Page images

No. 11 I.


Olympia, Washington Territory, July 17, 1866. SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the following report, in duplicate, of the progress of the public surveys in this district, and other operations of this office during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1866, together with such information in regard to the topography, climate, soil, resources, and productions of this Territory as is at present within my reach.

I also forward the usual tabular statements of the business appertaining to this surveying district, to accompany the report, as follows, viz :

A.—Statement showing the condition of contracts which were not closed at the date of the last annual report.

B.-Statement showing the amount, character, and condition of the public surveys contracted for since the date of the last annual report.

C.-Statement of original plats made, and copies transmitted to General Land Office and district land offices since the date of the last annual report.

D – Estimate of expenses incident to the survey of the publie lands in the Territory of Washington for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868.

E.—Statement of lands surveyed in Washington Territory since June 30, 1865, and up to June 30, 1866.

F.-Map of Washington Territory, showing the field work already completed, the work under contract, and the proposed lines of survey for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868.

The estimate for 318 miles meridian and standard parallel lines includes sixty-six miles of the Columbia guide meridian, north from the Columbia river to the national boundary; the fourth standard parallel east from the northeast corner of township number sixteen north, range number two east, eighteen miles ; fifth s:andard parallel east from the northeast corner of township number twenty north, range number five east, twelve miles; the seventh standard parallel east froin the northeast corner of township number twenty-eight north, six east, twelve miles; the eighth standard parallel from the Columbia guide meridian seventy-eight miles, and west from same meridian eighteen miles, and east from the northeast corner of township number thirty-two north, range number three east, eighteen miles; and the ninth standard parallel east from the Willamette meridian, eighteen miles.

The estimate for 372 miles township exterior lines, and for 3,240 miles subdivisional lines, includes sixteen townships in the Colville valley ; twelve townships in the Yaquima valley ; six townships in the Willopah valley ; six townships on the Columbia river below Priest Rapids, and the balance along the waters of Puget sound.

The importance of extending meridian and standard parallel lines, as above recommended, will readily appear from an examination of the accompanying map. The extension of the Columbia guide meridian and the eighth standard parallel east therefrom is necessary in order to reach the Colville valley-a region which has been settled for many years past, and the population of which greatly desire, and are entitled to, an extension of the public surveys, so as to embrace their settlements. Had notice of the appropriation for surveys for the current fiscal year reached this office in time, contract for surveys of the meridian and parallel lines in question would have been let this season. The work is so remote, and the country through which it passes so little known, and so destitute of population, that deputies are unwilling to contract for it unless they can get into the field early in the season, otherwise their contracts would not justify the necessary outfits and travelling expenses. The extension of standard parallels east from the Willamette and Puget sound

range number

[ocr errors]

guide meridian, as recommended, is necessary, in order to carry the public sro veys up the rich valleys of ths numerous streams rising in the Cascade moutains, and falling into Puget sound. Upon the importance of extending public surveys into the Colville region I need not dilate; enough was said ia the last annual report from this office upon that subject. The statements contained in that report, in reference to this matter, are fully indorsed. satisfied, however, from some personal knowledge of the country, that the work recommended last year should be changed so as to cover townships thirty-si and thirty-seven north, ranges thirty-eight and thirty-nine east, and townships thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six, and thirty-seven north. ranges forty and forty-one east. These will cover more of the valley, and esclude more of the mountain country than those recommended last year.

Since the discovery of the rich mineral deposits of Montana Territory, and the consequent rapid influx of population into that region, a considerable portion of the trade of the Columbia river has been carried up to the vicinity of White Bluffs, and steamers are regularly plying to that point instead of terminating their voyages at Wallula as formerly. As a consequence, population is centring at the new head of navigation, and calling loudly for surveys. I have, therefore, recommended the survey of six townships in that locality.

Six townships in the Willopah valley are also included in the estimates for the ensuing year. Petitions from that region, numerously signed, have been received at this office asking for surveys. The settlers, many of whom have been in that locality for years, have no means of determining the lines of their claims, in consequence of which disputes are of frequent occurrence. Besides this, they see no prospect of obtaining titles within any reasonable time. This condition of things is peculiarly unfortunate for those who have taken pre-emptions upan unsurveyed lands under the third section of the amended donation law passed July 17, 1854. Many such have taken and improved claims upon unsurveyed lands, and resided upon them for years; yet they can neither purchase, lease, sell, exchange, encumber, or even devise their claims, owing to the fact that the public surveys have not been extended over them.

