FEDERAL LAND GRANTS
By 1850, the United States Government owned approximately one and a half billion acres of land acquired in various ways as follows: (1) ceded by the Indians; (2) from individual states; (3) Louisiana and Florida purchases; and (4) by treaty with Mexico. Portions of this land were used by the Government to aid in the building of wagon roads and canals and in the construction of railroads.1
Congress, by the Act of July 2, 1864, amending the Act of July 1, 1862, granted to the Central Pacific Railroad Company, the ten odd-numbered sections of land per mile on each side of the road and within the limits of twenty miles of the track with the exception of mineral lands, not including iron and coal, and not already pre-empted or sold.
To acquire these lands the railroad company was required, as soon as the route of the road had been determined to file a map of the route in the Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Interior then to withdraw from sale all lands within the railroad grant. Upon the completion of twenty consecutive miles of road, the lands would be surveyed and a patent issued to the railroad company.
In theory, the Central Pacific was granted 12,800 acres per mile for its 742 miles between Sacramento and Ogden, amounting to 9,497,600 acres. By consolidation with the