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BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

TEXAS

river to the 420 parallel, the eastern and northern

121 limits coinciding with the western boundary of the United States as laid down in the treaty with Spain in 1819. This area comprised all of the former Mexican States of Coahuila and Texas. The boundary as fixed by the treaty of 1819 was reaffirmed by treaty with Mexico concluded January 12, 1828, Mexico having in the meantime gained its independence from Spain. Sea, but no commission was appointed under that These boundaries (9 Stat. 447) were formally recog- treaty, and the line was not marked north of the Red nized by the U.S. act of September 9, 1850. (See p. 49 River. and fig. 29; see also Spillman, 1902 and 1904.)

A treaty between the United States and the Republic Article 3 of the Mexican treaty of 1828 provided for of Texas, proclaimed in 1838, acknowledged the "treaty the appointment of commissioners to survey and mark of limits" signed by Mexico and the United States in the land part of the boundary from the mouth of the 1828 as binding upon Texas, which was then a part Sabine River to the Arkansas River, to determine the of Mexico, and provided for the marking of the boundlatitude and longitude of the source of the Arkansas, ary (Malloy, 1910, v. 2, p. 1779). The eastern boundary and to mark the line of the 42d parallel to the South of the Republic of Texas, which followed the west bank

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300 KILOMETRES

BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

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sum of $10 million, payable in stock bearing 5 percent interest for 14 years, that part lying north of the parallel of 36°30' from long 100° west of Greenwich to long 103° and west of long 103° as far south as the parallel of 32° (9 Stat. L. 446; see also 9 Stat L. 1005).

The northern boundary of Texas from the 100th

meridian westward is thus described in an act of Conof the Sabine River, was surveyed in 1840 by a joint gress of June 5, 1858, authorizing the marking of the commission representing the United States and Texas boundary lines between the territories of the United from the Gulf of Mexico to Logans Ferry, the observed States and the State of Texas (11 Stat. L. 310): latitude of which was found to be 31°58'24'' N. and the

Beginning at the point where the one hundredth degree of longitude longitude, 94°00'02.4" W. The initial mark of this sur- west from Greenwich crosses Red River, and running thence north vey was a mound of earth 50 feet in diameter and to the point where said one hundredth degree of longitude intersects about 7 feet high on the shore of the Gulf, the position

the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude; and

thence west with the said parallel of thirty-six degrees and thirty of which was reported as lat 29°41'27.5'' N., long 93o

minutes north latitude to the point where it intersects the one hun50'14.2" W. (T. M. Marshall, 1914, chap. 12.) See

dred and third degree of longitude west from Greenwich; and thence Louisiana, page 106.

south with the said one hundred and third degree of longitude to In the following year another commission ran the line

the thirty-second parallel of north latitude; and thence west with said northward along the Sabine River to the 32d parallel

thirty-second degree of north latitude to the Rio Grande. as determined from astronomic observations, thence For more than 50 years the title to an area of about along a true-north line to the south bank of the Red 2,380 square miles was in dispute between the State of River. Mounds were erected at l-mile intervals on the Texas and the United States. This area, formerly known meridian boundary, the measured length of which was as Greer County, is east of the 100th meridian and found to be a little less than 106/2 miles. The original between the two main forks of the Red River, which plats of this survey are on file in the U.S. State Depart- branch in approximately 99° 12' west longitude. (See ment, and the General Land Office has copies. The

fig. 36.) Texas claimed that the North Fork of the Red field notes were probably filed in the War Depart- River is the main stream and the one referred to in the ment.*1 The approximate longitude of the meridian line description of the boundary in the Spanish treaty of at lat 33°06'30'' N. is 94°02'35.1" W.

1819, and the United States claimed the South Fork as In a joint resolution approved March 1, 1845, Con- the proper location of the boundary. After years of litigress gave its consent for the erection of Texas into gation the Supreme Court on March 16, 1896, decided a State, provided certain conditions and "guarantees" (162 U.S. 90) that were accepted, one of which was as follows (5 Stat.

the territory east of the 100th meridian of longitude, west and south L. 797):

of the river now known as the North Fork of Red River, and north of

a line following westward, as prescribed by the treaty of 1819 between New States, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in

the United States and Spain, the course, and along the south bank, addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may

both of Red River and of the river now known as the Prairie Dog hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory

Town Fork or South Fork of Red River until such line meets the 100th thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of

meridian of longitude-which territory is sometimes called Greer the Federal constitution.

