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saw mills in the Territory. It is stated that experiments in raising flax, and the mulberry tree, and in rearing the silk-worm, have been successful.
The Commissioner of the General Land Office, in his report for 1868, says that valuable tracts, either for grazing or farming purposes, remain unoccupied, and calls attention to the advantages of settlement here: 6 Aside from centrality of position, may be mentioned the existence of flouring mills, manufacturing establishments, shops, stores, and markets in every important locality, with supplies of horses, mules, and improved breeds of cattle, sheep, and hogs, thus furnishing to immigrantş many facilities not found in less populous sections.”
The population of the Territory is estimated at 120,000.
HOMESTEADS UNDER ACT OF CONGRESS. By act of Congress, approved June 21, 1866, the public lands lying in the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida, are open only to settlement as homesteads according to provisions of former enactments relating thereto; with the restriction, however, that until the expiration of two years from and after the passage of the act no entry should be made for more than a half-quarter of a section, or eighty acres. The object in the main, perhaps, was to encourage the freedmen to occupy these vacant lands. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868, 526,077 acres were taken up under the provisions of the act, and in the year preceding an aggregate of 264,480 acres. There yet remain undisposed of in those States 6,790,996 acres in Alabama, 11,574,430 in Arkansas, 17,424,438 in Florida, 6,582,841 in Louisiana, and 4,828,009 in Mississippi.
It must not be supposed that because these are comparatively old States, the best lands have been taken up. While it is perhaps difficult, if not altogether impossible, to secure lands in the vicinity of cities or large towns, or in near proximity to present lines of commercial communication, very desirable tracts may be obtained in sections not remote. Moreover, the construction of railroads in that part of the country promises to be undertaken with an energy commensurate with their importance in the development of the rich regions now lying fallow on account of distance from leading markets. What the iron rail has done for the plains and prairies and outlying regions of the West and further North, it may confidently be expected to do for the South, with its wealth of soil, salubrious climate, inviting natural scenery, and affluent products. The era of substantial progress for the South may indeed be said to have commenced with the termination of the war, which, obliterating the system of compulsory labor, and the monopoly of production by great landed proprietors, opened up the avenues of competition to all classes of citizens. The division of lands into smaller tracts has promoted a more systematic and thorough, and consequently more profitable mode of farming and planting. Evidences of a highly remunerative production must attract that immigration which is the invigorating life of States. The characteristics of soil, climate, and productions of the homestead land States of the South are so nearly similar, and are so generally understood, that it is not necessary to speak of them respectively at any length.
Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana are the leading cottonproducing States of the Union. They each possess remarkable agri. cultural and economic advantages. The soil, fertile and varied, produces the principal cereals and a variety of fruits and vegetables, in addition to cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. Numerous streams, lakes, and , bayous afford easy means of intercommunication. Timber of a superior kind for building purposes and for fuel is abundant. The great success which has attended experiments in the growing of mulberry trees and the rearing of silk-worms augurs the introduction into those States of that important branch of industry.
Alabama furnishes superior grazing lands in the northern districts, and, in that section, a soil well adapted to the cultivation of wheat, maize, rye, oats, &c. In this State coal, iron, and valuable minerals exist in considerable quantities. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868, 124,085 acres were taken up under the homestead act of 1866. In the same time 102,824 acres were entered by homestead settlers in Mississippi.
In the lower portion of Louisiana there are fertile prairies which yield good crops of wheat, barley, and Indian corn, some cereals yielding two crops annually. There are 50,000 acres of swamp land in this State which may be reclaimed by drainage and embankments, accounted as productive as any within its boundaries. There are 6,500,000 acres of railroad lands in Louisiana, which may be bought at low rates.
The fruits of the tropics flourish luxuriantly on the soil of Florida. Its rich alluvial bottoms produce large crops of sugar and rice. It has been said that the area in this State suitable for the culture of cotton is amply sufficient to supply the demands of the United States for that commodity. Possessing a coast line of one thousand miles, it furnishes from its dense forests ship-building timber of good quality. Public land in great abun. dance may be had in the State. Rapid settlement along the coast is being made by persons intent upon the culture of fruits. Florida, with an area of over 59,000 square miles, has a population estimated at a little over 160,000.
Arkansas is divided into two sections by the Ozark Mountains. While that region lying upon the north possesses a climate and furnishes productions analogous to those of the northern States, that lying upon the south displays the general characteristics of the cotton States. The staple productions of the State are Indian corn, cotton, and live stock, and considerable crops of wheat, oats, and tobacco. The White River Valley is sought by those who cultivate the cereals and raise herds. To the west of the great forests of the Arkansas is one of the most productive regions on the continent for corn, cotton, and tobacco." In the valley of the Red River cotton is the staple product. The valley of the Ouachita is extremely fertile and inviting. The valley of the Mississippi is, for the most part, low and marshy, and subject in places to inundation. These lands, however, will be eventually reclaimed by drainage, and the protection of levees, since Congress has given to States the control of such tracts.
