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D. TYPICAL BOUNDARY MARKS, OLD AND NEW. A. Monument No. 20 on the Mason and Dixon line: B, Boundary stone between the District of
Columbia and Maryland: C, A Texas-New Mexico boundary stone; D, Mark at the southeast corner of New Mexico.
planned, although it has since been ascertained that they had run about 30 miles beyond the northwest corner of Maryland. They set stone monuments, most of which were brought from England, at mile intervals for all but the western part of the line.
In 1889 and 1900 the Legislatures of Pennsylvania and Maryland authorized the appointment of a joint commission to “ascertain and re-mark” the common boundary between the two States. The final report of the joint commission o1 is dated January 25, 1907. It contains an excellent bibliography of publications relating to the line. No changes in the line as run by Mason and Dixon were made; straight lines were run between original monuments, and many new stones were set on the lines thus established. There are now 225 stone monuments on the line, including many of the original monuments which were repaired and reset. · (See Pl. V, A.) The original marks for 5-mile points were carved in England from oolitic limestone. Lord Baltimore's coat of arms is on the Maryland side and the Penn arms on the side facing Pennsylvania. Intermediate milestones were smaller and marked “M” and “P” only, on opposite sides.
Because of the removal of the stone at the northeast corner of Maryland and for other reasons, it was deemed desirable to resurvey and re-mark the State boundaries in that locality; consequently Maryland (in 1846), Delaware (in 1847), and Pennsylvania (in 1849) authorized the appointment of commissioners to undertake the task. An Army officer was delegated by them to make the surveys, which were completed in 1850.
In the resurvey of the arc boundary and of the adjacent lines the surveyor in charge unfortunately disregarded “the well-known rule that an actual line upon the ground is to be preferred to the written description of the same line in a deed.” He changed the position of the arc boundary as marked in 1701 and assigned to Pennsylvania the triangular strip about 3} miles in length (about 900 acres in area) west of the arc boundary, east of Maryland and south of the Mason and Dixon line, which had previously been assumed to belong to Delaware. This survey was approved by the commissioners from the three States, but no formal action regarding it appears to have been taken by the State legislatures.
These changes were for a long time the cause of disputes between Pennsylvania and Delaware, which resulted in authority being granted in 1889 by the legislatures for the appointment of commis
Report on the resurvey of the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary part of the Mason and Dixon line, published by authority of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, 1909. ** For report of the surveyor see Delaware Senate Jour. for 1851, pp. 56-109.
sioners to reestablish the boundary between the two States. The commissioners agreed that the northern boundary of Delaware should run due east from the northeast corner of Maryland to a point 12 miles from the New Castle courthouse and thence follow a curved line passing through as many boundary marks of the 12mile circle of 1701 as could be identified. The resurvey was made, 93 and 46 marks were set on the arc boundary in 1892–93. The triangular tract assigned to Pennsylvania by the commissioners of 1849 thus reverted to Delaware.
The report of the commission and the line as marked by it were " accepted, approved, and confirmed” by the Legislature of Pennsylvania by act of June 22, 1897,94 but were not formally accepted by the Legislature of Delaware until March 28, 1921. The assent of Congress to the action of the States was given on June 30, 1921.95
Commissioners from Virginia and Pennsylvania agreed in 1779 that the boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania should be fixed as follows: 96
That the line commonly called Mason's and Dixon's line be extended due west five degrees of longitude to be computed from the river Delaware, for the southern boundary of Pennsylvania ; and that a meridian drawn from the western extremity thereof to the northern limits of the said states, respectively, be the western boundary of Pennsylvania forever.
In order to locate the boundaries as thus described observations of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites were made in 1784 at Wilmington and at a point estimated to be 5° of longitude west of Delaware River. While this work was being done the Mason and Dixon line was extended westward by commissioners from Virginia (one of whom was Andrew Ellicott) and from Pennsylvania, and a point was marked for the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, which the astronomic computations showed should be a little more than 14 miles east of the assumed position, where the observatory had been placed. From the southwest corner of Pennsylvania the meridian boundary was run to the north side of Ohio River. Between the Ohio and Lake Erie the line was surveyed and marked in 1785 by another commission.
The southern part of the west boundary was again surveyed and marked in 1883 by commissioners representing the two States. The survey was commenced at the Ohio, and the line was run south to the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, a measured distance of a little more than 634 miles. Twenty-three of the old monuments were found and 48 new ones were established. Astronomic positions of several marks on this boundary were determined in 1883 in connection with the resurveys. Two of these positions are as follows: Southwest corner of Pennsylvania, latitude 39° 43' 18.2'', longitude 80° 31' 08.2"'; near Smiths Ferry on Ohio River, latitude 40° 38' 27.2, longitude 81° 31' 07.5''.
93 For a report of this survey and a historical sketch of the Mason and Dixon line see U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Rept. for 1893, Appendix 8, pp. 177-222.
** Pennsylvania laws for 1897, p. 183. 38 42 Stat. L. 104.
** Pennsylvania Sec. Internal Affairs, Rept. for 1887, p. 293. Hening, W. W., Virginia Stat. L., vol. 10, pp. 519–537, 1882.
The Ohio-Pennsylvania boundary was resurveyed and re-marked in 1881, commencing at a granite monument 6 feet high and 3 feet square at the base, which was erected by the commissioners at a point 2,400 feet south of the edge of Lake Erie. The position of this monument was determined as latitude 41° 58' 21.5", longitude 80° 31' 18.2". From this point the line was run south to Ohio River, a distance of 92 miles.o7
The monument established in 1785 on the northern bank of the Ohio in the west boundary of Pennsylvania is of considerable historical importance, for it marks the point from which the first surveys for dividing public land in the United States into ranges and townships were commenced. This general system of surveys has been extended over all the public-land States and has even been adopted by some foreign countries.
By the formation of the State of Ohio from lands ceded to the C'nited States by Virginia in 1784 and by Connecticut in 1800 and the separation of West Virginia from Virginia in 1862 the abovementioned meridian line became the boundary between Pennsylvania on the east and Ohio and West Virginia on the west.
The cession of 1781 by New York to the United States included an isolated triangle of land bounded by New York, Pennsylvania, and Lake Erie. In order to give Pennsylvania an outlet to the lake, this tract, known as the “ Erie triangle,” was sold by the General Government to that State for $151,640.25, and the deed, dated March 3, 1792, was signed by George Washington.
The east line of the Erie triangle, being part of the west boundary of New York, was first surveyed and marked in 1790. In 1869 a new granite monument was placed on this boundary near the lake, the position of which was determined as latitude 42° 15' 57.9", longitude 79° 45' 54.4". In 1885 this monument was repaired and the boundary was rerun to the south line of New York, a distance of a little more than 18 miles. In all, there were then 51 marks on the line."
For other details concerning the survey of the west boundary of Pennsylvania see Pennsylvania Sec. Internal Affairs Rept. for 1887, pp. 323, 324, 395, 396, 401, 418, 468.
* See plat of the Seven ranges of townships, Ohio Surveys, 1785–1787, U. S. General Land Office files No. 57, Ohio; Peters, W. E., Ohio lands and their subdivision, pp. 33 and 67, Athens, Ohio, 1918.
* See Pennsylvania Sec. Joternal Affairs Rept. for 1887, pp. 590, 592, Harrisburg, 1887.