Abbildungen der Seite

1843 and 1846, commencing at a point near the Mississippi whose latitude from sextant observation was determined as 36o. The marks consisted of tree blazes, wooden posts, and mounds of earth and stone. The 1843 line, which differed materially from that previously marked, was accepted by the legislatures and ratified by congressional act of February 15, 1848.30 Copies of the field notes of both lines are in the General Land Office records.31

The part of the west boundary south of Arkansas River was surveyed and marked in 1825, and that from Old Fort Smith to the southwest corner of Missouri in 1831.

A resurvey of the west boundary was commenced in 1857, but after the surveyors had run it 8 miles due south they were directed to return to Fort Smith and to retrace the line of the previous survey, which had been found to diverge to the west.32

A resurvey and re-marking of the entire west boundary was authorized in 1875.33 This work, which was completed in 1877, showed that the lines from Old Fort Smith both southward and northward diverged to the west, thereby adding to the area of Arkansas more than 200 square miles, the boundary mark on Red River being 4 miles 16 chains west of a due south line from Old Fort Smith.34 The Cherokee and Choctaw Indians were paid for the land of which they had thus been wrongfully deprived.35


Tennessee was originally a part of North Carolina. In 1784 the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act of cession to the United States of its western counties, and although the act was soon afterward repealed the people of Greene, Sullivan, and Washington counties (now eastern Tennessee), believing themselves to be without proper government and inadequately defended against the Indians, revolted in 1785 and proceeded to organize an independent State to be called Frankland. A constitution was adopted, and a gove ernor and a legislature were elected. It was planned to invite the inhabitants of adjoining areas now forming parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama to join the move. ment and thus create a large State, but the continued opposition of North Carolina finally prevailed, and in 1788 North Carolina again gained control.36

30 9 Stat. L. 211.
81 Missouri, vols. 362 and 363.
32 40th Cong., 2d sess., H. Ex. Doc. 133.
88 18 Stat. L. 476.
84 45th Cong., 3d sess., S. Repts., vol. 2, Rept. 714.
36 Arkansas Hist, Assoc. Pubs., vol. 2, pp. 211-236.

30 See Haywood, John, The civil and political history of the State of Tennessee, pp. 142–175, Knoxville, 1823.

North Carolina in 1790 again passed an act ceding her western lands to the United States. The cession was accepted by act of Congress approved on April 2 of that year, and a government was provided for in “An act for the government of the territory of the l'nited States south of the Ohio River." 37 The boundaries described in the act of cession are substantially those of the State of Tenneste at the present day.38 (See fig. 9.)

Tennessee was admitted to the Union as a State by act approved June 1, 1796. The act of admission defined it as “the whole of the territory ceded to the United States by the state of North Caro

ina." 39

For the history of the eastern boundary, see North Carolina, pages 132-133; for the southern boundary, see Georgia, pages 138–139; Alabama, page 145; and Mississippi, page 147.

The middle of Mississippi River became the western boundary of this area by the treaty of peace of 1783.

Virginia and North Carolina, prior to the creation of the States of Kentucky and Tennessee, appointed commissioners-Messrs. Walker and Henderson—to run and mark their common boundary on the parallel of latitude 36° 30'. From a point on the top of the Cumberland Mountains, now the southeast corner of Kentucky, Walker ran and marked the line to a point on Tennessee River. This line, called Walker's line, was regarded for many years as the dividing line between Kentucky and Tennessee. It has since been ascertained, however, that Walker's line was about 3' north of latitude 36° 30'.

The Indian title to the land west of Tennessee River being extinguished by the treaty of 1819, the Legislature of Kentucky appointed Robert Alexander and Luke Munsell to ascertain the true point of latitude 36° 30' on the Mississippi and to run and mark a line east on that parallel, which was done as far east as the Tennessee. 40

In 1820 commissioners were appointed by Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively, to settle the boundary. Their report was ratified

and is as follows: 41

The line of boundary and separation between the States of Kentucky and Tennessee shall be as follows, to wit: The line run by the Virginia commissioners, in the year 1779 and 1780, commonly called Walker's line, as the same is reputed, understood, and acted upon by the said States, their respec

"1 Stat. L. 123.

