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Right of Discovery—Title of France and Spain-Cession to the United States—Territorial

Changes—Treaties with the Indians—The Dubuque Grant-The Giard Grant-The Hon. ori Grant-The Half-Breed Tract--System of Public Surveys.

The title to the soil of Iowa was, of course, primarily vested in the origi. nal occupants who inhabited the country prior to its discovery by the whites. But the Indians, being savages, possessed but few rights that civilized nations considered themselves bound to respect, so that when they found this country in the possession of such a people they claimed it in the name of the King of France, by the right of discovery. It remained under the jurisdiction of France until the year 1763.

Prior to the year 1763, the entire continent of North America was divided between France, England, Spain, and Russia. France held all that portion of what now constitutes our national domain west of the Mississippi river, except Texas and the territory which we have obtained from Mexico and Russia. This vast region, while under the jurisdiction of France, was known as the “Province of Louisiana," and embraced the prese Iowa. At the close of the “Old French War,” in 1763, France gave up her share of the continent, and Spain came into possession of the territory west of the Mississippi river, while Great Britain retained Canada and the regions northward, having obtained that territory by conquest in the war with France. For thirty-seven years the territory now embraced within the limits of Iowa remained as a part of the possession of Spain, and then went back to France by the treaty of St. Idlefonso, October 1, 1800. On the 30th of April, 1803, France ceded it to the United States in consideration of receiving $11,250,000, and the liquidation of certain claims held by citi. zens of the United States against France, which amounted to the further sum of $3,750,000, and making a total of $15,000,000. It will thus be seen that France has twice, and Spain once, held sovereignty over the territory embracing Iowa, but the financial needs of Napoleon afforded our government an opportunity to add another empire to its domain.

On the 31st of October, 1803, an act of Congress was approved author. izing the President to take possession of the newly acquired territory and provide for it a temporary government, and another act approved March 26, 1804, authorized the division of the “Louisiana Purchase,” as it was then called, into two separate Territories. All that portion south of the 33d parallel of north latitude, was called the “Territory of Orleans,” and that north of the said parallel was known as the “District of Louisiana,” and was placed under the jurisdiction of what was then known as “Indiana Territory."

By virtue of an act of Congress, approved March 3, 1805, the “District of Louisiana” was organized as the “Territory of Louisiana,” with a Terri torial government of its own, which went into operation July 4th, of the same year, and it so remained until 1812. In this year the Territory of Orleans” became the State of Louisiana, and the “Territory of Louisiana' was organized as the “Territory of Missouri.” This change took plac under an act of Congress approved June 4, 1812. In 1819, a portion of this territory was organized as “Arkansaw Territory," and in 1821 the State of Missouri was admitted, Being a part of the former “Territory of Missouri.' This lett a vast domain still to the north, including the present States of Iowa and Minnesota, which was, in 1834, made a part of the “Territory of Michigan.” In July, 1836, the territory embracing the present States of Iowa, Ilinnesota and Wisconsin was detached from Michigan, and organized with a separate Territorial government under the name of "Wisconsin Territory."

By virtue of an act of Congress, approved June 12, 1838, on the 3d of July of the same year, the Territory of Iowa” was constituted. It embraced the present State of Iowa, and the greater portion of what is now the State of Minnesota.

To say nothing of the title to the soil of Iowa that may once have vested in the natives who claimed and occupied it, it is a matter of some interest to glance at the various changes of ownership and jurisdiction through which it has passed within the time of our historical period;

1. It belunged to France, with other territory now belonging to our national domain.

2. In 1763, with other territory, it was ceded to Spain.

3. October 1, 1800, it was ceded with other territory from Spain back to France.

4. April 30, 1803, it was ceded with other territory by France to the United States.

5. October 31, 1803, & temporary government was authorized by Con. gress for the newly acquired territory.

6. October 1, 1804, it was included in the “District of Louisiana,” and placed under the jurisdiction of the Territorial government of Indiana.

7. July 4, 1805, it was included as a part of the “ Territory of Louisiana,” then organized with a separate Territorial government.

8. June 4, 1812, it was embraced in what was then made the “Territory of Missouri.”

9. June 28, 1834, it became part of the “Territory of Michigan.”

10. July 3, 1836, it was included as a part of the newly organized « Territory of Wisconsin."

11. June 12, 1838, it was included in, and constituted a part of the newly organized “Territory of Iowa.”

12. December 28, 1846, it was admitted into the Union as a State.

The cession by France, April 30, 1803, vested the title in the United States, subject to the claims of the Indians, which it was very justly the policy of the government to recognize. The several changes of territorial jurisdiction after the treaty with France did not affect the title to the soil.

