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Proclamation 1311—Opening to Settlement Lands Within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation

September 17, 1915

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Act of Congress approved June 1, 1910 (36 Stat., 455), as amended by the Act approved August 3, 1914 (38 Stat., 681), I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim that all the lands in the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, in North Dakota, which on account of their containing coal were reserved from allotment and other disposition under the aforesaid Act of June 1, 1910, and which, under the provisions of the aforesaid Act of August 3, 1914, have been classified as agricultural lands of the first class, agricultural lands of the second class and grazing lands shall be disposed of under the general provisions of the homestead laws and of said Acts of Congress and be opened to settlement and entry and be settled upon, occupied and entered in the following manner and not otherwise: Provided, That patents issued for such lands shall contain a reservation to the United States of any coal that such lands may contain, to be held in trust for the Indians belonging to and having tribal rights on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, but any entryman shall have the right at any time before making final proof of his entry, or at the time of making such final proof, to a hearing for the purpose of disproving the classification as coal land of the land imbraced in his entry, and if such land is shown not to be coal land a patent without reservation shall issue: Provided further, That homestead settlers may commute their entries under Section 2301 of the Revised Statutes by paying for the land entered at the appraised price.

1. All persons qualified to make a homestead entry for said lands may, on and after October 18, 1915, and prior to and including October 30, 1915, but not thereafter, present to John McPhaul, Superintendent of the opening, in person, or to some person designated by him, at the cities of Minot, Bismarck or Plaza, North Dakota, sealed envelopes containing their applications for registration, but no envelope must contain more than one application; and no person can present more than one application in his own behalf and one as agent for a soldier or sailor, or for the widow or minor orphan child of a soldier or sailor, as hereinafter provided.

2. Each application for registration must show the applicant's name, postoffice address, age, height and weight, and be sworn to by him at Minot, Bismarck or Plaza, North Dakota, before some notary public designated by the Superintendent.

3. Persons who were honorably discharged after ninety days' service in the Army, Navy or Marine Corps of the United States during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, or the Philippine Insurrection, or their widows or minor orphan children, may present their applications for registration either in person or through their duly appointed agents, but no person can act as agent for more than one such applicant, and all applications presented by agents must be signed and sworn to by them at one of the places named and in the same manner in which other applications must be sworn to and presented.

4. Beginning at 10 o'clock a.m. on November 4, 1915, at the said city of Minot, and continuing thereafter from day to day, Sundays excepted, as long as may be necessary, there shall be impartially taken and selected indiscriminately from the whole number of envelopes so presented such number thereof as may be necessary to carry the provisions of this Proclamation into effect, and the applications for registration contained in the envelopes so selected shall, when correct in form and execution, be numbered serially in the order in which they are selected, beginning with number one, and the numbers thus assigned shall fix and control the order in which the persons named therein may make entry after the lands shall become subject to entry.

5. A list of the successful applicants, showing the number assigned to each, will be conspicuously posted and furnished to the press for publication as a matter of news, and a proper notice will be promptly mailed to each of these applicants.

6. Beginning at 9 o'clock a.m. on May 1, 1916, and continuing thereafter on such dates as may be fixed by the Secretary of the Interior, persons holding numbers assigned to them under this Proclamation will be permitted to designate and enter the tracts they desire as follows:

When a person's name is called, he must at once select the tract he desires to enter and will be allowed ten days following date of selection to complete entry at the land office. During such period, he must file his homestead application at the land office, accompanying the same with the usual filing fees and commissions and in addition thereto one-fifth of the appraised value of the tract selected. To save expense incident to an additional trip to the land and to return to the land office, he may, following his selection, execute his homestead application for the tract selected within the land district and file same in the land office, where it will be held awaiting the payment of the fees and commissions and one-fifth of the appraised value of the land. In that event, the payment must be made within the ten days following the date of selection. Payments can be made only in cash, by certified checks on national and state banks and trust companies, which can be cashed without cost to the Government, or by postoffice money orders made payable to the receiver of the land office. These payments may be made in person, through the mails or any other means or agency desired, but the applicant assumes all responsibility in the matter. He must see that the payments reach the land office within the ten days allowed, and where failure occurs in any instance where the application has been filed in the land office without payment, as herein provided for, the application will stand rejected without further action on the part of the local officers.

In case of declaratory statements, allowable under this opening, the same course may be pursued, except that the filing fees must be paid within the ten days following date of selection, the party having six months after filing within which to complete entry. Soldiers or sailors or their widows or minor orphan children making homestead entry of these lands must make payment of fees, commissions and purchase money as is required of other entrymen.

The purchase money not required at the time of entry may be paid in five equal installments. These payments will become due at the end of two, three, four, five and six years after the date of entry, unless commutation proof is made. If such proof is made, all the unpaid installments must be paid at that time. Where three year proof is submitted, the entryman may make payment of the unpaid installments at that time or at any time before they become due and final certificate will issue, in the absence of objection, upon such payment being made. If any entryman fails to make any payment when it becomes due, all his former payments will be forfeited and his entry will be canceled.

7. No person can select more than one tract or present more than one application to enter or file more than one declaratory statement in his own behalf.

8. If any person fails to designate the tract he desires to enter on the date assigned to him for that purpose, or if, having made such designation he fails to perfect it by making entry or filing and payments as herein provided, or if he presents more than one application for registration or presents an application in any other than his true name, he will forfeit his right to make entry or filing under this Proclamation.

9. None of the lands opened to entry under this Proclamation shall become subject to settlement or entry prior to 9 o'clock a.m. on June 1, 1916, except in the manner prescribed herein; and all persons are admonished not to make any settlement prior to that hour on lands not covered by entries or filings made by them under this Proclamation. At 9 o'clock a. m. on June 1, 1916, all of said lands which have not then been entered under the provisions of this Proclamation will become subject to settlement and entry under the general provisions of the homestead laws and the aforesaid Acts of Congress.

10. The Secretary of the Interior shall make and prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper to carry the provisions of this Proclamation and of the said Acts of Congress into full force and effect.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and fortieth.

Signature of Woodrow Wilson


By the President:


Acting Secretary of State.

Woodrow Wilson, Proclamation 1311—Opening to Settlement Lands Within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/277074

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