History of Legislation for the Protection of the Bison.
1816-John Jacob Astor persuaded congress to act on the subject at once. A law was passed, and approved by the president on April 29, 1816, forbidding American authorities to issue licenses to foreigners to trade with the Indians within the territorial limits of the United States, “unless by express direction of the president . . . and upon such terms and conditions as the public interests may, in his opinion, require.” Any foreigner caught in the Indian country without a passport was to be fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand, or imprisoned for not less than one month nor for more than twelve. Peltries and goods found in the possession of such intruders were to be divided equally between the informer and the United States. – source -The Yellowstone expedition,1819-1820 Vol. IV, No.3
(This did not work as expected and loopholes were used and trade went on almost as normal.)
1864 Idaho State Legislation passed the first law to protect the bison – after they were gone from the state.
1870’s It became obvious that owning bison was profitable. More and more people were capturing free-ranging bison to establish private herds.
(Early 1870’s) Henry Bergh, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
He was then engaged in a campaign to gain support for congressional legislation to protect the buffalo from white hunters.
1871 Wyoming passed a law prohibiting the waste of bison meat. Since such laws were not enforced, they did little to protect the bison.
The slaughter of the buffalo down to the very point of extermination has been so very generally condemned, and the general Government has been so unsparingly blamed for allowing such a massacre to take place on the public domain, it is important that the public should know all the facts in the case. To the credit of Congress, it must be said that several very determined efforts were made between the years 1871 and 1876 looking toward the protection of the buffalo. The failure of all those well-meant efforts was due to our republican form of Government. Had this Government been a monarchy the buffalo would have been protected; but unfortunately in this case (perhaps the only one on record wherein a king could have accomplished more than the representatives of the people) the necessary act of Congress was so hedged in and beset by obstacles that it never became an accomplished fact. Even when both houses of Congress succeeded in passing a suitable act (June 23, 1874) it went to the President in the last days of the session only to be pigeon-holed, and die a natural death.
March 13, 1871, when Territorial delegate Mr. McCormick, of Arizona, introduced a bill (H. R. 157), which was ordered to be printed. Nothing further was done with it. It read as follows:
Be it enacted, etc., That, excepting for the purpose of using the meat for food or preserving the skin, it shall be unlawful for any person to kill the bison, or buffalo, found anywhere upon the public lands of the United States; and for the violation of this law the offender shall, upon conviction before any court of competent jurisdiction, be liable to a fine of $100 for each animal killed, one-half of which sum shall, upon its collection, be paid to the informer.
On February 14, 1872, Mr. Cole, of California, introduced in the Senate the following resolution, which was considered by unanimous consent and agreed to:
Resolved, That the Committee on Territories be directed to inquire into the expediency of enacting a law for the protection of the buffalo, elk, antelope, and other useful animals running wild in the Territories of the United States against indiscriminate slaughter and extermination, and that they report by bill or otherwise.
On February 16, 1872, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, introduced a bill in the Senate (S. 655) restricting the killing of the buffalo upon the public lands; which was read twice by its title and referred to the Committee on Territories.
On April 5, 1872, Mr. B. C. McCormick, of Arizona, made a speech in the House of Representatives, while it was in Committee of the Whole, on the restriction of the killing of buffalo.
He mentioned a then-recent number of Harper’s Weekly, in which were illustrations of the slaughter of buffalo and also read a partly historical extract in regard to the same. He related how, when he was once snow-bound upon the Kansas Pacific Railroad, the buffalo furnished food for himself and fellow-passengers. Then he read the bill introduced by him March 13, 1871, and also copies of letters furnished him by Henry Bergh, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which were sent to the latter by General W. B. Hazen, Lieut. Col. A. G. Brackett, and E. W. Wynkoop. He also read a statement by General Hazen to the effect that he knew of a man who killed ninety-nine buffaloes with his own hand in one day. He also spoke on the subject of cross-breeding the buffalo with common cattle and read an extract in regard to it from the San Francisco Post.
On April 6, 1872, Mr. McCormick asked leave to have printed in the Globe some remarks he had prepared regarding restricting the killing of buffalo, which was granted.
1872 The Kansas legislature passed a law prohibiting the wasting of bison meat, but the Governor vetoed it.
Colorado passed a law prohibiting the wasting of bison meat; it was not enforced.
The legislation creating Yellowstone National Park provided against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found in said park. Staffing and funding were not provided to enforce this law.
1872 Jan 2 Colonel William B. Hazen, not usually one to respect Indian rights, wrote to Bergh (president of the ABS prevention of cruelty to animals): The theory that the buffalo should be killed to deprive the Indians of food is a fallacy, as these people are becoming harmless under a rule of justice. I earnestly request that you bring this subject before Congress with the intention of having such steps taken as will prevent this wicked and wanton waste, both in the lives of God’s creatures and of the valuable food they furnish.
1873 Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior, under President Grant, wrote in his 1873 report, AI would not seriously regret the total disappearance of the buffalo from our western prairies, in the effect upon the Indians. I would regard it rather as a means of hastening their sense of dependence upon the products of the soil and their own labors.
On January 5, 1874, Mr. Fort, of Illinois, introduced a bill (H. R. 921) to prevent the useless slaughter of buffalo within the Territories of the United States; which was read and referred to the Committee on the Territories.
On March 10, 1874, this bill was reported to the House from the Committee on the Territories, with a recommendation that it be passed.
The first section of the bill provided that it shall be unlawful for any person, who is not an Indian, to kill, wound, or in any way destroy any female buffalo of any age, found at large within the boundaries of any of the Territories of the United States.
The second section provided that it shall be, in like manner, unlawful for any such person to kill, wound, or destroy in said Territories any greater number of male buffaloes that are needed for food by such person, or that can be used, cured, or preserved for the food of other persons, or for the market. It shall in like manner be unlawful for any such person, or persons, to assist, or be in any manner engaged or concerned in or about such unlawful killing, wounding, or destroying of any such buffaloes; that any person who shall violate the provisions of the act shall, on conviction, forfeit and pay to the United States the sum of $100 for each offense (and each buffalo so unlawfully killed, wounded, or destroyed shall be and constitute a separate offense), and on a conviction of a second offense may be committed to prison for a period not exceeding thirty days; and that all United States judges, justices, courts, and legal tribunals in said Territories shall have jurisdiction in cases of the violation of the law.
Mr. Cox said he had been told by old hunters that it was impossible to tell the sex of a running buffalo, and he also stated that the bill gave preference to the Indians.
Mr. Fort said the object was to prevent early extermination; that thousands were annually slaughtered for skins alone, and thousands for their tongues alone; that perhaps hundreds of thousands are killed every year in utter wantonness, with no object for such destruction. He had been told that the sexes could be distinguished while they were running.
This bill does not prohibit any person joining in a reasonable chase and hunt of the buffalo.
Said Mr. Fort, “So far as I am advised, gentlemen upon this floor representing all the Territories are favorable to the passage of this bill.”
Mr. Cox wanted the clause excepting the Indians from the operations of the bill stricken out and stated that the Secretary of the Interior had already said to the House that the civilization of the Indian was Impossible while the buffalo remained on the plains.
The Clerk read for Mr. McCormick the following extract from the New Mexican, a paper published in Santa Fé:
The buffalo slaughter, which has been going on the past few years on the plains, and which increases every year, is wantonly wicked and should be stopped by the most stringent enactments and most vigilant enforcements of the law. Killing these noble animals for their hides simply, or to gratify the pleasure of some Russian duke or English lord, is a species of vandalism which can not too quickly be checked. United States surveying parties report that there are two thousand hunters on the plains killing these animals for their hides. One party of sixteen hunters report having killed twenty-eight thousand buffaloes during the past summer. It seems to us there is quite as much reason why the Government should protect the buffaloes as the Indians.
Mr. McCormick considered the subject important and had not a doubt of the fearful slaughter. He read the following extract from a letter that he had received from General Hazen:
I know a man who killed with his own hand ninety-nine buffaloes in one day, without taking a pound of the meat. The buffalo for food has an intrinsic value about equal to an average Texas beef, or say $20. There are probably not less than a million of these animals on the western plains. If the Government owned a herd of a million oxen they would at least take steps to prevent this wanton slaughter. The railroads have made the buffalo so accessible as to present a case not dissimilar.
He agreed with Mr. Cox that some features of the bill would probably be impracticable, and moved to amend it. He did not believe any bill would entirely accomplish the purpose, but he desired that such wanton slaughter should be stopped.
Said he, “It would have been well both for the Indians and the white men if an enactment of this kind had been placed on our statute-books years ago. * * * I know of no one act that would gratify the red men more.”
Mr. Holman expressed surprise that Mr. Cox should make any objection to parts of the measure. The former regarded the bill as “an effort in a most commendable direction,” and trusted that it would pass.
Mr. Cox said he would not have objected to the bill but from the fact that it was partial in its provisions. He wanted a bill that would impose a penalty on every man, red, white, or black, who may wantonly kill these buffaloes.
Mr. Potter desired to know whether more buffaloes were slaughtered by the Indians than by white men.
Mr. Fort thought the white men were doing the greatest amount of killing.
Mr. Eldridge thought there would be just as much propriety in killing the fish in our rivers as in destroying the buffalo in order to compel the Indians to become civilized.
Mr. Conger said: “As a matter of fact, every man knows the range of the buffalo has grown more and more confined year after year; that they have been driven westward before advancing civilization.” But he opposed the bill!
Mr. Hawley, of Connecticut, said: “I am glad to see this bill. I am in favor of this law, and hope it will pass.”
Mr. Lowe favored the bill and thought that the buffalo ought to be protected for proper utility.
Mr. Cobb thought they ought to be protected for the settlers, who depended partly on them for food.
Mr. Parker, of Missouri, intimated that the policy of the Secretary of the Interior was a sound one and that the buffaloes ought to be exterminated, to prevent difficulties in civilizing the Indians.
Said Mr. Conger, “I do not think the measure will tend at all to protect the buffalo.”
Mr. McCormick replied: “This bill will not prevent the killing of buffaloes for any useful purpose, but only their wanton destruction.”
Mr. Kasson said: “I wish to say one word in support of this bill because I have had some experience as to the manner in which these buffaloes are treated by hunters. The buffalo is a creature of vast utility, * * *. This animal ought to be protected; * * *.”
The question being taken on the passage of the bill, there were—ayes 132, no’s not counted.
So the bill was passed.
On June 23, 1874, this bill (H. R. 921) came up in the Senate.
Mr. Harvey moved, as an amendment, to strike out the words “who is not an Indian.”
Said Mr. Hitchcock, “That will defeat the bill.”
Mr. Frelinghuysen said: “That would prevent the Indians from killing the buffalo on their own ground. I object to the bill.”
Mr. Sargent said: “I think we can pass the bill in the right shape without objection. Let us take it up. It is a very important one.”
Mr. Frelinghuysen withdrew his objection.
Mr. Harvey thought it was a very important bill, and withdrew his amendment.
The bill was reported to the Senate, ordered to a third reading, read the third time, and passed. It went to President Grant for signature and expired in his hands at the adjournment of that session of Congress.
On February 2, 1874, Mr. Fort introduced a bill (H. R. 1689) to tax buffalo hides; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
On June 10, 1874, Mr. Dawes, from the Committee on Ways and Means, reported back the bill adversely and moved that it be laid on the table.
Mr. Fort asked to have the bill referred to the Committee of the Whole, and it was so referred.
On February 2, 1874, Mr. R. C. McCormick, of Arizona, introduced in the House a bill (H. R. 1728) restricting the killing of the bison, or buffalo, on the public lands; which was referred to the Committee on the Public Lands, and never heard of more.
1875 Despite the danger of Indians, however, the hide hunters returned to Texas to continue their bloody work. In response, conservation-minded men in the state legislature introduced a buffalo protection bill. Few bison remained in Texas when the state legislature moved to protect the bison. However, General Phil Sheridan appeared before the assembly and suggested that every hunter be given a medal with a dead buffalo on one side and a discouraged Indian on the other. He added that once the animals were exterminated, the Indians would be controlled and civilization could advance.
On January 31, 1876, Mr. Fort introduced a bill (H. R. 1719) to prevent the useless slaughter of buffaloes within the Territories of the United States, which was referred to the Committee on the Territories.
