Friday, June 18, 2010

The Lost Art of Surveying

Over the first decade of the 18th century, the town of Windham, CT was divided into several towns, a process which involved repeated surveys of the land and placement of boundary markers. The town meeting minutes are full of delightful surveying reports on town boundaries (a tear in the paper has destroyed a few words at the beginning):
as followeth beginning att a white oak neer . . . the mouth of hop river and running . . . thenc neer southeast and by south to an oak stump marked . . . stons Layed against it standing on the top of the first high hill and from thenc the same corse to a whit oak marked and stons Layed against it standing on the southernmost high roks Lying against the upper end of the falls and from thenc to a heap of stons neer walnut tree marked on the northeast end of a hill by the vilage of windhm & from thenc to a heap of stons upon the top of bare hill on the south end of waguebatuck and from thenc to a wt oak tree that is the northeast Corner of deacon Hues & Mr Clark which stand in Low Land on the west sad of John Wests meado and from then to a heap of stons neer petter prats meado which we supose to be the bound mark in norwich Line
It would be impossible to walk these boundaries today, given that only a few of the landmarks endure, but the 18th-century inhabitants found the description satisfactory. There are several similar reports in the town meeting records for this decade.

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

Here's a classic work in the genre, complete with the ideal epigraph and dedication: