Looters of the Public Domain... Embracing a Complete Exposure of the Fraudulent System of Acquiring Titles to the Public Lands of the United States
Portland, OR: Portland Printing House, 1908. 495 pages. The author lived in Humboldt County, California (mostly on a ranch on the Mad River), and learned to cut and survey timber in the Douglas fir and redwood forests near his home. While working for a surveyor, he started selling inside information on the value of plots about to be made available to homesteaders.
This was Puter's first exposure to the rampant fraud in government sales of timberland. About the turn of the century, he moved a couple hundred miles north, to Oregon, where he expanded his fraudulent land dealings by overtly hiring men to claim timberland and then transfer the title. The fraud eventually resulted in the indictment of both of Oregon's Congressional representatives and one of its senators. Puter was also indicted and convicted of fraud, and he wrote this tell-all expose from the Multnomah County jail.
The book was edited and supported by Horace Stevens, a former federal land agent, who implores the federal government to invalidate the many fraudulent timber holdings in the Northwest. Despite naming names and testifying in court, Puter's efforts to come clean had little impact. He was pardoned by Theodore Roosevelt prior to the book's publication as a reward for testifying against others in land fraud trials. An uncommon title. ISBN: B0016M36WK.
First edition (first printing). Rear hinge cracked, front hinge starting, cloth worn at base of spine, thus good only, but believe it or not, better than usual for this title. [JSP01]