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101

BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

GEORGIA

Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and east of the boundary line herein above described as the eastern boundary of the terriotry ceded by Georgia to the United States.

For lands ceded to the United States, Georgia was to be paid $1,250,000 from the net proceeds of land to be sold. (Donaldson, 1884, p. 80.)

For a history of the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina, see South Carolina, page 99.

The history of the boundary between North Carolina and Georgia has already been given. (See p. 97.) It may be proper, however, to add that this line (the 35th degree of north latitude) was fixed by the cession, above detailed, from the United States to Georgia of that part of the South Carolina cession east of the present western boundary of Georgia.

A long controversy ensued between Georgia and North Carolina regarding the boundary, with no results until 1810, when Georgia empowered its governor to employ Andrew Ellicott to ascertain the true location of the 35th degree of latitude. Ellicott did so, and the point fixed by him was approved by both States. (Cobb, 1851, p. 150.)

The boundary between Georgia and Tennessee, established in 1818, is described as follows:18

Beginning at a point in the true parallel of the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude, as found by James Camak, mathematician on the part of the State of Georgia, and James S. Gaines, mathematician on the part of the State of Tennessee, on a rock about two feet high, four inches thick, and fifteen inches broad, engraved on the north side thus: "June 1st, 1818; var, 6east," and on the south side thus: "Geo. lat. 35 north; J. Camak," which rock stands one mile and twenty-eight poles from the south bank of the Tennessee river, due south from near the center of the old Indian town of Nickajack, and near the top of the Nickajack Mountain, at the supposed corner of the states of Georgia and Alabama; thence running due east, leaving old D. Ross two miles and eighteen yards in the State of Tennessee, and leaving the house of John Ross about two hundred yards in the State of Georgia, and the house of David McNair one mile and onefourth of a mile in the State of Tennessee, with blazed and mile-marked

a trees, lessening the variation of the compass by degrees, closing it at the termination of the line on the top of the Unicoi Mountain at five and one-half degrees.

Another line for the boundary between Georgia and Tennessee, based on new observations for latitude, was run in 1826 by James Camak, along a parallel about 37.9 chains north of the line run by him in 1818, but apparently it was not accepted by either State as the true line. Attempts have been made by Georgia to have the line relocated, but the line as run

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BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

in 1818 still stands as the accepted boundary, although in places it is a mile south of the 35th parallel.

The Georgia Code Annotated, Sec. 15–103, gives this description for the Georgia and North Carolina and the Georgia and Tennessee boundaries: "The boundary between Georgia and North Carolina and Georgia and Tennessee shall be the line described as the 35th parallel of north latitude, from the point of its intersection by the River Chattooga west to the place called Nickajack" (Ga. Laws 1887, p. 105).

In 1971 a boundary commission was appointed by the Georgia Legislature to study and relocate this 35th parallel of north latitude. Cooperation with the States of North Carolina and Tennessee was sought without success. A hearing was held that year before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Rockville, Maryland. Georgia was commended for her research and accurate data. The commission was abolished in 1972.

The present boundary between South Carolina and Georgia is thus described (Janes, 1876, p. 120):

Beginning at the mouth of the Savannah River; along the river to the junction of the Kiowee, and along the Tugaloo to the junction of the Tallula and Chattooga; thence along the Chattooga to a point on the 35th parallel of north latitude, at the union of the northern boundary of South Carolina and the southern boundary of North Carolina. The general course is about N. 35o W., and the length, in a direct line, about 247 miles. It terminates at Ellicott's Rock, on the Chattooga River, marked "Lat. 35o, A.D. 1813, N.C., S.C."

This line, in conformity with the treaty of Beaufort, separates Georgia from South Carolina (all lhe islands of the river Savannah, Tugaloo, and Chattooga being reserved to Georgia) (259 U.S. 516).

