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Missouri was declared a State on August 10, 1821, by presidential proclamation, under authority of the joint resolution of Congress of March 2, 1821,78 with boundaries as defined in the enabling act of March 6, 1820,74 as follows:
Beginning in the middle of the Mississippi river, on the parallel of thirty-six degrees of north latitude; thence west along that parallel of latitude, to the St.
Francois river; thence up, and following the course of that river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the parallel of latitude of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes ; 75 thence west, along the same, to a point where the said parallel is intersected by a meridian line passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas river, where the same empties into the Missouri river, thence from the point aforesaid north, along the said meridian line, to the intersection
78 3 Stat. L. 645, 797.
of the parallel of latitude which passes through the rapids of the river Des Moines, making the said line to correspond with the Indian boundary line; thence east from the point of intersection last aforesaid, along the said parallel of latitude, to the middle of the channel of the main fork of the said river Des Moines; thence down and along the middle of the main channel of the said river Des Moines, to the mouth of the same, where it empties into the Mississippi river; thence due east to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence down, and following the course of the Mississippi river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the place of beginning.
The peculiar jog or “ panhandle” at the southeast corner of the State, between the Mississippi and St. Francis Rivers, is said to be the result of efforts of a prominent property owner who lived south of the parallel of 36° 30' to have his plantation included in the new State."
In 1836 the boundaries were extended on the northwest to the Missouri River, as described in the following act of the legislature amendatory to the constitution of 1820: 77
That the boundary of the State be so altered and extended as to include all that tract of land lying on the north side of the Missouri River and west of the present boundary of this State, so that the same shall be bounded on the south by the middle of the main channel of the Missouri River and on the north by the present northern boundary line of the State, as established by the constitution, when the same is continued in a right line to the west, or to include so much of said tract of land as Congress may assent.
This was ratified by Congress on June 7, 1836, and was declared in effect by presidential proclamation of March 28, 1837. The following is an extract from the act.78
That when the Indian title to all the lands lying between the State of Missouri and the Missouri river shall be extinguished, the jurisdiction over said lands shall be hereby ceded to the State of Missouri, and the western boundary of said State shall be then extended to the Missouri river.
The north boundary of Missouri was surveyed and marked in part in 1816 and the remainder in 1850 under the General Land Office.79
The Territory remaining after the formation of the State bore the name of Missouri for many years. In 1834 the part north of the State of Missouri and east of the Missouri and White Earth Rivers was annexed to the Territory of Michigan. (For further history of this portion, see Michigan, p. 195; Iowa, p. 204; Minnesota, p. 206; and Dakota, p. 208.) In 1854 Kansas and Nebraska Territories were formed, absorbing the remainder. (See Kansas, p. 214, and Nebraska, p. 211.)
76 Violette, E. M., A history of Missouri, p. 111, New York, 1918.
* Nearly all the boundaries of States west of the Mississippi were surveyed under the direction of the General Land Office, most of them by contract surveyors. The field notes and plats for these surveys have been catalogued and are filed in Division L of the General Land Office, where they can be consulted by anyone wishing full details for any line.
The following are the boundaries of Missouri as at present established by statute: The east boundary is the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi 80 from the mouth of the Des Moines to its point of intersection with the 36th parallel of latitude; the south boundary begins at the latter point and runs west on the 36th parallel to the St. Francis River, thence up the mid-channel of that river to the parallel of 36° 30', thence west on that parallel to its intersection by a meridian passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas River; the west boundary is the last-mentioned meridian as far north as the mouth of the Kansas River, thence it follows northwestward the mid-channel of the Missouri River to the parallel of latitude passing through the rapids of the Des Moines River, which is approximately the parallel of 40° 35'; the north boundary is the last-mentioned parallel as far east as its point of intersection with the Des Moines River, whence it follows the mid-channel of the Des Moines River southward to its mouth.
For the survey of the south boundary see Arkansas, pages 178–186, and for the north boundary see Iowa, pages 204–205.
The west boundary of Missouri south of the mouth of the Kansas River was surveyed in 1823, and a large stone post was set to mark the southwest corner of the State, at a point which sextant observations showed to be in latitude 36° 30'. This position as determined by the Geological Survey in 1906 is latitude 36° 29' 58.0", longitude 94° 37' 02.9''.81 The 1823 survey of the south boundary of the State was begun at this stone. In 1845 a mound of earth having a 10-foot base and 5 feet high was placed at a point 4.83 chains farther south.
The west boundary of the State was resurveyed and re-marked in 1844-45.82
A dispute concerning the river boundary between Missouri and Nebraska was settled in 1904 by the Supreme Court,83 which reaffirmed the old rule that a sudden change in the course of a river does not affect a boundary line.
IOWA Iowa was organized as a Territory by act of June 12, 1838, effective July 3, from a portion of Wisconsin Territory. (See figs. 17 and 18.) The limits were defined as follows in the act 84 creating it: all that part of the present Territory of Wisconsin which lies west of the Mississippi river, and west of a line drawn due north from the headwaters or sources of the Mississippi to the Territorial line.