* There are excellent historical descriptions of the Kentucky boundaries in Carroll, 1. D.

, General statutes of Kentucky, 3d ed., pp. 240-243, Louisville, 1903, and in Staunton, 1, I., Revised statutes of Kentucky, vol. 1, pp. 211-220, Cincinnati, Ohio 1860., * Carroll, J. D., General statutes of Kentucky, 3d ed., pp. 240-243, 1903. “Haywood, John, op. cit., p. 485; see also Carroll, J. D., op. cit., p. 240.

$1 Stat. L. 491.


tive officers and citizens, from the southeastern corner of Kentucky to the Tennessee river; thence with and up said river to the point where the line of Alexander and Munsell, run by them in the last year under the authority of an act of the legislature of Kentucky entitled an act to run the boundary line between this state and the state of Tennessee, west of the Tennessee river, approved February the 8th, 1819, would cross said river; and thence with the said line of Alexander and Munsell to the termination thereof on the Mississippi river, below New Madrid.

In 1858–59 commissioners were appointed by Kentucky and Tennessee to rerun this line. The detailed report of the commission on the part of Tennessee, giving courses, bearings, milestones erecte, and a map of the boundary, can be found in the State statutes. The report of this commission on the part of Kentucky, with latitudes and a map of the line on a scale of 1: 108,000, was printed at Frankfort by the State printer, in 1860, as a pamphlet of 98 octavo pages.

The line was run from the Mississippi eastward to the Tennessee, thence down that river to a point in approximate latitude 36° 40' 45”, and thence eastward, following the old Walker line wherever it could be identified, and where no marks were known it was run to points where the Walker line was reputed to be. At the southwest corner of Virginia is an offset from the Walker line, which had been adopted for the Kentucky boundary, to the compromise line agreed on by Virginia and Tennessee in 1803. The line was continued to the northeast corner of the State and thence about 1} miles southwest to the North Carolina line, a total distance of about 432 miles.

There are many angles and offsets in the line east of Tennessee River that can scarcely be attributed to errors in surveying. It seems, however, that the commissioners who first ran the line between Virginia and North Carolina (the Byrd line) and the Tennessee north boundary (the Walker line) were allowed to change the lines at their discretion provided the commissioners for both States agreed; consequently they ran the line on an irregular course to accommodate influential inhabitants along the boundary who desired to remain in one State or the other. 43

For a history of the boundary between Virginia and Tennessee see Virginia, pages 126-127.

An excellent article by Park Marshall on the boundary lines of Tennessee has been published by the State Geological Survey."

42 Tennessee Stat. 1871, vol. 1, pp. 223–243.

48 For a comprehensive history of this line see Garrett, W. R., Northern boundary of Tennessee, a paper read before the Tennessee Historical Society, Mar. 18, 1884, Nashville, 1884.

4 The resources of Tennessee, vol. 7, pp. 90–108, Nashville, 1918.

Geographic positions on the Tennessee-Virginia boundary have been determined by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey as follows:

A stone post 24 inches long, set 20 inches in the ground, on Holston Mountain a short distance northwest of Sutherland, at latitude 36° 36' 51.2" and longitude 81° 49' 36.3"'. This station is very near the State line if not on it. The observer who located it stated :

The sketch submitted with the report of the commissioners who ran out the State line in 1858 shows an offset of about 11 miles between Bristol and this station. The tree marks are found on the straight line east of the offset point but are said not to be continuous; and blocks have been cut from some trees showing the age of 1802 or 1803 and have been crossed out. The only line marked through is that with this offset. Blocks with these erased marks can be bad in Bristol, in the possession of Mr. Huffacre (1894).

I have found a stone post on this line in the valley of Beaver Dam Creek, about 11 miles above the village of Damascus and about 2 miles east of this tation. I traced the line from this stone west to the highest point it crosses Holston Mountain, where the station is established, and found several trees marked by both commissioners (1802 or 1803 and 1858) easily recognized at this date. The line of 1802 or 1803 is called the “ diamond line," from the method of marking always thus ... , while the marks of 1858 are always ;

In Bristol, Tenn.-Va., latitude 36° 35' 41.6'', longitude 82° 10' 41.6”, the State line passes 15 feet south of the Baptist Church steeple."