The boundary between Georgia and Florida was fixed by the treaty of 1783, between the United States and Great Britain, substantially as at present, namely:

FIGURE 23.-Ellicott's Stone, a 21/2-foot-high sandstone

marker located a few miles north of Mobile, Alabama, has been designated a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Socity of Civil Engineers. It is the only visible reminder of a famous boundary survey made in 1799, led by Maj. Andrew Ellicott, which established the 31st parallel border between the United States and West Florida. (Photograph courtesy of the Ameri

can Society of Civil Engineers.) forced to stop work because of hostile Indians. He then proceeded by water to the St. Marys River and up that river to what he took to be the source of its longest branch, where he erected a large mound, the latitude of which he reported as "about 30°34' N." (Ellicott, 1814),19

Ellicott's line along the 31st parallel marked the boundary between the United States and the Spanish possessions in Florida. "Ellicott's stone," on this line (see fig. 23), is the initial point of the St. Stephens meridian and base line of the public land surveys. Its geodetic position is: lat 30°59'51.463" E., long 88°01' 21.076" W. (1927 N.A.D.).

The line joining these two marks had not yet been surveyed when Spain ceded the Floridas to the United States in 1819. The uncertainty regarding the position of this boundary was the cause of many disputes, which became more acute as the country became more thickly settled. Georgia claimed that the headwaters of the St. Marys were at the source of a southern branch. This claim if conceded would give additional territory to that State variously estimated at 800 to 2,355 square miles. On the other hand, the U.S. commissioners maintained that the real source of the St. Marys was 2 miles north of the Ellicott mound.

Apparently Georgia, at least temporarily, accepted the Ellicott mound as the proper eastern terminus of the

Commencing in the middle of the Apalachiocola or Catahouche River, on the thirty-first degree of north latitude; thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flint River; thence straight to the head of Saint Marys River, and thence down the middle of that river to the Atlantic Ocean.

This boundary was affirmed by the treaty of 1795 between the United States and Spain.

In 1799 Andrew Ellicott, as commissioner for the United States, was directed to survey and mark this line from the Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean (fig. 23). From a point near the Mississippi, determined by him as on the 31st parallel, he ran a line due east to a point near the mouth of the Flint River, the latitude of which he determined as 30°42' 42.8'' N., where he was

19 Ellicott's journal relating to this survey, including maps, was published in 1803 by Budd & Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the Stone House, 41 South Second Street, Philadelphia, and again in 1814 by William Fry, of Philadephia. Second edition published 1962, by Quadrangle Books, Inc., Chicago.

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103

BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

GEORGIA

straight boundary, and in 1820 had the "Watson line" run between the two marks established by Ellicott.

In 1825 a second line was run by D. F. McNeil, a contract surveyor for the U.S. General Land Office, and this line although not formally accepted by the General Land Office, was looked upon for more than 20 years as the proper location of the boundary.

In 1826 Congress authorized the survey and marking of a line which shall be run straight from the junction of said rivers Chatahoochie and Flint to the point designated as the head of Saint Marys River.

Georgia, not content with the McNeil line, continued to press her claims and in 1827 passed an act forbidding any surveys of public land in the disputed territory (south of the Ellicott mound line) without authority of law.

In 1846 both Georgia and Florida consented to the appointment of commissioners who should fix the boundary, and this action resulted in 1859 in the running of the "Orr and Whitner line" between the mouth of the Flint River and the Ellicott mound on the St. Marys. The line as then marked was accepted by Florida in 1861 and by Georgia in 1866.

All three lines described are indicated on township plats of the General Land Office in Florida book 43.20

The southern boundary of Georgia is thus described (anes, 1876, p. 121; Georgia Code, 1873, p. 7; Florida Code, 1872):

Thence down the western bank of the river (Chattahoochee) at high water mark to its junction with Flint River, at a point now four chains below the actual junction-latitude 30°42'42'', longitude 80°53'15”. The average direction of this line is about S. 6° E., and distance about 150 miles direct. About 130 miles it separates Georgia from Alabama, and the remaining 20 miles from Florida.

Thence along Orr and Whitner's line, S. 87°17'22'' E. (average direction), 158-28/80 miles, to a point 37 links north of Ellicott's mound, on St. Marys River.

