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a year after the passage of this act in 1900. So for one year, nearly all of the public lands of the State of Oklahoma were subject to mineral entry. The fact remains they found no minerals and no mineral entries ever ripened into patents.
I bring that matter forward to show that at that time the mineral laws did apply to all this land down to the center of the river. The act of 1891, to be sure, has been construed by the Supreme Court as saying that, after that date, the mineral laws did not apply to Oklahoma; but after 1891, nine years afterwards, the same Congress passed another act, in effect extending the mineral laws to practically all public lands left in the Territory; but, as the supreme court says, that act excluded this little strip south of the medial line.
I mention here those points because they have some bearing upon the question of good faith which you have brought out here. It was very difficult. If I were asked why the mining laws did not apply to the Territory at that time, I would say for the reason that you have been unable to find where it was ever a part of Indian Territory. Somewhere in the decisions, I suppose, they found it, but I have never been able to do so.
I will take up next the question of these placer claimants and what they did. I think possibly I can get more facts before this committee by reading to you here a letter from Mr. Mark Denson, of Rocky Ford, Colo., who was a civil engineer and deputy mineral surveyor and had charge of the location of these claims. Mr. Denson, in a letter of July 6, 1922, written from Fort Worth, Tex., to Mr. Everett Owens, of Denver. Colo., states on this subject as follows:
We commenced preparing to locate these claims about the 10th of June, 1919, but did not actually locate until the date given in the certificates, about the 20th. From the 10th to the 20th, this time was taken up looking up field notes and making outside surveys to establish the old Government survey of 1874 and 1875 along the north bank. This was very difficult to do as the river had changed its channel to such extent in many instances that the points were on south side of channel. We commenced this work with a determination to do it right, and we did do the work accurate and made the most complete survey ever made on the river, I think, except the one made by Mr. Livingston, the Government surveyor.
“After we worked up the lines on the north side of river from the data we could gather for the establishment of the meander line, we then worked about 12 days in the river bed, using five to seven men on survey, besides auto driver and other help.
“Then we went over this work again, replacing monuments, stakes, etc., which were being destroyed in some locations by the Texas claimants and in other places by the floods. It was fairly good work in the river bed during June, 1919, as the river was about normal and did not bother much; but later on the floods came and swept all manner of materials away which we had hanled to locations for improvements. The flood along about September 1 was the most damaging, destroying several thousand dollars' worth of material and nearly all our stakes in the river bed, washing them out and away. This flood reached from bank to bank and was washing away everything in its path, including hundreds of feet of land on either side of stream. Many of our reference points set outside of what we supposed to be the danger line were washed away. So it was necessary to do almost all our work over again. But we did not hesitate and commenced resetting the destroyed monuments; thinking this would be the last flood for some time, we commenced to rebuild and improve the properties. We had considerable property destroyed by the Texas claimants. Some of these improvements were on each side of the medial line of the river bed. We had guy wires cut on our derricks at night and the first hard wind would blow them down; then the floods would wash them away.
“The wires were cut on the derrick on Brashear No. 6, which was very evident by the end of the wires. This derrick was put a little south of the medial line of the river as per Government plat, and a short distance north of the Burk Divide line as
per original location stakes of their claim. We had six derricks destroyed by wind, floods, etc. While we were making these improvements, we met with opposition from the Texas claimants. They used fire arms to force us off our property and many times they shot at us with intent to kill, as they came very close to us; but most always in these cases the parties doing the shooting were concealed and as there was nothing in the river bed to hide behind they had to shoot from the south river bank, which accounted for many misses they intended to be hits.
"We commenced as soon as possible to get materials on the ground. We also did our best to get the drilling machinery on the ground, but on account of the scarcity of materials and drilling tools and on account of the added risk of floods, etc., the drillers would not go on the properties at first, as they could get all the work they could do at high prices where no risk was necessary. So it was scarcity of materials and flood difficulties at the start up to September; then from that time on until the (invernment receiver took charge we had a fight with claimants from the Texas side.
"It got to a point where there was chances of real battles taking place on the river bed. Then Governor Hobby of Texas sent in the rangers. They defied the sheriffs and court officials of Oklahoma. There were great numbers of these rangers and they would not permit new improvements going up on the river bed even near the north bank of river. I put on guards to watch, had as many as 12 guards to watch our derricks, and did succeed in keeping four derricks and three houses up until the receiver took charge. The receiver gave orders for all claimants to vacate their property, which we did, but the receiver did not make any effort to protect our derricks or houses, except those which he wished to use for immediate development, so in fact our improvements were almost a total loss as the wind and floods destroyed them. We were prevented from moving materials on our lower claims by the outlaws and rangers on the Texas side and could not get to these claims from the Oklahoma side on account of water channels, etc. I denied my guards and employees the right to carry firearms except in two or three instances, and I think by doing so I prevented several killings. But we never faltered in protesting our rights to the land and continued to improve it in spite of the many obstacles. The improvements were distributed over the areas at the most advantageous points and where the development would do the most good. A complete record is shown in the application for lease on each separate claim, but many thousand dollars expense were expended on these separate claims that don't show, but which was a material benefit to the claim. By looking over the accounting made in this application for lease statements and the briefs filed in the court, a report can be made out that will cover the details”
The CHAIRMAN. What does he mean by "application for lease''?