Before the government of the United States could vest clear title to the soil in its grantees it was necessary to extinguish the Indian title by purchase. The treaties vesting the Indian title to the lands within the limits of what is now the State of Iowa, were made at different times. The following is a synopsis of the several treaties by which the Indians relinquished to the United States their rights in Iowa:

1. Treaty with the Sacs and Forex, Aug. 4, 1824-This treaty between the United States and the Sacs and Foxes, was made at the City of Washington, William Clark being commissioner on the part of the United States. By this treaty the Sacs and Foxes relinquished their title to all lands in Missouri, lowa then being a part of Missouri. In tliis treaty the land in the southeast corner of Iowa known as the “Half-Breed Tract,” was reserved for the use of the half-breeds of the Sacs and Foxes, they holding the title to the same in the same manner as Indians. This treaty was ratifizd January 18, 1825.

2. Treaty with various tribes, Aug. 19, 1825.—This treaty was also made at the city of Washington, by William Clark as Commissioner on the part of the United States, with the Chippewas, Sacs and Foxes, Menomonees, Winnebagoes and a portion of the Ottawas and Pottawattamies. This treaty was intended mainly to make peace between certain contending tribes as to the limits of their respective hunting grounds in Iowa. It was agreed that the United States should run a boundary line between the Sioux on the nort and the Sacs and Foxes on the south, as follows: Commencing at the mouth of the Upper Iowa river, on the west bank of the Mississippi, and ascending said Iowa river to its west fork; thence up the fork to its source; thence crossing the fork of Red Cedar river in a direct line to the second or upper fork of the Des Moines river; thence in a direct line to the lower fork of the Calumet (Big Sioux) river, and down that to its junction with the Missouri river.

3. Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, July 15, 1830.—By this treaty the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States a strip of country twenty iniles in width lying directly south of the line designated in the treaty of Aug. 19, 1823, and extending from the Mississippi to the Des Moines river.

4. Treaty with the Sioux, July 15, 1830.—By this treaty was ceded to the United States a strip twenty miles in width, on the north of the line designated by the treaty of Aug. 19, 1825, and extending froin the Mississippi to the Des Moines river. By these treaties inade at the same date the United States came into possession of a strip forty miles wide from the Mississippi to the Des Moines river. It was known as the “Neutral Ground," and the-tribes on either side of it were allowed to use it in common as a fishing and hunting ground until the government should make other disposition of it.

5. Treaty with various tribes, July 15, 1830.This was a treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, Sioux, Omahas, Iowas and Missouris, by which they ceded to the United States a tract bounded as follows: Beginning at the upper fork of the Des Moines river, and passing the sources of the Little Sioux and Floyd rivers, to the fork of the first creek that falls into the Big Sioux, or Calumet river, on the east side; thence down said creek and the Calumet river to the Missouri river; thence down said Missouri river to the Missouri State line above the Kansas; thence along said line to the northeast corner of said State; thence to the highlands between the waters falling into the Missouri and Des Moines, passing to said highılands along the dividing ridge between the forks of the Grand river; thence along said highlands or ridge separating the waters of the Missouri from those of the Des Moines, to a point opposite the source of the Boyer river, and thence in a direct line to the upper fork of the Des Moines, the place of beginning. The lands ceded by this treaty were to be assigned, or allotted, under the direction of the President of the United States, to the tribes then living thereon, or to such other tribes as the President might locate thereon for hunting and other purposes. In consideration of the land ceded by this treaty the United States stipulated to make certain payments to the several tribes joining in the treaty. The treaty took effect by proclamation, February 24, 1831.

6. Treaty with the Winnebagoes, Sept. 15, 1832.-This treaty was made at Fort Armstrong, by Gen. Winfield Scott, and Gov. John Reynolds, of Illinois. By the treaty the Winnebagoes ceded to the United States all their lands on the east side of the Mississippi, and in part consideration therefor the United States granted to the Winnebagoes as a reservation the lands in Iowa known as the Neutral Ground. The exchange of the two tracts was to take place on or before June 1, 1833. The United States also stipulated to make payment to the Winnebagons, beginning in September, 1873, and to continue for twenty-seven successive years, $10,000 annually in specie, and also to establish a school among them, with a farm and garden. There were also other dyreements on the part of the government.

7. Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, Sept. 21, 1832.—This was the treaty known as the “Black Hawk Purchase," which opened the first lands in lowa for settlement by the whites. In negotiating this treaty Gen. Winfield Scott and Gor. John Reynolds represented the United States. By it the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States a tract of land on the eastern border of Iowa tifty miles wide, and extending from the northern boundary of Missouri to the month of the Upper Iowa river, containing about six millions of acres. The United States stipulated to pay annually to the Sacs and Foxes $20,000 in specie, and to pay certain indebtedness of the Indians, amounting to about $50,000, due chiefly to Davenport & Farnham, Indian traders, at Rock Island. By the terms of the treaty four hundred square miles on Iowa river, ineluding Keokuk’s village, were reserved, for the use and occupancy of the Indians. This treaty was made on the ground where the city of Davenport is now located. The government conveyed in fee simple out of this purchase one section of land opposite Rock Island to Antoine LeClaire, the interpreter, and another at the head of the first rapid above Rock Island, being the first title to land in Iowa granted by the United States to an individual.

8. Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, 1836.—This treaty was also made on the banks of the Mississippi, near where the city of Davenport now stands. Gen. lIenry Dodge, Governor of Wisconsin Territory, represented the United States. By it the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States "Keokuk's Reserve,” as it was called, for which the government stipulated to pay $30,000, and an annuity of $10,000 for ten successive years, together with certain indebtedness of the Indians.

9. Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, Oct. 21, 1837.—This treaty was made at Washington; Carey A. Harris, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, representing the United States. By this treaty the Sacs and Foxes relinquished their title to an additional tract in Iowa, described as follows: "A tract of conntry containing 1,250,000 acres, lying west and adjoining the tract conreved by them to the United States in the treaty of September 21, 1832. It is understood that the points of termination for the present cession shall le the northern and southern points of said tract as fixed by the survey inade under the authority of the United States, and that a line shall be drawn between them so as to intersect a line extended westwardly from the angle of said tract nearly opposite to Rock Island, as laid down in the above survey, so far as inay be necessary to include the number of acres hereby ceded, which last mentioned line, it is estimated, will be about twenty-five miles." The tract ceded by this treaty lay directly west of the “ Black llawk Purchase."

10. Treaty with Sacs and Foxes, same date.-At the same date the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States all their right and interest in the conntry sonth of the boundary line between the Sacs and Foxes and the Sioux, as described in the treaty of August 19, 1825, and between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the United States paying for the same $100,000.

The Sacs and Foxes by this treaty also relinquished all claims and interest under the treaties previously made with them.

11. Treaty with the Sacs and Foxes, Oct. 11, 1842.-This treaty was made at the Sac and Fox Agency, by John Chambers, as Commissioner, on behalf of the United States. By it the Sacs and Foxes relinquished to the United States all their lands west of the Mississippi to which they had any claim or title, and agreed to a removal from the country, at the expiration of three years. In accordance with this treaty, a part of them were removed to Kansas in the fall of 1845, and the remainder in the spring of 1846.

The treaty of 1803 with France, and these several treaties with the Indian tribes, vested in the United States, the title to all the lands in the State of Iowa-subject, however, to claims set up under certain Spanish grants, and also, the claim to the “Half-Breed Tract,” in Lee county, which claims were afterward adjudicated in the courts or otherwise adjusted. The following is a brief explanation of the nature of these claims:

The Dubuque Claim.-Lead had been discovered at the site of the present city of Dubuque as early as 1780, and in 1788 Julien Dubuque, then residing at Prairie du Chien, obtained permission from the Fox tribe of Indians to engage in mining lead, on the west side of the Mississippi. Dubuque, with a number of other persons, was engaged in mining, and claimed a large tract, embracing as he supposed all the lead bearing region in that vicinity. At that time, it will be remembered, the country was under Spanish jurisdiction, and embraced in the “Province of Louisiana.” In 1796 Dubuque petitioned the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, Carondelet, for a grant of the lands embracing the lead mines, describing in his petition a tract containing over twenty thousand acres. The Spanish governor granted the petition, and the grant was confirmed by the Board of Land Commissioners of Louisiana. Dubuque, in 1804, transferred the larger part of his claim to Auguste Choteau, of St. Louis. On the 17th of May, 1805, Dubuque and Choteau filed their joint claims with the Board of Land Commissioners, and the claim was decided by them to be a clear and regular Spanish grant, having been made and completed prior to October 1st, 1800, and while it was yet Spanish territory. Dubuque died March 24, 1810. After the death of Dubuque the Indians resumed occupancy of the mines and engaged themselves in mining to some extent, holding that Dubuque's claim was only a permit during his lifetime, and in this they were sustained by the military authority of the United States, notwithstanding the decision of the Land Commissioners. In the treaty afterward between the United States and the Sacs and Foxes, the Indians made no reservation of this claim, and it was therefore included as a part of the lands ceded by them to the United States. In the meantime Auguste Choteau also died, and his heirs began to look after their interests. They authorized their agent to lease the privilege of working the mines, and under this authority miners commenced operations, but the military authorities compelled them to abandon the work. But little further was done in the matter until after the town of Dubuque was laid out, and lots had been sold and were occupied by purchasers, when Henry Choteau brought an action of ejectment against Patrick Malony, who held land under a patent from the United States, for the recovery of seven undi- . vided eighths of the Dubnque claim, as purchased by Angniste Chotean in 1804. The case was decided in the United States District Court adversely to the plaintiff. It was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States on a writ of error, where the decision of the lower court was affirmed. The


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