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Imperial Valley Press.
VOL. VI OUR WATER RIGHTS The action of the General Land Of fice In rejecting final proofs on lands In this Valley on account of an Insufficient showing of ownership of water rights by the claimants has given rise to considerable alarm and much discus sion among those Interested. The rulings were generally such as to leave the claimant much In the dark as to just where he does stand. The fact that the land office recognizes the right of the entryman to mortgage his entry before final proof, and protects the mortgagee In such cases by refus ing to permit the entrymen to even re linquish his land back to the govern ment, unless the mortgage Is satisfied, caused many to feel that the ruling could not be taken on the. ground that the water stock was not fully paid for, and therefore must go to the root of the water right Itself. The following ruling In the case of the final proof of Felix G. Havens, assignee of I. W. Gleason, is a case in point; Washington, D. C, March 21, 190 G. Register and Receiver, Los'Ang^lee, California. 1 Gentlemen: D. L E. No. 1118 (F. C. No 167 May 12, 1904,) was made on May 22, 1900, by Irving W. Gleason, for the NX, Sec. 20, T. 16S, R. 13 E, S. B. M., 320 acres, and was amended by let ter "G" of September 24, 1900, to. the E>£ of NW^andNEH.Sec 22, and \S}4 of NWJ-I, Sec. 23, T. 16 S, K. 13 E, S. B. M., 320 acres. Said entry as amended was canceled by relinquishment as to the E>£ of XW^, Sec. 22, Vt& of NW^| Sec. 23, T. 10 S, R. 13 E, S. B. M., on December 3, 1900, leaving the entry in tact as to the glg& Sec. 22, T. 16 S, U. 13E,-S.B. M.^ containing 160 acres, which was assigned on the same day to Felix G. Havens. On May 12, 1904, the assignee made final proof before the Register, and final receipt and certificate No. 167 issued the same day. With the final proof papers is found a /cross-examination deposition by claim ant in which the following question and answer appear : Question : Have you mortgaged the land embraced in this entry or assigned the water stock appurtenant to thesame? If so, state to whom and; for what pur pose? Answer: At the time I became the assignee of Irving \V. Gleaeon for this land, the entry was mortgaged to the California Development company, to se cure the payment of the balance on the purchase price of the water stock for "the irrigation of the land, and the water . stock was assigned to thesame company as collateral security. I assumed the obligation entered into by said Gleason und have made all payments as thoy fell due, both on principal and interest, reducing the indebtedness $320.00. The land is still mortgaged and the water stock still assigned, but the inter est of the California Development com pany lias been assigned to George C. Hunt, of 1247 Ingraham St., Los Angel es, California. Mr. Hunt holds the mortgage against the land and the as signment of the' water .fltoek to secure the unpaid balance 0f '5720.00. There is' no other indebtedness either on the land or the water stock. The water stock is worth $20.00 per acre or $3200.00 and the land and water stock together are worth $8000.00. I, therefore, owe lees than ten per cent, of the value of the land and water utoek. Claimant states- that he is not making proof on this entry either directly or in directly for the benefit of any person other than himself, and that he has not sold, assigned or transl erred bin claim to saitl land or agreed to do ho. , h} his final proof deposition claimant stated that: The water stock bought from I. W, Gleason cost $12.50 per share for 160 shares of which amount I have paid $7.75 per share, and the annual interest. Hal mice due is $4.75 an acre or $760.00 in all. lam now paying out at the rate of $100.00 each year and interest at 5 per cent. The water right relied on by claimant is evidenced by a duly certified copy of a certificate of stock from which it ap pears that Felix G. llav«ne, the claim ant; was, on December 3, 1900, entitled to 160 shares of the capital stock of the Imperial Water company No. 1, which BY F. G. IIAVKNS nre attached to the land embraced in the entry of claimant. For the purpose of more fully showing the right of applicant to the use of wat er to permanently irrigate and reclaim' the laud embraced in the entry, refer ence is made by claimant to documents filed in the case of final proof in the <:aa«; of Clara C. Drain, assignee of John M. Heuck, being D. LJ E. No. 1263, Fin al Receipt and Certificate No. 110, issued March 29, 1902, and Patent issued March 12, 1903, consisting of a certified copy of the water appropriation notice, made by the California Development company and recorded in San Diego county, the Articles of Incorporation of the Califor nia Development company, theSociedad de Yrrigacion y Terrenos de 'la Baja California, Sociedad Anonima. and Im perial Water company No. 1; also By; Laws of the Imperial Water company No. 1, which show the right of the stock holders of said water company to partic- I ioate iii^the benefits accruing to the cor poration by reason of its various con tracts and the right of the individual stockholder to receive water sufficient to perpetually irrigate the land by virtue of being a stockholder in said water company. Reference is also made to the affidavit of the engineer of the California Devel opment company as to the efficiency and capacity of the system to permanently supply the various mutual water com panies with sufficient water to perpetu ally irrigate the lands within the several