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This boundary was affirmed by the treaty of 1795 between the United States and Spain.

In 1799 Andrew Ellicott, as commissioner for the United States, was directed to survey and mark this line from the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean. From a point near the Mississippi, determined by him as on the thirty-first parallel, he ran a line due east to a point near the mouth of Flint River, the latitude of which he determined as 30° 42' 42.8”, where he was forced to stop work because of hostile Indians. He then proceeded by water to St. Marys River and up that river to what he took to be the source of its longest branch, where he erected a large mound, the latitude of which he reported as “about 30° 34' N."

The line joining these two marks had not yet been surveyed when Spain ceded the Floridas to the United States in 1819, and the uncertainty regarding the position of this boundary was the cause of many disputes, which became more acute as the country became more thickly settled. Georgia claimed that the headwaters of the St. Marys were at the source of a southern branch. This claim if conceded would give additional territory to that State variously estimated at 800 to 2,355 square miles. On the other hand, the United States commissioners maintained that the real source of the St. Marys was 2 miles north of the Ellicott mound.

Apparently Georgia, at least temporarily, accepted the Ellicott mound as the proper eastern terminus of the straight boundary, and some time before 1825 had the “Watson line" run between the two marks established by Ellicott. It is uncertain when this line was run and whether it was ordered run by Georgia, although it is referred to in official documents as having been run by that State.

In 1825 a second line was run by D. F. McNeil, a contract surveyor for the United States General Land Office, and this line, although not formally accepted by the General Land Office, was looked upon for more than 20 years as the proper location of the boundary.

In 1826 Congress authorized the survey and marking of a line which shall be run straight from the junction of said rivers Chatahhoochie and Flint to the point designated as the head of Saint Marys River.

Georgia, not content with either the Watson or the McNeil line, continued to press her claims and in 1827 passed an act forbidding any surveys of public land in the disputed territory (south of the Ellicott mound line) without authority of law.

In 1846 both Georgia and Florida consented to the appointment of commissioners who should fix the boundary, and this action resulted in 1859 in the running of the “Orr and Whitner line" between the mouth of Flint River and the Ellicott mound on the St. Marys. The line as then marked was accepted by Florida in 1861 and by Georgia in 1866.

All three of the lines described are indicated on township plats of the General Land Office in Florida book No. 43.69

The southern boundary of Georgia is thus described : 70 Thence down the western bank of the river (Chattahoochee] at high water mark to its junction with Flint River, at a point now four chains below the attual junction-latitude 30° 42' 42"'; longitude 80° 53' 15''. The average direccon of this line is about south 6° east, and distance about 150 miles direct. About 130 miles, it separates Georgia from Alabama, and the remaining 20 miles from Florida.

Thence along Orr and Whitner's line, south 87° 17' 22'' east (average direction), 158-28/80 miles, to a point 37 links north of Ellicott's Mound, on St. Mary's River. This line is marked by a succession of mounds about 10 feet at the base and 5 feet high-a very permanent form of landmark-and separates Georgia from Florida. It continues approximately and on an average as follows:

From Ellicott's Mound, south 10° east, about 10 miles; thence east 8 miles; thence north 24 miles; thence east 33 miles, following the St. Mary's River in its tortuous windings to the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1872 Congress passed an act to confirm the titles to land "between the line run by Georgia, known as the Watson line, and the Orr and Whitner line, lately established as the true boundary between the said States."

The line between Georgia and Alabama was fixed by the act of cession from Georgia to the United States in 1802.

In 1822-1825 Georgia, desiring to have the line run from the Chattahoochee to the point where it strikes the Tennessee line, appointed commissioners for that purpose and requested the cooperation of Alabama and the United States; the latter, however, took no action.

