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156

BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

west along said boundary to the thirty-third degree of longitude west of Washington; thence north along said degree to the forty-second parallel of latitude; thence west along said parallel to the eastern boundary of the State of Oregon; thence north along said boundary to the place of beginning.

In 1864 the Territory of Montana was formed from a part of this area. (See p. 145.) From another part, together with a part transferred to Dakota by the act of 1864, the Territory of Wyoming was formed in 1868. These changes reduced the limits of Idaho to those described as follows in the act of admission to statehood, approved July 3, 1890 (26 Stat. L. 215):

was dated February 22, 1889.

See page 20 for reference to the survey of the northern boundary, below for survey of the eastern boundary, and page 155 for the survey of the boundary on the 46th parallel

IDAHO

The Territory of Idaho was formed March 3, 1863, from parts of Washington, Dakota, and Nebraska. (See figs. 34, 35, 43, 44.) Its original limits, which included the present States of Idaho and Montana and all but the southwestern part of Wyoming, were given as follows in the act organizing the Territory:63

That all that part of the territory of the United States included within the following limits, to wit: beginning at a point in the middle channel of the Snake River where the northern boundary of Oregon intersects the same; then follow down said channel of Snake River to a point opposite the mouth of the Kooskooskia, or Clearwater River; thence due north to the forty-ninth parallel of latitude; thence east along said parallel to the twenty-seventh degree of longitude west of Washington; thence south along said degree of longitude to the northern boundary of Colorado Territory; thence

Beginning at the intersection of the thirty-ninth meridian with the boundary line beween the United States and the British Possessions, then following said meridian south until it reaches the summit of the Bitter Root Mountains; thence southeastward along the crest of the Bitter Root range and the continental divide until it intersects the meridian of thirty-four degrees of longitude; thence southward on this meridian to the forty-second parallel of latitude; thence west on this parallel of latitude to its intersection with a meridian drawn through the mouth of the Owyhee River; north on this meridian to the mouth of the Owyhee River; thence down the mid-channel of the Snake River to the mouth of the Clearwater River; and thence north on the meridian which passes through the mouth of the Clearwater to the boundary line between the United States and the British Possessions, and east on said boundary line to the place of beginning.

The west boundary of Idaho from the mouth of the Clearwater to the 49th parallel was surveyed and marked in 1873 by Rollin J. Reeves under contract with the General Land Office. Mr. Reeves was very conscientious in his efforts to comply with the description set forth in the territorial act placing the boundary

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on a meridian passing through the mouth of the Clear

157 water. This definition involved locating the point common to the centerlines of the main channel of both the

BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES Snake and the Clearwater. Several expedients were tried to locate this point, one being a floating keg tied by a rope to a stake at the point of land between the two rivers. The strong currents pulled the keg under. Finally, he was forced to select an approximate posi- Land Office. The surveyor who ran the line in 1906 tion. Three Government officials happened to be in found the tri-State mark about 6 miles too far north. Lewiston at the time, and the surveyor asked them to He therefore replaced it with a new mark in the corconfirm his judgment, which they did.

rected position. Mr. Reeves was forced to stop work due to winter The 39th-meridian boundary (116°03'02.3" west of weather and lack of food supplies. He was only 1 mile Greenwich) was mentioned on page 150. Ninety-two short of reaching the Canadian boundary. This line was metal or stone marks were placed along a measured retraced by S. S. Gannett and C. L. Nelson of the U.S. distance of 70.7 miles. Geological Survey in 1908.64 It was extended to the For reference to the northern boundary, see page 21, 49th parallel and tied to international boundary monu- and for the southern boundary, see pages 158–160. ment 195. The line was marked by 177 stone or iron Yellowstone National Park is mainly in the State of posts. Boundary monument 12 is at lat 46°35'57.06" N.,

Wyoming, but its western boundary lies in the States long 117°02'19.47" W. (1927 N.A.D.).

of Idaho and Montana, being 21/2 miles west of the The east meridian boundary, from the 42d parallel Wyoming border. This land is under "Executive Legisnorthward or a measured distance of 245 miles 56/2

lative Jurisdiction" of the Federal Government. The chains, was surveyed in 1874 under the direction of the

term applies to situations wherein the Federal GovernGeneral Land Office, and a mark was set on the as

ment has received all the authority of the State except sumed crest of the Rocky Mountains (the Continental Divide) for the corner common to Idaho, Montana, and

the right to serve process resulting from activities that

occurred off the land involved. Wyoming. From this mark along the crest of the mountains to the intersection with the 39th Washington meri

In 1931, Congress granted its consent for the States dian, the survey was made in 1904-6 by the General of Idaho and Wyoming to adjust their common bound

ary (46 Stat. 1039). A commission was appointed con64 See Marshall (1911) for descriptions of these surveys and a final report and plat of the line as retraced.

sisting of an engineer from the Department of the In

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FIGURE 44.-Historical diagram of Idaho.

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158

BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

terior and one commissioner to represent each State. The commission held three hearings in the local communities in the area crossed by the boundary, to learn the desires of local residents.

Owing to the mountainous character of the region, there had been some agitation to adjust the boundary line so as to place each of two valleys entirely in one State or the other. At the hearings, the great majority of those present disapproved of any change. The commission so reported to Congress, and the matter was dropped (U.S. Cong., 1933, 2d Sess., S. Doc. 212). For the meridian boundary between Idaho and Oregon, see Oregon, p. 155.

Interesting reading on the early history of Idaho and its creation as a territory is found in "The Idaho Heritage," a collection of historical essays edited by Richard W. Etulain and Bert W. Marley. (Idaho State University Press, 1974.)

That the said state of Nevada shall consist of all the territory included within the following boundaries, to wit: Commencing at a point formed by the intersection of the thirty-eighth degree of longitude west from Washingon with the thirty-seventh degree of north latitude; thence due west along said thirty-seventh degree of north latitude to the eastern boundary line of the state of California; thence in a northwesterly direction along the said eastern boundary line of the state of California to the forty-third degree of longitude west from Washington; thence north along said forty-third degree of west longitude and said eastern boundary line of the state of California to the forty-second degree of north latitude; thence due east along the said forty-second degree of north latitude to a point formed by its intersection with the aforesaid thirty-eighth degree of longitude west from Washington; thence due south down said thirty-eighth degree of west longitude to the place of beginning.

Nevada became a State by presidential proclamation dated October 31, 1864.

An act approved May 5, 1866, further enlarged the area of Nevada by the addition of territory taken from Utah and Arizona, described as follows (14 Stat. L. 43):

NEVADA

The Territory of Nevada, as organized by act of March 2, 1861, consisted of territory taken from Utah. (See fig. 45.) The following are the boundaries as described in the act (12 Stat. L. 209):

*"' beginning at the point of intersection of the forty-second degree of north latitude with the thirty-ninth degree of longitude west from Washington; thence running south on the line of said thirty-ninth degree of west longitude, until it intersects the northern boundary line of the Territory of New Mexico; thence due west to the dividing ridge separating the waters of Carson Valley from those that flow into the Pacific; thence on said ridge northwardly to the forty-first degree of north latitude; thence due north to the southern boundary of the State of Oregon; thence due east to the place of beginning.

The limits thus described included a small area to be taken from the State of California. It was therefore

Provided, That so much of the Territory within the present limits of the State of California shall not be included within this Territory until the State of California shall assent to the same.

California having failed to cede the territory west of the 120th meridian, Congress by act of July 14, 1862 (12 Stat. L. 575), added to Nevada a strip of land more than 50 miles wide, west of the 38th meridian from Washington and extending from the north line of New Mexico to the 42d parallel of latitude. The boundaries as described in the enabling act of March 21, 1864 (13 Stat. L. 30), were as follows:

That, as provided for and consented to in the constitution of the State of Nevada, all that territory and tract of land adjoining the present eastern boundary of the State of Nevada, and lying between the thirty-seventh and the forty-second degrees of north latitude and west of the thirty-seventh degree of longitude west of Washington, is hereby added to and made a part of the State of Nevada.