The Committee on the Territories reported back the bill without amendment on February 23, 1876. Its provisions were in every respect identical with those of the bill introduced by Mr. Fort in 1874, and which passed both houses.
In support of it, Mr. Fort said: “The intention and object of this bill is to preserve them [the buffaloes] for the use of the Indians, whose homes are upon the public domain, and to the frontiersmen, who may properly use them for food. * * * They have been and are now being slaughtered in large numbers. * * * Thousands of these noble brutes are annually slaughtered out of mere wantonness. * * * This bill, just as it is now presented, passed the last Congress. It was not vetoed, but fell, as I understand, merely for want of time to consider it after having passed both houses.” He also intimated that the Government was using a great deal of money for cattle to furnish the Indians, while the buffalo was being wantonly destroyed, whereas they might be turned to their good.
Mr. Crounse wanted the words “who is not an Indian” struck out, so as to make the bill general. He thought Indians were to blame for the wanton destruction.
Mr. Fort thought the amendment unnecessary and stated that he was informed that the Indians did not destroy the buffaloes wantonly.
Mr. Dunnell thought the bill one of great importance.
The Clerk read for him a letter from A. G. Brackett, lieutenant-colonel, Second United States Cavalry, stationed at Omaha Barracks, in which was a very urgent request to have Congress interfere to prevent the wholesale slaughter then going on.
Mr. Reagan thought the bill proper and right. He knew from personal experience how the wanton slaughtering was going on, and also that the Indians were not the ones who did it.
Mr. Townsend, of New York, saw no reason why a white man should not be allowed to kill a female buffalo as well as an Indian. He said it would be impracticable to have a separate law for each.
Mr. Maginnis did not agree with him. He thought the bill ought to pass as it stood.
Mr. Throckmorton thought that while the intention of the bill was a good one, yet it was mischievous and difficult to enforce, and would also work hardship to a large portion of our frontier people. He had several objections. He also thought a cow buffalo could not be distinguished at a distance.
Mr. Hancock, of Texas, thought the bill an impolicy, and that the sooner the buffalo was exterminated the better.
Mr. Fort replied by asking him why all the game—deer, antelope, etc.—was not slaughtered also. Then he went on to state that to exterminate the buffalo would be to starve innocent children of the red man and to make the latter more wild and savage than he was already.
Mr. Baker, of Indiana, offered the following amendment as a substitute for the one already offered:
Provided, That any white person who shall employ, hire, or procure, directly or indirectly, any Indian to kill any buffalo forbidden to be killed by this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and punished in the manner provided in this act.
Mr. Fort stated that a certain clause in his bill covered the object of the amendment.
Mr. Jenks offered the following amendment:
Strike out in the fourth line of the second section the word “can” and insert “shall;” and in the second line of the same section insert the word “wantonly” before “kill;” so that the clause will read:
“That it shall be in like manner unlawful for any such person to wantonly kill, wound, or destroy in the said Territories any greater number of male buffaloes that are needed for food by such person, or that shall be used, cured, or preserved for the food of other persons, or for the market.”
Mr. Conger said: “I think the whole bill is unwise. I think it is a useless measure.”
Mr. Hancock said: “I move that the bill and amendment be laid on the table.”
The motion to lay the bill upon the table was defeated, and the amendment was rejected.
Mr. Conger called for a division on the passage of the bill. The House divided, and there were-ayes 93, noes 48. He then demanded tellers, and they reported—ayes 104, noes 36. So the bill was passed.
On February 25, 1876, the bill was reported to the Senate, and referred to the Committee on Territories, from whence it never returned.
On March 20, 1876, Mr. Fort introduced a bill (H. R. 2767) to tax buffalo hides; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and never heard of afterward.
This was the last move made in Congress in behalf of the buffalo. The philanthropic friends of the frontiersman, the Indian, and of the buffalo himself, despaired of accomplishing the worthy object for which they had so earnestly and persistently labored, and finally gave up the fight. At the very time, the effort in behalf of buffalo protection was abandoned the northern herd still flourished, and might have been preserved from extirpation.
At various times the legislatures of a few of the Western States and Territories enacted laws vaguely and feebly intended to provide some sort of protection to the fast disappearing animals. One of the first was the game law of Colorado, passed in 1872, which declared that the killers of game should not leave any flesh to spoil. The western game laws of those days amounted to about as much as they do now; (1889)practically nothing at all. I have never been able to learn of a single instance, save in the Yellowstone Park, wherein a western hunter was prevented by so simple and innocuous a thing as a game law from killing game. Laws were enacted, but they were always left to enforce themselves. The idea of the frontiersman (the average, at least) has always been to kill as much game as possible before some other fellow gets a chance at it, and before it is all killed off! So he goes at the game, and as a general thing kills all he can while it lasts, and with it feeds himself and family, his dogs, and even his hogs, to repletion. I knew one Montana man north of Miles City who killed for his own use twenty-six black-tail deer in one season and had so much more venison than he could consume or give away that a great pile of carcasses lay in his yard until spring and spoiled.
During the existence of the buffalo it was declared by many an impossibility to stop or prevent the slaughter. Such an accusation of weakness and imbecility on the part of the General Government is an insult to our strength and resources. The protection of game is now and always has been simply a question of money. A proper code of game laws and a reasonable number of salaried game-wardens, sworn to enforce them and punish all offenses against them, would have afforded the buffalo as much protection as would have been necessary to his continual existence. To be sure, many buffaloes would have been killed on the sly in spite of laws to the contrary, but it was wholesale slaughter that wrought the extermination, and that could easily have been prevented. A tax of 50 cents each on buffalo robes would have maintained a sufficient number of game-wardens to have reasonably regulated the killing, and maintained for an indefinite period a bountiful source of supply of food, and also raiment for both the white man of the plains and the Indian. By judicious management, the buffalo could have been made to yield an annual revenue equal to that we now receive from the fur-seals—$100,000 per year.