In 1970, the States of Georgia and Florida agreed to extend their common boundary into the Atlantic. The provisions of the agreement call for a line beginning at a point 37 links (a link is 1/100 of a chain, which is 66 feet) north of Ellicott's mound. Thence the boundary continues down the center of the river to the ocean; thence along the middle of the presently existing St. Marys entrance navigation channel to the point of intersection with a hypothetical line connecting the seaward extremities of the jetties now protecting the channel; thence in continuation to a control point (lat 30°42'45.6'' N., long 81°24' 15.9" W.); and thence due east to the line as now or hereafter fixed by Congress as the seaward limit of Georgia and Florida; such boundary was to be extended on the same true

90° bearing so far as a need for further delineation may arise. The boundary was approved by Congress on October 22, 1970. Congress instructed the Secretary of Commerce to survey and properly mark the line by suitable monuments, and also so much of the interior boundary as is considered necessary by the two States (84 Stat 1094).

The reference to the boundary following the west bank of the Chattahoochee is erroneous. The Georgia Supreme Court, in 1930, stated that the boundary between Georgia and Florida follows the middle of the river (Southeastern Reporter, 1930, v. 154, p. 255). The court cited the treaties of 1783, between the United States and Great Britain, and of 1795 between the United States and Spain, which fixed the National Boundary.

In 1872 Congress passed an act to confirm the titles to land "between the line run by Georgia, known as the Watson line, and the Orr and Whitner line, established as the true boundary between the said States" (Marshall, 1910, p. 170).

The line between Georgia and Alabama was fixed by the act of cession from Georgia to the United States in 1802. (See p. 100.) In 1822–25 Georgia, desiring to have the line run from the Chattahoochee to the point where it strikes the Tennessee line, appointed commissioners for that purpose and requested the cooperation of Alabama and the United States; the latter, however, took no action.

It had been ascertained by actual survey in running the random line that the first great bend in the river next above the mouth of the Uchee, from which a right line would run to Nickajack without touching the river, was the Big Shoal or Millers Bend, and this the commissioners on the part of Georgia contended was the bend at which the line should begin (Georgia Laws, 1826, p. 209).

In this contention the commissioners from Alabama refused to concur; consequently in 1826 the line was run from Nickajack to Millers Bend by the Georgia commissioners alone. Alabama protested against this line and made repeated efforts to reopen negotiations concerning it, to all of which Georgia steadily refused to accede, until finally, January 24, 1840, the Legislature of Alabama passed the following joint resolution:

29 For copies of official documents, Federal and State, relating to this boundary, of dates from 1789 to 1846, see U.S. Congress (1855), a book of more than 400 pages; also see the records in the office of the Secretary of State of Georgia, Surveyor General Department.

Resolved, that the State of Alabama will and do hereby, accept as the true dividing line between this State and that of Georgia, the line which was run and marked out by the commissioners of Georgia in

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BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

104

allel as the boundary between the United States and West Florida, but by a separate article provided as follows (Malloy, 1910, v. 1, p. 584):

It is hereby understood and agreed that in case Great Britain, at the conclusion of the present war, shall recover or be put in possession of West Florida, the line of north boundary between the said province and the United States shall be a line drawn from the mouth

of the river Yassous, where it unites with the Mississippi, due east 1826, beginning at what is called Millers Bend, on the Chattahoochee

to the river Apalachicola. Piver; thence along said marked line to Nickajack.

In 1783 Great Britain retroceded Florida to Spain The line is described in the Code of Alabama (1876,

without a definite settlement of the northern boundary p. 189) in the following words:

of West Florida, which at once became a matter of The boundary line between Alabama and Georgia commences on dispute between the United States and Spain. Spain the west side of the Chattahoochee River at the point where it

claimed the territory as far north as the parallel enters the State of Florida; from thence up the river, along the western

through the mouth of the Yassous; the United States branch thereof, to the point on Millers Bend next above the place where the Uchee Creek empties into such river; thence in a direct

claimed the 31st parallel as the boundary under the line to Nickajack.

treaties of 1782 and 1783, and on that parallel it was The description of the western boundary of Georgia

fixed by the treaty with Spain signed October 27, 1795. follows: (Janes, 1876, p. 121)

(Chambers, 1898; Fairbanks, 1871, p. 209; Fuller, 1906.