The remainder of the estimate is designed to cover surveys in the Puget sound region. The exigencies of settlement require the survey of several townships along the sound, and particularly towards its north end. Settlers are also finding their way into localities, heretofore deemed by deputy surveyors unfit for sentirment and cultivation. These constantly require the extension of subdivisional lines over portions of townships formerly considered valueless.

The Cascade range of mountains divides this Territory into two unequal parts—the eastern and western-differing widely in topography, climate, soil, and productions. The country east of the Cascades, and south of the Spokane river, is a vast, elevated basaltic plain, almost entirely destitute of timber, but covered through its entire extent with bunch grass of the best quality. Through this plain the various streams have cut their way, forming cañons or gorges from five hundred to two thousand feet deep. Along the margins of these streams narrow strips of alluvial land are formed which are sufficiently moist for the purposes of cultivation. North of the Spokane river the country consists of high, wooded hills of slate and quartz, with numerous rich and productive valleys interspersed. These valleys are sufliciently numerous and extensive to support large and pros. perous settlements, and are now being gradually filled up with farmers, who look to the mineral regions north and east of them for a market.

The country west of the Cascade range, excluding the Olympic mountains, consists mainly of the valley or basin of Puget sound, the substratum of which consists of sandstones and beds of coal. Superimposed upon these is a deposit of drifts of great thickness, consisting mainly of sand and gravel Above this again, in many localities, is a stratum of clay which forms (the alluvial valleys excepted) ihe best farming lands in this part of the Territory.

The Olympic mountains are but a portion of the great Coast range separated from Vaucouver islands by the Straits of Fuca, and breaking down entirely in the vicinity of Gray's harbor and Shoalwater bay. But this range rises again at the mouth of the Columbia and extends along i he coast through Oregon and California.

Of the country between the Olympic mountains and the Pacific coast but little is known, save that it is a plateau twenty or thirty miles wide, heavily timbered, and watered by numerous streams rising in the mountains and falling directly into the ocean.

The climate of the country west of the Cascade range is very mild, the mean annual temperature corresponding with that of southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. The mean temperature from October to April is as high as that of southern Virginia, while the temperature from April to October is lower than that of New York; making the extremes of heat and cold less than in any of the northern or middle States of the Union.

From October to April the climate is decidedly wet, the heavens being generally obscured by clouds, and rain falling more than half the time. Occasionally snow falls and sometimes to a considerable depth ; but it rarely lies for more than a few days at a time. From April to October is the dry season, when showers are less frequent; and in the months of July and August rain rarely falls.

East of the Cascade range, and throughout the great plains of the Columbia, the winters are generally clear and cold, the snow which falls early in the season covering the ground until spring. But few spring showers fall, and the summer and early autumn are very dry. The formation being basaltic, the melting svows and early spring showers percolate through the loose soil, and sink in the deep perpendicular fissures of the basalt, leaving the surface dry and parched during the greater part of the sumner and autumn. North of the Spokane river, in the hilly country, the climate is more seasonable, showers of rain usually falling until the middle of July.

The climatic peculiarities of Washington Territory are mainly attributable to the prevailing winds of the different seasons of the year, and the topographical features of the country. During the latter part of autumn, the entire winter and early spring, the prevailing winds are southerly, moderating the temperature and diffusing their moisture, collected from tropical seas, over the regions west of the Cascade mountains. During the remainder of the year the prevailing winds are from the cooler regions of the northwest, bringing but little moisture and lowering the temperature of the hot season. These influences are but little felt east of the mountains. The Cascade range is very high, its principal ridge rising several thousand feet above the sea level, and its numerous peaks towering far into the regions of perpetual snow. This range arrests the clouds and condenses their vapors; and the winter currents of air from the southward, which, unobstructed, would pass obliquely across the country to the eastward, are deflected from their course by this range and sent up the Pacific coast, carrying their modifying influences and a portion of their moisture far into the northern regions. Hence it is that the Puget Sound basin is a country of moderate temperature, clouds and showers, while the great plateau of the Columbia is a region of extremes of heat and cold and of predominating sunshine. These climatic differences produce corresponding results upon vegetation. In the country west of the mountains, wheat, oats, barley, beans, peas, and all the fruits and productions of the temperature zone are raised in abundance, except peaches, maize, grapes and melons. The moderate temperature and cool nights are not favorable to the production of these in perfection. Timber also of varied kinds and gigantic proportions covers a very large portion of the surface of the country. East of the mountains the higher temperature during the summer season perfects the products which grow but poorly in the other climate. Besides this, the hot and arid plateaus of the Columbia are peculiarly adap to the growth of bunch grass, which comes to maturity early in the season and dries up, retaining, however, all its nutritious properties through the heat summer, and springing into life and greenness like magic upon the fall of te first showers of late autumn. Timber, however, is scarce and but rarely found except upon the mountains or along the water-courses, and then generally a inferior quality.

