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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 the 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 112 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 the 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 6312 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 the Ohio River, latitude 40° 38' 27.2", longitude 80° 31' 07.5".

The Ohio-Pennsylvania boundary was resurveyed and re-marked between 1878 and 1882, 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 is latitude 41° 58' 15.31", longitude 80° 31' 10.40" (standard datum). From this point the line was run south to the Ohio River, a distance of 92 miles.18

The monument established in 1785 on the north 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.14 This general system of surveys

18 For other details concerning the survey of the west boundary of Pennsylvania see Pennsylvania Sec. Internal Affairs Rept. for 1883, which contains a description of each mark and a plat of the line; see also report for 1887. A bistorical sketch of the original surveys of the west boundary of Pennsylvania of 1785 and 1786, the report of the resurvey of the Obio part of this line in 1878 to 1882, descriptions of the boundary stones, and plats of the line were published by the State of Ohio in 1883 (Report of the joint commission appointed by the States of Pennsylvania and Ohio to ascertain and re-mark the boundary line between said States as it was originally established, Columbus, 1883).

14 See plat of the seven ranges of townships, Ohio Surveys, 1785–1787 ; U. S. General Land Office file No. 57, Ohio; Peters, W. E., Ohio lands and their subdivisions, pp. 33 and 67, Athens, Ohio, 1918; and Sherman, C. E., Original Ohio land subdivisions, ch. 14, Columbus, 1925,


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 United 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 a triangle of land of about 324 square miles in area bounded by New York, Pennsylvania, and Lake Erie. In order to give Pennsylvania a larger outlet to the lake, this tract, known as the Erie triangle,” was sold by the General Government to that State for $151,640.25,15 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. (See p. 114.) In 1869 a new gránite monument was placed on this boundary near the lake. (See p. 114.) 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 1



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The area now forming the State of Delaware was originally settled by the Swedes. In 1655 it was surrendered to the Dutch, who in turn, in 1664, surrendered it to the English; it was then taken possession of by the Duke of York.

William Penn, who had received in 1681 a grant of the Province of Pennsylvania, bought or leased from the Duke of York the territory included in the present State of Delaware, which was conveyed to him by two deeds of “ feoffment ” dated August 24, 1682. One conveyed a tract of land within a 12-mile circle about New Castle; the other was for “all that tract of land upon Delaware River and Bay beginning 12 miles south from the town of New Castle and extending south to the Horekills, otherwise called ‘Lopen.'” Both leases were to be for a period of 10,000 years, but they conveyed land to which the Duke of York then had a very uncertain title. A better title was obtained by royal grant soon afterward and immediately transferred to William Penn.17 Lord


15 This is at the rate of 75 cents an acre for an estimated area of 202,187 acres (315.92 square miles). The area scaled from the most recent maps (including Presque Isle, 3 square miles) is 324 square miles.

16 See Pennsylvania Sec. Internal Affairs Rept. for 1887, pp. 590, 592, Harrisburg, 1887.

17 See Assembly of Pennsylvania Report on the resurvey of the Mason and Dixon line, p. 150, 1909, and a similar report by Maryland, Maryland Geol. Survey Special Pub., vol. 7, Baltimore, 1908.

Baltimore vigorously opposed William Penn's claim, and the matter was settled in 1685 by a royal order to divide the territory equally between the two claimants. For a description of the line as marked see pages 120, 122.18

In 1701 William Penn granted a charter under which the Province of Pennsylvania and the territories (as Delaware was then called) were authorized to act as separate governments, though both were still under the proprietary government of William Penn.

Acting on the advice of the Continental Congress, the people of Delaware called a convention, which met at New Castle in August, 1776, and on September 10 adopted a constitution for the three counties that had previously been known as “the Government of the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware,” and declared that thereafter the Territory should be called “Delaware State.” The boundaries then were substantially as at present.19

For a history of the boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania, pages 121–122, and for that between Delaware and New Jersey, see New Jersey, pages 116-117.

From 1732 to 1769 there was a controversy between the proprietors of Pennsylvania and Maryland in regard to boundaries. The boundaries of Delaware on the south and west were determined as follows:

Beginning at Cape Henlopen and running due west 34 miles 309 perches; thence in a straight line 81 miles 78 chains and 30 links up the peninsula until it touches and makes a tangent to the western periphery of a circle drawn at the horizontal distance of 12 English statute miles from the center of the town of New Castle.

From this tangent point a line was run due north till it cut a parallel of latitude 15 miles due south of the most southern part of the city of Philadelphia. This point of intersection is the northeast corner of Maryland. As the tangent line bears a little west of north, the due north line from the tangent point cuts off an arc of the 12mile circle. The narrow segment thus formed is a part of Delaware and has an area of less than 20 acres. The boundary line follows the arc of the circle from the tangent point around to the point where the due north line intersects the 12-mile circle, then follows this due north line to the northeast corner of Maryland. The length of this due north line, as given by Mason and Dixon,20 is 5 miles 1 chain and 50 links.

13 See also Dallas, A. J., Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1797, vol. 1, appendix, p. 24.

19 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 561, 562.

