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A historical description of the boundaries of New Hampshire is given by Harriman.15
The title to the New Hampshire area in the vicinity of the Connecticut Lakes and north of the 45th parallel was for many years in dispute between New Hampshire and Canada. In 1829 the settlers in that locality organized an independent republic, which was called the Indian Stream Territory. Local government was in effect until after the Indian Stream War, in 1835, when New Hampshire took control. 16
The grants from King Henry of France in 1603 and King James of England in 1606 both included the territory which forms the present State of Vermont. It was also included in the charter of New England of 1620.
In the grants to the Duke of York in 1664 and 1674 all the territory between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers was included. New York therefore claimed jurisdiction of the territory now known as Vermont. (See fig. 8.) Massachusetts, however, had made claim at an early period to the tract west of the Connecticut River now forming a portion of that State and claimed also the greater part of the Vermont territory.
By the terms of the charter of Massachusetts Bay, of 1629, that colony was granted all the lands which lye, and be within the space of three English Myles to the Northward of the said River called Monomack alias Merrymack, or to the Northward of any and every Parte thereof."
Under this clause Massachusetts Bay claimed that its jurisdiction extended to a line 3 miles north of the northernmost part of the Merrimack River, which would embrace a large portion of New Hampshire and Vermont. New Hampshire contested this claim and after several years' controversy was more than sustained by a decision of the King in 1740. (See p. 81.) New Hampshire in turn claimed the territory of Vermont on the ground that as Massachusetts and Connecticut had been allowed to extend their boundaries within 20 miles of the Hudson River its territory should go equally far, and contended that the King's decree of 1740 left that fairly to be inferred; also that the old charters of 1664 and 1674 were obsolete. By a decree of the King, however, the territory west of the Connecticut River, from the 45th parallel to the Massachusetts line, was declared to belong to the Province of New York. (See New Hamp
15 Harriman, Walter, The history of Warner, N. H., pp. 550–58i, Concord, 1879.
18 See Bacon, E. M., The Connecticut River and the Valley of the Connecticut, pp. 369-370, New York, 1906; and Faris, J. T., The romance of the boundaries, pp. 33–43. New York, 1926. For a historical sketch of the area see 25th Cong., 3d sess., H. Rept. 176, Jan. 16, 1839.
17 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 3, p. 1847.
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shire, p. 84.) As most of the settlers of Vermont were from New Hampshire, this decision of the King caused great dissatisfaction, and the Revolution found Vermont the scene of conflicting claims and the theater of violent acts, some culminating in actual bloodshed.
On January 15, 1777, delegates representing 51 towns comprised in the territory known as the “New Hampshire grants," on the west side of the Green Mountains, declared the area an independent State,18 to be called “New Connecticut, alias Vermont,” but the title generally used in official papers for several years thereafter was “the New Hampshire grants.” Sixteen towns in New Hampshire sought union with the new State, but this action was vigorously opposed by New Hampshire and was not approved by the Continental Congress. Massachusetts agreed to the independence of Vermont in 1781, and New Hampshire adjusted its differences with that State in 1782, but 8 years more passed before New York consented to the admission of Vermont to the Union. Vermont in the meantime had fixed upon a western boundary practically the same as at present, which was then described by reference to town boundaries as far north as the Poultney River, thence down the middle channel of that river to East Bay and northward to and through the middle of the deepest channel of Lake Champlain.
Vermont was admitted as an independent State by an act approved February 18, effective March 4, 1791.20
In 1767 astronomic observations were made on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, and a mark was set at the supposed position of the 45th parallel. From this point Valentine and Collins in 1772 surveyed and marked a line as far east as the Connecticut River for the eastern part of the northern boundary of the Province of New York (now the State of Vermont). Recent surveys show that this boundary for its entire length is from a quarter of a mile to 1.1 miles north of the 45th parallel, 21 but by the convention between the United States and Great Britain of 1842 the line as marked west of Halls Stream to the deepest part of Lake Champlain, was agreed upon as part of the boundary of the United States. The northwest corner of Vermont, which is the northeast corner of New York, falls in Lake Champlain at latitude 45° 00' 38.9", longitude 73° 20' 38.9''.
18 See Fourteenth Census, vol. 1, p. 27, note 50, 1921, “ Vermont; Independent republic of Vermont admitted to the Union as a State in 1791."
