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No. 516.



December 14, 1855. Gentlemen :-1st. In all cases where land is entered for the use of an adjoining farm,” under the Graduation Act of 4th August, 1854, the affidavit of the purchaser must designate the tract covered by the original farm, so that this Office may have on its files evidence establishing the fact.

Where entries have been allowed on affidavits in which the original farm is not described, a supplemental deposition must be produced designating it.

2d. Where the original farm has been transferred, with the adjoining tract, by the first purchaser, and the latter is dead, or not within reach, the supplemental affidavit above mentioned may be received from any competent witness.

3d. Affidavits, according to the prescribed form, in any cases contemplated in the foregoing or otherwise arising under the said Act of 1854, may be taken pursuant to the Act of 3d March, 1855, before any officer in the State of

authorized to administer oaths, whose official character must be certified under seal. Patents, in all such cases, however, must issue in the name of the original purchasers.

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

Thos. A. HENDRICKS, Commissioner. Register and Receiver, Land Office at

No. 517.

Circular. *


January 23, 1856. Gentlemen :The sales of public lands for “settlement and cultivation,” under the Act of 4th August, 1854, (No. 251,)“to graduate and reduce the price of the public lands to actual settlers and cultivators,” have been very heavy in most of the land districts, and the certificates of purchase have accumulated on the files of this Office to such an extent as to render it necessary for definite action to be taken, to place such entries as may be valid in a condition for patenting, and cancelling those which may have been made in contravention of the law.

Before patents can be issued for this class of entries, it will be incumbent on the purchasers, in every instance, to produce a sworn declaration, with corroborative testimony, showing that the actual settlement and cultivation,” for which purposes the land was entered, have been made, and to this end numerical lists of the certificates of purchase issued at your office for this class of sales will be forwarded to you from time to time, upon the receipt of which you will proceed immediately to notify the purchasers, in each case, to produce the testimony required to perfect their respective entries.

Herewith are printed copies of the notices to be given and the form of sworn declaration and corroborative testimony required to be produced. You will take care to keep a proper record of the dates of the notices to each purchaser, so that at the expiration of the period of limitation, you may be able to report to this Office any failure to comply with the requirement within the period stipulated. In all cases of compliance you will transmit the papers to this Office as speedily as practicable.

* Superseded by Circular No. 518.

The postage on letters written by you to individuals, under instructions of this Office, must be paid, otherwise their transmission is interdicted by the Postal Act of 3d March, 1855.

The Receiver, as disbursing agent, will therefore pay the postage on all such letters, and at the end of the quarter he will transmit a detailed account of the same, certified by the Postmaster and verified by your affidavits, as vouchers to his quarterly disbursing account in which the same may be debited.

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

Thos. A. HENDRICKS, Commissioner. Register and Receiver at


185Sir :-Under instructions from the Commissioner of the General Land Office, you are hereby called upon to produce testimony to perfect your title to the land entered by you on the day — 185-, at this Of. fice, per certificate of purchase No. for "actual settlement and cultivation," under the provisions of the Act of Congress entitled “An Act to graduate and reduce the price of the public lands to actual settlers and cultivators,” approved August 4, 1854. A form of the required testimony is hereto annexed.

If such testimony be not produced at this Office within two months from this date, it will be regarded as an abandonment of your claim to the land, and the case will be reported to the General Land Office, in order that steps may be taken for throwing the land into market again, after proper notice.

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servants,

Register. , Receiver.

Sworn declaration and corroborating affidavit, to perfect titles to lands en

tered for actual settlement and cultivation under the Graduation Act of August 4, 1854.


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County of

State of On this day of

185-, personally appeared before me, the undersigned for the county and State aforesaid,

who, being duly sworn by me according to, law, deposes and says, in relation to the land entered by him on the

185-, per certificate of purchase No. that the same was for his own use, and for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation under the provisions of the Act of Congress, of 4th August, 1854,“ to graduate and reduce the price of the public lands to actual settlers and cultivators ;” that he is at this time in the occupancy of said land, and has been residing thereon since the

185—; that [here give a full description of the improvements on the land, stating the number of acres in cultivation] he has made or entered into no contract or agreement, either directly or

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indirectly, for the sale or transfer of said land, and that he was twenty-one years of age at the time he entered the same.

Sworn to and subscribed before me, on the day and year first above written.



Before me,

County of

State of

- personally appeared who, being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says, that he is well acquainted with who subscribed the foregoing declaration, and knows him to be the identical person

who entered the land described therein, and that he is now, and has been residing on said land since the

185–, and that his statement in regard to the improvements on the land he well knows from personal observation to be true. Sworn to and subscribed before me, this


day of

day of

No. 518.


Graduation Act of August 4, 1854.


April 7, 1856. Gentlemen :--To secure the rights of bona fide settlers, by obtaining from them the proof necessary to warrant the speedy issue of patents, and thus shield them from the efforts of speculation to set aside such entries, on the ground of alleged non-compliance with the purpose of the law, you were directed by this Office, in the Circular of January 23, 1856, to call upon purchasers, who made entries “for settlement and cultivation,” to produce proof of settlement, &c., within two months from the date of notice.

The time for presenting the proof was thus limited to hasten its production, the Office reserving to itself the right to extend the period, at the demand of parties interested, within any reasonable limits.

As the benefits of the act were designed to be for actual settlers only," as declared by the Attorney-General, in his opinion of the 28th July, 1855, it is proper to fix the time within which proof of the settlement shall be presented, but it is the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office, that it should be fixed upon the most liberal principles, and that the time heretofore allowed is too short, and that one year should be allowed, thus assimilating the period to that prescribed in the Pre-emption Act of 1841, in relation to lands subject to private entry.