That there is hereby added to and made a part of the State of Nevada all that extent of territory lying within the following boundaries, to wit: Commencing on the thirty-seventh degree of north latitude at the thirty-seventh degree of longitude west from Washington, and running thence south on said degree of longitude to the middle of the river Colorado of the West; thence down the middle of said river to the eastern boundary of the State of California; thence northwesterly along said boundary of California to the thirty-seventh degree of north latitude; and thence east along said degree of latitude to the point of beginning.

The present State of Nevada according to statute 66 is now bounded on the east by the 37th meridian of longitude west of Washington, on the south by the middle of Colorado River to the 35th parallel, on the southwest by the California line, on the west by the 120th meridian of longitude, and on the north by the 42d parallel.

The north boundary of Nevada was surveyed in 1873 from an initial point on the Utah-Nevada line, whose latitude had been carefully determined in 1871, westward to a post set in 1868 for the northeast corner of California. The measured distance was 310 miles 48 chains. The marks placed on the line were mounds of earth, wooden posts, or small stones. This line passed the meridian boundary between Idaho and Oregon at 152 miles 72 chains from the northeast corner of Nevada and 4 chains south of the terminal mark of the 1868 survey.

The boundary following the middle of the Colorado was further defined between Davis Dam and the California-Nevada line by a compact between Nevada and

65

*** Enabling act of 1864 (13 Stat. L. 43) with additions of 1866 (14 Stat. L. 43)

65 See California Senate Jour. for 1861, p. 630, and for 1862, p. 525.

159

BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES

UTAH

Arizona that was approved by Congress June 16, 1961 (75 Stai. 93). It involves 31 points, chosen in the middle of the river as it was located at that time. Bearings and distances are given between successive points, and from monumented points which are horizontal control stations of the National Geodetic Survey or corners of the Public Land Survey.

The east boundary of Nevada, which follows the 37th meridian west of Washington, was surveyed in 1870. The longitude for the initial point was found by direct measurement east from Pilot Peak, whose latitude and longitude had been determined by triangulation from the Salt Lake City astronomic station. The assumed longitude of Pilot Peak was 114°04'55.4" west from Greenwich; the latest determination (1939) by the U.S. Geological Survey is 114°04'35.56'' (1927 N.A.D.). The initial point thus selected for the boundary was in the middle of the track of the Central Pacific Railroad (now the Southern Pacific). From this point the line was run northward a measured distance of 46 miles 40 chains to a position which sextant observations indicated was the 42d parallel of latitude. In 1871 a long series of observations made with a zenith telescope showed that the mark at this point was too far north; consequently

it was moved south 1 mile 12 chains in 1873.

From the initial point the line was then run south to the Colorado River. At a point 1.16 chains south of the railroad track a granite shaft 8 feet high, its top dressed to l foot square and suitably marked, was placed in a pile of rocks, and 298 miles 56 chains south of the railroad a mark was set for the southwest corner of Utah. This mark was later found to be too far north and in 1901 was moved 1 mile 31.51 chains south. (See p. 160.) The distance as then measured, from the initial point on the railroad to the Colorado River, was 356 miles 23.76 chains. This part of the line as well as that north of the railroad was marked with wooden posts, single stones, or mounds of earth and stones.

The following positions on the boundary line between Utah and Nevada have been determined by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (Bowie, 1914, p. 105–107):

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For a discussion of the California-Nevada boundary, (see p. 141) and in 1862 and 1866 by the extensions

. see California, p. 151, 152.

eastward of the limits of the State of Nevada.

