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THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND THE CHANGES MADE THEREIN
Mississippi River, on the north by a parallel through the
51 mouth of the Yazoo River, on the east by the Chattahoochee River, and on the south by the 31st parallel of north latitude. This area was subsquently enlarged so as to include the whole of what is now Mississippi and Alabama and a strip along the gulf coast, which was at that time claimed by Spain. In 1817 the Territory was divided, and the eastern portion was made into judicial control the same act restricted the area to that Alabama Territory. Subsequently the two Territories commonly known as Indian Territory and bounded as were admitted as States.
follows: On the north by the north line of lands assigned to the Osage tribe of Indians, produced east to the State
of Missouri; on the west by the Mexican possessions LOUISIANA, THE AREAS FORMERLY
(100th meridian); on the south by the Red River; and BELONGING TO MEXICO, AND
on the east by the line of the Territory of Arkansas and THE OREGON REGION
the State of Missouri (Royce, 1899).
While the cessions by the States and the Louisiana The Louisiana Purchase was effected in 1803. In 1804
region were being subdivided, Texas was admitted to the region thus obtained was divided into two parts; the Union, and by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the southern part was organized as Orleans Territory,
the Gadsden Purchase the United States acquired from and the remainder was called the District of Louisiana.
Mexico the area west of the northern part of Texas and The State of Louisiana, comprising most of the Territory
south of the 42d parallel. In the same period the northof Orleans, was admitted to the Union in 1812. In the
ern boundary had been established on the 49th parallel same year it was enlarged by the addition of the area
to the Pacific Ocean. lying between the Mississippi and Pearl Rivers, in the
Out of the great western region thus acquired were southeastern part, and the name of the District of Louisi
carved the following Territories:56 ana was changed to the Territory of Missouri. (See fig.
The Territory of Oregon, formed in 1848, extended 27.) In 1819 Arkansaw Territory was created, and in
from lat 49° N. southward to lat 42o and from the Pacific 1836 it was admitted as a State. (The State name was
Ocean east to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. (See spelled with an "s" in place of the final "w.")
fig. 43.) The Arrowsmith Map of 1814 (fig. 14) shows the ex- California was admitted as a State in 1850 with the tent of the cartographic knowledge of the area covered
same limits which it possesses at present. by the conterminous 48 States previous to the estab- The Territory of Utah, formed in 1850 (see fig. 45), lishment of boundaries of the Western and Midwestern extended from the 42d parallel southward to the 37th States.
and from the California boundary line eastward to the In 1821 the State of Missouri was formed from an- Rocky Mountains. other part of the Territory of Missouri, and in 1836 the The Territory of New Mexico comprised all the counboundaries of the State were extended to their present try lying south of Utah to the boundary lines of Texas limits. In 1834 the part of this Territory lying north of and Mexico and from the California boundary eastthe State of Missouri and east of the Missouri and White ward to the boundary of Texas. (See fig. 47.) Earth Rivers was attached to the Territory of Michigan. The Territory of Nebraska, formed from Missouri Ter(See fig. 31.) In 1836 this portion became part of the ritory in 1854, comprised the country from the 49th Wisconsin Territory. In 1838 it became part of the Terri- parallel to the 40th and from the Missouri and White tory of Iowa. In 1846 the State of Iowa was created, Earth Rivers westward to the summit of the Rocky and in 1849 the remainder of the Iowa Territory was Mountains. (See fig. 35.) organized as the Territory of Minnesota. Minnesota was
The Territory of Kansas, formed by the same act as admitted as a State on May 11, 1858, with its present Nebraska, comprised the country extending from Misboundaries.
souri westward to the boundary of New Mexico and Indian Territory (unorganized) was set apart by act Utah and from the south boundary of Nebraska to the of June 30, 1834, and described as follows (4 Stat. L. 37th parallel. 729, 733; see fig. 36):
The Territory of Washington was formed in 1853 from all that part of the United States west of the Mississippi, and a part of Oregon, its southern boundary being the not within the States of Missouri and Louisiana, or the Territory of Arkansas shall be taken and deemed to be Indian country.
S& For an outline of historical events relating to the organization of
Statas west of the Mississippi and the settlement of their boundaries, see Apparently this covered a large part of the area
Higgins (1923, p. 397—455). For titles of manuscripts and published papers previously designated Territory of Missouri, but for
relating to the Territories, see Carnegie Inst. Washington (1911).
FIGURE 14.—Map compiled and drawn by Aaron Arrowsmith and published in 1814 shows the
(Modified from Paullin, C. O., 1932, Atlas of the historical geography of
extent of cartographic knowledge of the area of the conterminous United States at that time. the United States: Carnegie Institution of Washington Pub. 401, pl. 29.)
