Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tika & Land Measuring Back In the Day

Tika was not paying too much attention to what I was explaining yesterday when we went out on the lake. I was explaining to Handy Man about the method of measuring land back in Colonial Times. I learned about this at the recent NGS conference in Richmond, Virginia.

A surveyor was "top dog" in those days (late 1700s) for he had the tools and the skills to help you get the parcel of land that you wanted. He had helpers, of course, who did the "grunt work." Here's how it worked:

Showing your warrant (proof that you were entitled to get some land) to the surveyor, together you went to that parcel to officially measure off the acres you were entitled to have. Usually this was 50 acres, but if you were willing to "go West" into the western part of Virginia, where the Indians were still a presence, then you could have 200 acres.

Once there, you began to generally point out what you wanted and the surveyor, using his tripod and compass, would call out the numbers. His helpers would carry a chain, 33 1/2 feet long, from point to point to measure off the land. The links of this chain looked rather like a pencil with a hook at each end. But to be sure, it was heavy, and to be surer, it must have been a monumental chore to drag that chain over hill and dale, through briers and brambles and thickets. Across rivers and lakes?? How long would you or I have lasted at that job?

Tika did turn around and ask, "Chain? You mean like the one you use to hook me up?" Silly dogger.

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