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How the Government Surveys Land

From instructions by J. A. Williamson, Commissioner The rectangular system of surveying Government lands, termed the Land System of the United States, was adopted by an act of Congress passed May 20, 1785. The ordinance provided for townships six miles square, containing thirty-six sections of one mile square. The region embraced by the surveys under this law forms a part of the present State of Ohio, and is usually styled “Old Seven Ranges.” The town-ships, six miles square, were laid out in ranges, extending northward from the Ohio River, the townships being numbered from south to north, and the ranges from east to west. In these initial surveys only the exterior lines of the townships were surveyed and mile corners were established on the township lines, but the plats were marked by subdivisions into sections of one mile square. The sections were numbered from one to thirty-six, commencing with number one in the southmost corner of the township, and running from south to north in each tier to number thirty-six in the northwest corner of the township. These first public surveys were made under the direction of the Geographer of the United States. The act of Congress approved May 18, 1796, provided for the appointment of a surveyor-general, and directed the government surveys of the lands north-west of the Ohio River and above the mouth of the Kentucky River, “in which the titles of the Indian tribes have been extinguished.” Under this law one-half of the townships surveyed were subdivided into sections “by running through the same, each way, parallel lines at the end of every two miles, and...

Map Making, from Majorca to Appalachia

From the moment that Europeans learned that a New World existed across the waters of the Atlantic, map makers in Western Europe began turning maps of that New World. At first these maps were grossly inaccurate and assumed the either the Americas were part of the Orient or merely consisted of islands off the shores of Asia. As more and more log books and navigation charts were returned to Spain, Portugal, France and England by explorers, the maps grew more precise.

Northern Alabama Land Cessions Map

The Northern Alabama Land Cessions map was initially drawn up for a series found in the 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Specifically, it was created to reference the compilation by Charles C. Royce for the Indian Land Cessions in the United States. Since the map was drawn up in 1896 it only references those land cessions occurring before that year. The Northern Alabama Land Cessions map was drawn by A. Hoen & Company, Lithographers from Baltimore.     Map by Cession # The map references 4 specific cessions as defined by Treaties, Acts and Agreements with Indian Tribes across Alabama. The treaties referenced by those areas can be found below: Cession 64 Treaty of January 7, 1806 The Cherokees cede to the United States all claim to all that tract of country lying to the northward of the river Tennessee and westward of a line to be run from the upper part of the Chickasaw Old Fields, at the upper point of an island called Chickasaw Island, on said river, to the most easterly head waters of that branch of Tennessee River called Duck River. The boundaries of this cession overlap the Chickasaw cession of November 14, 1805, and in turn are overlapped by the boundaries of the Chickasaw cession of September 20, 1816. For explanation and elucidation of this cession, see Cherokee treaty of September 11, 1807. Cession 80 Treaty of September 20, 1816 The Chickasaw nation cede to the United States (with the exception of such reservations as shall hereafter be specified) all right or title to lands on the North side of...

Alabama Land Cessions Map

The Alabama Land Cessions map was initially drawn up for a series found in the 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Specifically, it was created to reference the compilation by Charles C. Royce for the Indian Land Cessions in the United States. Since the map was drawn up in 1896 it only references those land cessions occurring before that year. The Alabama Land Cessions map was drawn by A. Hoen & Company, Lithographers from Baltimore.     Map by Cession # The map references 16 specific cessions as defined by Treaties, Acts and Agreements with Indian Tribes across Alabama. The treaties referenced by those areas can be found below: Cession 46 Treaty of October 17, 1802 Article 1 provides for retracing, connecting, and plainly re-marking the old line of limits established between His Britannic Majesty and the Choctaws, beginning on the left bank of the Chickasawhay river and running thence in an easterly direction to the right bank of the Tombigby river, terminating on the same at a bluff well known by the name of Hacha Tiggeby. Article 2 provides that the said line when thus re-marked shall form the boundary between the United States and the Choctaw Nation in that quarter, and the Choctaws relinquish to the United States all claim to the land included by the above-mentioned line on the North, by the Chickasawhay river on the West, by the Tombigby and the Mobile rivers on the East, and by the boundary of the United States on the South. This was simply a confirmation of a cession made to Great Britain by the Choctaw...

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