BOUNDARIES OF THE
eral Land Office. Notes of all such surveys and plats for most of them are now on file in the Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, or in the Cartographic Records Division, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C. Many of the field notes are in excellent form, in books especially pre
pared for them, and are illustrated by photographs or Columbia River and the 46th parallel, and its east line sketches. Other notes are in books of field notes with being the summit of the Rocky Mountains. (See fig. 43.) the regular township surveys. Many resurveys or re
Oregon was admitted as a State in 1859, with its tracements of short parts of boundary lines have been boundaries as they are now. The portion cut off from made, and numerous corners have been reestablished Oregon Territory was placed under the Territorial gov- in connection with the regular surveys of the public ernment of Washington.
lands, which are not mentioned in the foregoing pages The Territory of Dakota, formed in 1861, comprised but are noted in the records of the General Land all that region included in the present States of North Office. Dakota and South Dakota and thence westward to the The notes and plates are open to public inspection summit of the Rocky Mountains. (See fig. 34.)
and are indexed so that reference to them is easy; also, The Territory of Nevada was organized from the copies are supplied to anyone on payment of nominal western part of the Territory of Utah in 1861. (See fig. fees. 45.) As originally constituted, its eastern line was the Historical diagrams showing changes in State or 39th meridian west from Washington, and its southern national boundaries are to be found in many publicaboundary was the 37th parallel. It was admitted as a itons, a few of which are listed below: State in 1864, when its eastern boundary was made the Faris, J. T., 1926, The romance of the boundaries: New York, Harper 38th meridian (approximately 115°03' west from Green- & Bros. This book contains a bibliography of boundary references with
138 entries. wich). In 1866, by act of Congress, the eastern boundary
Lamberton, R. H., 1884, An historical atlas
from the dawn was moved lo still farther east and placed upon the
of history to the present time: 7th ed., New York, Townsend MacCoun. 37th meridian west from Washington, and the triangu
MacCoun, Townsend, 1901, An historical geography of the United lar portion contained between the former southem States: Revised ed., New York, Silver, Burdett & Co. boundary, the boundary of California, the Colorado Mowry, W. A., 1902, The territorial growth of the United States: River, and the 37th meridian was added, thus giving
New York, Silver, Burdett & Co.
Stocking, S. W., 1874, Areas and political divisions of the United the State its present limits.
States, with map, in Statistical atlas of the United States: Bureau of The Territory of Colorado was formed in 1861, with
the Census, Washington. the limits of the present State. It was admitted as a U.S. Bureau of Statistics, Monthly summary of commerce and State in 1876.
finance of the United States for August 1902. The Territory of Arizona, formed in 1863, included State boundary surveys by the General Land Office that part of New Mexico lying west of the 32d meridian
are related to the surveys of the public lands under the west of Washington.
rectangular system. The public land surveys are based The Territory of Idaho was formed in 1863 from parts
on a system of principal meridians and base lines interof Dakota and Washington Territories. As originally
secting at right angles at an initial point (figs. 15, 16). constituted it included the area lying east of the present
The geodetic position of this point is determined. Sureastern limits of Oregon and Washington to the 27th
veys dependent on a principal meridian often, but not meridian west of Washington. Its southern boundary always, extend to the State line. Details of the recwas the northern boundary of Colorado and Utah-that
tangular system are given in the Manual of Surveying is, the 41st and 42d parallels of latitude. (See fig. 44.)
Instructions, 1973, of the Bureau of Land Management, From this Territory was detached in 1864 the Territory
U.S. Department of the Interior. of Montana, having nearly the limits of the present State, and in 1868 the Territory of Wyoming; these
PAYMENTS TO THE STATES changes reduced Idaho to its present dimensions.
The Territory of Oklahoma, organized in 1890 from a At the last session of the Twenty-second Congress part of the Indian Territory and the public-land strip an act was passed "to appropriate for a limited time north of Texas, when admitted as a State in 1907 in- the proceeds of the sales of the public lands of the cluded the Indian Territory also. (See fig. 36.)
United States and for granting lands to certain States," Nearly all boundaries of States west of the Missis- but it was not approved by President Jackson who, sippi, as well as those of many Central and Southern under date of December 4, 1833, in a long message to States, were surveyed under the direction of the Gen- the Twenty-third Congress (see U.S. 53d Cong., 1996,
BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
2d sess., H. Doc. 210, pt. 3, p. 56–69), set forth his reasons for withholding his signature. In that message he gave an excellent historical account of the State cessions by which the public lands had been in part acquired.