Mr. Macey. After the passage of the leasing law, these people came in under the leasing law and made application for lease under section 19 of the oil leasing act.
* * such as amounts expended, location of improvement, and dates. There is one thing not mentioned very strong in the data mentioned, and that is the opposition we met and the expense we were to in overcoming this opposition and the property destroyed. Now, Mr. Owens, would it be possible for you to go over all the data mentioned and compile a report?”
The CHAIRMAN. Did he appear in the case in the Supreme Court?
Mr. Macey. And urged they were entitled to leases under the oil leasing act. He appeared in Oklahoma City, in the testimony taken in the city, and he appeared bebefore the Supreme Court, filed briefs there, and filed a short brief in each of the 45 claims.
The CHAIRMAN. In that view, do you think it is a fair construction of the Supreme Court for them to hold that the oil leasing act was not applicable?
Mr. Macey. No; I do not. After reading carefully the oil-leasing law, the first part of it, what you would call the granting clause, my opinion is that the oil leasing act was applicable.
The CHAIRMAN. Why did the Supreme Court deny your people any rights?
Mr. Macey. They did not pass on the question of these applications for lease and they did not deny us any rights except we are in the same position everybody else is in when they said the land was not open to entry under the mining laws not to acquisition under any of the land laws. The word acquisition I do not think covers the question of passing title
Mr. Dyar. They denied your claim when they promptly dismissed you from the case by decree, did they not?
Mr. Macey. I think so. I have not seen the decree. That was the case before the Supreme Court. Mr. Jesse B. Roote and Mr. Paul M. Clark appeared for the Denson claimants before the Supreme Court. I will refer to that in a moment. Continuing with this letter, he says:
Mr. Clark is familiar with many phases of this data. Erickson knows considerable about the true conditions. I will sign the statement. The general history of the location of this placer land was about as follows:
“I arrived in that locality June 10, 1919, and by request of the people in Rocky Ford, Colo., who authorized me to locate the land under the placer laws, and as I had located thousands of acres of such land in the oil and mining district before, I prepared to do the work in a first-class manner to avoid future trouble. So learning that it was unsurveyed land, I then decided on a plan which would simply be an extension of the public survey of the surveyed land of Oklahoma. Then, in order to comply with the placer regulations as near as possible, I located claims by subdivisions as represented by the fractional sections or the section, as the case may be. By doing this I simplified the location question of complications on the records, etc.
“When I started the survey of these several claims I did not stop until I had made all locations according to law; then I filed certificates at Frederick, the county seat of Tillman County, Okla. After doing this I immediately started to get the finances together for the improvements and did secure finances as fast as it was practicable to use them under the existing obstacles and difficulties I encountered. A great amount of money was wasted by the destruction of property, etc., owing to the unthought-of conditions.
“But if material could have been secured as readily then as it could one year after, there would have been many producing wells drilled, and if the receiver had permitted us to have gone ahead with the work which had been started we would have developed a large territory or else proven it nonproductive. At the present time only a small area has been developed.”
If you would like to have it, I will leave this letter with the committee. Would you like to have this letter printed in the record ?
The CHAIRMAN. Just as you wish, if you think it is material, other than the parts you have read.
Mr. Macey. It is a concise statement of what the Denson group of claimants did down there on the Arkansas River, and, of course, it is a more accurate statement than I, as an attorney, could give, because this is a statement of the man who did the work.
The CHAIRMAN. Let it go in.
Mr. Macey. In putting the letter in, I would like to have eliminated from the record the first paragraph, which relates purely to personal matters between Mr. Denson and Mr. Owens. (The remaining portions of the letter are as follows:)
As I have said before, had ordinary conditions prevailed we no doubt would have drilled every claim located or would have proven the same dry by adjacent dev lopment, within the time limit as provided by the placer law."
Mr. Macey. These Denson claimants expended on this land, as shown by the record in the Supreme Court, approximately $26,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Prior to what date?
Mr. Macey. Prior to the time that the receiver took the land over, between June 10, 1919, and April 1, 1920. They expended other moneys, I suppose the total expenditure is nearer $50,000, but they only proved up before the Supreme Court, or set up, about $26,000 as the amount expended on these claims. Some of the claims are on the north side of the river. Mr. Denson seemed to think the leasing laws applied to the whole river bed and that the north side of the river was public land of the United States.
The CHAIRMAN, How much did they spend on the north side?
Mr. Macey. I can not tell you. It would be a minor portion of it. The only way I could gauge that would be from the maps showing where the locations are. The larger portion of this money was expended on the south side of the Brashear No. 6, just north of the Burk Divide claim. They spent $2,275, according to this brief filed in the Supreme Court by Mr. Riter and Mr. Clark.
The CHAIRMAN, Was that the Denson Co., or what is the name?