20 See Delaware S. Jour., 1851, p. 56; Pennsylvania Sec. Internal Affairs Rept. for 1887, p. 349. See U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Rept. for 1893, pp. 192–193, for more recent measurements,

The following geographic positions on the Delaware boundary 21 were determined from the survey of 1892:

The “ tangent point,” the southern of the two points where the 12mile circle intersects the Maryland east boundary, latitude 39° 38' 56.95", longitude 75° 47' 20.04".

The northeast corner of Maryland, a point on the Mason and Dixon line, latitude 39° 43' 19.91", longitude 75° 47' 20.03". The southeast corner of Pennsylvania, where the Mason and Dixon line intersects the 12-mile circle, latitude 39° 43' 19.91", longitude 75° 46' 26.69". These two corners are 0.79 mile apart.

The terminal monument on the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania-Delaware line, latitude 39° 48' 27.92", longitude 75° 25' 31.53''.

By the survey of 1849 the distance between the tangent point and the north end of the curve on the Maryland boundary is 7,743.7 feet, which would make the latitude of the latter point 39° 40' 13.47". The stone set in 1849 at this point was thus described : 22

At the point of junction of the three States, a triangular prismatic post of cut granite, 18 inches wide on each side, and 7 feet long, was inserted 442 feet of its length into the ground. It occupies the exact spot on which the old unmarked stone was found. It is marked with the letters M. P. and D., on the sides facing, respectively, towards the States of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. On the north side, below the letter P., are the names of the commissioners, in deep cut letters, namely: H. G. S. Key, of Md., J. P. Eyre, of Pa., G. R. Riddle, of Del., Commissioners, with the date 1849.

This post is still in place, but now it is a mark on the boundary between Delaware and Maryland only, not a tri-State monument.

There was some confusion regarding the location of Cape Henlopen. The place chosen as the starting point for the south boundary line of Delaware is not the same as the present cape of that name. Lord Chancellor Hardwick said regarding its position that Cape Henlopen ought to be deemed

at the place where laid down on the map or plan annexed to the said articles.

William Penn directed that Cape Henlopen be called Cape James or Jomus 23

The present Cape Henlopen was then called Cape Cornelis.24

The foregoing statements explain the discrepancy between the base line across the peninsula and the position of Cape Henlopen on modern maps.

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21 For geographic positions of other points on this line see Pennsylvania Sec. Internal Affairs Ann. Rept. for 1893, pp. 151A, 152A, and U. 8. Coast and Geodetic Survey Rept for 1893, pp. 216–222.

22 Delaware S. Jour., January, 1851, p. 102.
23 Hazard, Samuel, op. cit., p. 606.
24 Idem, p. 5.


The territory embraced in the present State of Maryland was included in the previous charters of Virginia, but nevertheless, in 1632, Lord Baltimore received a royal charter of the Province of Maryland, whose boundaries are defined in the following extract, translated from the original charter, which was in Latin: 25 all that part of the Peninsula, or Chersonese, lying in the Parts of America, between the Ocean on the East and the Bay of Chesapeake on the West ; divided from the Residue thereof by a right line drawn from the Promontory, or Headland called Watkins Point, situate upon the Bay aforesaid, near the River Wigloo on the West, unto the main Ocean on the East; and between that Boundary on the South, unto that part of the Bay of Delaware on the North, which lieth under the fortieth degree of north latitude from the Equinoctial, where New England is terminated; And all the Tract of Land within the Metes underwritten (that is to say), passing from the said Bay, called Delaware Bay, in a right line, by the Degree aforesaid, unto the true meridian of the first fountain of the River Pattowmack; thence verging towards the South unto the farther Bank of the said River, and following the same on the West and South unto a certain Place called Cinquack, situate near the mouth of said River, where it disembogues into the aforesaid Bay of Chesapeake, and thence by the shortest Line unto the aforesaid Promontory or Place, called Watkin's Point, so that the whole tract of land divided, by the Line aforesaid, between the main Ocean and Watkin's Point unto the promontory called Cape Charles,

may entirely remain forever excepted to Us. By comparing the limits laid down in this charter with the several charters of Virginia and the charter and deeds to William Penn it will be seen that there was a conflict of boundaries on both sides of the Maryland grant. The history of the long controversy with Pennsylvania has already been given. (See Pennsylvania, pp. 120121, and Delaware, p. 125.) Virginia claimed the territory under her charters and for a time seemed disposed to assert her claim, though in 1638 a proclamation by the governor and council of Virginia recognized the Province of Maryland and forbade trade with the Indians within the limits of Maryland without the consent of Lord Baltimore previously obtained.26 Virginia's claim was finally given up by a treaty or agreement made in 1658, and her relinquishment was reaffirmed in the constitution of 1776.27

In 1663 the Virginia Assembly ordered a survey of the line between Virginia and Maryland on the peninsula and declared it to be “ from Watkins Point east across the peninsula.” They defined Watkins Point " to be the north side of Wicomicoe River on the eastern shore and neere unto and on the south side of the straight limbe opposite to Patuxent River." 28



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25 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 3, p. 1678.

20 Bozman, J. L., History of Maryland from 1633 to 1660, vol. 2, p. 586, Baltimore, 1837.

21 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 7, p. 3818.
28 Hening, W. W., Virginia Stat. L. from 1619 to 1792, vol. 2, p. 184,

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