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On the Public Domain
CODE AND PLACER CLAIMS
Tunnels, Mill Sites and
STATUTES, DECISIONS, FORMS AND LAND
For Prospectors, Attorneys, Surveyors
and Mining Companies
By R. S. MORRISON and EMILIO D. DE SOTO
Of the Colorado Bar
JUIN 24 1908 MLD 83
DISTRICT RULES. The origin of Mining Districts and of their Rules was in the mining camps of California, in 1849, before any territorial form of government had been established, and the same system was followed and prevailed wherever valuable discoveries in other sections induced an influx of prospectors.
Practically all the Pacific slope and the land east of the mountains to the Missouri river was then public domain. The vast ore bodies of the Comstock, the wealth of Alder Gulch, the veins and placers of Pike's Peak, and of countless intermediate mineral localities were all appropriated and their values extracted under the protection of this forin of local self-government for many years, with no paternal interference by the National Legislature.
Each local camp called itself a Mining District as defined by the action of a mass meeting of the miners. Some of them were less than a mile square, others quite extensive, and they have become permanent geographical divisions for purpose of description in the conveyance of real estate of all kinds in the mining counties.
After defining the name and local extent of the District these meetings usually designated certain officials to be elected from time to time, and
R. S.-Revised Statutes of the United States.
then proceeded to adopt rules regulating the size of claims, prerequisites of location and for annual labor or periodical representation in some form.
Before the territorial organizations were complete, and while the diggings were remote from organized society, they often took a much wider scope and provisions were made for executive officers, for miners' courts, and covering all sorts of subjects. But these incidents have long since ceased.
Where the districts, as quasi municipal organizations, have been abandoned, provision has generally been made to preserve their records in the County Recorder's office.
With almost no interference by State or Territorial Acts they were the mining laws of the land until the Act of Congress of July 26, 1866. This but slightly limited their authority, but the Act of May 10, 1872, covered so many essential incidents, and has been so supplemented by State and Territorial legislation, that they have been gradually abandoned, and survive now only as a name of description.
Only in California, Utah and Alaska are the organizations still preserved to any extent. Where not extinct their existence is practically confined to the keeping of district records for the registry of locations, with regulations defining the size of claims and details of location. Undoubtedly where there is no State or Territorial Statute a district can yet be organized and the size of claims and details of location fixed by its rules, but any attempt to revive old districts or enact new district rules in any State or Territory which has any pretense of a mining code would only tend to confusion.
The details of these rules were not altogether arbitrary or experimental. In many respects they followed precedents already long established in Spain and Mexico. The requirements of discovery and discovery shaft, of sinking and record, periodical labor, forfeiture for non-representation, and many others, are duplicates, more or less close, of like provisions of the Royal Code of 1783, but enacted by these local conventions of practical miners in entire ignorance of the existence of such code. -Rockwell's Sp. & Mex. Laws, 25.
For instances of the form and contents of District Rules see 11th edition, p. 5. Unorganized Districts.
A mining title may be proved without either district organization or proof of district rules.Golden Fleece Co. 1. Cable Co. 1 M. R. 120; 12 Nev. 312.
Where land office or other forms contain a blank for the name of the mining district, and no district has ever been formed, it is usual to fill such blank with the word “Unorganized.” And there is no doubt that a mining district may exist to the extent of giving a name to a locality and limited to that extent, and such name, when adopted by common consent, is as valid as if adopted at a district meeting.
The term mining district has a well known meaning while the term mineral district is only a vague and indefinite generalization.-U. S. v. Smith, 11 Fed. 487. New Districts in Alaska.
The Alaska Act, 31 St. L. 328 (post ALASKA), recognizes old district organizations, provides for new ones and contemplates the passage of district rules. Upon the organization of a district the minutes of first meeting should show that it was called by public notice and attended by a majority of the miners either personally by representation; should define boundaries; elect permanent Chairman and Recorder; restrict size of placer claims in crowded diggings, leave lode claims to the full size allowed by the Act of Congress, and make special provision for the keeping of permanent and accessible records. Judicial Decisions as to District Rules.
Where in ejectment for a mining claim the plaintiff has described the same as located under district