August 22, 1929 – JSA to Arthur Hopkins

  • August 22, 1929 – JSA to Arthur Hopkins (Asst. Supt. State Forests) –

Dear Hopkins:

If you went out of your way to loan a man an umbrella, you would think it very shabby treatment if he made you follow him all over town or go to court to get it back. Morally this is exactly what happened when I gave my time and energy to help the Commission and put up the money in accordance with a definite understanding to obtain on an emergency basis the Merrill land in Lot 11 of the Ford & Robinson Tract, and for four years thereafter I have been telephoning and having conferences, only to learn that the umbrella was around the next corner, figuratively speaking.

In spite of all the delays, I have not complained, for the reason that the big purpose of getting the land in the hands of the State was actually accomplished.

As stated to you today, after making due allowances for all the red tape and other impediments which one becomes involved in, in trying to help the State, there appears a very decided lack of desire on the part of your department for function or fulfill your obligation in this instance, and I called up today, after these four years of delay, to advise you that some tie ago I put in my formal claim as requested, and to ask what further action you expect me to take, if any, to help your Department clear up the matter, and I am writing this after to lessen the possibility of any misunderstanding that might result from our interrupted conversation on the phone.

I wish to repeat again that the question of title was passed by the Attorney General, as shown by Mr. Pettis’ letter of May 29, 1925, addressed to the Land Title Bureau, reading as follows:

“You ask for satisfactory proof that Libbie Merrill is the sole heir of Henry Burgess who died intestate in 1921. YOU have already had such proof submitted to you and have been passed upon by Mr. M. F. O’Connor and accepted by the Attorney General in Proposal Tongue Mountain No. 4, purchase of land from Bixby and these papers are on file in this office.”

“It therefore seems that there is nothing serious about this title except the location and preparation of a description which may necessitate a survey.”


The other objection which you often raise is the description of this property, although you yourself described this property in your letter of November 12, 1924, to me, for inclusion in the deed conveying the land to me until it could be taken over by the State.

Aside from the foregoing technical merits of the case, the fact outstanding is that I loaned your Department, as it were, my umbrella and you put me to this extraordinary effort extending over a period of four years, and a great deal of expense, whereas the entire effort should have been made by your Department to return the loan.

If I understand you correctly, you insist that I hire legal assistance and take such other action to prove not only my claim in this instance, but the attitude as outlined in the foregoing.

Cordially yours,