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The western boundary of Minnesota from Lake Traverse to Big Stone Lake was meandered, and the line from Big Stone Lake to the Iowa line, a distance of 124 miles 5.23 chains, was surveyed and marked in 1859 under the General Land Office 12
North of the forty-ninth parallel and separated from the main part of Minnesota by the Lake of the Woods is a land area including a number of small islands, of nearly 124 square miles,13 which became I'nited States territory by the treaties of 1783 and 1818. See pp. 6 and 11.) The inclusion of this area in the United States resulted from the use of inaccurate maps by the treaty makers and has been described as a “ politico-geographical curiosity of a boundary that a glance at the map will show, that no one could have foreseen, and that would be inexplicable without some knowledge of the steps in the process by which it was brought about.” 14
NORTH DAKOTA AND SOUTH DAKOTA. The Territory of Dakota was organized on March 2, 1861, from parts of Minnesota and Nebraska Territories. (See fig. 17.) The following extract from the act of organization defines its original limits: 15 all that part of the territory of the United States included within the following limits
, namely: commencing at a point in the main channel of the Red River of the North where the forty-ninth degree of north latitude crosses the same; thence up the main channel of the same and along the boundary of the State of Minnesota to Big Stone Lake; thence along the boundary line of the said State of Minnesota, to the lowa line; thence along the boundary line of the State of lowa to the point of intersection between the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers ; thence up the Missouri river, and along the boundary line of the Territory of Nebraska to the mouth of the Niobrara or Running Water river; thence following up the same, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the mouth of the Keha Paha or Turtle Hill river; thence up said river to the forty-third parallel of north latitude ; thence due west to the present boundary of the Territory of Washington; thence along the boundary line of Washington Territory, to the forty-ninth degree of north latitude ; thence east along said forty-ninth degree of north latitude to the place of beginning, be, and the same is hereby, organized into a temporary government by the name of the Territory of
In 1863 the Territory of Idaho was formed, its area having been taken from Washington, Dakota, and Nebraska. (See Idaho, p. 210.)
In 1864, in the act creating Montana Territory, the area described in the following paragraph was temporarily restored to the jurisdiction of Dakota :
v See Winchell, A. N., Minnesota's eastern, southern, and western boundaries : MinDesota Hist. Coll., vol. 10, 1905.
13 This area as given on General Land Office township plats amounts to 123.87 square miles.
16 International Joint Comm., Lake of the Woods references final report, p. 140 Washington, 1917.
1512 Stat. L. 239. *13 Stat. L. 92.
That, until congress shall otherwise direct, all that part of the Territory of Idaho included within the following boundaries, to wit: Commencing at a point formed by the intersection of the thirty-third degree of longitude west from Washington with the forty-first degree of north latitude; thence along said thirty-third degree of longitude to the crest of the Rocky Mountains; thence northward along the said crest of the Rocky Mountains to its intersection with the forty-fourth degree and thirty minutes of north latitude; thence eastward along said forty-fourth degree thirty minutes north latitude to the thirty-fourth degree of longitude west from Washington; thence northward along said thirty-fourth degree of longitude to its intersection with the fortyfifth degree north latitude; thence eastward along said forty-fifth degree of north latitude to its intersection with the twenty-seventh degree of longitude west from Washington; thence south along said twenty-seventh degree of longitude west from Washington to the forty-first degree north latitude; thence west along said forty-first degree of latitude to the place of beginning, shall be, and is hereby, incorporated temporarily into and made part of the Territory of Dakota.
All but a small part of this area was included in the Territory of Wyoming in 1868.
In 1882 a small area was transferred to Nebraska. (See p. 189.)
By the enabling act of February 22, 1889, the Territory of Dakota was divided into two parts, North Dakota and South Dakota : 17 The area comprising the Territory of Dakota shall
be divided on the line of the seventh standard parallel produced due west to the western boundary of said Territory;
Each part, having adopted a constitution, was declared admitted as a State by presidential proclamation dated November 2, 1889.
The boundary line between North and South Dakota, which is the seventh standard parallel north, of the public-land survey, was surveyed and marked in 1891–92. The marks are placed at each half mile and are substantial cut-stone posts 7 feet long by 10 inches square at top, set 34 feet in the ground. The initials of the States are cut on the north and south sides, and the mile numbers on the east. The first mark was placed 9 chains west of the Bois des Sioux River bed. The measured distance to the east bank of the Missouri was 190 miles 8.25 chains. At a distance of 360 miles 45.35 chains the east boundary of Montana was intersected at a point 48.35 chains north of its sixty-fifth milepost. The Montana line at this place was found to bear 1° 01' 30'' to the west.
