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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

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FEDERAL LAND TRANSFERS IN HUGO:  1850s - 1930s

ASSESSMENT Of PROPOSED PIONEER MEADOWS SUBDIVISION
CONTAINING APPLEGATE TRAIL RESOURCES

IV.F.7.b).    Federal Land Transfers In Hugo: 1850s - 1930s

The military patent and cash entry history of the Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision are similar to the military patent and cash entry periods of Hugo, Oregon. The Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision's historical federal land transfers were in large part located where they are because of the advantage of the only transportation system available at the time, the Applegate Trail (Map 4; Map 5; Map 6; Map 7; Map 8; Map 18; Map 19; Map 21).

The following two patents make up the Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision.

. 1861 John Davis Military Patent 41877
. 1864 Cash Entry Patent 141

The Applegate Trail was located in the 1861 John Davis Military Patent 41877 and very near the 1864 Cash Entry Patent 141.

As an incentive to develop internal improvements, the United States transferred more than 300 million acres of public domain to states, corporations, and private citizens. The land in the Hugo region was transferred from federal administration to private ownership through several mechanisms: military warrant, cash entries, homesteads, donation land claims, and railroad grants (Map 9).

Before the Civil War, veterans were given warrants entitling them to a specified number of acres of public domain land for service in military engagements. Hugo has one military warrant for 160 acres for the service of Private Rice Benson for service in the Rogue Rive War (Map 9). The open spaces of the original 40-acre plus Dickerson farm were irrigated and green in the 1990s, but earlier were dryland pasture (NE of the NE of Section 3, T. 35. S., R. 6 W., W.M.). The land has a long farming history as it first became a large pioneer farm of 160 acres in 1861.

    "Military Bounty Land Act of March 3, 1855, Roseburg, Oregon. May 9, 1861 Military Warrant #92568 in the name of Rice Benson has this day been located by Anson Turner..." Rice Benson was a private in Captain Miller's Company Oregon Militia Rogue River War. The warrant was signed by Abraham Lincoln for 160 acres in the NW of the NW of section 2, and the E of the NE , and the NE of the SE of section 3, T. 35. S., R. 6 W., W.M.

The 1861 John Davis Military Patent 41877 is identical to the Anson Turner Military Warrant as it was given for service in military engagements (Map 9).

A prime consideration in public land policy, particularly in the Nation's earlier years, was the securing of revenues through the sale of public lands. The Ordinance of 1785 established the cash-sale system, providing for large sales of public lands. By various enactments between 1785 and 1832, the minimum unit of public land that could be offered for sale was reduced to 40 acres. The cash-sale laws were for the most part repealed by 1891. Hugo has almost three dozen parcels of land which were transferred as cash entries (Map 9). The parcels ranged from 40 to 160 acres. The 1864 Cash Entry Patent 141 is like those patents and part of the Pioneer Meadow Subdivision Application.

In accordance with a national policy to encourage and subsidize the settlement of the west after the Civil War, Congress enacted legislation in 1866 authorizing a grant of public domain lands to be conveyed to a railroad company to help finance construction of a railroad from Portland to the California border. A separate grant was authorized for construction of the rest of the line from the border to Sacramento. In these two grants were the seeds of the Oregon and California Railroad Company. Under the 1866 legislation almost two dozen parcels of land in the Hugo area were granted to the O & C Railroad for construction of the railroad (Map 9). The railroad grant parcels ranged from 40 to 160 acres.

In 1850 the Oregon Donation Action granted as much as 320 acres to each single male, or 640 acres to husband and wife, on condition of settlement for four years in undeveloped parts of Oregon. The act expired 1855. The Hugo region has three donation land claims (Map 9): Hiram Niday and the Walker brothers, Augustus and Wesley.

Hiram Niday Donation Land Claim

Certificate Number:        1479
Notification Number:        692 (DC 40)
Claimant's Name:        Hiram Niday
County in Oregon:        Josephine County
Date & Place Birth:        1822, Lawrence County, Ohio
Arrival In Oregon:        September 15, 1852
Date Claim Settled:        December 6, 1853

By 1855 Wesley and Augustus Walker had both settled their 160 acre claims. The Augustus Walker claim included what is know today as the Lynch Ranch. Wesley Walker's claim was adjacent and northeast up Jumpoff Joe Creek from his brother's land.

Augustus L. Walker - Donation Land Claim

    Certificate Number:        861
    Notification Number:        700
    Claimant's Name:        August L. Walker
    County in Oregon:        Josephine County
    Date & Place of Birth:         1829, Henderson County, Kentucky
    Arrival In Oregon:        October 12, 1852
    Date Claim Settled:        March 1, 1855

Wesley R. Walker - Donation Land Claim

    Certificate Number:        778
    Notification Number:        699
    Claimant's Name:        Wesley R. Walker
    County in Oregon:        Josephine County
    Date & Place of Birth:         1824, Henderson County, Kentucky
    Arrival In Oregon:        October 12, 1852
    Date Claim Settled:        March 1, 1855

The early Harris and Davis patents are both located on the Applegate Trail and, in large part, in areas that had ready pasture in large open natural meadows: Harris Creek Prairie and Cochrane Wet Area . The 1865 G. W. Harris Donation Land Claim Patent 70 is located just to the south of the 1861 John Davis Military Patent 41877 (Map 9). The early Harris and Davis patents are both located on the Applegate Trail and, in large part, in areas that had ready pasture in large open natural meadows: Harris Creek Prairie and Cochrane Wet Area . These two open areas had been open during the historic period in Oregon starting in 1805 and before. They are based upon the long-term factors of geology and soils. Both open areas are predominately two soils: 12B Brockman cobby clay loam, 2 to 7 % slopes and 18B Copsey clay, 3 to 7 percent slopes (see Section IV.B.; Section IV.F.7.a); Map 15). Because of the geology and soils these open meadows still exist (Aerial Photo 1; Aerial Photo 2).

Through the years, emphasis in federal policy changed in favor of actual settlers on the public lands. In 1862, Congress established the Homestead Act which provided for a gift of 160 acres to actual settlers who would settle on and cultivate the lands and reside upon them for five years.
It became effective on January 1, 1863, the same day President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. In 1916 the Chamberlain-Ferris Act provided for revestment to the federal government of title to lands remaining unsold and held by the Southern Pacific Railroad originally granted to the Oregon and California Railroad. These previous railroad lands came under the Homestead Act and there was another mini-land rush. Under the Homestead Act approximately 70 parcels of land in the Hugo region became farms (Map 9). The homesteads ranged in size from 40 to 160 acres and were awarded from the 1860s through the 1930s.

The Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision is part of the original 1861 John Davis Military Patent 41877 and 1864 Cash Entry Patent 141 (Map 9). By 1895 all of the Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision had became the 240-acre J. C. Cochrane Ranch (Map 7: Map 8). This was a ranch known locally by Hugo residents. The reason for the use of the name locally was that Gordon Cochran was part of the J. C. Cochran family, and he eventually became a teacher at both the Three Pines Elementary School and the Hugo Elementary School. Therefore, many of the surviving locals identify the land with the old Cochrane Ranch.

In summary, the land in the Hugo region was transferred from federal administration to private ownership through several mechanisms, including military warrants and cash entries. While holders of military warrants were not a large part of the emigrant population to Hugo and Josephine County, cash entry purchases were numerous as an addition to the land base of the local homesteads. The Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision's historical federal land transfers (i.e., military warrant and cash entry) were in large part located where they are because of the advantage of the only transportation system available at the time, the Applegate Trail, and because of an area that had ready pasture in a large open natural meadow, the Cochrane Wet Area. By 1895 all of the Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision had become the 240-acre J. C. Cochrane Ranch which was, and is, known locally by Hugo residents because Gordon Cochran was part of the J. C. Cochran family, and he eventually became a teacher at both the Three Pines Elementary School and the Hugo Elementary School.

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