During the two great periods of slaughter—1870-’75 and 1880-’84—the principal killing grounds were as well known as the stock-yards of Chicago. Had proper laws been enacted, and had either the general or territorial governments entered with determination upon the task of restricting the killing of buffaloes to proper limits, their enforcement would have been, in the main, as simple and easy as the collection of taxes. Of course, the solitary hunter in a remote locality would have bowled over his half-dozen buffaloes in secure defiance of the law; but such desultory killing could not have made much impression on the great mass for many years. The business-like, wholesale slaughter, wherein one hunter would openly kill five thousand buffaloes and market perhaps two thousand hides, could easily have been stopped forever. Buffalo hides could not have been dealt in clandestinely, for many reasons, and had there been no sale for ill-gotten spoils the still-hunter would have gathered no spoils to sell. It was an undertaking of considerable magnitude, and involving a cash outlay of several hundred dollars to make up an “outfit” of wagons, horses, arms and ammunition, food, etc., for a trip to “the range” after buffaloes. It was these wholesale hunters, both in the North and the South, who exterminated the species, and to say that all such undertakings could not have been effectually prevented by law is to accuse our law-makers and law-officers of imbecility to a degree hitherto unknown. There is nowhere in this country, nor in any of the waters adjacent to it, a living species of any kind which the United States Government can not fully and perpetually protect from destruction by human agencies if it chooses to do so. The destruction of the buffalo was a loss of wealth perhaps twenty times greater than the sum it would have cost to conserve it, and this stupendous waste of valuable food and other products was committed by one class of the American people and permitted by another with a prodigality and wastefulness which even in the lowest savages would be inexcusable.
1877 A few remaining free-roaming bison were discovered in Texas and were killed.
A law was passed in Canada that forbade the use of pounds (corrals), wanton destruction, killing of buffalo under 2 years of age, and the killing of cows during a closed season.
1878 Bison in Canada were disappearing rapidly. Canada repealed the 1877 law.
1880 New Mexico passed a law to protect the bison; unfortunately, the bison were already gone from this state.
1883 The Dakota Territorial Legislature enacted a law to protect bison; it was not enforced.
BUFFALO LAND – 1874 COME TO THE GREAT WEST!
The Western States and Territories afford unexampled inducements to the surplus energy and capital of the East and Europe; and the field which they spread out so invitingly to the emigrant’s choice is as wide as it is magnificent. Hundreds of millions of acres of rich land—embracing bottom and prairie, timber and running water—are open for settlement. Counties are to be populated, and towns built, all over the new States and Territories. Each of these latter is an empire in itself. Great Britain could be set down within the borders of any one of them, and yet leave room for some of the German principalities. The records of the Agricultural Bureau at Washington show that, wherever the new soil has been cultivated, both the yield per acre and the quality of the crops produced are better than in the older States. The balance of power is moving westward, and the capital of the nation, it can scarcely be doubted, must eventually come also.
There is no reason why people should starve in the great cities of this broad and heaven-favored land of ours. Business men, so often besieged and worried with applications for positions in their stores and counting-rooms, might with advantage tack up a copy of the Homestead Law by their desk, and keep a further supply on hand for distribution. Every few months some poet sings of the ill-paid seamstress in the crowded town, or some hideous murder brings to light the heroine of the garret-stitched shirt. Yet, meanwhile, at Denver City, house-girls have been getting from six to ten dollars per week, and thousands could find comfortable homes throughout Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, with remunerative wages. Abroad, men toil, and women work in the fields, and in one year pay out from the scanty earnings which they wring from a stingy soil more than enough to purchase one hundred and sixty acres of good land in the great and growing West.
SHOULD THERE NOT BE COMPULSORY EMIGRATION?
Except in the case of the very decrepit, or totally disabled, there can be no excuse for begging, in a country which offers every pauper a quarter-section of as rich land as the sun shines upon. I suppose the millennium will commence when laws compel the cities to drive from them the idle and vicious, and make them tillers of the soil in the wilds. Instead of brooding in the dark alleys, and breeding vice to be flung out at regular intervals upon the civilized thoroughfares, these germinators of disease and crime would be dragged forth from their purlieus and hiding-places, and disinfected in the pure atmosphere of the large prairies and grand forests. Granting that it might be a heavy burden upon their shoulders at the outset, the present generation of reformers would have the satisfaction of knowing that the sores were cleansed, and that moral and physical disease was not being propagated to suffocate their children; and even although some of the present multitude of evil-doers might not be reclaimed, most of their children certainly would be. It is more profitable to raise farmers than convicts. Instead of building jails to hold men in life-long mildew, our artisans might be building steamers and cars, to carry their products to the seaboard.
“GET A GOOD READY.”
Of the immense and almost boundless tracts of Western land that invite the emigrant’s choice, the larger part can be homesteaded and pre-empted, and the remainder purchased on favorable terms from the different railroads. The competition among the latter for immigration has induced low prices and superior facilities for examination.
Where a number of families are coming together, the best way, as a rule, is to select commissioners from the number, to go in advance, and spy out the land, which can be done at comparatively trifling expense. On giving satisfactory proof of their mission, such representatives are nearly always able to secure low rates of fare and freight. In this way, two or three reliable agents can select a district in which a colony may settle, and make all the necessary arrangements for its transportation, and each family save a number of dollars, which will give back compound interest in the new home.
“Get a good ready” before starting, and have your route plainly mapped out; otherwise, you will buy experience at the sacrifice of many a useful dollar. And pray that your flight be not in the winter. Come at such season as will enable you to provide at least some shelter and supplies before the inclement months come on.
Furniture and provisions can be purchased at very reasonable rates at the West, and no necessity exists, therefore, for bringing one or two car loads of broken chairs, and partially filled flour barrels. Good stock will repay transportation, but common breeds are abundant and cheap on the ground. Texas yearlings can be purchased for about six dollars per head in Kansas.
HOMESTEAD LAWS AND REGULATIONS.
The following is an epitome, by a former Register of a United States Land Office, of such laws and regulations as pertain to the securing of Government land:
The Pre-emption Act of September 4, 1841, provides, that “every person, being the head of the family, or widow, or single man over the age of twenty-one years, and being a citizen of the United States, or having filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen, as required by the naturalization laws,” is authorized to enter at the Land Office one hundred and sixty acres of unappropriated Government land by complying with the requirements of said act.
