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BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
An excellent article by Park Marshall on the bound
111 ary lines of Tennessee has been published by the State geological survey (Marshall, 1918, p. 90-108).
Geographic positions on the Tennessee-Virginia boundary have been determined by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey as follows: 27
A stone post 24 inches long, set 20 inches in the ground, on Holston Mountain a short distance north
KENTUCKY west of Sutherland, at lat 36° 36'51.2" N. and long 81°
Kentucky was included in the original limits of Vir49'36.3" W. This station is very near the State line if ginia (fig. 21) and was a part of Augusta County, which not on it. The observer who located it stated:
was formed in 1738. In 1769 Botetourt County was The sketch submitted with the report of the commissioners who
created from a portion of Augusta County; in 1772, ran out the State line in 1858 shows an offset of about 134 miles Fincastle from Botetourt; in 1776, Kentucky from Finbetween Bristol and this station. The tree marks are found on the castle. The boundaries of these counties are described straight line east of the offset point but are said not to be con
by Hening (1821, v. 9; 1822, v. 10). tinuous; and blocks have been cut from some trees showing the age of 1802 or 1803 and have been crossed out. The only line marked
In 1789 Virginia passed an act giving consent that through is that with this offset. Blocks with these erased marks can
the district of Kentucky be formed into a new State. be had in Bristol, in the possession of Mr. Huffacte (1894).
Accordingly, by an act of Congress approved February I have found a stone post on this line in the valley of Beaver Dam 4, 1791, effective June 1, 1792 (1 Stat. 189), Kentucky Creek, about 11/2 miles above the village of Damascus and about 2 was admitted into the Union with substantially its presmiles east of this station. I traced the line from this stone west
ent boundaries. to the highest point it crosses on Holston Mountain, where the sta.
The cession by Virginia to the United States of the tion is established, and found several trees marked by both commissioners (1802, or 1803, and 1858) easily recognized at this date. The
territory northwest of the Ohio, in 1784, made the line of 1802 or 1803 is called the "diamond line," from the method north bank of that river the dividing line, and conof marking always thus ... , while the marks of 1858 are always : sequently it became the north boundary of the State In Bristol, Tenn.-Va., lat 36°35'41.6'' N., long 82°
of Kentucky, the exact line being fixed by the low10'41.6'' W., the State line passes 15 feet south of the
water stage of the river (5 Wheaton 374). The western Baptist Church steeple.
boundary, the middle of the Mississippi, was the line
fixed by the treaty of peace in 1783. On a ridge about 5 miles west of Bristol, lat 36°35'
The Supreme Court decided in 1820 (5 Wheaton 374), 42.1" N., long 82°15'54.5" W.
in a suit before it for the possession as a part of KenAbout 3 miles north of Kingsport, Tenn., lat 36°35'
tucky of a tract of land on the north side of the Ohio, 39.9" N., long 82°35'35.8" W.
which at high water became an island, that On Clinch Mountain, about 4 miles southeast of Fair
No land can be considered an island unless it is surrounded by view, Va., lat 36°35'37.3'' N., long 82°49'49.4" W. water at all times. The same tract of land can not be sometimes in
Kentucky and sometimes in Indiana, according to the rise and fall of On the crest of Powell Mountain, about 8 miles
the river. It must be always in the one State or the other. northeast of Sedalia, Tenn., lat 36°35'38.0" N., long
For a history of the boundary between Kentucky and 83° 10'32.3'' W.
Virginia and West Virginia, see Virginia, page 94; for About 3 miles south of Ewing, Va., lat 36°35'50.50"
the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee, see N., long 83°27'52.6" W.
Tennessee, page 110. The following positions are on the Tennessee-Ken- A peculiar aspect of the extreme southwest corner tucky boundary (1927 N.A.D.):
of Kentucky is that owing to a double bend in the Nine miles north of Oneida, Tenn., lat 36°35'51.86' Mississippi River, an area of about 10 square miles N., long 84°34'16.02" W.
belonging to Kentucky cannot be reached from the Boundary monument 48, along Byrdstown-Albany
rest of the State without passing through a part of Road, lat 36°37'23.35'' N., long 85°07'06.45'' W.
Missouri or Tennessee. Boundary monument 27, 0.5 miles south of Keysburg, lat 36°38'37.62'' N., long 87°01'00.20" W.
OHIO State-line monument 2 (known locally as Puckett
Ohio was the first State formed from the original Rock) is about 7 miles south of Hickman, along Dyers- "Territory northwest of the River Ohio." The congresburg Road, at lat 36°30'22.66' N., long 89°15'26.52" W.
sional enabling act, approved April 30, 1802 (2 Stat.
L. 173), contained certain provisos with which the con27 See 190 U.S. 64 for report of commissioners who resurveyed this line in 1902-3.