Mr. Macey. These are individual placer locations made like the others, by eight people to each 160 acres, and they have been classed as the Denson group of placer claimants in the Supreme Court because he was the man who made the locations as a civil engineer for these people.
The CHAIRMAN. How many claims were there?
The CHAIRMAN. When you speak of a claim, you mean 160 acres, do you not?
Mr. Macey. I mean placer claims. Some of these placer claims have less than 20 acres.
It goes by the subdivision. Where there are 20 acres of the quarter, you take 20 acres; where there are 40 acres, you take the 40, and there are some of them cover 160 acres. They are all the way from 20 up to 160 acres.
The CHAIRMAN. With whom are you in conflict?
Mr. Macey. I can not say; neither can anybody else. There are conflicts all up and down this river.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you in conflict with the Burk Divide?
Mr. Macey. To a minor extent. Mr. Densen located about 20 acres, or maybe 30, in the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of section 8, 5 south, 14 west. A portion of that land is in conflict with the Burk Divide. It is difficult for one to know what the boundaries of these different claims are. The Burk Divide counsel presented a map here showing a hiatus between the Pacific-Wyoming and the Burk Divide. I have a map here of the Pacific-Wyoming which does not show such a hiatus, and they connect up.
Mr. BURTNESS. You are in considerable conflict with the Pacific-Wyoming, are
Mr. Macey. There is a conflict with the eastern claim of the Pacific-Wyoming, and I think the western claim, but no conflict with the two intermediate claims. They have four claims.
Mr. Dear. May I ask a question of the people assembled here? There was introduced by somebody in the record, and possibly the Government-I never was interested in it particularly—a map upon which I think Mr. Livingston, the Government surveyor, had reintroduced all these claims on a single map, showing the overlaps. Do any of you know where that map is?
Mr. Macey. I have a copy of it here, but he did not put all of the conflicts on. I think he tried to put on most of the conflicts presented before the Supreme Court,
but not all of them; it was impossible. I was inquiring at the General Land Officethey were showing me the map and I was really inquiring about when they would have the boundaries established. They showed me this same map and one of the officials mentioned that, in section 8, where there were 13 conflicting claims, one on top of the other. Who they are, I do not know. I never heard of so many.
I think the counsel for the Burk Divide stated they never located the Burk Divide claims; they located them to the center of the river, or what they assumed to be the medial line. Here is a map prepared by the Pacific-Wyoming, which shows the Burk Divide claims and the Pacific-Wyoming claims here (indicating on map). This is a 20-acre tract the Pacific-Wyoming have acquired from a part of the Roberts claim [indicating]. The boundary line, as it is put on the Government map here, runs right through where I have drawn an ink sketch, right through that red claim, right through here, and that narrow strip is where Mr. Denson states they put up a derrick and spent about $2,200 on the Brashier No. 6 claim (indicating). You see, there is where you come in conflict. The Burk Divide says they come to the center of the river.
Colonel RootE. No: I said it was all confined to south of the center; I said it did not go all the way to the center.
Mr. Macey. I understood you to say it went to the center of the river.
Colonel Roots. No; the Burk Divide claims were located south of the center. In no place do they go quite all the way up to the center of the river. At least, that is what I meant to say, if I did not.
Mr. Macey. It is hard to find two people who can agree as to what the conflicts are and I do not know how the claims are ever to be determined, as to where they actually did exist. Mr. Denson made a survey in accordance with what would be, when the surveys were extended, the Government sectional system. He tied all of his claims to some monument on the north bank, along the old meander line or above it, where that was washed out. I have read of the existence of other claims on the river tied to some tree or some hill on the south side and I do not know how any one could determine where they were exactly, on the ground.
These conflicting claims down here are a very essential proposition in this matter, because certain people have gone in there and claimed they were the first to get a certain piece of land. Somebody else takes issue with them on the question of what ground the claim actually covers. Mr. Denson has contended to me and to his associates that after he located one of these claims that is in the river bed, at the time when the stakes were not there or had been washed away, or something—at any rate, he stated that the Burk Divide claimants came in and moved their north stakes from 200 to 300 feet farther north. I have no way of knowing whether that is correct or not; I do not know. It would be likely the Burk Divide claimants would say they did not, but those cases arise.
There are some other claims shown on this map. In fact, there are the Burkburnett claims in yellow coming through here; I think they extend out to here (indicatings. I do not know how much farther the Burkburnett claims extend. As far as I know, or have ever heard at least, the Burkburnett people never spent any money; they were merely what we call paper locations. They were recorded and then they went away. I do not think that they appeared before the Supreme Court; I believe they did appear at the hearings in Oklahoma City.
Colonel Roots. They appeared at the hearing in Oklahoma City, but they did not appear in the Supreme Court; they quit.
Mr. Macey. Many of the conflicting claims, of course, go out by default, or on the ground they had never spent any money, or that they kept relocating the land every year until they relocated themselves out of existence.
Colonel RootE. I believe they did appear the last day of the argument. I believe at the conclusion of the argument Senator Gore arose and said he had just received a