It has been decided that an unmarried or single woman over the age of twenty-one years, not the head of the family, but able to meet all the requirements of the pre-emption law, has the right to claim its benefits.
Where the tract is “offered,” the party must file his declaratory statements within thirty days from the date of his settlement, and within one year from the date of said settlement, must appear before the Register and Receiver, and make proof of his actual residence and cultivation of the tract, and pay for the same with cash or Military Land Warrants. When the tract has been surveyed but not offered at public sale, the claimant must file within three months from the date of settlement, and make proof and payment before the day designated in the President’s Proclamation offering the land at public sale.
Should the settler, in either of the above class of cases, die before establishing his claim within the period limited by law, the title may be perfected by the executor or administrator, by making the requisite proof of settlement and cultivation, and paying the Government price; the entry to be made in the name of “the heirs” of the deceased settler.
When a person has filed his declaratory statements for one tract of land, it is not lawful for the same individual to file a second declaratory statement for another tract of land, unless the first filing was invalid in consequence of the land applied for, not being open to pre-emption, or by determination of the land against him, in case of contest, or from any other similar cause which would have prevented him from consummating a pre-emption under his declaratory statements.
Each qualified pre-empter is permitted to enter one hundred and sixty acres of either minimum or double minimum lands, subject to pre-emption, by paying the Government price, $1.25 per acre for the former class of lands, and $2.50 for the latter class.
Where a person has filed his declaratory statement for land which at the time was rated at $2.50 per acre, and the price has subsequently been reduced to $1.25 per acre, before he proves up and makes payment, he will be allowed to enter the land embraced in his declaratory statement at the last-named price, viz.: $1.25 per acre.
Final proof and payment can not be made until the party has actually resided upon the land for a period of at least six months, and made the necessary cultivation and improvements to show his good faith as an actual settler. This proof can be made by one witness.
The party who makes the first settlement in person upon a tract of public land is entitled to the right of pre-emption, provided he subsequently complies with all the requirements of the law—his right to the land commences from the date he performed the first work on the land.
When a person has filed his declaratory statement for a tract of land, and afterward relinquishes it to the Government, he forfeits his right to file again for another tract of land.
The assignment of a pre-emption right is null and void. Title to public land is not perfected until the issuance of the patent from the General Land Office, and all sales and transfers prior to the date of the patents are in violation of law.
The Act of March 27, 1854, protects the right of settlers on sections along the lines of railroads, when settlement was made prior to the withdrawal of the lands, and in such case allows the lands to be pre-empted and paid for at $1.25 per acre, by furnishing proof of inhabitancy and cultivation, as required under the Act of September 4, 1841.
The Homestead Act of May 20, 1862, provides “that any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against the United States Government, or given aid or comfort to its enemies, shall be entitled to enter one quarter section or less quantity of unappropriated public land.”
Under this act, one hundred and sixty acres of land subject to pre-emption at $1.25 per acre, or eighty acres at $2.50 per acre, can be entered upon application, by making affidavit “that he or she is the head of a family, or is twenty-one years of age, or shall have performed service in the army and navy of the United States, and that such application is made for his or her exclusive use or benefit, and that said entry is made for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not, either directly or indirectly, for the use and benefit of any other person or persons whomsoever.” On filing said affidavit, and payment of fees and commissions, the entry will be permitted.
Soldiers and sailors who have served ninety days can, however, take one hundred and sixty acres of the $2.50, or double minimum lands. In all other respects they are subject to the usual Homestead laws and regulations.
No certificate will be given, or patent issued, until the expiration of five years from the date of said entry; and if, at the expiration of such time, or at any time within two years thereafter, the person making such entry—or if he be dead, his widow; or in case of her death, his heirs or devisee; or in case of a widow making such entry, her heirs or devisee, in case of her death—shall prove by two credible witnesses that he or she has resided upon and cultivated the same for the term of five years immediately succeeding the date of filing the above affidavit, and shall make affidavit that no part of said land has been alienated, and that he has borne true allegiance to the Government of the United States; then he or she, if at that time a citizen of the United States, shall be entitled to a patent. In case of the death of both father and mother, leaving an infant child or children under twenty-one years of age, the right and fee shall inure to the benefit of said infant or children; and the executor, administrator, or guardian may, at any time after the death of the surviving parent, and in accordance with the law of the State in which such children for the time being have their domicil, sell said land for the benefit of said infants, but for no other purpose; and the purchaser shall acquire the absolute title from the Government and be entitled to a patent.
When a homestead settler has failed to commence his residence upon land so as to enable him to make a continuous residence of five years within the time (seven years) limited by law, he will be permitted, upon filing an affidavit showing a sufficient reason for his neglect to date his residence at the time he commenced such inhabitancy, and will be required to live upon the land for five years from said date, provided no adverse claim has attached to said land, and the affidavit of a settler is supported by the testimony of disinterested witnesses.
In the second section of the act of May 20, 1862, it is stipulated in regard to settlers, that in the case of the death of both father and mother, leaving an infant child, or children, under twenty-one years of age, the right and fee shall inure to the benefit of the infant child or children; and that the executor, administrator, or guardian, may sell the land for the benefit of the infant heirs, at any time within two years after the death of the surviving parent, in accordance with the law of the State. The Commissioner rules that instead of selling the land as above provided, their heirs may, if they so select, continue residence and cultivation on the land for the period required by law, and at the expiration of the time provided, a patent will be issued in their names.
In the case of the death of a homestead settler who leaves a widow and children, should the widow again marry and continue her residence and cultivation upon the land entered in the name of her first husband for the period required by law, she will be permitted to make final proof as the widow of the deceased settler, and the patent will be issued in the name of “his heirs.”
When a widow, or single woman, has made a homestead entry, and thereafter marries a person who has also made a similar entry on a tract, it is ruled that the parties may select which tract they will retain for permanent residence, and will be allowed to enter the remaining tract under the eighth section of the act of May 20, 1862, on proof of inhabitance and cultivation up to date of marriage.
In the case of the death of a homestead settler, his heirs will be allowed to enter the land under the eighth section of the Homestead Act, by making proof of inhabitancy and cultivation in the same manner as provided by the second section of the act of March 3, 1853, in regard to deceased pre-emptors.
