-Kinds of corners and mode of perpetuat-
ing the same: (1) Corner trees; (2) Stone corners; (3) Posts
and witnesses; (4) Posts and mounds-Manner of constructing
Section corner posts- Section corner mounds-Section corner
Township corner posts: (a) Standard township corners; (b) Clos-
ing township corners - Township corner stones - Township
corner trees-Township corner mounds............................................................................................. 34
Quarter section posts-Quarter section mounds-Quarter section
stones-Quarter section trees....
Meander posts-Meander mounds-Meander stones or trees........ 40
ORDER OF CARRYING FORWARD THE PUBLIC SURVEYS..
Objects and data to be noted in the Field Book.
Township and range-Variation of needle-Courses and measure-
ments-Bearing trees-Mode employed to perpetuate corners
-Line trees-Intersection of land objects-Intersection of
hills, etc.-Intersection of water objects-Bottom lands-
Lakes and ponds-Settlements and improvements-Springs-
Minerals and coal beds-Roads and trails - Rapids, cas-
cades, etc.-Precipices, caves, etc.-Natural objects-Land
surface-Timber-Dates-General description-Names of sur-
veying party-Verification of deputy surveyors-Verification
of assistants-Approval and certificate of Surveyor-General.. 42
Meandering of navigable rivers-Meandering of rivers not navi-
gable-Wide flats-Islands in rivers-Lakes, ponds, etc........ 46
Townships west of the meridian, how surveyed......
Townships east of the meridian, how surveyed.....................
Subdivisional or section lines, mode of running them......
Laws, regulations and instructions relating to deputy surveyors..
Contract and bond of deputy surveyor......
Oath prescribed to be taken by all persons in the public service.......................
When one deputy does the work under a joint contract he may verify
Two active deputies, under a joint contract, each to verify his own
Form of affidavit for joint surveys....