2s The legal name for this State is "The Commonwealth of Kentucky."
BOUNDARIES OF THE
west by the line drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami,
attach all the territory lying east of the line to be drawn due north stitution of the proposed State must comply. It seems
from the mouth of the Miami, aforesaid, to the territorial line, and
north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme evident, therefore, that the constitution as framed re
of Lake Michigan, running east as aforesaid to Lake Erie, to the aforequired the approval of Congress before it became effec
said State, or dispose of it otherwise, in conformity to the fifth article tive.
of compact between the original States, and the people and States The constitutional convention completed its labors to be formed in the territory northwest of the river Ohio. November 29, 1802; the constitution was referred to In the constitution of Ohio, article 7, section 6, the Congress and first considered in the Senate in January boundaries are described in the same words used in 1803. Apparently it complied with the provisos of the the enabling act but with the following proviso: enabling act, for under date of February 19, 1803, an
Prorideıl aluays, and it is hereby fully understood and deact was approved "to provide for the due execution of clared by this contention, that if the southerly bend or extreme of the laws of the United States within the State of Ohio" Lake Michigan should extend so far south, that a line drawn due east (2 Stat. L. 201). In this act, reference was made to the
from it should not intersect Lake Erie, or if it should intersect said
Lake Erie east of the mouth of the Miami River (now Maumee River] action of the convention, thus virtually approving the
of the Lake, then, and in that case, with the assent of the Congress of constitution as submitted, although it provided for a
the United States, the northern boundary of this State shall be estabchange in the boundary described in the enabling act. lished by, and extending to, a direct line running from the southern Referring to the constitution as adopted, this act states, extremity of Lake Michigan to the most northerly cape of the Miami "whereby the said State became one of the United
Bay, after intersecting the due north line from the mouth of the
Great Miami River as aforesaid; thence northeast to the territorial line, States of America." An act approved February 21, 1806
and by the said territorial line to the Pennsylvania line. (2 Stat. L. 350), appropriated money for the payment
The framers of the Ohio constitution had good reason of salaries of the governor, secretary, and judges of the
for believing that the description of the northern bound"late Territory' of Ohio from November 29, 1802, to
ary given in the enabling act was based on inaccurate "the first Tuesday in March, 1803" (March 1).
maps 29 and that this description, if adhered to, would It would therefore appear that March 1, 1803, was
deprive the State of a large area that Congress inthe date on which Congress assumed that Ohio state
tended it should have, and for this reason they inhood came into full effect. In further confirmation of
serted the proviso in the constitution. Ohio was adthis conclusion, it should be noted that the Territorial
mitted to the Union as a State without specific acdelegate in Congress retained his seat until March 1,
ceptance or rejection by Congress of this proviso. 1803, and the first general assembly of the State con
In 1812 Congress authorized the survey of the line vened on the same date. (Mag. Am. Hist., October 1887,
(2 Stat. L. 741) as described in the enabling act of 1802, p. 306-316; Tannehill, 1920, p. 9.)
but the work was not undertaken until several years In view of the conflicting evidence as to the date of
later. Ohio's admission to the Union, it is not surprising that
Lines were run in 1817 by William Harris, under the various dates are claimed as correct. However, the
direction of the surveyor general of Ohio, presumably congressional act signed by the President February
by authority of the act of 1812—first a random or trial 19, 1803, referred to above, says in part:
line due east from the southern extremity of Lake Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of Michigan to the western Ohio line and another from the United States of America in Congress assembled. That all the laws
the most northerly cape of Maumee Bay west and of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have
south to the due east line. Manuscript copies of the the same force and effect within the said State of Ohio as elsewhere within the United States.
notes and plats of these lines are filed in the General
Land Office. From the data thus obtained, a true line The formal wording of this part of the act would
was then run for the northern boundary of Ohio as imply congressional approval to the entrance of Ohio
described in the State constitution, on which 71 marks into the Union, and it is probable that February 19, 1803, should be accepted as the date.
were established at mile intervals. This line is from The limits of the State as given in the enabling act
5 to 7 miles north of the due east line from the southern are as follows (2 Stat. L. 173):
extremity of Lake Michigan. (See fig. 31.)
20 See Lake Michigan as shown on the Mitchell map; also fig. 31; many bounded on the east the Pennsylvania line on the south
other maps published prior to 1800 showed the lake in the same relative by the Ohio River, to the mouth of the Great Miami river, on the position.
BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
When news of this survey reached the Governor of
113 Michigan, it naturally called forth vigorous protests from him as well as from other residents of the Territory.
OHIO After considerable fruitless discussion a committee was sent from Michigan to Washington to seek redress, with the result that an order was given to run the line as authorized by the act of 1812. This survey was executed by Surveyor Fulton in 1818. He ran the (5 Stat. L. 56), which thereby gave Ohio full control north boundary due east from the southern extremity over an area of 520 square miles, long in dispute. of Lake Michigan.30 Congress neither confirmed nor The first Michigan convention voted against the acrejected it. Ohio, as was to be expected, refused to ceptance of this boundary, but another one voted for accept it.
its acceptance in December 1836. The line as surveyed In order to have data for settling the dispute, Con- and marked in 1817 thus became the northern boundgress in 1832 (4 Stat. L. 596) ordered the determination
ary of Ohio. of latitude and longitude at important points on the Parts of the line as marked in 1817 were retraced two lines; the positions of eight stations were found, and re-marked in 1837 and 1842 by the General Land but apparently no use was made of them. As time Office.31 passed the boundary disputes grew more bitter until In 1915 the legislatures of the two States authorized a crisis was reached in February, 1835, when the Ohio the resurvey and monumenting of the line. All existing Legislature passed a resolution declaring the northern marks of the previous surveys were to be recovered, line to be the true boundary of the State and ordering and where none existed straight lines were to be run that the State's jurisdiction be extended to that line. between known points. The survey was commenced at Armed troops were assembled by both sides, and the northwest corner of Ohio, which, being in a public civil war seemed imminent. The President, Congress, road, was marked by a large granite block set 12 and the courts were called on to settle the trouble, and inches below the road surface and by a granite "wita commission was sent from Washington in the hope ness" post 12 by 12 inches in section and 51/2 feet long of effecting a compromise. (Way, 1869; Faris, 1926.) set on the line 20 feet east of the corner. The position Finally better judgment prevailed; Michigan was in- of this corner, which is on the Indiana line, is lat 41°41' duced to suspend hostile actions, principally from the 45.88" N., long 84°48'21.66'' W. The line is somewhat hope of statehood with increased territory on the north irregular; sections of it range from N. 85°27' E. to N. and a share in the allotment of public funds. Ohio on 89°41' E. and the mean is about N. 87°55' E., true bearher part had every expectation of obtaining the coveted ing. Boundary post 47 is at lat 41°43'15.88" N., long territory, and so this bloodless war came to an end. 83°51'33.36'' W. These points have been tied into the
Michigan Territory had for several years had a popu- triangulation of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey lation large enough for admission to the Union as a and are on 1927 N.A.D. State, but action was delayed because of the bound- The last post set on the line (no. 71) is about 900 ary dispute.
feet from the shore of Maumee Bay, and its position is On June 15, 1836, an act was approved to establish lat 41°43'56.63'' N., long 83°27' 16.97' W. The posithe northern boundary of Ohio and admit Michigan as tion of each of the other posts and the distance and a State (5 Stat. L. 49), provided the new State, by vote bearing from each to the next are set forth in the Ohio of a convention called for the purpose, accepted the State report of 1916, which gives a historical sketch boundary as thus described:
of the line. (Sherman, 1916-33, v. 1; Soule, 1897, p. 346the northern boundary line of the State of Ohio shall be estab
378; U.S. Congress, 1835.) lished at and shall be a direct line drawn from the southern extremity The boundary between Ohio and Michigan in Lake of Lake Michigan, to the most northerly cape of the Maumee (Miami)
Erie was further defined by the U.S. Supreme Court Bay, after that line, so drawn, shall intersect the eastern boundary line of the State of Indiana; and from the said north cape of the said
in 1973 (410 US 420). To pass the line through the most bay, northeast to the boundary line between the United States and
northerly cape of Maumee Bay as it was located in the Province of Upper Canada, in Lake Erie; and thence, with the said 1836, as required by the act admitting Michigan as a last-mentioned line, to its intersection with the western line of State (see above), the Court defined a line extending the State of Pennsylvania.
from post no. 71 on a true bearing N. 87°49'44" E. to The line as above established was the line which had the point of intersection with a line on a true bearing been surveyed and marked by Harris in 1817, and it of S. 45° W. from the center of the circular seawall was confirmed by congressional act of June 23, 1836
31 The General Land Office was combined with the Grazing Service in 30 The field notes of both the Fulton and Harris surveys
1946 to form the Bureau of Land Management, a bureau of the Departin the U.S. National Archives.
ment of the Interior.
The south boundary is the low-water line on the north bank of the Ohio.
For a description of the east boundary, see Pennsylvania, page 83.
BOUNDARIES OF THE
on Turtle Island. From Turtle Island the line continues N. 45° E. to the international boundary.
The west boundary of Ohio is that fixed by the enabling act-a line due north from the mouth of the Miami River.32 It was surveyed and marked in 1799 from the south end northward to Fort Recovery as the first principal meridian of the General Land Office. (See fig. 26.) This line was extended to the present northwest corner of the State in 1817.
