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Regulations Governing Unrestricted Alienation of Lands for Town-Site Purposes in Indian Territory.
Commission To The Five Civilized Tribes
Muscogee, Ind. T., February 10, 1904.
The following rules and regulations governing applications for the unrestricted alienation of lands for town-site purposes in the Indian Territory, approved by the Secretary of the Interior February 6, 1904, are hereby promulgated for the information and guidance of all concerned.
Tams Bixby, Chairman.
A provision of the act of Congress
approved March 3, 1903 (32 Stat., 982), reads as follows:
To pay all expenses incident to the survey, platting, and appraisement of town sites in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee nations, Indian Territory, as required by sections fifteen and twenty-nine of an act entitled “An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory, and for other purposes,” approved June twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, and all acts amendatory thereof or supplemental thereto, twenty-five thousand dollars: Provided, That the money hereby appropriated shall be applied only to the expenses incident to the survey, platting, and appraisement of town sites heretofore set aside and reserved from allotment: And provided further, That nothing herein contained shall prevent the survey and platting, at their own expense, of town sites by private parties where stations are located along the lines of rail roads, nor the unrestricted alienation of lands for such purposes, when recommended by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes and approved by the Secretary of the Interior.
Referring to the saving clause which appears above in italics, the First Assistant Attorney-General for the Interior Department, in an opinion approved by the Secretary of the Interior June 12, 1903, uses the following language:
It is evident Congress intended this provision to have some effect, and under the familiar rule of construction that the form of legislation may be disregarded, if that be necessary to effect the evident purpose of the legislation, this provision should be considered as an affirmative enactment, and construed as if it read : “Authority is hereby granted for the survey and platting, at their own expense, of town sites by private parties where stations are located along the lines of railroads, and for the unrestricted alienation of lands for such purposes, when recommended by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes and approved by the Secretary of the Interior.”
The following regulations are hereby prescribed for the purpose of carrying into effect the provision of law above quoted:
SECTION 1. Members of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, or Cherokee nations desiring to alienate lands under the foregoing provision of law may apply to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes at Muscogee, Indian Territory, by petition, in duplicate, which petition shall contain the following facts:
- a. A description of the land which it is sought to alienate.
- b. Whether the land sought to be alienated is needed for town-site purposes.
- c. The age, sex, and citizenship of the owner of the land.
- d. The character and value of the improvements located upon the lands described.
- e. Whether the homestead of the allottee is involved.
- f. Whether the land described is located at a railway station, and the name thereof.
- g. Why it will be for the best interest of the owner to sell.
- h. Whether the allottee’s title to the land has been perfected by the issuance of patent.
- i. Whether the lands to be alienated are to be sold by the alienor from time to time in lots or blocks or by the acre in one tract; if the lands sought to be alienated are to be immediately sold in one tract, the consideration agreed upon shall be stated, and if in lots and blocks the business experience of the alienor must be shown.
- j. The amount, if any, which has already been received by the owner of the land for occupancy rights shall be shown.
- k. When the land to be alienated is located in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, or Cherokee nation, it must be shown that nine months have elapsed since the applicant made filing upon said land and that no contest has been instituted adverse to the interests of said applicant.
The petition shall be signed by all the persons, or their legal representatives, having any interest in the land.
SEC. 2. For the purpose of securing all necessary information upon which to base a recommendation the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes may set a date for the parties in interest to appear and give such information under oath as may be required to substantiate the statements set forth in the petition. Witnesses may be introduced to show the value of the land which it is sought to alienate, the necessity for its use for town-site purposes, the business qualifications of the owner of the land, and such other information as may be required by the Commission in the premises.
SEC. 3. Where lands are already occupied for town-site purposes the purchaser, if an acreage sale is contemplated, or the alienor, if the property is to be sold in lots and blocks, shall be required to evidence his moral and financial responsibility and disclose the plan contemplated by him for the disposition of claims to occupancy rights.
SEC. 4. Upon the approval of the unrestricted alienation of lands under these regulations, if the lands sought to be alienated are immediately transferred in one or more tracts, the deed of conveyance shall be made and executed in the same manner as other conveyances of real estate are required to be executed under the laws of the United States now in force in Indian Territory.
SEC. 5. If the lands sought to be alienated are immediately transferred in one tract, the consideration shall be paid to the grantor by the grantee in the presence of the chairman or the Commissioner in charge of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, and the transfer witnessed by him.
SEC. 6. When the unrestricted alienation petitioned for is approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the authority therefor will be issued in duplicate, one of which letters shall be furnished the grantor for record purposes and the other retained in the office of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes.
SEC. 7. The Commission shall, in submitting its recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior, report fully as to the accuracy of the statements contained in the petition ; shall report the character of the land as shown by the Commission s classification records and the appraised value thereof, and indicate whether the consideration is a fair and reasonable one. The Commission shall report whether the plan contemplated for the protection of those claiming occupancy rights is considered reasonable and sufficient, and whether the purchaser or the alienor, as the case may be, may be relied upon to fulfill such plan. The Commission will forward with its report the original petition and a transcript of, the testimony taken in connection with the application. Accompanying the Commission s report will be submitted a plat showing the location of the lands sought to be alienated as regards the lines of Government survey, and if the lands sought to be alienated are in the nature of an addition to a town already established, the acreage already embodied in such town site shall be stated, and the approximate present population thereon shall be given.
E. A. Hitchcock, Secretary