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Another great questions. I think most likely Mr. Pack filed a preemptive claim on a piece of land that he was, for lack of better term, squatting on. Not that I think this was done maliciously but most likely because he was on Herron Island the surveyors never actually surveyed the Island in person. In looking at his claim you can see he first made a cash entry under the 1841 Act. This act was “a cash entry made under the legislative authority of the Distribution-Preemption Act of 1841 (5 Stat. 567) or its subsequent modifications. Preemption was a method of protecting squatters who had settled land in advance of its being opened for claims by allowing them formally to enter their lands without competition at the time of such an opening.” My assumption is that he first filed under the 1841 Act but for whatever reason it did not fly with the GLO office and then filed under the 1820 act. Perhaps because this area might have originally been set aside for the railroad.
DS stands for Declaratory Statement. This is “a document filed at the nearest land office by a person settling on unsurveyed public domain or land not yet opened for claims. This declared the intention to purchase or homestead that area when it was officially opened and gave preemption rights to the settler for about 60-180 days.” Again because it was a very small island and perhaps it was being reserved for railroad use.
However, all of this is, at best, speculation on my part as I do not have the records. I would suggest that you request the land entry case file from Washington, DC and contact the National Archives in Seattle (email@example.com) to see if they have track books, group survey files, or maybe Island specific surveys for the Olympia Land Office and the General Surveyors Office for Washington.
Just as an aside Mr. Pack does show up in the 1880 census on Herron Island so one can assume he did follow the good faith principle required by the GLO to patent the land.
Thanks Marene! I didn't know about the Declaratory Statement, that makes sense. I knew that the 1841 act (Section 10 ff.) was intended to help squatters, and Pack did squat - he stated that he had lived on the island permanently since January 1872, when he filed and paid for the land in September of that year.
I actually have all the rest of the documents you mentioned: land entry case file, patent, tract book record, original survey (1856) and surveyors' notes, the latter making for some wonderful reading. The surveyors went around the island calculating all the meanders, but did not actually come onto it; there are no section boundaries or centers there, so there was no need to. They just established the perimeter. There is a township boundary across a narrow sliver of land at the south end of the island, but that was established by the survey in 1853.
But funny you should mention the railroad (N.P.R.R.). The entire section that the sliver at the south end of the island is in (section 5, Twp 20 N, R 1 W) was granted to the NPRR in 1895, which seems a bit late?, along with a huge amount of land in the state as usual. (You can see it all here if you're curious). So back to Mr. Pack: On this note from his case file from 1872 there's a mention about the N.P.R.R. that I can't decipher. Starting with the fourth section it says:
Preemption allowed on
Lots 1 - 3 (section) 32 (township) 21 (range) 1W
D.S. 2056 same land
Jan 14 & Feby 14 /72
but then what? I can't decipher what it says here:
Affd (affidavit?) No ????? (<-- I've stared at this a million times, I can't decipher it)
With (withheld?) for N.P.R.R.
What do the lines in bold say, if you've seen that before? Only if you know - you don't need to do my work for me :=)
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My take is that it says
Affidavit No (or maybe number) certificate (Affdo. No Cert)
Withdrawn for Northern Pacific Rail Road. (With. for NPRR)
Again this plays into the squatter theme. Most likely the land was being withheld for the RRs use, most likely for timber. Because logically they are not going to run the railroad out to the Island .
That's why the 1841 Act didn't fly and he had to use the 1820. Again just my interpretation.
That's great, thanks Marene! You inspired me to look at the July, 1864, Act that reserved land for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, and it appears that the railroad was given additional land beyond the 200 feet on either side of the line, to the tune of 10 alternating sections per mile on either side of the line, when the route was fixed. But now get this: If there were settlements in those latter sections after the line was fixed, the railroad could, if it wanted, select land up to ten miles away from the line. Which it did in 1895; that included the section that the sliver at the south end of the island was in. (That they eventually sold in 1899, since it was of no use to them, I imagine!)
In 1872, date of Pack's claim, the NPRR was still in Fargo, N.D., so maybe the GLO was just being careful, anticipating a future interest in the place by the railroad.
Unfortunately the case file I got from NARA didn't include that Declaratory Statement - it sure would have interesting to read.
Thanks again for your help; this is all very interesting!
I've been thinking about the inconsistency on Charles Pack's patent, which started out as an 1841 Distribution/Preemption and ended up as an 1820 Cash Sale. So I searched for patents that may have used the 1841 act in Washington - zero. The only patents that had used that were a handful of distributions to the state, which of course was part of the act. No preemptions.
That was odd, I thought. Maybe the BLM's GLO Records site misindexed them? (unlikely, of course). So I went to the tract books for the townships I've been researching (Twps 20 and 21, R 1 W of the Willamette Meridian) to see if I could find any patents marked as Preemption/1841. Maybe there hadn't been any?
Turns out on almost every other page there are Preemption entries (indicated over on the left on each line as Pre.41. or just Pre). A sampling below. What's interesting is that every single one of the patents is shown as a Cash Sale on the GLO page. Started out as preemption, ended up as cash sale.
I know that preemption patents were nullified in Oregon, but this is something different. If the Land Office had decided to not issue preemption patents, why did they let entry applicants apply under the act? The act was repealed March 3, 1891, which might explain the post-1891 cases below, but it doesn't explain the earlier ones.
The first date below is the earliest date in the tract books (date of application), the second the date on the patent.
Anyway, I thought I'd add that to the thread since it suggests a pattern on the part of the land office.
Charles Pack, 9/25/1872, 11/1/1873
George Hamilton, 4/30/87, 8/31/1889
James Powell, 8/24/1889, 8/24/1891
Andrew Nelson 9/30/1889, 8/12/1891
Ichabod Isted, 3/31/1890, 11/23/1891
I may have figured this out. The preemption clause in the 1841 act provides the legal basis for a squatter's claim and allows them to buy the land; that land is then actually *sold* under the provisions of the Land Act of 1820. It's still a cash sale, even under preemption.
So the claim would mention the 1841 act, but the patent would be approved as a cash sale.
That would explain it all rather nicely, I think.