When at the date of application the land is $2.50 per acre, and the settler is limited to an entry of eighty acres, should the price subsequently be reduced to $1.25 per acre, the settler will not be allowed to take additional land to make up the deficiency.
The sale of a homestead claim by the settler to another is not recognized, and vests no titles or equities in the purchaser, and would be prima facie evidence of abandonment, and sufficient cause for cancellation of the entry.
The law allows but one homestead privilege. A settler who relinquished or abandoned his claim can not hereafter make a second entry.
When a party has made a settlement on a surveyed tract of land, and filed his pre-emption declaration thereof, he may change his filing into a homestead.
If a homestead settler does not wish to remain five years on his tract, the law permits him to pay for it with cash or military warrants, upon making proof of residence and cultivation as required in pre-emption cases. The proof is made by the affidavit of the party and the testimony of two credible witnesses.
There is another class of homesteads, designated as “Adjoining Farm Homesteads.” In these cases, the law allows an applicant owning and residing on an original farm, to enter other land contiguous thereto, which shall not, with such farm, exceed in the aggregate 160 acres. For example, a party owning or occupying 80 acres, may enter 80 additional of $1.25, or 40 acres of $2.50 land. Or, if the applicant owns 40 acres, he may enter 120 at $1.25, or 60 at $2.50 per acre, if both classes of land should be found contiguous to his original farm. In entries of “Adjoining Farms,” the settler must describe in his affidavit the tract he owns and lives upon, as his original farm. Actual residence on the tract entered as an “adjoining farm” is not required, but bona fide improvement and cultivation of it must be shown for five years.
The right to a tract of land under the Homestead Act, commences from the date of entry in the Land Office, and not from date of personal settlement, as in case of the pre-emption.
When a party makes an entry under the Homestead Act, and thereafter, before the expiration of five years, makes satisfactory proof of habitancy and cultivation, and pays for the tract under the 8th section of said act, it is held to be a consummation of his homestead right as the act allows, and not a pre-emption, and will be no bar to the same party acquiring a pre-emption right, provided he can legally show his right in virtue of actual settlement and cultivation on another tract, at a period subsequent to his proof and payment under the 8th section of the Homestead Act.
The 2d section of the act of May 20, 1862, declares that after making proof of settlement, cultivation, etc., “then, if the party is at that time a citizen of the United States, he shall be entitled to a patent.” This, then, requires that all settlers shall be “citizens of the United States” at the time of making final proof, and they must file in the Land Office the proper evidence of that fact before a final certificate will be issued.
A party who has proved up and paid for a tract of land under the Pre-emption Act, can subsequently enter another tract of land under the Homestead Act. Or, a party who has consummated his right to a tract of land under the Homestead Act will afterward be permitted to pre-empt another tract.
A settler who desires to “relinquish his homestead must surrender his duplicate receipt, his relinquishment to the United States” being endorsed thereon; if he has lost his receipt, that fact must be stated in his relinquishment, to be signed by the settler, attested by two witnesses, and acknowledged before the register or receiver, or clerk or notary public using a seal.
When a homestead entry is contested and application is made for cancellation, the party so applying must file an affidavit setting forth the facts on which his allegations are grounded, describing the tract and giving the name of the settler. A day will then be set for hearing the evidence, giving all parties due notice of the time and place of trial. It requires the testimony of two witnesses to establish the abandonment of a homestead entry.
The notice to a settler that his claim is contested must be served by a disinterested party, and in all cases when practicable, personal service must be made upon the settler.
Another entry of the land will not be made in case of relinquishment or contest, until the cancellation is ordered by the Commissioner of the General Land Office.
When a party has made a mistake in the description of the land he desires to enter as a homestead, and desires to amend his application, he will be permitted to do so upon furnishing the testimony of two witnesses to the facts, and proving that he has made no improvements on the land described in his application, but has made valuable improvements on the land he first intended and now applies to enter.
It is important to settlers to bear in mind that it requires two witnesses to make final proof under the Homestead Act, who can testify that the settler has resided upon and cultivated the tract for five years from the date of his entry.
Patents are not issued for lands until from one to two years after date of location in the District Office. No patent will be delivered until the surrender of the duplicate receipt, unless such receipt should be lost, in which case an affidavit of the fact must be filed in the Register’s Office, showing how said loss occurred, also that said certificate has never been assigned, and that the holder is the bona fide owner of the land, and entitled to said patent.
By a careful examination of the foregoing requirements, settlers will be enabled to learn without a visit to the Land Office the manner in which they can secure and perfect title to public lands under the Pre-emption Act of September 5, 1841, and Homestead Act of May 20, 1862.
THE STATE OF KANSAS.
Our sojourn on the plains impressed our party with a strong belief that Kansas, at no distant day, will be one of the richest garden spots on the continent. I have more particularly described the central portion of the State, but both Northern and Southern Kansas are equally as fertile and desirable.
The United States Land Offices in Kansas are located at the following places: Topeka, Humboldt, Augusta, Salina, and Concordia. The rapidity with which Kansas is being settled may readily be inferred from the fact that 2,000,000 acres of its land were sold during one year, 1870.
In our note-book, I find the outline of a speech delivered by the Professor in Topeka, and I quote a single paragraph as fitly expressing the common sentiment of our entire number:
“Gentlemen, great as your State now is in extent of territory and natural resources, she will soon have a corresponding greatness in the means of development, and in a self-supporting population. 1870 holds in her lap and fondles the infant; 1880 will shake hands with the giant. The whole surface of your land, gentlemen, is one wild sea of beauty, ready to toss into the lap of every venturer upon it, a farm. The genius which rewards honest industry stands on the threshold of your State, with countless herds and golden sheaves, smiling ready welcome to all new-comers, of whatever creed or clime.”
WHAT A FARM WILL COST.
The emigrant has already been told what it will cost him to obtain government land. If this adjoins railroad tracts, he can secure what is desired of the latter at from two to ten dollars per acre.
The expense of fencing material might be fairly estimated at from twenty to thirty dollars per thousand feet for boards, and ten to fifteen dollars per hundred for posts. This is supposing that all the material is purchased. If fortunate enough to have timber on his claim, the emigrant, of course, can inclose the farm at the cost of his own labor.
