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GENERAL LAND OFFICE
THE MANNER OF PROCEEDING
OBTAIN TITLE TO PUBLIC LANDS UNDER THE HOMESTEAD,
DESERT LAND, AND OTHER LAWS.
Issued July 11, 1899.
IN REFERENCE TO
THE MANNER OF ACQUIRING TITLE TO THE PUBLIC LANDS.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
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 Territories 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.
PURCHASE AT PUBLIC SALE AND PRIVATE ENTRY.
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., 1005; 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 sectiou twenty-four hundred and fifty-five of the Revised Statutes, and mineral and other lands, the sale of which at public auction has been anthorized 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 coded 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 disposi. tion of such lands shall continue in accordance with the provisions of such treaties or agreements, except as provided in section tive 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., 173 ; salt spring reserve lands, act of January 12, 1877, 19 Stat. L., 221.
MINIMUM AND DOUBLE MINIMUM LANDS.
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).