MANNER OF ACQUIRING TITLE TO PUBLIC LANDS.
The following directions for acquiring title to the public lands are communicated by the Commissioner of the General Land Office:
There are two classes of public lands; the one class at $1 25 per acre, which is designated as minimum, and the other at $2 50 per acre, or double minimum.
Title may be acquired by purchase, at public sale, or by ordinary • private entry," and by virtue of the pre-emption and homestead laws.
1. At public sale, where lands are offered” at public auction to the highest bidder, either pursuant to proclamation by the President or public notice given in accordance with directions from the General Land Oflice.
2. By private entry or location. The lands of this class liable to disposal are those which have been offered at public sale, and thereafter remain unsold, and which have not been subsequently reserved, or otherwise withdrawn from market. In this class of offered and unreserved public lands the following steps may be taken to acquire title:
Cash purchases. The applicant must present a written application to the register for the district in which the land desired is situated, describing the tract he wishes to purchase, giving its area. Thereupon the register, if the tract is vacant, will so certify to the receiver, stating the price; and the applicant must then pay the amount of the purchase money. The receiver will then issue to the purchaser a duplicate receipt, and at the close of the month the register and receiver will make returns of the sale to the General Land Office, from whence, when the proceedings are found regular, a patent, or complete title, will be issued ; and on surrender of the duplicate receipt such patent will be delivered, at the option of the patentee, either by the Commissioner at Washington or by the register at the district land office.
Location with warrants.-Application must be made as in cash cases, but must be accompanied by a warrant duly assigned as the consideration for the land; yet where the tract is $2 50 per acre, the party, in addition to the surrendered warrant, must pay in cash $1 25 per acre, as the warrant is in satisfaction of only so many acres at $1 25 per acre as are contained in the tract located. A duplicate certificate of location will then be furnished the party, to be held until the patent is delivered, as in cases of cash sales.
Agricultural College Scrip. This scrip is applicable to lands not mincral, which may be subject to private entry at $1 25 per acre, yet is restricted to a technical " quarter section;" that is, lands embraced by the quarter section lines indicated on the official plats of survey, or it may be located on a part of a “ quarter section,” where such part is taken as in full for a quarter; but it cannot be applied to different subdivisions to make an area equivalent to a quarter section. The manner of proceed. ing to acquire title with this class of paper is the same as in cash and warrant cases, the fees to be paid being the same as on warrants. The location of this scrip is restricted to three sections in each township of land.
Pre-emptions to the extent of one quarter section. These may be made under the general pre-emption laws, upon “ offered” and “unoffered” land; and in certain States and Territories west of the Mississippi, including that part of Minnesota east of the river, may have legal inception by actual settlement upon unsurveyed land, although in such cases no definitive proceedings can be had as to the completion of title until after the surveys are officially returned to the district land office.
The act of March 3, 1853, extends the pre-emption for one quarter, or one hundred and sixty acres, at $2 50 per acre to every 6 alternate United States or reserved section along the line of railroads.
The act of March 27, 1854, protects the right of settlers on sections along the line of railroads where settlement existed prior to withdrawal, and in such cases allows the tract to be taken by pre-emption at $1 25 per acre,
Where the tract is offered" the party must file with the district land office his declaratory statement as to the fact of his settlement within thirty days froin the date of said settlement, and within one year from that date, must appear before the register and receiver and make proof of his actual residence on and cultivation of the tract, and secure the same by paying cash, or by filing warrant duly assigned to the pre-emptor.
Where the tract has been surveyed and not offered at public sale, the claimant must file within three months from date of settlement, and make proof and payment before the day designated in the President's proclamation for offering the lands at public sale. Should the settler in either of the aforesaid cases die before establishing his claim within the period limited by law, the title may be perfected by the executor, administrator, or one of the heirs, by making the requisite proof of settlement and pay. ing for the land; the entry to be made in the name of "the heirs” of the deceased settler, and the patent will be issued accordingly.
In those States and Territories in which settlements are authorized by law on unsurveyed land, the claimant must file notice of settlement within three months after the receipt of the township plat of survey at the district land office, and make proof and payment as required in the case of tracts which have been surveyed and not offered at public sale.
