To those who claim reservations under the treaty of Dancing Rabbit creek:
By a communication from the War Department, under date of July 23d, which was not received until the 5th of August last, I learned that I was appointed to make the selections and locations of the reservations of lands granted to the Choctaws under and by virtue of the provisions of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit creek, made and entered into on the 27th September 1830, between the United States of America and the Choctaw nation of Indians. It was contemplated by the department, before I proceeded to the discharge of the duties required of me, that I should be furnished with the plats of all the townships of land within that district of country ceded by the treaty aforesaid, which have been surveyed, and also with copies of the register of all persons entitled to land under the same. I have not yet been furnished with any of the plats of survey, and with but imperfect copies of the registers. By a communication from the War Department, dated August 8th, which I receive on the 8th instant, I am informed that the President of the United States has directed the lands ceded by the treaty aforesaid to be offered at public sale, to commence on the 3d Monday in October next; and that it is necessary for the reservations provided for under the treaty to be located prior to the day of sale; and I am directed to proceed without delay to execute the duty required of me. My instructions seem to require of me to go in person on the grounds and examine the improvement and lines of survey, corner posts, &c., of each local reservation claimed under the treaty: this I am unable to do before the day of sale. For the information of those interested, I have prescribed the following rules and regulations to be observed in presenting claims under the treaty, and in making locations, which are as nearly in conformity with my instructions as the circumstances of the case will permit.
I will open an office in each land district within that tract of country ceded by the treaty aforesaid, for the purpose of receiving applications, and registering the names of applicants for reservations as soon as practicable, and keep the same open until the day set apart for the commencement of the sales in each district. In the northwestern district, the office will be opened at Elliott; in the northern district at Columbus; in the Augusta district at Augusta; and in the Mount Salus district at Clinton.
The applicants must proceed to the place designated in their respective districts prior to the day of sale, and adduce to the agent, or such person as may be appointed to represent him, satisfactory proof that he or she is entitled to a reservation of land under the treaty, designating the numbers of the reservation so claimed. The name of the reervee will their be registered, the number of the section, half section, quarter section, or other quantity to which he may be entitled marked on the plat of survey in the proper land office, and the land reserved from sale.
The reservations granted to heads of families under the 14th article of the treaty, to those who desire to remain five years and become citizens, will be bounded by sectional, half sectional, or quarter sectional lines of survey, and so located as to include the improvement of the head of the family at the time of the making of the treaty, or a portion of’ it. The half sections and quarter sections allowed for their children must adjoin the location of the parent.
The reservations granted under the 3d arid 4th clauses of the 19th article of the treaty will also be bounded by sectional and quarter sectional lines of survey, and so located as to include that part of the improvement which contained the dwelling house of the head of the family at the time of the making of the treaty. When the dwelling house of two or more persons entitled to reservations under this article shall be included within the same section, half section, or quarter section, they will be so located as to take such legal subdivisions of adjacent sections as will give to each reservee his claim in as square a form as practicable: thus, if different improvements are so situated upon the same section or subdivision of a section as to allow the parties, by taking legal subdivisions, to retain that part of their respective improvements containing their dwelling houses, they will have to take such legal subdivisions, together with such adjacent lands as may be necessary to give the required shape and contents to their claims. If however, two or more reservees have settled upon and improved the smallest legal subdivision of a section, and thus rendered it impracticable to make a division of the Improvements by the selection of legal. subdivisions, they will have to make an arrangement among themselves as to the manner in which their reservations are to he located. If they cannot agree among themselves, they will be permitted to cast lots for the same, and those who lose their improvements take the quantity to which they are entitled out of the adjacent lands. Where a reservation based upon an actual improvement falls on a fraction, and that fraction is short of the number of acres to which the reservee is entitled, he will be allowed to make up the complement from the adjoining fraction, provided that the subdivision which may be located to complete the quantity be so designated as to give the entire reserved form. If the contingency should happen, contemplated in the latter part of the fourth clause of the 19th article, that the number of reservees should exceed the number provided for, the chief of the proper district will be called on to decide who shall be excluded. Captains entitled to less than a section, who claim an additional half section under the 5th clause of the 19th article, must locate the same on lands adjoining their improvements and dwelling house.