See also 13 Howard 406.) From Nickajack the line between Georgia and Alabama runs south

Not only was the northern boundary of West Florida 9°30' east to Millers Bend, on the Chattahoochee River, about 146 miles. Thence down the western bank of the river at high-water mark

in dispute, but after the Louisiana purchase of 1803 to its junction with Flint River, at a point now four chains below the the United States claimed the entire area east to the actual junction, latitude 30°42'42'', longitude 80°53'15''. The average Perdido River. (See p. 24.) The act of February 12, direction of this line is about south 6° east, and distance about 150

1813 (3 Stat. L. 472) authorized the President to occupy miles direct.

that area and appropriate $20,000 for carrying the act The U.S. Supreme Court (13 Howard 381 and 23

into effect. Howard 505; see also 260 U.S. 628) decreed regarding

Although the Spanish treaty concluded February 22, the river boundary between Georgia and Alabama that

1819, was not in full effect until February 22, 1821 (see The boundary line runs up the river on and along its western

p. 27), Congress, by act of March 3, 1819 (Stat. L. 523), bank the water line impressed upon the bank above the slope

authorized the President to take possession of the is the line Both bank and bed are to be ascertained by inspection, and the line is where the action of the water has permanently

Floridas and to establish a temporary government marked itself upon the soil.

therein. We must reject, altogether, the attempt to trace the line by either By an act approved March 30, 1822 (3 Stat. L. 654), ordinary low water or low water. These terms are only predicable

the territory east of the Mississippi River ceded to the of those parts of rivers within the ebb and flow of the tides, The

United States by Spain was made the Territory of permanent fast-land bank is referred to as governing the line. And where the bank is fairly marked by the water, that water level will

Florida, embracing the same area as the present State. show at all places where the line is.

On March 3, 1845, Florida was admitted to the Union as an independent State (5 Stat. L. 742).

For a history of the northern boundary of Florida, see FLORIDA

Georgia pages 102, 103. Florida was originally settled by the Spaniards and In 1831 Congress passed an act relating to the was held as a Spanish Province for nearly 200 years. boundary between Florida and Alabama (4 Stat. L. In 1763 it was ceded by Spain to Great Britain, which 479), from which the following is an extract: divided it into the two Provinces of East Florida and

That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorWest Florida, separated by the Apalachicola River. ized to cause to be run and marked the boundary line between the East Florida had the same northern boundary as the state of Alabama and the territory of Florida, by the surveyors-general present State (fig. 22), and West Florida at first had

of Alabama and Florida, on the thirty-first degree of north latitude. a northern boundary on the 31st parallel, but in 1764

In 1847 the agreement of commissioners previously the Province was extended northward to the paralled appointed by Florida and Alabama was ratified, and

, through the mouth of Yassous River (now the Yazoo),

the line is described as follows (Florida Acts and said to be in lat 32° 28' N (Lowery and McCardle, 1891,

Resolutions, 1848, 3d sess., p. 36, Tallahassee): p. 108; Donaldson, 1884, p. 108). Geological Survey Commencing on the Chattahoochee River near a place known as maps show an old mouth of the Yazoo in lat 32°22' N.

"Irwin's Mills" and running west to the Perdido, marked throughout

by blazes on the trees; and also by mounds of earth thrown up on The peace treaty concluded in 1782 between the

the line, at distances of 1 mile, more or less, from each other, and United States and Great Britain specified the 31st par- commonly known as the "mound line," or "Ellicott's line."

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This line was run in 1799 by Andrew Ellicott. It was retraced and re-marked in 1853–54 by B. F. Whitner, Jr., and again retraced in 1911, by authority of an act of Congress (36 Stat. L. 844) approved June 25, 1910. The examiner in 1911 reported (U.S. Cong., 1911, p. 19) that

BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

MISSISSIPPI

Many of the mounds erected by Whitner in reestablishing the Ellicott line are in perfect condition and are the best evidence remaining of the original surveys in the vicinity.

The line between the two States is given in general terms in the Florida Code as follows:

Commencing at the mouth of the Perdido River, from thence up the middle of said river to where it intersects the south boundary line of the State of Alabama and the thirty-first degree of north latitude; then due east to the Chattahoochee River.