80 See 138 U. S. 226.
82 For geographic positions of three State line points near Kansas City see U. 8. Coast and Geodetic Survey Special Pub. 30, p. 31, 1915.
83 196 U. S. 23; 197 U. S. 577. 84 5 Stat. L. 235.
The approximate position of the outlet of Lake Itasca, which is generally accepted as the source of the Mississippi (see footnote, p. 31), is latitude 47° 151/3', longitude 95° 1212'. The river runs northwestward for about 6 miles before it turns east. The northsouth boundary line across the western part of the Lake of the Woods is in longitude 95° 09' 11.6" (p. 14).
The lawmakers in Congress in writing the act creating the Territory of Iowa evidently had in mind their troubles over the OhioMichigan boundary, and to avoid any future question as to the power of Congress they reserved the right to divide the new Territory into two or more Territories or to attach any part of it to any other State or Territory.
The following clause from an act passed in 1839 is supplementary to the act above quoted : 86
That the middle or center of the main channel of the river Mississippi shall be deemed, and is hereby declared, to be the eastern boundary line of the Territory of Iowa, so far or to such extent as the said Territory is bounded eastwardly by or upon said river.
On March 3, 1845, an act was approved for the admission of Iowa to the Union as a State, but the act required that the assent of the people of Iowa be given to it by popular vote. In this act the boundaries were given as follows: 86
That the following shall be the boundaries of the said State of Iowa, to wit: Beginning at the mouth of the Des Moines river, at the middle of the Missis sippi, thence by the middle of the channel of that river to a parallel of latitude passing through the mouth of the Mankato or Blue-Earth river [latitude 44° 10'], thence west along the said parallel of latitude to a point where it is intersected by a meridian line, seventeen degrees and thirty minutes west of the meridian of Washington city, thence due south to the northern boundary line of the State of Missouri, thence eastwardly following that boundary to the point at which the same intersects the Des Moines river, thence by the middle of the channel of that river to the place of beginning.
These boundaries were not acceptable to the people and by a popular vote were rejected.
Another constitutional convention was held in May, 1846, and Congress passed an act, approved August 4, 1846, fixing the boundaries in accordance with the wishes of the people and described as follows: 87
Beginning in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River at a point due east of the middle of the mouth of the main channel of the Des Moines River; thence up the middle of the main channel of the said Des Moines River to a point on said river where the northern boundary line of the State of Missouri, as established by the constitution of that State, adopted June twelfth, eighteen hundred and twenty, crosses the said middle of the main channel of the said Des Moines River; thence westwardly along the said northern boundary line of the State of Missouri, as established at the time aforesaid, until an extension of said line intersect the middle of the main channel of the Missouri River, thence up the middle of the main channel of the said Missouri River, to a point opposite the middle of the main channel of the Big Sioux River, according to Nicollet's map; thence up the main channel of the said Big Sioux River, according to said map, until it is intersected by the parallel of forty-three degrees and thirty minutes north latitude; thence east along said parallel of forty-three degrees and thirty minutes, until said parallel intersect the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River; thence down the middle of the main channel of said Mississippi River to the place of teginning.
87 9 Stat. L. 52.
86 5 Stat. L. 357. 86 5 Stat. L. 742.
Iowa was finally declared admitted to full statehood by act of December 28, 1846.88
The admission of Iowa appears to have left a large area to the north and west unattached, which so remained until Minnesota Territory was organized, in 1849.
The act of August 4, 1846, directed that a long-standing dispute between Missouri and Iowa Territory regarding their common boundary 89 be referred to the United States Supreme Court for adjudication. The area claimed by both was a strip of land about 10 miles wide and 200 miles long, north of the present boundary. Missouri maintained that the clause in that State's enabling act, “ the rapids of the river Des Moines," referred to rapids in the river of that name and not to rapids of a similar name in the Mississippi, also that the Indian boundary line run and marked in 1816 by authority of the United States, known as the Sullivan line, was erroneously established. A line claimed by Missouri was run by J. C. Brown in 1837 by order of the State legislature.
The United States Supreme Court decided in 1849 that the Sullivan line of 1816 is the correct boundary and ordered that it be resurveyed. The report of the commissioners appointed by the court to re-mark the line was accepted in 1851.90
So many of the marks on this line as established in 1850 had become lost or destroyed that the United States Supreme Court in 1896 ordered that certain parts be reestablished, especially those between mileposts 50 and 55.91 Accordingly 20 miles of line was resurveyed by officers of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1896, and durable monuments of granite or iron were established thereon.92 The geographic position of milepost No. 40 was determined as lati
88 9 Stat. L. 117. See James, J. A., The admission of Iowa into the Union : Am. Hist. Assoc. Ann. Rept. for 1897 (55th Cong., 2d sess., H. Doc. 577), pp. 163–173.
99 See 25th Cong., 3d sess., H. Doc. 128, 1839.
30 For a history of the line, discussion of the case, report of commissioners, description of monuments, distances, etc., see 7 Howard 660 and 10 Howard 1.
91 160 U. S. 688.
* For a full report, which contains extracts from notes of previous surveys, see 165 U. S. 118, also U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Rept. for 1896, p. 51.