DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
UNITED STATES INDIAN SERVICE
San Jose, Calif., Aug, 6, 1910
Subject- Land for Tuolumne Calif. Indians.
Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
I enclose you herewith an offer made by J. H. Smith and Caroline A. Smith, his wife to sell to the United States certain lands in Tuolumne County, California, described as the S 1/2 of the NE 1/4, the N 1/2 of the SE 1/4, the SW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 The fractional N 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 and the SE 1/4 of the NW 1/4, (less a small tract of 1.78 acres), all in section 32. T. 2 N. R. 16 E. M. D. M., for the use of the band of Indians sometimes known as the Tuolumne band and sometimes called the Cherokee band, from Cherokee Hill, their present abode. I enclose also an abstract of title and a warranty deed from the vendors to the United States. The land offered amounts to 289.52 acres. The price asked is $3,500. This price I consider reasonable. The abstract shows an agreement to sell to a party named Lamb for $6,000. The land is the same in both cases, but the agreement with Lamb included a small amount of personal property also. The tract is ordinary foothill or mountain land. There is plenty of wood and pasture. There are about 100 acres of arable land, of which 30 acres are now under cultivation. There is some fruit, mostly apples, an alfalfa field, a medium sized barn and a small house of no great value. The water supply is derived from a small creek which runs through the property called Turnback Creek. This gives a sufficient supply of water for more extensive gardens than the Indians are likely to have for some time. During the months of scarcity of water the use of this stream is regulated by written agreement, shown in the abstract, under which this place is entitled to the use of the entire system, whatever it may be, ever other night. This is about equivalent to 40% of the water of the creek. Running water is very scarce in the foothill region, and this water supply is of great importance.
At present, the largest rancheria around The town of Tuolumne, is the one known as Cherokee, which is located on the Laura and North Star Lodes, adjoining the tract offered. I enclose herewith a schedule of the Indians for whom the purchase is to be made. About 45 of them are now on the Laura and North Star. It is patented mining ground, but the mines have not paid and are not being worked. Should capital be secured for further development, it is likely that the Indians would be ejected. About 20 of the Indians are now living about three miles west of the tract offered and the remainder are on one of the tracts of waste land from which the owners have not yet evicted them. The tract offered is about one mile distant from the city limits of Tuolumne, in a direct line and is about half a mile further by the highway. One or two of the Indian cabins are apparently upon the Smith land. Part of the land offered was homesteaded by Joseph H. Smith. the rest was homesteaded by his brother, William Smith. Prior to his death, William Smith deeded the land he owned to his wife, Caroline A. Smith. Joseph H. Smith afterward married his brothers widow. Both Joseph H. Smith and Caroline A. Smith have joined in the deed.
The abstract shows a deed to one David R. Oliver, covering as small tract in conflict with the mining locations on the southern boundary. Afterward another deed was made to the United States intended to cover the same property, but with slightly different areas. This difference arises from different measurements on the southern or farther side of the tract. The boundary between the mine and the present tract is not essentially different in the two deeds, though the measurements are not absolutely identical. I have followed the earlier deed to Oliver, in drawing the present deed to the United States, The Oliver deed shows no invalidity. It was an error in description they were trying to cure in the deed to the United States. Inasmuch as William Smith and his wife did not own the land deeded in the deed of April 28, 1900, to the Government, the said deed is of doubtful validity. They had apparently nothing to convey to the Government. I have therefore followed the earlier deed in the description. Should there be any minute strips between the two descriptions no harm will be done if we include them in the new deed to the Government. The difference in areas is given in the deeds is 23/100 of an acre, but the resulting change in the line between the mining claims and the Smith property would apparently make a change considerably less. The Laura and North Star lodes were patented in one patent. The southernmost is to the Laura and the northernmost the North Star, instead of as indicated in the map accompanying the abstract. I am unable to make the mining claims agree with the lines given in the deeds. The Laura placer mine is in no wise connected with the quartz mine of the name.
I have made careful examination of the plat books of the township in which these Indians are located and of the surrounding lands, and have also examined the ownership maps in the Assessors office and was also shown the private maps of the Sonora Abstract and Title Co. I have been unable to find a single acre of unappropriated Government land. Some of the land in the township is the roughest kind of mountain land, but it is all taken up.
I would therefore respectfully recommend that authority be granted for the purchase of the said described land from Joseph H. Smith and Caroline A. Smith, his wife, for the sum of $3,500 and that the deed, abstract and other papers be submitted to the Hon. Attorney General of the United States for such examination and action as may be proper.
Special Agent for the Calif. Indians,
1127 So. First St.
San Jose, Calif.