districts according to the terms of their respective contracts. All of the documents above mentioned are specially referred to in connection with this proof and made apart thereof. The objection to the title of claimant to the water stock relied upon is that it is not an absolute title in claimant as the said stock has been mortgaged, leav ing in claimant not an absolute title thereto, but a title that is liable to be destroyed upon claimant's failure to comply with the terms of the mortgage. • It will be necessary for claimant to show that lie has an absolute right to sufficient water to successfully irrigate the land. • ' The land embraced in said entry is found to be in a township and range of which the Secretary of the Interior was authorized to cause'to be made a re»ur vey by the Act of July 1, 1902, (32Stat., 728.) If the -requirements of this letter are complied with in due time, the evidence will accordingly be examined with a view to holding the entry unapproved for patenting until said resurvey is ac cepted and the plats thereof filed and approved, in order that the description of the land may be corrected to agree with the new survey. Notify the claimant and all known persons in interest of the contents here of, and that unless he furnishes the ev idence required above, or appeals here from within GO days from notice, his entry and filial certificate hereby held for cancellation will be canceled without further notice from this office. In serving notices observe the direc tions of 29 L. D., 649. Claimant's poetoffice address is stated to be Imperial, California. Very respectfully, W. A. RICUARDti, Commissioner. It will be observed that the commis sioner went over the reference state ment which was filed by the claimant with his final proof, and recited its contents, In a way that Intimated that It was a matter of controversy a(id en tered Into the defect In the water right. Previous to the receipt of this ruling of the land office, we had not heard of any similar action In any oase, so we at once wrote to the Commissioner of he General Land Office, frankly stat ing what conditions were in the Valley at that time and pointing out the In justice of requiring entrymen on these lands to pay obligations that are not due, In order to secure title to their lands. We also recited that the water AND THIi IMPERIAL PRIiSS EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA. MAY 12, 1906 delivered In this Valley Is not under control, and that the California Devel opment Company delivering canal sys tem Is Incomplete. Therefore, their part of the work not having yet been finished, and our obligations not yet be ing due, we contended that we should not be compelled to pay for what we could not get In order to be permitted to keep our lands. We also asked the question direct if- we would have an absolute right to sufficient water to successfully irrigate the land If we should pay off the mortgage on the water stock, explaining the character of the water stock In order to get a clear statement on the matter, In re ply to our letter, the Commissioner of the General Land Office, under date of May Ist, 1906, sent us the follow ing letter: Washington, D. C, May 4 1, 1906. Mr. Felix G. Havens, El Centro, California. Sir : lam in receipt of your letter of April 12, 1906, in regard to D. L. E. No. 1118 (F. C. No. 167, May 12, 1904,) Los Angeles, California series, made May 22, 1900, by Irving W. Gleason, for the N^ Sec. 20, T. 16 S, R. 13 E, S. B. M,, 320 acres, amended by letter "G" of Sep tember 24, 1900, to the E>£ of NW^and NE^, Sec. 22, and W>£ of NW 1-4, Sec. 23, T. 16 S, R. 13 E, 9. B. M., 320 acres, canceled by relinquishmentas tothe'E^ of NW 1-4, Sec. 22, W>£ of NW 1-4, Sec. 23, T. 16 S, R. 13 E, S. B. M., on Decem ber 3, 1900, and assigned to you on the came day. By office letter "G" of March 21, 1906, sajd entry was suspended and it was held that it would be necessary for you to show that you had an absolute right to sufficient water to successfully irri gate the land. It seems that the water right relied oil was evidenced by a duly certified copy of a certificate of stock from which, it appeared that you were, on December 3, 1900, entitled to 160 shares of the capital stbck of the Imperial Water company No. 1, which were attached to the land embraced in the entry. In a cross-examination deposition with the final proof you stated that the entry was mortgaged to the California Devel opment company to secure the payment gnu ■uinnnnnn mnmnmn « nn n m n mm nnnnnnnn^u U i^ where more than a Glance at this Map will Show you that $200,000 | • Jj \ \ I IS BEING SPENT / /«—> j \ !" The town of El Centro was started in the fall of N9B /L_/Js^\ \ -- - ; - -.- ■■•■ • 1905 and Is now about six months old. It Is located in I I~*~~ \ \ the center of the best part of the Imperial Valley, and is ' / J \ ''jp»a* \ destined to become the metropolis. y^~"^ | \ \ The following Improvements now completed, or f • ' I*""" I'*1 '* \ under way, make a record to be proud of : ; z 6533^-^ \ '»" ( Ice and Cold Storage Plant (Brick) $75,000 \ Hotel El Centro (Brick) - - 30,000 \p^ \ X /•.