Therefore, you are hereby directed

1st. In all existing entries, for “settlement and cultivation,” to allow the parties one year from the first of June next, for the production of the required proof of actual settlement, &c.

2d. In all entries thereafter, (that is, after 1st June,) one year from the date of entry is hereby allowed for the production of the requisite proof.

3d. Where entries have been made, the purchasers not intending to occupy the land in person, under a misconception of the law, upon filing an affidavit to that effect, you will allow them to hold the land at $125 per acre, requiring them to pay up the difference between that price and the sum already paid under the Graduation Act. For the additional payment, the Receiver must issue a supplemental receipt, giving a half number to it, in the regular series. The transaction must be reported in the monthly abstracts of the Register and Receiver, and the Receiver must, of course, charge himself with

* It is not indispensable that the foregoing affidavits should be made before the land officers. Where that cannot be conveniently done, it may be made before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and in that case his official character must be certified under seal,

such additional payments in his quarterly accounts. 4th. In case of the death of a purchaser before perfecting his rights, on proof to the satisfaction of the General Land Office of the bona fide intention of the decedent to fulfil the requirements of the law, his claim shall be confirmed to his heirs or legal representatives.

5th. If a “minor” is the “head of a family,his entry is valid. If not the head of a family, it is invalid. (Opinion of the Attorney-General, July 25, 1855.)

In the case, however, of a purchaser, whose entry is invalid by reason of his minority at the time, but who afterwards reaches his majority, and has identified himself with the premises by actual settlement and cultivation, the land may be secured to him by producing proof of such actual settlement and cultivation.

6th. Where an entry is made for the use of an “adjoining" farm, it is required that an affidavit shall be filed designating the original farm," so it may appear that the entry forms, with the said “farm,” a compact body of land. This is all the proof required in this class of cases.

7th. Where the validity of entries may be contested, and the sales made void, no preference right will be given to the contestant to enter the land thus vacated, unless it shall appear that he had a right under the law, as an actual settler thereon, at the date of the illegal entry.

Where entries made by speculators in violation of the law, are set aside, the lands covered thereby will be laid open, after proper notice to actual settlers. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOS. A. HENDRICKS, Register and Receiver.


No. 519.

Circular relative to Entries under the Graduation Act of 1854. (No. 251.)


March 21, 1857. Gentlemen :- Annexed is a copy of the Act of Congress, approved March 3, 1857, “ to confirm certain entries of land therein named,” being, in fact, a supplement to the Act of 1854.

1st. The effect of this Act of 1857, is to confirm all entries under the Graduation Act of 1854, made prior to the Act of March 3, 1857, in which the affidavit has been made in the form, or substance, contemplated by the instructions to the Register, and where the purchase-money has been paid, excepting where “ fraudulently or evasively made,” or which, on that ground, had been annulled and vacated.

We are enabled by this enactment to release all entries from the beginning of sales under the Graduation Act to the 3d March, 1857, not falling under the exceptions mentioned, and if there are any impeached cases, not yet transmitted to this office, you will forth with report them.

2d. This Act of March 3, 1857, however, has no application whatever to any entries made subsequent to its passage.

Therefore, in regard to all such subsequent entries, you will inform the purchasers, at the time of making them, that the requirements of the Circular of April 7, 1856, will be insisted upon, and that consequently before patents can issue for such subsequent entries, the proof of actual settlement and cultivation, within a year from the date of entry, must be made as called for by that Circular. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Thos. A. HENDRICKS, Register and Receiver at



No. 520. Purchase of Public Lands by Aliens. Under the Land Laws of the United States, aliens are entitled to purchase

the public lands, subject only, as to their tenure, to such limitations as particular States may enact, with this exception, however, that preemptions are secured to aliens who have declared their intention to become naturalized according to law, and to citizens whether native born or

naturalized, and none others. The same distinction is maintained in the Graduation Acts, with the

further condition, that the limited quantity of land, purchasable by any person at the reduced prices, can be purchased only for personal use, and for actual settlement and cultivation.


July 28, 1855. Sir:-Your communication of the 26th instant, presents a single question of construction, arising on the Act of August 4, 1854, (No. 251,) entitled, An act to graduate and reduce the price of the public lands to actual settlers and cultivators." (10 Stats. at Large, p. 574.)

This Act provides, in its first section, that “all the public lands of the United States, which have been in market for ten years or upwards, prior to the time of application to enter the same under the provisions of the act, and still remaining unsold, shall be subject to sale at the price of one dollar per acre," and it proceeds to enact, in the same legislative language, that, after fifteen years, the land shall be subject to sale at seventy-five cents per acre; after twenty years, at fifty cents; after twenty-five years, at twentyfive cents; and after thirty years, at twelve and a half cents.

The Act provides in the second section, that all claims of pre-emption accruing in virtue of any act granting pre-emption to actual settlers upon public lands, remain untouched by this law, and furthermore gives to the pre-emptor power, within certain periods, of pre-empting the lands described in the act at the reduced prices which it prescribes, but subject in all other respects to “the same terms, conditions, restrictions, and limitations upon which the public lands of the United States are now subject to the right of pre-emption."

Finally, the act, in its third and last section, provides that any person applying to enter any of the aforesaid lands shall be required to make affidavit, before the Register or Receiver of the proper land office, that he or she

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