On a ridge about 5 miles west of Bristol, latitude 36° 35' 42.1", longitude 82° 15' 54.5".

About 3 miles north of Kingsport, Tenn., latitude 36° 35' 39.9'', longitude 82° 35' 35.8".

On Clinch Mountain, about 4 miles southeast of Fairview, Va., latitude 36° 35' 37.3", longitude 82° 49' 49.4".

On the crest of Powell Mountain, about 8 miles northeast of Sedalia, Tenn., latitude 36° 35' 38.0", longitude 83° 10' 32.3". About 3 miles south of Ewing, Va., latitude 36° 35' 50.50”, longi


tude 83° 27' 52.6''.

The following positions are on the Tennessee - Kentucky boundary: At the southeast corner of Kentucky, about 2 miles southwest of Cumberland Gap, latitude 36° 34' 57.1", longitude 83° 41' 28.1". Jellico

, Tenn., an astronomic station, was established in the town of Jellico, at a point 516.3 feet south of the State line, latitude 36° 35' 03.2", longitude 84° 07' 28.8"'.

About 900 feet west of the town of Dukedom, Tenn., State line monument No. 8, latitude 36° 30' 09.7", longitude 88° 43' 09.8". 45 Hi See 190 U. S. 69 for report of commissioners and 180 U. S. 75 for reference to ression of north half of the main street in Bristol by Tennessee to Virginia, ratified by * See U. S. Geol. Surrey Bull. 406, for this position and others farther west.

Congress in 1901.

[ocr errors]

A stone post near Mississippi River, latitude 36° 29' 51.1", longitude 89° 29' 01.2''.46



Kentucky was included in the original limits of Virginia (fig. 9) and was a part of Augusta County, which was formed in 1738. In 1769 Botetourt County was created from a portion of Augusta County; in 1772, Fincastle from Botetourt; in 1776, Kentucky from Fincastle. The boundaries of these counties are described by Hening.*7

In 1789 Virginia passed an act giving her consent that the district of Kentucky be formed into a new State. Accordingly, by an act of Congress approved February 4, 1791, effective June 1, 1792,48 Kentucky was admitted into the Union with substantially her present boundaries.

The cession by Virginia to the United States of the territory northwest of the Ohio, in 1784, made the north bank of that river the dividing line, and consequently it became the north boundary of the State of Kentucky, the exact line being fixed by the low-water stage of the river. The western boundary, the middle of the Mississippi, was the line fixed by the treaty of peace in 1783.

For a history of the boundary between Kentucky and Virginia and West Virginia, see Virginia, pages 125–126; for the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee, see Tennessee, pages 161-162.

A peculiar situation exists at the extreme south west corner of Kentucky, where, owing to a double bend in Mississippi River, there is an area of about 10 square miles belonging to Kentucky that can not be reached from the rest of the State without passing through Missouri or Tennessee.

[ocr errors]



Ohio was the first State formed from the original “ Territory northwest of the River Ohio,” but there is considerable uncertainty as to the proper date to assign to its admission to the Union. The congressional enabling act, approved April 30, 1802,50 contained certain provisos with which the constitution of the proposed State must comply. It seems evident, therefore, that the constitution as framed required the approval of Congress before it became effective.

46 Mississippi River Commission Rept. for 1881, p. 35. 47 Hening, W. W., The statutes at large, a collection of all laws of Virginia, vols. 1-9. 48 1 Stat. L. 189.

49 See decisions by the United States Supreme Court, 5 Wheaton 374 (18 U. S. 667), 136 U. S. 479. In the former case, a tract of land on the north side of Ohio River was claimed by Kentucky, because at high water it became an island. It was said that “ No land can be considered an island unless it is surrounded by water at all times. The same tract of land can not be sometimes in Kentucky and sometimes in Indiana, according to the rise and fall of the river. It must be always in the one State or the other."

50 2 Stat. L. 173.

« ZurückWeiter »