By the act approved May 7, 1800, to take effect on and after July 4 of that year, the "Territory northwest of the River Ohio" was divided into two parts, the eastern part to retain the old name, the western part to become the Territory of Indiana. (See fig. 26.) The description of the boundary line between these two Territories is given in the act (2 Stat. L. 58) as follows:
That from and after the fourth day of July next, all that part of the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio River, which lies to the westward of a line beginning at the Ohio, opposite to the mouth of Kentucky river, and running thence to Fort Recovery, and thence
north until it shall intersect the territorial line between the United States and Canada, shall, for the purpose of temporary government, constitute a separate Territory, and be called Indiana Territory.
BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
That whenever that part of the territory of the United States which lies to the eastward of a line beginning at the mouth of the Great Miami river, and running thence due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, shall be erected into an independent state, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, thenceforth said line shall become and remain permanently the boundary line between such State and the Indiana Territory, anything in this act contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
The line from the Ohio River running northeastward to Fort Recovery was the boundary of an Indian cession established by the "Greenville treaty" of 1795 (Royce, 1899, p. 654).
In the Ohio enabling act (of 1802) provision was made for the addition to Indiana Territory of a triangular strip of land between Ohio and that Territory and of that part of the Territory northwest of the River Ohio north of the limits of the new State (Ohio) and east of Indiana (2 Stat. L. 174), as follows:
All that part of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio heretofore included in the eastern division of said territory. and not included within the boundary herein prescribed for the said state, is hereby attached to and made a part of the Indiana territory.
The admission of Ohio as a State removed from Indiana Territory a narrow strip about 1/4 miles wide north of Fort Recovery. (See fig. 26.)
On June 30, 1805 (2 Stat. L. 309), by an act approved January 11, 1805, the northeastern part of Indiana Territory was cut off and organized as Michigan Territory. For the divisional line between the two Territories, see Michigan, page 127.
On March 1, 1809, by an act approved February 3, 1809, Indiana Territory was again divided, and the western part was organized as Illinois Territory (2 Stat. L. 514). For a description of the line separating these two Territories, see Illinois, page 116.
On December 11, 1816, Indiana was admitted as a State with the limits as given in the following extract from the enabling act (3 Stat. L. 289), approved April 19, 1816, which have not since been changed:
A provision in this act required that the boundaries as therein described be ratified by a constitutional convention to be called; otherwise they would be fixed as described in article 5 of the ordinance of 1787. By ratifying them, June 29, 1816, Indiana missed an opportunity for including in its limits a considerably larger territory than it now has. There was a similar proviso in the enabling act of 1818 for Illinois.
The north boundary of Indiana is parallel to and 10 miles north of the line which runs due east from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan (3 Stat. L. 289). A survey of this line was made in 1827 in accordance with the congressional act of March 2 of that year.33 The original plat of the survey was filed in the surveyor general's office in Chillicothe, Ohio, and a copy in the General Land Office in Washington. The approximate latitude as determined in 1827 is 41°47'43'' N., but measurements by the Geological Survey near the east end (Marshall, 1916, p. 305) give the latitude as 41°45'33" N. The mark nearest Lake Michigan is in lat 41°45'36.07" N., long 86°46'03.36" W. (1927 N.A.D.). Parts of this line were retraced in 1828, 1834, 1839, and 1842 by the General Land Office.
For a description of the east boundary, see Ohio, page 114. For a description of the west boundary, see Illinois page 116.
The south boundary is the low-water line on the north side of the Ohio River. This interpretation was given by the Supreme Court (18 U.S. 374) to the phrase "northwest of the river Ohio" in the cession to the United States by Virginia of its territory on the northerly side of the river. This was reaffirmed in an opinion in Indiana v. Kentucky, (136 U.S. 479) in 1890. The low-water line of 1792 was fixed as the true boundary, this being the date of Kentucky's admission to the Union.
In 1942 and 1943, the two States passed acts with identical descriptions of surveys of the 1942 low-water line. Congress approved these acts on June 29, 1943 (57 Stat. 248).
A report from the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1969 gives the results of an exhaustive study of the location of the low-water line in 1792. Old surveys, records, and maps were consulted, and the report concludes that the boundary as of that date could be recovered.
the said State shall consist of all the territory included within the following boundaries, to wit: Bounded on the east, by the meridian line which forms the western boundary of the State of Ohio; on the South, by the river Ohio, from the mouth of the Great Miami River, to the mouth of the River Wabash; on the west by a line drawn along the middle of the Wabash, from its mouth to a point where a due north line drawn from the town of Vincennes, would last touch the northwestern shore of the said river; and from thence by a due north line, until the same shall intersect an east and west line drawn through a point ten miles north of the southern extreme of lake Michigan; on the north by the said east and west line until the same shall intersect the first mentioned meridian line which forms the western boundary of the state of Ohio.
23 4 Stat. L. 237. For map and description, see U.S. Cong, (1828).