Creator: United States. Surveyor General of Montana


Provenance Note: Official papers filed with the U.S. Surveyor General of Montana were donated to Montana State University by William Johnstone of Bozeman, Montana in August, 1964.


Historical Note: The United States Department of the Interior has been charged with regulating the public lands of the nation since its infancy. Part of the responsibilities of the office have been carried out by the office of Surveyor General in various states including Montana. The office was held by appointees of the President, and in 1922 Gillman Bullard was the Montana official. Part of Gillman's work involved coordinating the activities of the subordinate office of the U.S. Mineral Surveyor. Those citizens interested in staking claims for mining activities on public lands were required to file their paperwork with the Surveyor, who would in turn forward his recommendation to the Surveyor General for approval.

In 1912, Benjamin F. Otten discovered gold bearing deposits in the unorganized Greenhorn Mining District of Lewis and Clark County, Montana. He initially filed his location papers with state offices and, in 1922, requested an official survey to formalize his claim with the federal government. The mineral surveyor for Montana, Albert S. Hovey, performed the necessary reconnaissance of the claim and filed the papers with the Surveyor General's office in March 1922. The claim's location, assigned survey number 10386, was accepted by the Department of the Interior the following month.


Content Description Note: This case file contains all the documentation for Otten's petition for mineral rights on the Rattlesnake Placer Claim. Papers include the survey petitions, legal descriptions, survey maps, and other official forms submitted and approved by the Surveyor General's office.

Updated: 3/29/10