Homestead lands. The original homestead act of May 20, 1862, gives to every citizen, and to those who have declared their intentions to become such, the right to a homestead on surveyed lands. This is conceded to the extent of one-quarter section, or 160 acres, held at $1 25 per acre, or eighty acres at $2 50 per acre, in any organized district embracing surveyed public lands. To obtain homesteads the party must, in connection with his application, make an affidavit before the register or receiver that he is over the age of twenty-one, or the head of a family; that he is a citizen of the United States, or has declared his intention to become such, and that the entry is made for his exclusive use and benefit, and for actual settlement and cultivation. Where the applicant is prevented by reason of bodily infirmity, distance, or other good cause, from personal attendance at the district land office, the affidavit may be made before the clerk of the court for the county within which the party is an actual resident.
The amendatory act of March, 1864, relaxes the requirements of personal attendance at the district office to persons in the military or naval service, where the party's family or some member is residing on the land that it is desired to enter, and upon which a bona fide improvement and cultivation has been made. In such cases the said act of 1864 allows the beneficiary to make the affidavit before the officer command. ing in the branch of service in which he may be engaged, and the same may be filed by the wife or other representative of the absentee with the register, together with the homestead application. His claim in that case will become effective from the date of filing, provided the required fee and commissions accompany the same; but immediately upon his discharge he must enter upon the land and make it his bona fide home, as required by the original act of May 20, 1862.
For homestead entries on surveyed lands in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, aud Florida, the total commissions and fees to be paid on minimum lands are as follows: On 100 acres, $18; on 80 acres, $9; on 40 acres, $7; ou double minimum lands, 80 acres, $18; 40 acres, $9. On surveyed lands in California, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana, the commissions and fees are as follows: On minimum lands, 160 acres, $22; 80 acres, $11; 40 acres, $8; on double minimum lands, 80 acres, $22; 40 acres, $11. By the act of 21st June, 1866, the public lands of Alabama, slississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida, are subject to disposal under the provisions of the homestead laws only.
Upon faithful observance of the law in regard to settlement and culti vation for the continuous term of five years, and at the expiration or that time, or within two years thereafter, upon proper proof to the satis. faction of the land officers, and payment to the receiver, the register will issue his certificate and make proper return to the General Land Office as the basis of a patent or complete title for the homestead. In making final proof it is indispensable, under the statute, that the homestead party shall appear in person at the district land office, and there make the affidavit required of him by law in support of his claim. Where, from physical disability, distance, or other good cause, the witnesses of said party cannot attend in person at the district land office, their testimony in support of the claim may be taken where they reside before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Their testimony must state satisfactorily the reason of inability to attend the district office; and the credibility and responsibility of the witnesses must be certified by the officiating magistrate, whose official character must be certified under seal. Where a homestead settler dies before the consummation of his claim, the heirs may continue the settlement and cultivation, and obtain title upon requisite proof at the proper time. Where both parents die, leaving infant heirs, the homestead may be sold for cash for the benefit of such heirs, and the purchaser will receive title from the United States.
The sale of a homestead claiin by the settler to another party before completion of title is not recognized by the General Land Office, and not only vests no title or equities in the purchaser, but is prima facie evi. dence of abandonment, and gives cause for the cancellation of the claim. To the government only inay a claim be relinquished; and in such case the duplicate receipt of the settler should be surrendered with the relinquishment indorsed thereon; or if the duplicate has been lost, that fact should be stated in the relinquishment, duly signed and acknowledged.
When application is made for the cancellation of a homestead entry on the ground of abandonment, the party must file his affidavit with the local land officers, setting forth the facts on which his allegations are founded, describing the tracts and giving the name of the settler. Upon this the officers will set apart a day for a hearing, giving all the parties in interest due notice of the time and place of trial.
The expenses incident to such contest must be defrayed by the contestant, and no entry of the land can be made until the local officers have received notice from the General Land Office of the cancellation of the entry covering the same. As the law allows but one homestead privilege, å settler relinquishing or abandoning his claim cannot thereafter make a second entry. Where an individual has made settlement on a surveyed tract and tiled his pre-emption declaration therefor, he may change lis filing into homestead, yet such change is inadmissible where an adverse right has intervened, but in such cases the settler has the privi. lege of perfecting his title under the pre-emption laws. If the homestead settler does not wish to remain five years on his tract, the law permits hiin to pay for it with cash or warrants, upon making proof of settlement and cultivation from the date of entry to the time of payment. There is another class of homesteads, designated as adjoining farm homesteads.” In these cases the law allows an applicant, owning and residingon an original farm, to enter other land lying contiguous thereto, which shall not, with such farm, exceed in the aggregate one hundred and sixty acres. Thus, for example, a party owning or occupying eighty acres may enter eighty additional graded at $1 25, or forty acres at $250. Or suppose the