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Report surveying Las Vegas Ranch from J. T. McWilliams (Good Springs, Nevada) to J. Ross Clark (Los Angeles), December 24, 1902






McWilliams' summary of his findings in his survey of the Las Vegas Ranch, including land boundaries and water resources. Link to one of the plats mentioned in the letter is in references field.

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Box 1 Folder 3 J. Ross Clark LV Ranch 12-27-1902---4-30-1903 60A Pt. II


hln000777. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Good Springs,Lincoln Co.Nev. Dec.24,1902. Mr.J.Ross Clark, Pres.Empire Construction Co., Los Angeles, Cal. Dear Sir:- Enclosed you find two plats showing locus of Los Vegas ranch in this county. Duplicate plats of same were mailed to your attorney, Mr. Whittemore, and Mr.McDermott. The orange colored lines indicate boundary lines of the ranch. The black lines indicate fence lines, and plainly shows where latter are built on abutting property. The acreage under fence roots up to 585 acres. The total acreage under cultivation foots up to 92 acres. Two weirs were placed in channel of Vegas brook to measure the volume of water flowing. One near the 4 acre Reserve flowed at rate of 280-4/10 cubic feet per minute, equalling a flow of 190-6/10 miners inches, allowing a flow of 11 gallons per minute to equal one miner's inch. The other was placed in channel in section 29, at a short distance below forks off brook, and flowed at rate of 296 cubic feet per minute, equalling 201.28 miners inches. To this latter weir measurement there should be added for loss in seepage and evaporation about, from two to three percent. In other words if the water was confined and caused to run through dement ditches, or water pipes, from intakes at the various springs, instead of flowing in natural earth channel, the available supply of water rising in springs on the ranch would amount to from 205 to 207 miner's inches if measured at same point in section 29. The plat shows the soils to be classified into 1st, 2nd,3rd, & 4th rates. The 1st rate soil, embracing 1280 acres, is good, and over three feet in depth and supporting a dense growth of cither sagebrush, mesquite, or meadow grass. The 2nd rate, embracing 400 acres, is of shallow depth to bedrock of limestone and supporting a lighter undergrowth. The 3rd rate, embracing 80 acres, is a mixed shallow soil with limestone surface croppings in places, and is situated in southeast 1/4 of section 27, and supports a light growth of sage brush. The 4th rate soil embraces the extreme west 80 acres of ranch on which the springs arise, and supports for 9/l0ths of area a very scant undergrowth of sagebrush and greasewood, and soil from surface bedrock in many places to a maximum depth of 12 inches for the 9/lOths area. The other l/l0th of area is 1st,2nd,3rd rate soils laying close to and below springs. The plat show two small brooks arising in south-east corner of N.E.l/4 of N.E.l/4 of section 31. The two together flow about one miners inch of water. Besides the springs arising on the ranch, the flat shows 12 other springs, 6 of which flow small streams, and balance have standing water. A small township plat which I also herewith enclose shows locus of all springs in this township(T.20,S.R.61 E.). The Oregon Short Line ranch, marked in orange, in section 15-22 & 23, embracing 240 acres, contains springs of sufficient volume if all brought into one conduit to supply your motive power department with more water than will be required. The exact volume I only know from hearsay, and this was for the largest spring and used for irrigating the part of ranch cultivated. In former letters referring to survey of the ranch, mention was made of errors found in the original survey of the township. The plat shows the great extent of these errors, and of their existence there is absolutely no doubt. The majority of the corners of the public land survey found as shown on plat were dim but sure, others were well marked, and were proved to belong to a general survey system when latter is carefully studied out. Mistakes by chainmen of original survey of 1-2 & 3 chains were found and proven. For instance,- I found section corner post 2|26 3|35 to be too far North by 210 feet, a 1/4 corner mound 1/2 mile east and evidence of a l/4 cor.1/2 mile north, and therefore after proving that this 210 ft.error was continued with very slight variations of a few feet throughout on North line of sections 25 to 29 inclusive except on East township line, I concluded the chainmen had made a mistake of 3 tally pins (3 x 66'= 198 ft). Then to prove that the error was continued through more of the township, I run North from section corner 20|21 29|28 and found corner at 5261 feet and thence East to township line finding errors as shown, and no signs of the corners at the proper distances from S.boundary of township. Had I not found the original survey corners to run in certain systems, even if the lines were proved to be run East & West instead of North and South as the law required, I would have thrown the job up and recommended a re-survey of the township, and which is very hard to secure from the Gov.Land office officials. Where no trace or evidence of the point or place where missing section corners were originally set viz:- the N.E.Cor; the N.W. Cor; and the North 1/4 Cor of Section 33, I set same in strict conformity with the general instructions relating to missing corners as issued by the General Land Office. Others were set from evidence found fixing the locus within a few feet if not closer to the exact point. The centers of sections 25 and 27 were obtained by intersecting lines run between the four 1/4 section corners of each section. The forth acre corners were set half way between the section and l/4 section corners, and centre of section and 1/4 sec.corners. I did not take the time to obtain the exact courses to the minute of arc owing to Mr.McDermott's hurry to get through, and for same reason did not take the time to remark the dim corners off the ranch. For instance the N.W.Cor. and E.l/4 Cor.Sec.29; the East 1/4 Cor Sec.28; the N.W.Cor & N.l/4 Cor.Sec.25, and all corners on South boundary of township. The exact courses do not cut much figure until close work such as townsites, rights of way,etc. are concerned and the dim corners I did not think best to urge t e resetting and arking with good posts until sure you would purchase