It had been ascertained by actual survey in running the random line that the frst great bend in the river next above the mouth of the Uchee, from which a right line would run to Nickajack without touching the river, was the Big Shoal or Millers Bend, and this the commissioners on the part of Georgia contended was the bend at which the line should begin.“

In this contention the commissioners from Alabama refused to concur; consequently the line was run from Nickajack to Millers Bend by the Georgia commissioners alone. Alabama protested against this line and made repeated efforts to reopen negotiations concerning it, to all of which Georgia steadily refused to accede,

For copies of official documents, Federal and State, relating to this boundary, of éates from 1789 to 1846, see 33d Cong., 2d sess., S. Mise. Doc. 25, 1855, a book of more than 400 pages.

* Janes, T. P., op. cit., p. 121 ; Georgia Code, 1873, p. 7; and Florida Code, 1872. Laws of Georgia, 1826, p. 209.

until finally, January 24, 1840, the Legislature of Alabama passed the following joint resolution:

Resolved, That the State of Alabama will and do hereby, accept as the true dividing line between this State and that of Georgia, the line which was run and marked out by the commissioners of Georgia in 1826, beginning at what is called Millers Bend, on the Chattahoochee River; thence along said marked line to Nickajack.

The line is given in the Code of Alabama in the following words : 72

The boundary line between Alabama and Georgia commences on the west side of the Chattahoochee River at the point where it enters the State of Florida ; from thence up the river, along the western branch thereof, to the point on Millers Bend next above the place where the Uchee Creek empties into such river; thence in a direct line to Nickajack.

The description of the western boundary of Georgia follows: 73

From Nickajack the line between Georgia and Alabama runs south 9° 30' east to Millers Bend, on the Cattahoochee River, about 146 miles. Thence down the western bank of the river at high-water mark to its junction with Fl'nt River, at a point now four chains below the actual junction, latitude 30° 42' 42'', longitude 80° 53' 15''. The average direction of this line is about south 6° east, and distance about 150 miles direct.

The United States Supreme Court 74 decreed regarding the river boundary between Georgia and Alabama that the water line impressed upon the bank above the slope is the line Both bank and bed are to be ascertained by inspection, and the line is where the action of the water has permanently marked itself upon the soil.

We must reject, altogether, the attempt to trace the line by either ordinary low water or low water. These terms are only predicable of those parts of rivers within the ebb and flow of the tides,

The permanent fast-land bank is referred to as governing the line. And where the bank is fairly marked by the water, that water level will show at all places where the line is.

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Florida was originally settled by the Spaniards and was held as a Spanish Province for nearly 200 years. In 1763 it was ceded by Spain to Great Britain, which divided it into two Provinces of East Florida and West Florida, separated by Apalachicola River. East Florida had for its northern boundary the north boundary of the present State (fig. 10), and West Florida at first had a northern boundary on the thirty-first parallel, but in 1764 the Province was extended northward to the parallel through the mouth of Yassous River (now the Yazoo), said to be in latitude 32° 28'.74a (Geological Survey maps show an old mouth of the Yazoo in latitude 32° 22'.) The peace treaty concluded in 1782 between the United States and Great Britain specified the thirty-first parallel as the boundary between the United States and West Florida, but by a separate article provided as follows: 75

72 Alabama Code, 1876, p. 189.
73 Janes, T. P., op. cit., p. 121.
74 13 Howard, 381 (19 U. S. 542).

74a Lowry & McCardle, A history of Mississippi, Jackson, 1891; Donaldson, Thomas, op. cit., p. 108.

It is hereby understood and agreed that in case Great Britain, at the conclusion of the present war, shall recover or be put in possession of West Florida, the line of north boundary between the said province and the United States shall be a line drawn from the mouth of the river Yassous, where it anites with the Mississippi, due east to the river Apalachicola.

In 1783 Great Britain retroceded Florida to Spain without a defiLite settlement of the northern boundary of West Florida, which at once became a matter of dispute between the United States and Spain. Spain claimed the territory as far north as the parallel through the mouth of the Yassous, whereas the United States claimed the thirty-first parallel as the boundary under the treaties of 1782 and 1783, and on that parallel it was fixed by the treaty with Spain signed October 20, 1795.76

On March 30, 1822, by an act of Congress," the territory ceded to the United States by Spain was made the Territory of Florida, embracing the same area as the present State.