County-constitutes no part of the territory properly included within Texas does not appear, however, to have acquired or rightfully belonging to Texas at the time of the admission of that by this proviso any advantages over other States, as State into the Union, and is not within the limits nor under the jurisit merely can give its "consent to a division of its diction of the State, but is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of

the United States of America. area, the right to make the recommendation or request for the division apparently resting with Congress.

The Supreme Court records of this case, which cover On December 25, 1845, Texas was admitted as a

more than 1,000 printed pages, are summarized in the State (9 Stat. L. 108).

decree of 36 pages. These documents contain much In 1848 the eastern boundary was extended slightly historical matter relating to the northern and eastern as noted in the following extract (9 Stat. L. 245):

boundary of Texas, and also contain copies of a numThat this Congress consents that the legislature of the State of

ber of old maps. (Baker, 1902, p. 31-35.) Texas may extend her eastern boundary so as to include within her One clause of the decree places the boundary line limits one-half of Sabine Pass, one-half of Sabine Lake, also one-half on the south bank of the Red River, where it was beof Sabine River, from its mouth as far north as the thirty-second lieved old treaties and other official descriptions of the degree of north latitude.

line intended it should be placed.43 In 1850 the State sold to the U.S. Government for the

12 See footnote 40, p. 27, for reference to 100th meridian west of London. 41 The journal of the commission

excellent maps of the 43 See reference to the "right bank of the Red River" in the act of 1824, survey were published in U.S. Cong. (1842).

and

defining the west boundary of Arkansas, p. 119.

some

BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

TEXAS

p. 10).

Briefs in a suit by Oklahoma against Texas were

123 submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court at its October term, 1920, and the decision, rendered April 11, 1921, reaffirmed the former decision making the south bank of the Red River the boundary, and in a decision rendered January 15, 1923 (260 U.S. 631), as to what constituted the south bank, it was stated that

100° W.L., 1903." This pier is 243 feet north and 1,756 the bank intended by the treaty provision is the water-washed and relatively permanent elevation or acclivity at the outer line of the

feet east from the east end of the Cimarron base line of river bed which separates the bed from the adjacent upland,

the General Land Office. In 1881 a large stone was and that the boundary intended is on and along the bank at the placed at that point and marked as being the northaverage or mean level attained by the waters in the periods when

east corner of Texas. they reach and wash the bank without overflowing it.

Neither Congress nor the State of Texas had apThe bed of the stream was defined as including

proved any of the surveys for the 100th meridian; conall of the area which is kept practically bare of vegetation by the wash of the waters of the river from year to year

sequently none had any legal status (U.S. Cong., 1905, and excluding

In October, 1926, the U.S. Supreme Court decreed 45 the lateral valleys which have the characteristics of relatively fast land and usually are covered by upland grasses and vegetation, al

that neither the boundary survey of 1859–60 nor the though temporarily overflowed in exceptional instances when the location of the 100th meridian in 1902–3 could be acriver is at flood.

cepted as establishing the boundary and ordered that A survey of the boundary, in accordance with this a new survey be made. decision, ordered by the court, was completed, and In order to locate the line with all possible exactness, the final report of the commissioners was accepted and the commissioner appointed by the court decided to confirmed April 25, 1927 (274 U.S. 714).

place it on the geodetic meridian (1927 N.A.D.; see p. An excellent historical review of this boundary dis- 5) determined from first-order triangulation by the pute is given by Isaiah Bowman (1923, p. 161-189),44 Coast and Geodetic Survey, and 20 stations were eswho states that the Red River case is "the most com- tablished by that survey on or near its assumed posiplicated boundary dispute on record anywhere." tion. Surveys for the Texas boundary on the 100th merid

