« ZurückWeiter »
DONATIONS OF LAND AND SPECIAL GRANTS.
MISCELLANEOUS DONATIONS. Running through the statutes of the United States for a period of ninety years is a series of laws for the disposition of the public domain other than by the cash, preemption, or homestead methods, perhaps a thousand in number, most of them obsoleto because of execution, others still in force waiting confirmations under them or entire execution.
Congress for many years after the organization of the Government took up special and meritorious cases, and made grants of land in satisfaction of conceded cases of equity or merit.
LAND BOUNTIES TO BRITISH DESERTERS.
The first act of the Congress of the United States as to the disposition of public land was an act of the Continental Congress of August 14, 1776-an act offering to receive and make citizens of deserters from the British army (Hessians and British), and tendering each deserter, and to him or his heirs, to be held by him or them in absolute property, fifty acres of unappropriated land in some one of the States. By another act, of August 27, 1776, Congress proffered a quantity of unappropriated land in absoluto dominion to sucb officers as should leave the armies of his Britannic majesty in America.
GRANT FOR RELIGIOUS PURPOSES.
Congress, July 23, 1787, in the ordinance defining the “ powers to the Board of Treasury to contract for the sale of western territory,” called attention to the reservation by the ordinance of May 20, 1785, of four sections in each township, viz: sections Nos. 8, 11, 26, and 29, to the use of the United States and for future disposition by Congress, and ordered the Board of Treasury to give lot (section) No. 29 in township or fractional part of a township perpetually for the purposes of religion. This grant was made for this purpose only in the Ohio Company's (Putnam and Cutler's) purchase and in the John Cleves Symmes tract, now in the State of Ohio. The patents to both the Ohio Company and John Cleves Symmes, issued by President Washington, set up this reservation of the twenty-ninth section in each township in the several tracts for the purpose of religion. This is the only direct and specific grant of land for religion to be found upon the United States statute books, although some grants have been made for mission purposes.
THE DORHMAN GRANT.
Arnold Henry Dorhman was agent for the United States at the court of Lisbon during the Revolutionary War. His house was an asylum for American sailors who bad been captured by British cruisers. He fed, clothed, and nursed these unfortunates.
Congress, October 1, 1787, after stating an amount, for which he produced vouchers, recited that there was a still larger amount due him for such expenditures and for 14 L 0-VOL III
which he could not produce vouchers satisfactory to tbe Treasury Department, in consideration of which they granted him, free of cost of survey or other charges, with legal reservations therein, a township of land in the now State of Ohio. The act of February 27, 1801, directed the President to issue patent for the thirteenth township in tho seventh range to Arnold Henry Dorhman, or his legal representatives. This tract is known as the “Dorhman grant” or “ tract.”
GRANTS TO REFUGEES FROM CANADA AND NOVA SCOTIA.
During the War of the Revolution there was a force of Canadian officers and men in the Army of the United States, who were known as “refugees from Canada." Jonathan Eddy and others were also refugees from the province of Nova Scotia at the same time. They became refugees on account of their attachment to the cause and interests of the United States. Congress, April 23, 1783, in considering the Capadian and Nova Scotian refugees, ordered that they (the Canadian refugees) for their virtuous sufferings in the cause of liberty be further informed that whenever Congress can consistently make grants of land they will reward, in this way, as far as may be consistent, the officers, men, and other refugees from Canada." Like action was had in the case of the refugees from Nova Scotia. With the addition of recommending them to "the humanity and particular attention of the several States in which they respectively reside." A long series of acts of Congress followed. The ordinance of May 20, 1785, reserved three townships on Lake Erie-now in Ohio-for the satisfaction of the grants to these refugees. This was never fully carried into effect, as other lands were appropriated in lieu thereof by the act of July 18, 1801.
GRANTS TO EBENEZER AND ISAAC ZANE. May 17, 1796, Congress granted to Ebenezer Zane three tracts of land one milo square, one on the Muskingum, one on the Scioto, and one on the Hockhocking River, in the State of Ohio, for the purpose of building ferries on the road from Wheeling, Va., to Limestone, which road he was to open under the direction of the President of the United States. These grants were confirmed to Zane and patented February 14, 1500. The rates of ferriage at said ferries were to be ascertained [fixed] by any two of the judges of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, or such authority as shall be appointed for that purpose.”