Those claiming local reservations granted to them by name in the treaty, or the supplement thereto, in designating the boundaries of their claims, will have to be governed by the rules prescribed in the particular clause under which they claim. Those persons claiming floating reservations granted to them by name in the treaty or supplement, will be permitted to locate the same on any lands which were unoccupied and unimproved at the time of the making of the treaty, unless confined by the treaty to a particular district. In making the locations, they will be confined to sectional, half sectional, or quarter sectional lines of survey, and will not be permitted to cross sectional, half sectional, or quarter sectional lines. If they locate them on fractional sections, they will be compelled to take such fraction, if less than the complement, in full satisfaction of the whole quantity claimed under such floating reserve. In no case whatever can a floating claim be divided. Where application is made at the same time to locate two or more floating claims of equal size on the sane tract of land, the same course for the adjustment of the matter as is prescribed in case of conflicting claims under the 3d and 4th clauses of the 19th article, will be pursued as near as practicable; and all conflictions will be settled in the same manner. Where application is made at the same time to locate two or more floating claims of different sizes, the largest will have preference: thus, a section will have precedence over a half section, and a half section be preferred to a quarter section, &c.
In all cases, the claim will be confined within the section lines of the section run and marked by the surveyor of the United States, and will not be permitted to go into an adjoining section or fraction, unless the quantity of land, or the terms of the treaty in which the giant is made, requires or authorizes it to be done.
I intend to examine on the ground, after the sales, the several local reservations, if it should be deemed necessary to a final adjustment and settlement of claims, before I return a register thereof to the War Department; or adopt such other course as I may he instructed to pursue in relation thereto.
It is important that every claimant should, in person or by his agent, attend promptly to his interest and make his application, particularly describing the land claimed, within the time prescribed, in order to exclude his land from sale. I have thus given explicitly my views, and the substance of’ the instructions to me, which I hope will be satisfactory to all interested. If any additional information is desired inn relation to any clause of the treaty which I have inadvertently omitted, I will take a great pleasure in giving it on application. It is the intention of the President, as well as the War Department and the undersigned, in making the locations of the several reservations granted under the treaty, to conform to the letter and spirit of that instrument in every particular, and to construe the same, wherever well founded doubt shall arise, and any discretionary power is to be exercised, favorably towards the Choctaws.
GEO. W. MARTIN, Agent for locating Indian reservations
Nashville, September 20, 1833.
DEAR SIR: I have just seen a letter from William Armstrong: he says “the people of Mississippi are all in uproar on account of the sales of land in October; arising from the circumstance that the cultivation claims secured under the treaty, are not reserved from sale.” Major Martin, whom you sent to locate the orphan claims, has not been able to do anything, because the report made by F. W. Armstrong, of the cultivation claims, under the treaty, has not been sent to him. One was left with the agent, Colonel Ward, but is so torn and mutilated as to be of no service; and, until he is advised where those claims are, the orphan reservations cannot be made. To quiet ” this uproar,” you had better, from the report of F. W. Armstrong, have all those cultivation claims marked down upon the plat of survey by the commissioner, Mr. Hayward, and sent speedily to Major Martin. The plat, too, should be forwarded to the register in Mississippi, and be instructed not to sell any of these cultivation Indian claims.
I doubt much if there will be time for this; and if not, rather than the confusion spoken of should take place, would it not be well to postpone the sales?
I write in haste, and to keep you all out of scrapes and difficulties. Indeed, so prevailing is the idea with the people that the price of the public lands will be reduced at the next Congress, that dissatisfaction is expressed about the sales at this time.
Yours, J. H. EATON.
Hon. LEWIS CASS, Secretary of War, Washington City.