The marking of the boundary line was commenced ian west of Greenwich were made in whole or in part

in 1928 at a point 340.28 feet east from the 1902 mark under the direction of the General Land Office in 1859,

near the Red River and extended south to a point near 1860, 1873, 1875, 1902, and 1903, but none of these

the "cut bank" on the south side of the river, where was accepted as fixing the boundary.

a large reinforced-concrete monument was built; a refIn 1892 the State of Texas employed an astronomer erence mark on the meridian was placed at a point to determine "with the utmost care the location of the

351.2 feet farther south. From the cut-bank mark the 100th meridian (west of Greenwich] at its intersection

line was run due north for a distance of 133.6 miles, with Red River." As a result of the work thus author

checked in position at each of the 20 geodetic stations, ized, it was reported that the initial monument of 1859

and closed on an eastward extension of the 36°30' was 45.11 seconds of longitude west of the true me

parallel boundary line as determined by Clark in ridian. (Baker, 1902, p. 31-35.)

1860. There are now 160 concrete monuments on the The position of this point was redetermined in 1902

line, each having a lettered metal tablet set in its from astronomic observations and reported as 3,699.7

upper surface. The line as thus established was apfeet (44.24'') west of the 100th meridian. A stone post proved by the U.S. Supreme Court March 17, 1930 10 by 10 by 45 inches in size was placed on the (281 U.S. 109). meridian at a point 1,563 feet north of the Red River

The mark set in 1929 for the northeast corner of Texas (U.S. Cong., 1902, p. 8).

is in lat 36°29'59.56' N., long 100°00'00:00" west of The line marked as the 100th meridian boundary was

Greenwich and is 286.5 feet southeast of the mark of retraced in 1903 by the General Land Office from the

1903. The geodetic line as now marked is 4,040 feet east Red River north to the assumed position of the parallel

of the south end of the 1859–60 line and about 880 feet of 36°30' (U.S. Cong., 1905b, p. 4), and at a point com

east of the north end of the line as marked in 1859–60 puted to be on the true meridian a large concrete pier

and retraced in 1873. The strip of land included bewas erected marked on the southwest face "36°30' N.L.,

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44 A brief review of this boundary dispute and an extensive report (with maps) on the investigations made for fixing the position of the boundary are given in Texas Univ. Bull. 2327, 1923.

45 272 U.S. 21. This decree gives a detailed history of the various surveys for the establishment of the 100th meridian. See also a brief history of the surveys in General Land Office Service Bull., December 1926, p. 315. Whereas it has been observed that there is a typical class marks were found or where surveys had not been of changes effected in the bed of the Rio Grande, in which, owing to made, straight lines were to be run joining recovered slow and gradual erosion, coupled with avulsion, said river abandons points.

BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

124

In accordance with this act, surveys were run south from the known location of the north boundary mark, to the 34th parallel, to which Clark claimed to have run, and north from the identified mark established by Clark for the intersection of the 32d parallel and the 103d meridian, to the 33d parallel. Between the 32d

and the 34th parallels a straight line was run which tween these two lines has an area of about 44.6 square bears N. 1°00'42" E. Large concrete monuments (fig. miles and was determined by the Supreme Court 49) were established at a number of points, and other boundary decision to be in Texas and not in Okla

substantial marks were placed at each mile. homa.46

The 32d parallel boundary was also rerun in 1911; The northern line of the "panhandle" of Texas, which its length as measured was a little more than 209 miles. is the southern boundary of the "public-land strip," was The latitude of this line near Clark monument 1, east of fixed by statute at lat 36°30' N.

the Rio Grande, is 32°00'00.37'' N. as determined from It was surveyed in 1860 by John H. Clark, boundary astronomic observations in 1903. At milepost 53 (recommissioner, United States and Texas. Sixteen monu- survey of 1911) the geodetic position is lat 31°59'59.93" ments were erected on this boundary line. Monument N., long 103°58'02.53" W. Milepost 61 is in lat 31°59'

' 10 on this line is in lat 36°29'59.56'' N., long 101°05' 59.40' N., long 104°06'13.18" W. The notes and plats 17.00" W. This location of the north boundary and the of these surveys are on file in the General Land Office. location of the 103d meridian boundary were confirmed The southern boundary of Texas is a part of the by Congress and by Texas in 1891 (26 Stat. L. 948, 971; international boundary between the United States and U.S. Cong., 1905, p. 13–18).