the ranch, when these corners should be re-marked, so as to protect the corners to ranch, and prove accuracy of latter for many years to come. I enclose a letter from Surveyor General's office that may possibly interest you as it refers to the survey of township in which the Los Vegas ranch is located. It explains in my opinion why I had to take so much time to the work. Had I known before starting on the survey that Woods & Myrick had surveyed the township I doubt very much if I would have undertaken the work as I knew of the troubles of other surveyors wherever these men's work was run up against, and would not care to earn the reputation of being balked as others have been, or run the risk of being slow. However, I am glad now that I done the work for the reason that while I knew the locus of several corners in the valley I also knew that there was something wrong, and that the Oregon Short Line surveyors did not solve the riddle, but marked corners as missing that arc and were in place when they were surveying. I have reason to think that your company surveyors marked corners the same way, and no one can blame them as there is no excuse for the rotten work done by the contracting surveyors. The corners established by latter have to stand no matter how much out,and I feel sure that my persistence in trying to make head or tail out of the original survey instead of throwing the job up will prove of value to your company no matter whether the Los Vegas ranch is purchased or not. I sent for the original field notes of entire township, for the reason that I knew of the corners to ranch being in question and the ranch extending almost entirely across the township it might be best while in the field to be thoroughly prepared to go ahead with the work. Finding one apparent error in the transcribing or copying of notes, I wrote and found my surmise correct. Then when another one cropped up I quit work until I wrote to Surveyor General's office again and found that I had a correct copy of notes but latter did not tally by a considerable with locus of creek crossing;road, and house. The notes cost $27.00 of which I paid 14.00. I never paid $27.00 before, but I find they are entitled under the law to this amount. I made a kick but it did no good. Heretofore I have had some friend either in the office or living close to get notes for me at little or no cost directly. Out of all the mineral surveyors who have surveyed ground for U.S.mining patents in Southern Nevada, I am the only one who has not had to go back onto the ground to correct errors in person, or have other surveyors correct for them as a favor by consent of Surveyor General. This I can easily prove and the statement is made here on account of a racket I had with Mr.McDermott over my bill which he would not approve, nor would he say how much it was out, except that I had charged too much time. My agreement with him was for $10.00 per day and expenses unless in case the ranch was purchased and I was placed in charge, I was to receive $75.00 per month and expenses and time go right along. This agreement I am willing to stand by. Mr.McDermott wants to cut off 1-1/2 days for rainy weather and no time on the road and something else I do not know what. If I could have found out what he wanted my bill would have been made out accordingly rather than to have a disagreement with your company. He states I took too much time to do the work and intimates that I strung the job out when I run the lines away from the ranch sections. To this, I will state that such is not my reputation, but I have the name of being sure of my work when I call it finished, or else throwing it up when not given time to prove my work correct. It would hardly stand to reason,Mr.Clark, that I would try to either string the job out, or charge for any time not due, in view of the fact that I wish to sell a 5/6 interest in my timber to your company. If the job had been new work of similar area it could have been done in less than a week, but looking for lost corners is another thing. With reference to the result of my work and information furnished, I will state that every contention or surmise of mine, except one, proved correct. The one surmise of mine not found correct was that the creek might be found to be off the land in one place. I did not believe there were 440 miners inches of water flowing in the Vegas brook. Mr.McDermott was not conversant with, and never had measured water anywhere. One of your head engineers stated to him that he understood that there was that much, and Mr.McDermott was willing to accept the understanding to be correct, and he stated to me he would have done so had not the questions of corners come up and then had someone to measure it who knew how; I proved to satisfaction of Mr.McDermott, Wm.Stewart and brother that there was less than half the amount of water It is the water that is of actual value to you in this instance. The Stewarts represented 160 acres of land highly cultivated in orchards, vineyards and alfalfa, and a 160 acres in grain and vegetable land. I contended there was less than 100 acres all told under cultivation. Mr.McDermott stated he did not know how much there was, probably 300 acres, but he not being a farmer or conversant with farms was liable to error. I found under cultivation, 92 acres. There is an abundance of land of 1st rate in the valley that can be purchased for about $5.00 per acre without water. Do not think for a moment that the part of this letter referring to pay is written to help me make my bill stick. It is written solely to save any misunderstanding with yourself or other officers of your company so that I may be on a good footing when snow is out of timber and an examination made thereof. The timber will pay me well in any case as it is all here is on the line, but I feel that it will pay me better to be in partners with the transportation company. My bill as enclosed calls for 29 days time from Nov.21st to Dec.19th inclusive. I lost one day in interval, but have not charged a cent for time since, i.e. time employed in finishing up original of enclosed map, blue printing, etc. I figure that I cut out two days, and stage fare one way of $4.00 without being asked to. If there is any further cutting to be done, send what you please. If there is to be any delay just remit at once the stage fare of $8.00 and cost of field notes of $27.00 and let balance stand. Very truly yours, (Signed) J.T.McWilliams.