I have seen many new-comers protect their fields by simply digging around them a narrow, deep trench, and throwing the earth on the inside line so as to raise an embankment along that side two feet in height. One single wire stretched along this, and secured at proper intervals by small stakes, appears to answer quite well as a cattle guard.
Osage orange grows rapidly, and is cheap, and a permanent fence can be made with it, at small expense, in the course of three or four years.
The usual cost of breaking prairie is from two to four dollars per acre. With a yoke or two of good oxen, however, this item can also be saved.
The second year the farmer can set out with safety his trees and vines, and the third or fourth year he may be considered fairly on the road to prosperity.
Laborers’ wages are from twenty to thirty dollars per month and board.
I estimate that a fair statement of the prices for stock would be about as follows: Work oxen, seventy-five to one hundred dollars per yoke; cows, twenty to fifty dollars each; horses, seventy-five to one hundred and fifty dollars.
Various newspaper clippings of the year.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Sept 16, 1906
Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Information for Sportsmen
How the Government Advises the Hunters When and Where They May Seek for Game
Uncle Sam now maintains in Washington a Bureau of information for sportsmen. It is a branch of the biological survey, Department of Agricultural. Just in advance of the fall shooting season it issues, each year, a little pamphlet containing the revised game laws of the United States and Canada, also tables showing the close seasons for various kinds of game, the cost of hunting licenses to residents and non-residents, laws as to shipping game or carrying it home, and so on. This autumn’s issue of this booklet, besides giving all of this information, will contain a digest of the new game laws passed within the year.
To thwart the vandal, the poacher and the pot-hunter, and preserve the native game for the truth sportsman, our Federal Government, our states, and the Canadian provinces are now striving to outdo one another, and as a result, the truth sportsman is bound to profit.
Thirteen game preserves have been set aside by Uncle Sam up to present writing. Congress this year established one in the Grand Canyon forest reserve in Arizona, and another in South Dakota, where the Secretary of the Interior is now negotiating lease 3500 acres of land for the purpose. In Oklahoma 57,000 acres have been set aside as the Wichita game preserve, wherein deer, elk, antelope, and bison, also many game birds, will be protected from the ruthless extermination. For the erection of a buffalo inclosure here $15,000 is to be immediately expanded. The Bronx Zoological Association, of New York, has promised the government some eighteen or twenty bison for this preserve. A herd of the small San Joaquin valley elk has been established in a preserve within the Sequoia National Park, California. Lately, it was discovered that of this once abundant native species, which up to some years ago ranged over the southern San Joaquin valley, less than 150 individuals were left by the game vandals. An attempt to capture those by driving them into a corral was made last fall, but only twenty were safely caught and placed in the preserve.
The Yellowstone National Park is our greatest federal preserve. It now contains 1,500 antelope, 100 mountain sheep about 100 bison in numerous deer, elk, black bears, beaver and smaller game. For a new bison refuge in the park, Congress appropriated $15,000 and the necessary inclosures have now been built. A herd of twenty-one of these animals purchased a few years ago for this inclosure, has already increased to fifty-six, and besides these, there are some forty or more wild bison, ranging in the park at will. There are more elk than any other species of big game in the great preserve. Formally, the greater number of these animals left the park in winter to feed in the lower ranges of neighboring states, but now they are fed in the preserve during the cold months and are becoming remarkably tame. In fact, several different species venture close to the buildings of the park and even upon the parade ground of Fort Yellowstone. The experiment with big-game in the Yellowstone has demonstrated how readily are big-game can be saved from extermination whenever Congress shall authorize again preserve in other national parks were forest preserves. The hunting season in the Yellowstone Park is always closed. No firearms are admitted inside its boundaries. If the civilian insist upon carrying a gun into the park, he may do so by first having it sealed against use.
The federal preserve for the sea otter is maintained on Afognak Island, off the southern coast of Alaska, and in general preserve for all sorts of animals – foreign and native – is constituted by the National Zoological Park, in the District of Columbia. Six small islands, furthermore, had been set aside as federal bird preserves in Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, in North Dakota.
A vast game preserve of more than a half million acres has been lately provided by Wyoming, which does take the lead among the states in movement to preserve our native game. A number of other states have game preserves, but none have gone this far. This year that Canadian government has set aside again preserve of sixteen sections in the province of Alberta, while on the Gaspe peninsula, Québec, a large part of 2,500 square miles has been given over for the same purpose. Québec had already another preserve of about this size, as has also Ontario.
The collection of valuable big-game in preserves, such as those of our national parks were forest reserves, naturally attracts the greedy poacher, for whom Uncle Sam’s game wardens and forest rangers are forever on the lookout. These skilled and experienced vandals, who lived in the vicinity of the game refuge, do no illicit killing in summer or autumn when they make their five dollars a day as guides for hunting parties of Easterners in the outside territory. But as soon as the snow falls deep in winter they skulk through the forbidden areas, often on snowshoes, and evade the guards, whose paths of patrol are closed by the elements. The best specimens of elk, deer or other big-game raised by the care of Uncle Sam are too often selected by these despoilers. The typical poacher of this stripe, when put at bay, is as desperate character as he is a dead shot, and lone warden, ranger were soldier, if cautious, would hesitate to challenge a group of such offenders.
Our states are protecting their big-game by a tightening their laws, as needs be, from year-to-year. New Jersey has just extended her “close season” for deer until 1909, which means that until then no deer may be shot in the state. The shooting of deer of all kinds is forbidden also in Connecticut until 1911; in Illinois until 1913; in Massachusetts until 1908; in parts of New York until 1907; in Rhode Island until 1908; in Tennessee until 1907; and in Utah until 1909.
In Indiana, Iowa and Oklahoma deer hunting is illegal “all the year” without stipulation as to when resumption of the sport will again be allowed. On Long Island, deer-shooting is permitted only on the first two Wednesdays and Fridays after the first Tuesday of November, and in Vermont only from October 22 to 28. It is illegal to kill female deer and fawns in Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada and Texas; also deer without horns in Colorado, New Mexico and Nebraska; deer in red coat and fawn is spotted coat in Michigan and fawns in New York.