*«. I Transformer Station and Power Lines 20,000 T~\ V~ '^ /£! = Opera House Block (Brick) - 40,000 j i«^V^ \ X*^-^ 1 Cement Sidewalks - - 10,000 * V"~~~ q Water Works System - - 10,000 f-~-- [ 2 Electric Light Plant for El Centro 5,000 g • s»p. r. r. Depot - - 6,000 EL CENTRO 1 Holt Block (5 brick stores) - 1 5,000 wm g£^ | Machine Shop and Equipment 2,500 ' ' ' "" " p Hotel Franklin - - 5,000 METROPOLBB | Hardware Store - - 2,000 .. of ' the § T^l f** «._- f^ a 1 A. * ■* ■ * C Packing House 2.000 IMPERIALVALLEY | Peterson Building (Brick) - I ,2Oo^J***t:?»li? re '"qney has been spent in buildingH and ? C..IL/. Rn«'^«« a • 1 cnA7,vß«t%vAU€!nt.4i|)i)rOVt;inentB in El Centro In the last d hullers Residence - - f j^ ? Three Cottages - - 3,OCK)i- 4 V® r ,!M' ; VHHoylin.fivtj ;^ett»^. Conn and neo for ? El Centro Land Co*s Office - 800 <yiii^M^Bi^ i % Bbnn Lumber Co. Yards 2,500 ™?M*^« w ? of | Fuller & Aten's Office - - 600 A'-WTiiri d~\dh* lT%r+C C? q Streets, Etc. -. - 1,000 ffiffi KVU K tbb | 2 For Information regarding El Centro and the Im- / '." '■'■■'.-/ Fl PftflfTft I i\f][\ f(\ 5 I pcrlal Valley, and Its opportunities, address *JsgmMf •• V/VUlt V LUIIU VU> | | D. H. CHAPLIN for Sale D. H. CHAPLIN, | 5 general agent el centro lano co. / ■^/^Wl?^^™* .,, • General Agent P I el centro. California «P||f Cl Centra, California &imjrnjuTJTnJ\nj\rinjinjinnnnnj\JTJ^ rtnriAruriJijririjriJTnjiri jijitl^^ rf» of the balance on the purchase price of the water stock, aiid that the water stock was assigned to the panic company H« collateral security. It was held in said office letter "G" of March 21, 1906, that: "The objection to the title of claimant to the water stock relied upon 'in that it is not an absolute title in claimant as the said stock has been mortgaged, leav ing in claimant not an absolute title thereto, hut a title that is liable to be destroyed upon claimant's failure to comply with the terms of the mortgage." In your said letter you state, that in your final proof you explained the scheme on which the right, or privilege of using water under the Imperial canal system is based, and that you filed a reference statement in which the docu ments, affidavits and records filed in the final proof of Clara C. Drais D. L. E. No. 1253, F. C. No. 110, were specially referred to and made a part of your rec ord. You state, however, that the events of the past three years have practically nullified the statements made in those documents and that in stead of the water being diverted from the Colorado river in American territory and conducted through Mexico and de livered to your *valer company, the California Development company has turned the river from its old channel in Mexico and its entire flow is now pour ing through the Valley. and they are ap parently powerless to control it at all. You suggest that you have doubts as to whether you would have an "absolute right to sufficient water to successfully irrigate the land" if you did pay off the mortgage on the stock in Imperial Wat er company No. 1, in view of the fact that this stock' is not appurtenant to your land, but is only attached to it, and that it is personal property and is taken as collateral by the banks, and is issued to land owners and made attach ed to specific tracts of land, and is also issued to non-land owners and not at tached to anything. It seems, from your statement, that the non-land owner, holding stock on speculation, the non-irrigating land owner and the farmer with the irrigated ranch all pay the same assessments, and that the water stock is sold for the as sessment, if it is not paid, in each case alike, and when so gold is taken off the land to which it is attached, and the land then no longer has a right to water. Accordingly it seems to you that this ♦'water stock" scheme falls short of the requirements that the right to the use of water for irrigation should be appur tenant to the land, an under thin scheme oven if it were eucceseful and the Cali fornia Development company controlled the flow of the water, it would be possi ble to prove up on ecveral pieces of land one at a time, and nse the same water stock on each tract. You conclude your letter with the statement that these questions are of vi tal importance to every one in the Im perial Valley, and you trust that they will receive consideration and that it will not be possible for anyone to criti cise this office for any action that may be taken in the premises. Your attention is directed to the in structions of the Secretary of the Interi or to this office issued on February 17, 1904, and reported in 32 1,. D., 456, wherein it is stated that among the es sential facts which must in all cases be clearly established by the proofs is that the entryman has an absolute right to sufficient water to successfully irrigate the land. Under these instructions this office can only require a compliance with office letter "G" of March 21, 1906, as aforesaid, subject of course, to the right of appeal to the Honorable Secre tary of the Interior, as was stated in said letter. In regard to your query at* to. whether the water right would be absolute if the mortgage should be satisfied, you are advised that if the water right relied upon is acquired in accordance with the laws of the State of California it will be sufficient. In this connection your at tention is directed to section 324, 552 and 1412 of the Civil Code of the State of California, as enacted in 1872, and amendments thereto (James H. Deer ing's edition, 1903.) Very respectfully, • W. A. Bichards,, Commissioner. From this letter it will be seen that the action of the commissioner In rul ing as he has in rejecting the final proofs In this Valley, is taken In en- : forcing the instructions of the Secre tary of the Interior issued to him on February 17fh. 1904, These Instruc tions are as follows: Desert Land Cultivation — Final. Proof Instructions: Final proof under a desert land entry Continued on Bth page NO. 5