19 Slade, William, Jr., op. cit., pp. 69-70, 193. 201 Stat. L. 191.
21 In an official report to the Governor of Vermont made in 1806, Samuel Waters declared that his observations showed that the boundary of Vermont near its eastern terminus was b' 14" south of the 45th parallel, a statement which was grossly in error, if he referred to the geographic latitude.
Joint resolutions by the Legislature of the State of Vermont, approved November 22, 1912, and February 13, 1913,22 authorized the institution of a suit in the Supreme Court of the United States for the determination of the position of the boundary line between that State and New Hampshire. Vermont in its bill of complaint filed at the October term, 1915, asked that the New Hampshire boundary line be declared to be in the middle of the Connecticut River; New Hampshire in its reply asked that the boundary be fixed at the high-water line on the west bank of the river, also that the north boundary of Vermont end at Halls Stream, instead of at the Connecticut River 134 miles farther east. This case has not yet been decided.
The south boundary of Vermont is part of the north boundary of Massachusetts, which was fixed by the King in council under date of August 5, 1740, and surveyed under the direction of Governor Belcher in 1741. It was resurveyed and re-marked by commissioners representing the two States between 1885 and 1898. This survey was commenced at the northwest corner of Massachusetts, at a monument consisting of a granite post 8 feet long and 14 inches square set nearly 5 feet in the ground. The faces toward the different States were marked “N. Y. 1898,” “ Mass. 1896,” and “ Vt. 1896.” Its geographic position is latitude 42° 44' 45.20", longitude 73° 15' 54.90". From this point the boundary is a nearly straight line, bearing about 2° south of east (true bearing), and runs 41 miles to the southeast corner of Vermont, which is a mark on the west bank of the Connecticut River. A description of this mark is given on page 83.28
The line between Vermont and New York was surveyed and marked by commissioners from the two States in 1814 and is as follows: 24
Beginning at a red or black oak tree, the northwest corner of Massachusetts, and running north 82° 20' west as the magnetic needle pointed in 1814, 50 chains, to a monument erected for the southwest corner of the State of Vermont,
which monument stands on the brow of a high hill, descending to the west, then northerly in a straight line to a point which is distant 10 chains, on a course south 35 degrees west, from the most westerly corner of a lot of land distinguished in the records of the town of Pownal, in the State of Vermont, as the fifth division of the right of Gamaliel Wallace, and which, in the year 1814, was owned and occupied by Abraham Vosburgh; then north
2 Acts and resolves passed by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont at the session of 1912, pp. 627–628.
23 The full notes of this survey are given in the State acts ratifying it (Massachusetts Acts of 1900, ch. 131, and Vermont Acts of 1900, ch. 137); also in the folio atlases of the harbor and land commission of Massachusetts. See report of the commissioners (Massachusetts H. Doc. 300, 1900).
24 New York Rev. Stat., 6th ed., vol. 1, pp. 122–123, Banks & Brothers, 1875; 7th ed., vol. 1, p. 128, 1882.
35 degrees east, to said corner and along the westerly bounds of said lot, 30 chains, to a place on the westerly bank of Hosick River where a hemlock tree heretofore stood, noticed in said records as the most northerly corner of said lot; then north 1 degree and 20 minutes west, 6 chains to a monument erected by the said commissioners, standing on the westerly side of Hosick River, on the north side of the highway leading out of Hosick into Pownal, and near the northwesterly corner of the bridge crossing said river; then north 27 degrees and 20 minutes east, 30 chains, through the bed of the said river, to a large roundish rock on the northeasterly bank thereof; then north 25 degrees west, 16 chains and 70 links; then north 9 degrees west, 18 chains and 60 links, to a white oak tree, at the southwest corner of the land occupied in 1814 by Thomas Wilsey; then north 11 degrees east, 77 chains, to the north side of a highway, where it is met by a fence dividing the possession of said Thomas Wilsey, jr., and Emery Hunt; then north 46 degrees east, 6 chains; then south 66 degrees east, 26 chains and 25 links; then north 9 degrees east, 27 chains and 50 links, to a blue-slate stone, anciently set up for the southwest corner of Bennington; then north 7 rees and 30 minutes east, 46 miles 43 chains and 50 links, to a bunch of hornbeam saplings on the south bank of Poultney River, the northernmost of which was marked by said last-mentioned commissioners, and from which a large butternut tree bears north 70 degrees west, 30 links, a large hard maple tree, south 2 chains and 86 links, and a white ash tree on the north side of said river, north 77 degrees east.