April 3, 1802, Congress ordered the same allowance to Isaac Zane, his heirs or assigns, locatable within the Northwest Territory, now in the State of Ohio.
GRANT TO THE FRENCH OF GALLIOPOLIS. The French grant to the French inhabitants of Galliopolis (now in Ohio) was made by Congress March 3, 1795.
October 27, 1787, the Board of Treasury contracted with the Ohio Company for the sale to them of certain lands in (now Ohio) the western territory--Cutler, Sargent, and others. Cutler and Sargent, October 29, 1787, assigned a moiety of the land described in the (second) contract with the Board of Treasury to William Duer and associates. This portion of the land Joel Barlow was sent to Europe to dispose of. Duer and associates became the Scioto Company, to whom the lands purchased of the Ohio Company by Duer were conveyed. The agent of this company in conjunction with Barlow disposed of the lands to companies and individuals in France. These purchasers came to America, and were met by Duer as agent for the Scioto Company and sent to Galliopolis, on the Ohio River. Here each settler was presented with a deed for two lots in town and a four-acre out-lot. The place of these locations was discovered to be outside of the lands embraced in the first contract between the United States and the Ohio Company, and also the land confirmed to that company by Congress April 21, 1792. So, to quiet their title and give their holdings a legal status, Congress passed the several relief bills, beginning March 3, 1795, and followed by two several acts thereafter.
GRANTS TO THE MARQUIS LAFAYETTE. March 3, 1803, Congress directed the Secretary of War to issue land warrants to Major-General La Fayette for 11,520 acres. The land was to be located, surveyed, or patented at his option, or the warrants could be received in payment for lands within the present State of Ohio. March 27, 1804, Congress ordered that the warrants above granted might be located by General La Fayette in Orleans Territory.
Congress, December 28, 1824, ordered that $200,000 be paid to General La Fayette, and granted him or his heirs a township of land, which was afterward located in Florida.
THE LEWIS AND CLARKE GRANT. March 3, 1807, Congress granted Lewis and Clarke and their subordinates lands for services in exploring the Louisiana purchase.
THE NEW MADRID GRANT.
February 17, 1815, Congress ordered that persons owning lands in the county of New Madrid, in Missouri Territory (now State), November 10, 1812, and whose lands had been materially injured by earthquake, should be permitted to locate the like quantity of land on any of the public lands of the said Territory, the sale of which was authorized by law. This act was frequently amended, and scrip issued.
THE LEVEE GRANTS.
May 26, 1824, Congress granted tracts of land in their limits to the parish of Point Coupee and the parish of West Baton Rouge on condition that they should keep a good and sufficient levee on said land, in front and on the river Mississippi.
MORAVIAN INDIAN GRANTS.
John Etwein, president of the Moravian Brethren's Society, at Bethlehem, for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen, petitioned Congress for a grant of land in the western country for the use of certain Indians formerly residing thereon. The ordinance of May 20, 1785, provided “that the towns of Gnadenhutten, Schoenbrun, and Salem, on the Muskingam, and so much of the lands adjoining to the said towns, with the buildings and improvements thereon, shall be reserved for the sole use of the Christian Indians who were formerly settled there, or the remains of that society." Congress, September 3, 1788, ordered tbat the reservations be made (which was done) of 4,000 acres for each of the three towns named, all being in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.
August 4, 1823, Lewis D. de Schweinitz, on behalf of the Society of the United Brethren for Promulgating the Gospel among the Heathen, and Lewis Cass, on the part of the United States, at Gnadenhutten made an agreement whereby the Moravians retroceded the grants of land above set out to the United States. After deducting leaseholds and grants made by the society, $43,356 was expended by the society under this trust up and to August 21, 1822, and their receipts from the lands were $9,998.581, leaving a deficit of $32,507.50%. The United States reimbursed the society for sur veys and locations.
The agreement set out that the revocation of the trust and transfer to the United States was conditioned upon the consent of the persons for whom the trust was created being first obtained" the persons” meaning the Christian Indians, who were formerly settled there, or the remains of that society, including Killbuck and his descendants, and the nephews and descendants of the late Captain White-Eyes, Delaware chiefs or such persons as are now entitled to the benefits of the trust: "the motives of the society being to divest themselves of a trust burdensome to them and useless to the Indians, that their funds devoted to charitable purposes may be applied where there is a prospect that they will produce some permanent advantage.” This agreement was affirmed by the society September 26, 1823.