Washington Territory embraces an area of about 68,000 square miles, er 43,520,000 acres. Of this area, about 20,000,000 acres are prairie, about the same quantity timbered land, and the remainder barren mountains. About 5,000,000 acres of the timbered land are susceptible of cultivation, and the remainder will be comparatively worthless after the timber shall have been removed. Of the prairie lands, about 10,000,000 acres are suitable for grazing and agriculture, making the whole area within the Territory adapted to the farmer and grazier about 15,000,000 acres, or a little more than one-third of the entire area. At least 10,000,000 acres of the timbered lands are already valuable, mainly for the timber, and will find as ready sale in the market as the richer farming lands. If the government seeks revenue from the sale of the public lands, it would seem to be a matter of policy to extend the public surveys over these lands, valuable for timber and worthless for any other purpose, as rapidly as possible, and bring them into market. Every fire that spreads over the country and every tree cut render these lands less valuable.

The exports from this Territory consist, at present, mainly of rough and dressed lumber, spars, piles, laths, shingles, and coal. The annual manufacture of rough lumber amounts to 103,500,000 feet; of dressed lumber, to 8,900,000 feet; of spars and piles, to 450,000 lineal feet. Besides these, about 20,000,000 laths and 6,000,000 shingles are manufactured annually.

Of the lumber manufactured, 70,000,000 feet are shipped to San Francisco; 26,000,000 feet are shipped to foreign markets, and the residue consumed at home. I bave been unable to obtain reliable statistics of the coal production in time for this report, but estimate the total products of the two mines in operation at about 20,000 tons annually, nearly all of which is from the Bellingham Bay mine, the Fuca Straits mine being hardly in thorough working condition, as yet. The coal mines east of Seattle and Port Susan have not yet been opened to any extent.

The estimated annual value, in gold coin, of the domestic trade of this Territory, exclusive of lumber, shingles, spars, &c., amounts to something over two million dollars. The sources of information from which this estimate is derived are very meagre, and the estimate may be far from correct.

Since the area of this Territory was diminished by cutting off its eastern portion and erecting therefrom the new Territory of Idaho, there has been comparatively but little mining for the precious metals within our limits. Gold mines are known to exist in several localities, and some of them are being wrought with success. But at present gold mining can hardly be regarded as a very important branch of industry. There are no reliable data accessible upon which to base an estimate of the annual amount of gold mined within or exported from this surveying district. All of which is most respectfully submitted.

S. GARFIELDE, Surveyor General, Washington Territory.

A.-Statement showing the condition of contracts which were not closed at the date of the last

annual report.

[blocks in formation]

72 May 5, D. G. Major.... Subdivision of fractional Field-notes not received. 1863.

townships No. 6 north,
ranges 31, 32, 33, 34,

35, 36, and 37 east. 78 July 14, Geo. House, jr.. Subdivision townships Township 10, ranges 38 and 1864.

Nos. 9, 10, 11, and 12 39 east, township 11, range north, range 20 east; 39 east, closed last year. townships 10 and ji Balance of contract and north, range 39 east, plates, &c., transmitted to and township 10, range

General Land Office, ex38 east.

cepting townships 9, range 21 east, and 10, 20 east, in lieu of which townships 11 and 12, range 19, were surveyed under instructions, and plats, &c., trans

mitted. 82 May 26, Chas. A. White. 3d standard parallel 6 Closed. Plats, &c., trans1865.

miles west to corner of mitted to the General Land
township 13, ranges 18 Office, excepting the subdi-
and 19 east, exteriors of visions of township 13,
townships 9, 10, 11, range 21 east, in lieu of
and 12, ranges 20, 21, which the exterior lines
and 22 east; town. of townships 9, 10, 11, and
ship 13, ranges 18, 19, 12 were surveyed under in-
20, and 21 east, and structions.
the subdivisions of
township 13, ranges

18, 19, 20, and 21 east. 83 May 28, E. Richardson.. 6th standard parallel Closed. Plats, &c., trans1865.

through ranges 7 and mitted to the General Land
8 east; 7th standard Office,
parallel through range
6 east;

exterior of
township 24, ranges 7
and 8 east, and town-
ship 28, range 6 east,
and subdivision town-

ship 24, range 8 east. * Aug. 11, Geo. House, jr.. Port Angeles reservation. Closed. Plats, &c., trans. 1862.

mitted to the General Land Office.

* Surveyed under instructions.


Surveyor General, Washington Territory. SURVEYOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Olympia, Washington Territory, July 17, 1866.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »