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Survey The Flats

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Ou Monday Prof. J. B. Davis, who was recently appointed by the state land corumifsicner, to survey the St. Clair Flats, went up and looked over his field of labor. He had not yet been on the grouud since his appoiutineut. Nor has he as yet selected his assistants of wbom b will have a dozen or 15. He is in correspondeuce with a nrnuber of his former students aud will soon have his hst of assistants made np. Prof. Davis is an experienced man in his kind of work and the state, tnrough Land Commisioner Freuch, has shown wisdom in seleoting him for this important Burvey. There are at leasts 50 miles oí shore line and all the area iucluded in this distance and lying along the three channels, known as the north, middle and sonth chanuels is to be surveyed and divided np into lots of 200 feet frontage on the channels and extendiug back 500 feet, excepting where the channels are less than 1,000 feet apart ind then the lots are to exteud back to the middle of the utervening area. At the corner of each and every one of these lots a permanent munument is to be erected. What this monnmeut is to consist of has not yet been mined. Novv when it is nnderstood that all this work is to be done under water, the magnitude of the undertaking can be partially appreciated. The water over this whole area will vary trom a foot or two to six feet in depth. The professor has developed no plan as to just how this work shall be doDe, but tbinks it will have to be done while the water is opeu, for when it is frozen the channels are olliterated so that there are no points to work f rom in layiiig out lots. This work all grows ont of an act passed at the last session of the legislature providing for the sale, dispostion and control of the unpatented swamp and overflowed laudR in the towuship of Clay, St. Clair couuty. As is well uuderstood, much of this land bas been improved by various clubs and individuáis, but uoue ot these have any title to the lands. In tact it is not clear whether this lanc was couveyed to the stote or not as it is not clear just what the rightfnl classification of the land is Thiee prinoi pal objcts were had in view in pasiing the before ruentioned act, viz: lst. To determine in whom the title to these lands lies. 2d. To fix it so those who have made iruprovements there rnay secorfl a title. 3d. ïo determine the right of St. Clair Couuty to tas this property. The. act of the legislatm-e assumes, of course, tbat the title to these lands is iu it ana provides for the issuance of patenta to pnrchasers. The act appears to be an earnest effort to settle all existing disputes as to claims in this territory upou an equitable basis. The act provides that no claim to these lands shall te valid unless the party making the claim has made improvements upon the premises to the amount of a $100, and clairned ownership on or before Jau. lst, 1899. Wbeu the claim is less than 100 f eet front, the amount of improvement shall be not less than ene dollar per front loot. No claim under the act for more tnan 200 fset frontage is allowed to any one person, bnt when the claimant is au associatiou or club a frontage of 25 ieet for each member on Jan. lst, 1899, may be granted. But if a single claimant has-improved and occnpied more thau 200 feet frontage, he may rfceive a patent therefor, in the discrassiou of the commissioner of the land office. Lauis platted but not awarded to any claimaut are to be appraised by three appirasers appoiuted by the land commissioü and may be sold by ttn commissioner at public or private sale. The prioe of lands to claimants are to be computed by refeience to frontage on natural, navigable cbnanels at $1 per iront ioot on Sunth channel, 50 cents per foot on North channel and 25 cent on the Middle channel, and on all artificial chauuels at snch price as the commissiouer may fix. Lands not lying contiguous to any uatnral, navigable chaunel, and not included in the surveys of the corumissioner are reserved for the use of the ptjople as a hunting and fishiug resort, and this resorc is placed under the care and supervisión of the state game warden who is reqnired to make all Deeded mies and regnlations. The coramission is also authorized to lease nuoccupied land for a period not exceeding three years. It will be seeü that the act flxes the prices lor these lands at a very low figure and also grants a patent for thetn. This of course compel the state to aefend the title? so given and it is thought that claimants will prefer to pay this nominal sum and get a title from the state which the state thus binda itself to defend, rather thau to defend their claims iu court themselves. Prof. Davis has the idea that Jthe plattiug and laying out of these lands is going to be a much larger job than the state auticipates. The professor is euthusiastic for the work and anxious to begin. He tbiuks the work of 1 "veiug w í 1 1 not be devoid of interest j wheri H has to ba coue iu water over a maii's head iu deptli.