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Hennessey and Company / Standard atlas of Walworth County, Wisconsin : including a plat book of the villages, cities and townships of the county, patrons directory, reference business directory and departments devoted to general information analysis of the system of U.S. land surveys
(1907)

Analysis of the system of United States Land Surveys


TITE    mIrrmsXAISTTmv*=.s
ANALYSIS OF THE SYSTEM
OF
MI-ETES AND BOUNDS.
AP 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, Texas,
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 well-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 40" North of West 100 rods to a large stump; thence 100 North of West 90 rods; thence 150 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 50 North of East 90 rods; thence 45' East of South 60 rods; thence 101 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 "Metes and Bounds," would leave the boundaries of the farm as shown in Diagram 1.
MERIDIANS AND BASE INES.
5TH  ICOFft. LI-
r TAN.PAR.      tn
IaST OR:  INE
",'y7HE present system
so.     1'of Governmental
1 Land Surveys was
adopted by Con-
gress on the 7th of May,
1785. It has been in use
ever since and is the legal
method of describing and
dividing lands. It is called
the "Rectangular System,"
that is, all its distances and
bearings are measured from
two lines which are at right
angles toeach other, viz. :+.
These two lines, front which
the measurements are made,
are the Principal Meridians,
which run North and South,
and the Base Lines. which
run East and West.46 These
-Principal Meridians are es-
tablished, with great accu-
-  ~       racy, by astronomical obser-
vations. Each Principal
Meridian has its Base Line,
and these two lines form the
basis or foundation for the
surveys or measurement of
all the lands within the ter-
-J,     ritory which they control.
0oDiagram 2 shows all of the
Principal Meridians and B sae
PAE       -    Lines in the central porla
of the United States, and
4W from  it the territory gov-
erned by each Meridian and
Base Line may be readily
041        distinguished. Each Merid-
ian and Base Line is marked
with its'proper number or
vuL      inanje, as are also the Stand-
95LLE         ard Parallels and guide 40r
11 VIauxiliary) Meridians.        46
Diagram 3 illustrates what
is meant when this method
is termed the "Rectangular
System," and how the meas-
urements are based on lines
which run at right angles to
each other. The heavy line
(marked A. A.) represents
the Principal Meridian, in
this case saythe5th Principal
Meridian. The heavv line
AT    running East and( West
(marked B. B.) is the Base
oG       Line. These lines are used
as the starting points or basis
NERY a         of all measurements or sar-
veys made in territory con-
trolled by the 5th Principal
Meridian.  The same fact
applies to all other Principal
Meridians and their Base
Lines. Commencing at the
Principal Meridian, at inter-
vals of six miles, lines are
runNorthandSouth, parallel
to the Meridian. This plan
is followed both East and
West of the Meridian
=throughout the territory
S     controlled by the Meridian.
ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS. IN THE YEAR L905, BY GEO A- OGLE & CO., IN THF OFFICE ;F: THE LIBARIAN OF CONGRESS AT WASHINGTON fn. C.
'Sr' .
PASO DEL N
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