The present boundaries of Utah are by statute as

follows: Commencing with the intersection of the 42d UTAH

parallel of latitude with the 34th meridian of longitude The Mormons settled in Utah in 1847. In 1849 they

west from Washington; running thence south on this organized a territorial government which they called

meridian to the 41st parallel of latitude; thence east on Deseret, but a delegate sent to Congress was not recog

this parallel to the 32d meridian of longitude; thence nized by that body.

south on this meridian to its intersection with the 37th Utah was established as a Territory by act of Sep- parallel of latitude; thence west upon this parallel of tember 9, 1850, and included part of the area acquired latitude to its intersection with the 37th meridian of from Mexico by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. (See

longitude; thence north on this meridian to its interfig. 45.) Its limits are given in the following extract from

section with the 42d parallel of latitude; thence east on the act by which it was created (9 Stat. L. 453):

the 42d parallel of latitude to the place of beginning. All that part of the territory of the United States included within The enabling act for Utah (28 Stat. L. 107), approved the following limits, to wit: bounded on the west by the State of

July 16, 1894, fixed its boundaries "as at present deCalifornia, on the north by the Territory of Oregon, and on the

scribed." The admission to statehood was declared in east by the summit of the Rocky Mountains, and on the south by the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude, be, and the same is

effect by the President's proclamation of January 4, hereby, created into a temporary government, by the name of the

1896. Territory of Utah.

The Utah-Idaho line was surveyed and marked in This area was reduced by the formation in 1861, of 1871 under the direction of the General Land Office. the Territories of Nevada (see p. 158) and Colorado The initial point was fixed by reference to an astron

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160

BOUNDARIES OF THE
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES

mark for each mile of this line is a stone post or iron pipe. Between the 152d and 153d mile marks, the line passes over a sandstone butte, the summit of which rises about 1,000 feet above the plain. (See fig. 46.) Surveys by the General Land Office in 1927 show that there is a break in this line near long 110°30' W. (T. 43 S., R. 13 E., Salt Lake base and meridian), milepost 197 being 33 chains (2,178 feet) farther north than milepost 199.68

For reference to the survey of the west boundary of Utah, see Nevada, page 159; and for reference to the east boundary, see Colorado, page 143. For the boundary with Wyoming, see page 145. All these lines were run under the direction of the General Land Office.

NEW MEXICO

omical station near the Bear River. The position for the terminal mark was determined by a long series of observations for latitude with a zenith telescope. The initial mark was a wooden post 812 feet by 12 inches by 7 inches, marked "34° WL" on the east, "UTAH" on the southwest, "IDAHO" on the north west, and "42 L 1871" on the north, which was surrounded by a large pile of stones. From this point a line was run due west a measured distance of 153 miles 56 chains to a point where an 8-foot cedar post was set in a mound of rocks and suitably marked for the common corners of Nevada and Utah on the Idaho line. A mark set in 1870 for these corners was destroyed, the new mark being placed 1 mile 12 chains farther south.

The Utah-Arizona boundary, on the 37th parallel of latitude, was surveyed and marked in 1901. The mark set in 1870 for the southwest corner of Utah was destroyed, because observations for latitude showed that it was 1 mile 31.51 chains too far north. A new corner mark was established 7.88 chains south of the 300th mile mark of the Nevada boundary survey of 1870. This mark consisted of a sandstone post 6 feet by 16 inches by 12 inches, set in a pile of stones and marked "NEVADA" on the northwest, "UTAH" on the northeast, "ARIZONA" on the southeast, and "37 N L 1901" on the southwest. The line was run thence due east, checked by five latitude stations,67 a measured distance of 277 miles 5.18 chains; the line intersected the post at the southwest corner of Colorado, set in 1875. The

The original area of New Mexico was taken in part from the region transferred by Mexico to the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and in part from the territory ceded by Texas. (See p. 28, 122; figs. 29, 47.) The act of Congress of September 9, 1850, fixing the northern boundary of the State of Texas west of the 103d meridian and providing for the payment of $10 million to that State for land to be ceded to the United States, provided also for the creation of the Territory of New Mexico, when the transaction with Texas was completed. The formation of this Territory was announced by presidential proclamation of December 13, 1850.

The boundaries fixed in the act of 1850 were thus described (9 Stat. L. 447):

That all that portion of the territory of the United States bounded as follows: Beginning at a point in the Colorado River, where the boundary line with the Republic of Mexico crosses the same; thence eastwardly with the said boundary line to the Rio Grande; thence following the main channel of said river to the parallel of the thirty

69 For further reading on the settlement of Utah and its boundaries, see Brightman (1940, p. 87-95).

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