On March 3, 1845, Florida was admitted to the Union as an independent State.78

For a history of the northern boundary of Florida see Georgia, pages 139–141.

In 1831 Congress passed an act relating to the boundary between Florida and Alabama, of which the following is an extract : 79

That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause to be run and marked the boundary line between the state of Alabama and the territory of Florida, by the surveyors-general of Alabama and Florida, on the thirty-first degree of north latitude.

In 1847 the agreement of commissioners previously appointed by Florida and Alabama was ratified, and the line is described as follows: 80

Commencing on the Chattahoochee River near a place known as “Irwin's Mills" and running West to the Perdido, marked throughout by blazes on the trees; and also by mounds of earth thrown up on the line, at distances of che mile, more or less, from each other, and commonly known as the "Mound Line," or "Ellicott's Line."

Valloy, W. M., op. cit., vol. 1, p. 584.
**Chambers, H. E., West Florida and its relations to the historical cartography of the
Toited States; Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies in Historical and Political Science, May,
1898. See also 13 Howard, 406 (19 U. S. 552); Fairbanks, G. R., History of Florida,
D 209, Philadelphia, 1871; Fuller, H. B., The purchase of Florida, Cleveland, 1906.

*3 Stat. L. 654.
35 Stat. L. 742.
> 4 Stat. L. 479.
** Florida acts and resolutions, 3d sess., p. 36, Tallahassee, 1848.

This line was run in 1799 by Andrew Ellicott. It was retraced and re-marked in 1853–54 by B. F. Whitner, jr., and again retraced in 1911, by authority of an act of Congress approved June 25, 1910.51

The examiner in 1911 reported $2 that

Many of the mounds erected by Whitner in reestablishing the “Ellicott ” line are in perfect condition and are the best evidence remaining of the original surveys in the vicinity.

The line between the two States is given in general terms in the Florida Code as follows:

Commencing at the mouth of the Perdido River, from thence up the middle of said river to where it intersects the south boundary line of the State of Alabama and the thirty-first degree of north latitude; then due east to the Chattahoochee River.


On March 8, 1817, by an act of Congress Alabama Territory was formed from the eastern part of Mississippi Territory with the following boundaries $3 (see fig. 11): beginning at the point where the line of the thirty-first degree of north latitude intersects the Perdido river; thence east to the western boundary line of the state of Georg‘a; thence along said line to the southern boundary line of the state of Tennessee; thence west along said boundary line to the Tennessee river; $4 thence up the same to the mouth of Bear creek; thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of Washington county; thence due south to the Gulf of Mexico; thence eastwardly, including all the islands within six leagues of the shore, to the Perdido river; and thence up the same to the beginning.

On December 14, 1819, Alabama was admitted as an independent State, with boundaries as above described.

An act of Congress approved March 2, 1819,85 made it the duty of the surveyor of the lands of the United States south of the state of Tennessee, and the surveyor of the public lands in the Alabama territory, to run and cut out the line of demarcation, between the state of Mississippi and the state to be formed of the Alabama territory; and if it should appear to said surveyors, that so much of said line designated in the preceding section, running due south, from the north-west corner of Washington county to the Gulf of Mexico, will encroach on the counties of Wayne, Green, or Jackson, in said state of Mississippi, then the same shall be so altered as to run in a direct line from the north-west corner of Washington county to a point on the Gulf of Mexico, ten miles east of the mouth of the river Pascagola.

In 1820, in accordance with this statute, a trial line was run north from the northwest corner of Washington County, marked by a stump of an oak tree 20 feet tall, to the mouth of Bear Creek on

81 36 Stat. L. 844. 82 61st Cong., 3d sess., H. Doc. 1413, p. 19. 83 3 Stat. L. 371. 84 The western crossing of Tennessee River is intended. 83 Stat. L. 491.

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