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Hennessey and Company / Plat book of Racine and Kenosha counties, Wisconsin : including plats of the villages, cities and townships of the counties, map of the state, United States and world
(1908)

Analysis of the system of United States land surveys



ANALYSIS
OF THE
SYSTEM
- m                              U'l&R4   1
MVETES
AND
BOJUNDS.
@- P to the time of the Revolutionary War, or until about the beginning of
the present century, land, when parcelled out, and
sold or granted, was described by "Metes and Bounds," and that
system is still in existence in the following States, or in
       those portions of them which had been sold or granted when the present
plan of surveys was adopted, viz.: New York,
       Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and
South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texa",
and the six New England States. To describe land by "Metes and Bounds,"
is to have a known land-mark for a place of beginning,
and then follow a line according to the compass-needle (or magnetic bearing),
or the course of a stream, or track of an ancient high-
way. This plan has resulted in endless confusion and litigation, as land-marks
decay and change, and it is a wel-known fact that
the compass-needle varies and does not always point due North.
    As an example of this plan of dividing lands, the following description
of a farm laid out by "Metes and Bounds," is given:
"Beginning at a stone on the Bank of Doe River, at a point where the
highway from A. to B. crosses said river (see point marked C.
on Diagram 1); thence 40ý North of West 100 rods to a large stump;
thence 100 North of West 90 rods; thence 15' West of North 80
rods to an oak tree (see Witness Tree on Diagram 1); thence due East 150
rods to the highway; thence following the course of the
highway 50 rods due North; thence 5' North of East 90 rods; thence 45' East
of South 60 rods; thence 100 North of East 300 rods
to the Doe River; thence following the course of the river Southwesterly
to the place of beginning." This, which is a very simple
and moderate description by "1 Metes and Bounds," would leave the
boundaries of the farm as shown in Diagram 1.
MERIDIANS
AND
BAJSE
LINES.
~P.~A.14 2.
s.
a.
no
HE present system
    of overnmental
    Land Surveys was
    adopted by Con-
s on the 7th of May,
5. It has been in use
r since and is the legal
hod of describing and
ding lands. It is called
"Rectangular System,"
t is, all its distances and
rings are measured from
lines which are at right
les to each other, viz. :+.
ase two lines, from which
measurements are made,
the Principal Meridians,
ich run North and South,
I the Base Lines which
East and West. These
neipal Meridians are es-
lished, with great aocu-
y, by astronomical obser-
ions. Each Principal
ridian has its Base Line,
I these two linesform the
is or foundation for the
veys or measurement of
the lands within the ter-
)ry which they control.
)iagram 2 shows all of the
ncipal Meridians and Base
ies in the central portion
the United States, and
mn it the territory gov-
ed by each Meridian and
3e Line may be readily
tinguished. Each Merid-
and Base Line is marked
h its proper number or
re, as are also the Stand-
Parallels and guide (or
ciliary) Meridians.
)iagram 3 illustrates what
neant when this method
ermed the "Rectangular
3tem,1" and how the meas-
ments are based on lines
ich run at right angles to
bl other. The heavy line
ining North and South
arked A. A.) represents
- Principal Meridian, in
s case say the 5th Principal
ridian. The heavy line
ining East and West
arked B. B.) is the Base
ae. These lines are used
bhe starting points or basis
all measurements or sar-
rs made in territory con-
lled by the 5th Principal
ridian. The same fact
plies to all other Principal
ridians and their Base
Res. Commencing at the
ineipal Meridian, at inter-
s of six miles, lines are
a North andSouth, parallel
the Meridian. This plan
followed both East and
est of the Meridian
-oughout the territory
itrolled by the Meridian
ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF QWNXUKMIk Mf *rS 'r - -- -. . . . .. .. ....
. -- - - - - - - - .- -.
110.
1055
100.
It I
10 1NT1rXr.= ISM le6t=93


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