Boundary post No. 333, which is near the western end of this line, is in latitude 45° 56' 43.39%' and longitude 103° 28' 21.44" 18 Where the Chicago & Northwestern Railway crosses this boundary the latitude is 45° 56' 07.7" and the longitude 98° 07' 42.1". Near the east end of the line the latitude of a point was found to be 45° 56' 09.7'' 19 The northeast corner of North Dakota, which is in
17 25 Stat. L. 676. 18 U. S. Coast and Geodetic Sui vey Special Pub. 19, p. 93. ** U. S. Geol. Survey Bull. 644, p. 296, 1916.
the middle of Red River where it crosses the forty-ninth parallel boundary, is in longitude 97° 13' 42.58".
The west boundary of South Dakota between latitude 43° and 45° was surveyed in 1877, commencing at a post set in 1869 for the northwest corner of Nebraska. That part of the boundary north of latitude 45° was surveyed in 1885. (See p. 196.) The entire west boundary of the State was resurveyed in 1904 and marked with 6-foot stone posts at each mile except from the thirty-ninth to the one hundred and fourth, inclusive, which were marked with iron posts for the Black Hills National Forest. The measured distance to the northeast corner of Wyoming was 139 miles 8.78 chains, and to the northwest corner of South Dakota 204 miles 48.26 chains. From the northeast corner of Wyoming to the southeast corner of Montana the line runs east a distance of 70.68 chains. This jog in the State line is due to errors in the location of the twenty-seventh meridian as determined from two widely separated stations; the position brought down from the north 20 is 41.6'' too far east, and that brought up from the south 21 is 23.3" too far west.
Milepost No. 4 on the Wyoming-South Dakota line was located by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey 22 in 1912 in latitude 43° 03' 30.99'' and longitude 104° 03' 09.85".
NEBRASKA, The Territory of Nebraska was formed on May 30, 1854, from the northwestern part of Missouri Territory. Its original limits are defined as follows in the act of organization 23 (see fig. 17): beginning at a point in the Missouri River where the fortieth parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence west on said parallel to the east boundary of the Territory of Utah, on the summit of the Rocky Mountains; thence on said summit northward to the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the territory of Minnesota ; thence southward on said boundary to the Missouri River; thence down the main channel of said river to the place of beginning, be, and the same is hereby, created into a temporary government by the name of the Territory of Nebraska.
This area was reduced in 1861 by the formation of the Territories of Colorado and Dakota and further reduced in 1863 by the formation of the Territory of Idaho. (See Colorado, p. 199, Dakota, p. 183, and Idaho, p. 210.)
In 1861, in the act creating the Territory of Dakota, a small area was added to the west end of Nebraska. The following is the text of the act making this addition :24
That, until Congress shall otherwise direct, that portion of the Territories of Utah and Washington between the forty-first and forty-third degrees of north
20 See Montana, east boundary, pp. 196-197.
latitude, and east of the thirty-third meridian of longitude west from Washington, shall be, and is hereby, incorporated into and made a part of the Territory of Nebraska.
The act for the admission of Nebraska to the Union was passed by Congress February 9, 1867, over a presidential veto, and, the conditions having been accepted by the people, statehood was declared in effect by proclamation of the President dated March 1, 1867.25
The limits of the State are defined as follows in the enabling act, approved April 19, 1864.26
That the said state of Nebraska shall consist of all the territory included within the following boundaries, to wit: Commencing at a point formed by the intersection of the western boundary of the state of Missouri with the fortieth degree of north latitude; extending thence due west along said fortieth degree of north latitude to a point formed by its intersection with the twenty-fifth dgree of longitude west from Washington; thence north along said twenty. fifth degree of longitude to a point formed by its intersection with the fortyfirst degree of north latitude; thence west along said forty-first degree of north latitude to a point formed by its intersection with the twenty-seventh degree of longitude west from Washington; thence north along said twenty-seventh degree of west longitude to a point formed by its intersection with the fortythird degree of north latitude; thence east along said forty-third degree of north latitude to the Reya Paha (Keyapaha) river; thence down the middle of the channel of said river, with its meanderings, to its junction with the Niobrara river; thence down the middle of the channel of said Niobrara river, and following the meanderings thereof, to its junction with the Missouri river; thence down the middle of the channel of said Missouri river, and following the meanderings thereof, to the place of beginning.
As the result of a sudden change in the course of the Missouri an area of about 5 square miles, which had previously been a part of Dakota Territory, was left on the Nebraska side of the river, a short distance above Sioux City, Iowa. (See fig. 17.) To avoid future complications, this tract was given to Nebraska by an act approved April 28, 1870,"to redefine a portion of the boundary line between the State of Nebraska and the Territory of Dakota," as follows: 27
That so soon as the State of Nebraska, through her legislature, has given her consent thereto, the centre of the main channel of the Missouri River shall be the boundary line between the State of Nebraska and the Territory of Dakota, between the following points, to wit: Commencing at a point in the rentre of said main channel, north of the west line of section twenty four in township twenty nine north, of range eight east of the sixth principal meridian, and running along the same to a point west of the most northerly portion of fractional section seventeen, of said township twenty nine north, of range nine east of said meridian, in the State of Nebraska.
*14 Stat. L. 391.