In addition to these restrictions as to deer, many states forbid hunting the year round of either big-game. Thus there is no hunting of elk allowed at any time of year, now, in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming. All of these states except Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oregon are now closed the year round also to hunters of antelope, as are Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota in Texas. Likewise, there is no longer any shooting of the once abundant mountain sheep in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah or Wyoming, or of mountain goats in Arizona or Nevada.
Moose and caribou hunting are forbidden the year round in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota and Vermont, while caribou shooting is forbidden in Nevada and Maine, the latter stayed allowing the hunting of moose bulls, but not cows or calves. Bison or buffalo hunting is forbidden all the year in Colorado, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota, the law being easily enforced, inasmuch as there have been no wild bison spared by the big-game vandals. Washington state forbids the shooting of any time of female moose, caribou, antelope, mountain sheep and mountain goats, while Montana extends the same protection on female elk in Nevada to female antelope.
The extent to which the deer, elk, antelope mountain goat and mountain sheep have been ruthlessly slaughtered, as have the moose and caribou also, can be judged by this brief summary of prohibitory laws, started by the states wherein these animals once roamed in thousands. The game preserves would seem in offer some prospect of their regaining their foothold. What has been thus accomplished with the bison offers this gleam of hope. This noble animal was practically extinct twenty years ago. I heard of the remaining is the No Man’s Land strip was _____killed out, through an indifference at Congress, the ___ surviving is the Yellowstone Park were almost exterminated by poachers. A larger herd survived in Canada, but it has been sadly reduced in _____ by the wolves, and today it is reported that the calf tracks are no longer seen by those who occasionally came upon the trail of the herd. The wolves attacked the calves only, and if they wanted in thus killing them off from year to year the herd is of course doomed. Today the only herds outside of the government preserves which remain intact are several remaining in private hands. There are now, all told, only about 1,000 bison left alive in the world.
But the fact that the herd in the Yellowstone preserve has more than doubled — has increased, in fact, from twenty-one to fifty-six – within a few years, is in augury of why it can be done for the bison elsewhere in the country. The American Bison Society, of which President Roosevelt is the head, is diligently studying the problem, and the saving of the most picturesque of our native animals ______ to be_______.
Uncle Sam is also co-operating with private enterprises in the work of bison preservation. A large tract of government land has been leased of a nominal rental to James Phillips, better known as “Scotty” Phillips of Pierre S.D., with the understanding that the area is to be used as a range for his private herd of bison. Another tract, in Arizona, on the western edge of the Grand Canyon, has been admittedly least to C.J.Jones _ “Buffalo” Jones – who is not only rearing bison but making experiments and crossbreeding them with Galloway cattle. The hybrid resulting from this cross is named by Mr. Jones the “cattalo”. He recently brought to Washington a “cattalo robe,” as skin about 8 feet square, covered with a glossy, soft, blackish-brown hair, not quite as long as the fur of a bear. The Bulls of the cattalo hybrid like the jacks of the mule species are sterile as are also the quarter-blood cattalo bulls; but the ‘eighths’ are fertile, according to Mr. Jones.
The final knockout blow to the pot-hunter as far as legislation would put him down and out was given this year, when Mississippi passed of statute completing a chain of non-export laws which now surrounds every state in the Union. In other words, now that Mississippi has at last fallen in line, every state now prohibits the export of game of one kind or another outside of the boundaries. Development of cold storage and extensions of railroads throughout the West in the early seventies allowed and apparently inexhaustible supply of game to pour into the Eastern markets, so rapidly did this commerce increase that some of the Western states, devastated by the pot-hunters, sought self-defense in steps to restrict shipments of game beyond their borders. In 1896 a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States established the right of the states to do this. Then the states fell in line one after the other, but in spite of these non-export laws, the pot-hunters continued to thrive.
Enormous quantities of deer, other big-game and birds were poured into the big cities, and the states not endowed by nature with deep forest of natural refuges for either big-game. The state authorities found it impossible to detect forbidding shipments of game to points outside their borders until Congress came to the rescue by prohibiting all interstate commerce and big-game and certain game birds shipped in violation of the state laws. This bill also required the proper marking of game, under heavy penalty for violation.
Government “spotters” have since watched the consignments in the express companies, and many convictions have been thus emerged. Fines of $100 or more have been imposed in nearly half of these cases. Venison and other game has since been illegally shipped in greatly diminished quantities. Concerns employing pot-hunters are now afraid to express their game and have been driven to adopt other means of transportation so unsatisfactory and expensive that the illicit business in export game is almost on its last legs. Non-export laws are now in force also in practically every province of Canada. The result is that in the two countries there remains but slight danger that the game of the region will be exterminated by wholesale slaughter for the purpose of feeding the epicures of some distant city and with the result of cheating the true native sportsmen out of the birthright with which nature and endowed him. All of the states and territories west of the Mississippi, except Wyoming and Iowa, prohibit that carrying away across the state line of any game, and New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Mississippi, and Tennessee have made the same requirements. The remaining states prohibit the taking out of certain kinds of game only, South Carolina forbids export of game intended for sale.
Another blow aimed at the pot-hunter has been the ”non-sale” law. ______ acts have now been passed by forty-two states. Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Michigan prohibit the selling of all game, _____ever ___, if protected by the state laws, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas prohibit the sale of protected game taken in the state. Laws which prohibit the placing on sale of certain kinds of game have been passed by all of the other states except the Virginias, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana and Indian Territory.
Thwarting the pot-hunter still further are the “non-resident licenses” now required by thirty-six states. Before he can shoot any or certain kinds of game in those states the non-resident must pay a fee ranging from $19 in a number of states to $36 in Wyoming, the latter figure being the same as enacted in British Columbia and Newfoundland. In sixteen states even the residence must now pay a fee, ranging from $.75 to $3, before being allowed to hunt. A new kind of hunting license has recently been adopted by several states to restrict hunting by persons who are not citizens of the country. Thus Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Utah, and Wyoming provide that all hunters who are unnaturalized residents of the state must obtain the same license required of non-residents. Massachusetts has special$15 license for resident aliens, Washington a $30 license for nonresident foreigners, and Manitoba a $100 license for all hunters who are not British subjects, in Maine, South Dakota and Wyoming non-residents are not permitted to hunt big-game unless accompanied by qualified guide.