A somewhat similar act (5 Stat. L 55) approved June 23, 1836, by President Van Buren, directed that all money in the Treasury on January 1, 1837, in excess of $5 million be divided among the States in proportion to the number of their Representatives in Congress, to be paid in quarterly installments and to be returned to the United States when required by Congress. Three installments were paid, amounting in all to $28,101,644.91. Payment of the fourth installment was postponed indefinitely by act of October 2, 1837. No part of these payments has ever been returned by the States.
Other payments to States from the proceeds of land sales were authorized by act of September 4, 1841 (5 Stat. L. 453), but were discontinued by act of August 30, 1842 (5 Stat. L. 567).
James I, in 1620, granted a charter to the Plymouth Company, in which may be found the following words (Thrope, 1909, v. 6, p. 1829):
Wee therefore, Do grant, ordaine and establish, that all that Circuit, Continent, Precincts, and Limitts in America, lying and being in Breadth from Fourty Degrees of Northerly Latitude, from the Equnoctiall Line, to Forty-eight Degrees of the said Northerly Latitude, and in length by all the Breadth aforesaid throughout the Maine Land, from Sea to Sea, with all the Seas, Rivers, Islands, Creekes, Inletts, Ports, and Havens, within the Degrees, Precincts, and Limitts of the said Latitude and Longitude, shall be the Limitts, and Bounds, and Precincts of the second Collony: And to the End that the said Territoryes may forever hereafter be more particularly and certainly known and distinguished, our Will and Pleasure is, that the same shall from henceforth be nominated, termed, and called by the Name of NewEngland, in America.
William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, claimed that under a grant given in 1621 he was entitled to land on the coast of Maine which had been granted to the Plymouth Company, and by direction of James I that company issued a patent to him (Thorpe, 1909, v. 6,
MAINE The first charter that related to the area forming the present State of Maine (fig. 4) was that granted by Henry IV of France to Pierre du Gast, Sieur de Monts, in 1603, known as the charter of Acadia; it embraced the whole of North America between the 40th and 46th degrees of north latitude. Under this charter several exploring expeditions along the coast were made in 1604, 1605, and 1606; and in 1606 it was decided to make a permanent settlement at Port Royal, now Annapolis, Nova Scotia. No attempts were made under this charter to plant colonies within the limits of the present State of Maine.
By the first charter of Virginia (see p. 92), granted by James I in 1606, the lands along the coast of North America between the 34th and 45th degrees of north latitude were given to two companies, to one of which, the Plymouth Company, was assigned that part of North America including the coast of New England. The first colony in Maine was planted on the peninsula of Sabino, at the mouth of the Kennebec River, now Hunnewell Point, on August 19, 1607, by George Popham. The colonists returned to England in the autumn of 1608.
for a tract of the maineland of New England, beginning at Saint Croix and from thence extending along the sea-coast to Pemaquid and the river Kennebeck. The heirs of the Earl of Stirling sold that tract to the Duke of York in 1663.
In 1622 Capt. John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges obtained from the council of New England (Plymouth) a grant of lands lying between the Merrimack and Sagadahock (Kennebec) Rivers and extending back to the rivers and lakes of Canada. This tract was named the Province of Maine and included New Hampshire and the western part of Maine. Mason and Gorges, in 1629, by mutual consent divided their territory in two by Piscataqua River. That part east of this river was relinquished to Gorges, who called it Maine.
The charter of the Plymouth Company was surtendered to the King in the year 1635.
King Charles I, in 1639, granted a charter to Sir Ferdinando Gorges which virtually confirmed the patent given to him by the Plymouth Company in 1622. The following extract from that charter (Thorpe, 1909, v. 6, p. 1626) defines the boundaries:
All that Parte Purparte and Porcon of the Mayne Lande of New England aforesaid beginning att the entrance of Pascataway Harbor and soe to passe upp the same into the River of Newichewanocke and through the same unto the furthest heade thereof and from thence Northwestwards till one hundred and twenty miles bee finished and from Pascataway Harbor mouth aforesaid Northeastwards along the Sea Coasts to Sagadahocke and upp the River thereof to Kynybequy River and through the same into the heade thereof and into the Lande
57 For a condensed historical description of the boundaries of the United States, see Encyclopedia Americana (1920, v. 4, p. 329-342). This article contains a bibliography on boundaries comprising several hundred entries.
68 A general discussion of the boundaries of the New England States is given by Cushing (1920). For reference to early voyages of the Northmen Iceland, Greenland and the New England coast about year 1000, see Preble (1917, p. 160-167); Kohl (1869, v. 1, chap. 2); Gray (1931).