Mexico and as defined by the treaty of 1848 and re The location of the west boundary of Texas (fig. 30), affirmed by the treaty of 1853 follows the middle of which by statute is the 103d meridian, has been the the deepest channel of the Rio Grande from the Gulf cause of many disputes. The southern part of the line of Mexico to the southern boundary of New Mexico. A for about 69 miles and the northern part for about 172 survey of this boundary was made in 1852–53. The miles were reported as surveyed and marked in 1859 report was published in 1857. It is generally referred by J. H. Clark, leaving an unmarked gap of about 69 to as the Emory report on the survey of the Mexican miles. Most of the marks were merely mounds of earth; boundary (Emory, 1857b).

; a few were stones or piles of stone, and some of these A convention, concluded November 12, 1884, prowere identified many years thereafter. Later surveys vided for resurveys of parts of the boundary where indicate that the north end of the line is in long 103° important changes in the position of the river had 02'28.04" W. and lat 36°31'01.45'' N. (1927 N.A.D.). The occurred (Malloy, 1913, v. 1, p. 1159). This agreement south end is in long 103°03'55.02' W. and lat 31°59' stated that: 58.52'' N. (astronomic). There is therefore a discrepancy

The dividing line shall follow the center of the normal channel of about 1/2 miles between the two parts of the line,

of the rivers named, notwithstanding any alterations

effected both being west of their proper positions (Baker, 1902); by natural causes through the slow and gradual erosion

• and not but these lines as well as that following the 32d by the abandonment of an existing bed and the opening of the new parallel, having been accepted by the United States

Any other change wrought by the force of the current, shall and Texas, are the legal boundary lines.

produce no change in the dividing line as fixed by the surveys of A joint resolution of Congress February 16, 1911

1852, but the line then fixed shall continue to follow the middle of (36 Stat. L. 1455), declared that "these boundary lines the original channel bed, even though this should be wholly dry. as run and marked by John H. Clark in 1859-60 47 shall Modifications of the articles of the convention of 1884 remain the true boundary lines of Texas and New

were made by the convention of 1905 (Malloy, 1910, Mexico." The lines were described as following the v. 1, p. 1199). The latter agreement provided for the 103d meridian and 32d parallel as "determined by solution of some of the problems raised by the earlier Clark," and commissioners were authorized to act for convention that were due to numerous changes in the Texas and the United States to re-mark the north

position of the "normal channel" as follows: south line so far as it could be identified; where no

its old channel and there are separated from it small portions of land known as "bancos" bounded by the said old bed, and which, accord

ing to the terms of the Convention of 1884, remain subject to 48 For other data relating to this survey, see the commissioners' report to the Supreme Court dated July 15, 1929 (281 U.S. 109).

the dominion and jurisdiction of the country from which they have 47 See report by J. H. Clark (1882) commissioner.

been separated.

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BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

TEXAS

Whereas said "bancos" are left at a distance from the new river bed, and by reason of the successive deposits of alluvium, the old channel is becoming effaced, the land of said "bancos" becomes confused with the land of the "bancos" contiguous thereto, thus giving rise to difficulties and controversies,

Whereas the labors of the International Boundary Commission, undertaken with the object of fixing the boundary line with reference to the "bancos," have demonstrated that the application to these "bancos" of the principle established in. • the Convention of 1884 renders difficult the solution of the controversies mentioned, and, instead of

simplifying, complicates the said boundary line beween the two countries;

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FIGURE 30.-Photograph taken from a satellite (Apollo 26A'-3807) at an altitude of 199 nautical miles shows

the boundary between New Mexico and the panhandle of Texas. The land-use pattern in the two States changes at the State line. This print was produced from a 70-mm color infrared transparency. The principal point is at lat 33°42" N and long 103°01' W. Photograph courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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