In 1953, the States of Florida and Alabama agreed to define their boundary at the mouth of the Perdido River and extend it seaward into the Gulf of Mexico as permitted by the Submerged Lands Act. The compact provided that the boundary should pass through a control point at lat 30°16'53'' N., long 87°31'06'' W. From this point it runs due north to 30°17'02'' N., and due south to a point 1000 feet from the control point. From the north end of this line, the boundary extends up the river in a straight line to a point at lat 30°18'00' N., long 87°27'08" W., and from there to a point on the centerline of the Intracoastal Canal at long 87°27'00" W. The seaward boundary extends S. 0°01'00" W. from the point at the south end of the line through the control point to the seaward limit of each respective State.

Congress approved this agreement on May 6, 1954 (68 Stat. 77).

bounded on the east by Georgia and on the west by Louisiana.

In 1812 the United States added to Mississippi Territory all the lands lying east of the Pearl River, west of the Perdido, and south of the 31st degree of latitude (2 Stat. L. 734). The United States claimed this area as part of the Louisiana Purchase but had acquiesced in its temporary occupancy by Spain. By proclamation dated October 27, 1810, the President declared that possession should be taken on behalf of the United States and directed the Governor of Orleans Territory to assume control of it. (Thorpe, 1909, v. 3, p. 1375.)

By these additions the Mississippi Territory was made to comprise what is now included in Alabama and Mississippi.

On December 10, 1817, the western part of the Mississippi Teritory was made a State and admitted into the Union, by resolution of December 10, 1817 (3 Stat. L. 472); its boundaries were (see fig. 24) given in the enabling act of March 1, 1817, as follows 21:

Beginning on he river Mississippi at the point where the southern boundary of the State of Tennessee strikes the same, thence east along the said boundary line to the Tennessee river, thence up the same to the mouth of Bear Creek, thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of the county of Washington, thence due south to the Gulf of Mexico, thence westwardly, including all the islands within six leagues of the shore, to the most eastern junction of Pearl river with Lake Borgne, thence up said river to the thirty-first degree of north latitude; thence west along said degree of latitude to the Mississippi river; thence up the same to the beginning.

A more detailed description of the boundaries of Mississippi is given in Article 2, Section 3 of the Mississippi Constitution as published in the Mississippi Code of 1972:

MISSISSIPPI

By an act approved April 7, 1798 (1 Stat. 549), Congress authorized the establishment of Mississippi Territory, the boundaries of which were thus described:

All that tract of country bounded on the west by the Mississippi, on the north by a line to be drawn due east from the Yasous [now called the Yazoo) to the Chatahouchee; on the east by the Chatahouchee; and on the south by the thirty-first degree of north latitude.

But as jurisdiction over this area was claimed by Georgia, the act provided for the appointment of commissioners to determine and adjust Georgia's claims, which were "declared to be as firm and available as if this act had never been made."

Georgia ceded its rights in this area to the United States in 1802. (See p. 100.) South Carolina having also ceded to the United States its claims to territory west of its present limits, the General Government in 1804, by an act of Congress (2 Stat. L. 305), annexed to the Mississippi Territory the tract of country lying north of the Territory and south of Tennessee and

The limits and boundaries of the state of Mississippi are as follows, to-wit: Beginning on the Mississippi river (meaning thereby the center of said river or thread of the stream) where the southern boundary line of the state of Tennessee strikes the same, as run by B. A. Ludlow, D. W. Connelly, and W. Petrie, commissioners appointed for that purpose on the part of the state of Mississippi, A. D., 1837, and J. D. Graham and Austin Miller, commissioners appointed for that purpose on the part of the state of Tennessee; thence east along the said boundary line of the state of Tennessee to a point on the west bank of the Tennessee river, six four-pole chains south of and above the mouth of Yellow creek; thence up the said river to the mouth of Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to what was formerly the northwest corner of the county of Washington, Alabama; thence on a direct line to a point ten miles east of the Pascagoula river on the Gulf of Mexico; thence westwardly, including all the islands within six leagues of the shore, to the most eastern junction of the Pearl

21 3 Stat L 48.

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