then down the said Poultney River, through the deepest channel thereof, to East Bay; then through the middle of the deepest channel of East Bay and the waters thereof to where the same communicate with Lake Champlain; then through the middle of deepest channel of Lake Champlain to the eastward of the islands called the Four Brothers, and the westward of the islands called the Grand Isle and Long Isle, or the Two Heroes, and to the westward of the Isle La Motte to the line in the 45th degree of north latitude; established by treaty for the boundary line between the United States and the British Dominions.
This line was changed in 1876 by a cession from Vermont to New York of a very small area west of the village of Fair Haven and opposite the mouth of the Castleton River which had been left on the west side of the Poultney River by a change in the course of that stream, described as follows:
All that portion of the town of Fairhaven, in the county of Rutland and State of Vermont, lying westerly from the middle of the deepest channel of Poultney River, as it now runs, and between the middle of the deepest chaạnel of said river and the west line of the State of Vermont as at present established.
This cession was ratified by Congress April 7, 1880.25
The Vermont-New York line was resurveyed and re-marked in 1904 from the Massachusetts-Vermont-New York corner north to the Poultney River.26 There are now 101 substantial stone monuments on this line, which is 54.6 miles in length.
2 21 Stat. L. 72.
28 For a report of the survey, a plat of the line, and descriptions and coordinates of each mark, see New York State Engineer and Surveyor Rept. for 1904, pp. 301-345
The territory of Massachusetts was included in the first charter of Virginia, granted in 1606, and in the charter of New England, granted in 1620.
In 1628 the council of Plymouth made a grant to the governor and company of Massachusetts Bay in New England, which was confirmed by the King, and a charter was granted in 1629, from which the following are extracts : 28 Nowe, Knowe Yee, that Wee
have given and graunted all that Parte of Newe England in America which lyes and extendes betweene a greate River there coñonlie called Monomack River, alias Merrimack River, and a certen other River there, called Charles River, being in the Bottome of a certen Bay there, comonlie called Massachusetts, alias Mattachusetts, alias Massatusetts Bay; and also all and singuler those Landes and Hereditament whatsoever, lying within the Space of Three English Myles on the South Parte of the said River, called Charles River, or of any, or every Parte thereof; and also all and singuler the Landes and Hereditaments whatsoever, lying and being within the space of Three Englishe Myles to the southward of the Southermost Parte of the said Baye, called Massachusetts, alias Mattachusetts, alias Massatusets Bay; and also, all those Landes and Hereditaments whatsoever, which lye and be within the Space of Three English Myles to the Northward of the saide River, called Monomack, alias Merrymack, or to the Norward of any and every Parte thereof, and all Landes and Hereditaments whatsoever, lyeing within the Lymitts aforesaide, North and South, in Latitude and Bredth, and in Length and Longitude, of and within all the Bredth aforesaide, throughout the mayne Landes there, from the Atlantick and Westerne Sea and Ocean on the East Parte, to the South Sea on the West Parte; Provided alwayes, That if the said Landes
were at the tyme of the graunting of the saide former Letters patents, dated the Third Day of November, in the Eighteenth Yeare of our said deare Fathers Raigne aforesaide, actuallie possessed or inhabited by any other Christian Prince or State, or were within the Boundes, Lymytts or Territories of that Southerne Colony, then before graunted by our said late Father
That then this present Graunt shall not extend to any such partes or parcells thereof, but as to those partes or parcells
shal be ytterlie voyd, theis presents or any Thinge therein conteyned to the contrarie notwithstanding.
The charter of New England was surrendered to the King in 1635.29
The charter of Massachusetts Bay, granted in 1629, was canceled by a judgment of the high court of chancery of England, June 18, 1684.
In 1686 Pemaquid (part of the present State of Maine) and its dependencies were annexed to the New England government.
27 The full legal name for Massachusetts is “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts." 28 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 3, p. 1849. 2° Idem, p. 1860.