November 8, 1823, Lewis Cass, for the United States, made an agreement with the Indians above named, or their heirs or descendants, known as the Society of Christian Indians, affirming and consenting to the act of retrocession to the United States of date August 4, 1823, with certain conditions as to reservation of land. This agreement granted them annuities, which were realized by the sale of the lands in the tracts named and placing the principal at interest. The deed of retrocession was executed April 24, 1824, President Monroe having approved the agreement November 8, 1823.
GRANT TO POLISH EXILES. June 30, 1834, Congress granted a quantity of land for certain Polish exiles—two hundred and thirty-five in number-embracing thirty-six sections, which agents located for them. Two townships were surveyed for them near Rock River, in Illinois. These exiles from Poland were sent to the United States under order of the Emperor of Austria.
LANDS GRANTED TO THE DEAF AND DUMB ASYLUM OF KENTUCKY. By the act of April 5, 1826 (6 Stats., p. 339), there was granted to the Deaf and Dumb Asylum of Kentucky one township of land, excepting the sixteenth section, for the education of indigent deaf and dumb persons, with authority to sell said lands within five years, to be located in one of the Territories on lands to which the Indian title had been extinguished.
By the act of January 29, 1827 (4 Stats., p. 202), the location of so much of the grant as had been located on lands previously taken by claims of pre-emptors in the Territory of Florida was extended to unappropriated and unreserved lands in either of the Territories of Florida or Arkansas.
By the act of March 3, 1843, the trustees of the Centre College of Kentucky were invested with all the rights of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum of Kentucky in the grant, provided that the proceeds of the sale of the lands were not diverted from the purposes and intention of the original grant.
By the acts of April 11, 1836, July 20, 1840, April 14, 1842 (6 Stats., pp. 629, 810, 828), February 18, 1847 (9 Stats., p. 684), March 11, 1852 (10 Stats., p. 726), and February 7, 1857 (11 Stats., p. 496), the time within which the lands were to be sold by the original grant, was extended to 1862, excepting that portion located in Arkansas, which was limited to two years from the 5th day of April, 1842.
The lands located and patented under the grant amounted to 22,508.65 acres, of which 20,411.22 were situated in Florida, and 2,097.43 in Arkansas.
GRANT TO JEFFERSON COLLEGE, IN MISSISSIPPI.
The grant to Jefferson College, Mississippi, is concisely stated in the order of tbe Secretary of the Treasury dated October 5, 1812, as follows:
TREASURY DEPARTMENT. Whereas by an act of Congress passed on the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and three, entitled “An act regulating the grants of land, and providing for the disposal of the lands of the United States south of tbe State of Tennessee,” thirty-six sections of land to be located in one body, by the Secretary of the Treasury, for the use of Jefferson College were excepted from the sales of public lands in the Mississippi Territory;
And whereas by another act of Congress passed on the twentieth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and twelve, entitled "An act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to locate the lands reserved for the use of Jefferson College in the Mississippi Territory,” the Secretary of the Treasury is specially authorized and empowered to make the said location on any lands within the said Territory not sold or otherwise disposed of, and to which the Indian title has been extinguished.
Now therefore be it known that I, Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, in pursuance of the authority vested in me as aforesaid, do hereby locate for the use of Jefferson College the sections numbered one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, e ight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twentysix, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirtythree, and thirty-six, in township numbered ten in the second range west of the basis meridian, and the adjoining sections numbered thirty and thirty-one, in township nambered ten in the first range west of the basis meridian of the land district east of Pearl River, in the Mississippi Territory.
Given under my hand and seal of office this fifth day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twelve. (SEAL]
Seoretary of the Treasury. SPECIAL GRANTS AND DONATIONS. These special grants or donations, comprising almost all of any note, run through a period of more than fifty years. For a complete list thereof see Statutes at Large from 1789 to 1850. Considering the tens of thousand of schemes presented, asking for donations of lands, the past legislation would indicate a jealous care on the part of Congress of special legislation relating to donations from the public domain.
The enactment of general settlement laws and the organization of a pre-emption system prevented many more special grants from being made. The obtaining of grants in many instances depends upon the energy and ability of the persons interested in them.