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BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
in 1620 (see p. 55), and the grant to Capt. John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges of 1622 (see p. 35).
The president and council of New England made a grant to Capt. John Mason in 1629, in which the boundaries were given as follows (Thorpe, 1909, v. 4, p. 2434):
All ye part of yo Maine land in New England lying upon yo sea Coaste beginning from ye Middle part of Merrimack River & from thence to proceed Northwards along yo Sea coaste to passcattaway river & soe forwards up wth in yo sa river & to ye furthest head thereof & from thence Northwestwards untill Three-score miles be finished from yo first entrance of passcattaway river & also from Merrimacke through yo s' River & to y furthest head thereof & soe forward up into ye land Westwards untill Threescore miles be finished and from thence to cross over land to yoThreescore miles end accounted from passacattaway river together with all Islands & Isletts wib in five leagues distance of yo premises & abutting upon yo same or any parte or parcell thereof web
land Cap' John Mason with y consent of yo president & councill intends to name New Hampshire.
In 1635 the grant of 1629 was confirmed by a supplementary grant, of which the following is an extract (Thorpe, 1909, v. 4, p. 2441; Upham, 1920):
All y' part of y® maine land of New England afores" being from y® middle part of Naumkeck river & from thence to proceed, East wards along ye sea Coast to Cape Anne & round about yo same to passcattaway harbour & soe forwards up wib in ye river of Newickewanock & to yo farthest head of ye said river & from thence Northwards till six miles be finished from yo first entrance of passcattaway harbour & alsoe from Naumkeck through yo river thereof up into yo land west Sixty miles from weh period to crose over land to y sixty miles end accounted from passcattaway through Newickewanock river to y land north west afores' & also all y' yo south half of yo Isles of Sholds all wache lands wth yo consent of yo Councill shall from henceforth be called New Hampshire & alsoe tenn thousand acres more of land in New England afores' on y® south east part of Sagahahock at ye mouth & entrance thereof from henceforth to be called by ye name of Masonia.
The 1635 grant to the colony of New Hampshire included the south half of the Isles of Shoals. State sovereignty over the territorial waters between the isles and the mainland became an issue between New Hampshire and Maine with the increase of fishing. Definition of the common boundary by coordinates and azimuth has been agreed upon by the State Governments. At the present time (1975), the final decision awaits a consent decree by the U.S. Supreme Court.
After the death of Capt. John Mason, in December 1635, the affairs of the colony coming into bad condition, the colonists sought the protection of Massachusetts in 1641 and enjoyed it till 1675, when Robert Mason, a grandson of John Mason, obtained a royal decree, under which, in 1680, a colonial government was established. But no charter was given to the colony, and its government was continued only during the pleasure of the King. The commission or decree issued by the King in 1680 to John Cutt, of Portsmouth, names the following limits for the colony:
Province of New Hampshire, lying & extending from three miles northward of Merrimack River, or any part thereof to y® Province of Maine.
In the year 1690 the Province of New Hampshire was again taken under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Bay, but in 1692 it was once more separated.
A controversy that arose between the Provinces of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay involved not only the boundary between New Hampshire and Maine (see p. 59) but also that between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The commissioners appointed by the two Provinces having been unable to agree, New Hampshire appealed to the King, who ordered that the boundaries should be settled by a board of commissioners appointed from the neighoring colonies. The board met at Hampton in 1737 and submitted a conditional decision to the King, who in 1740 declared in council (Slade, 1823, p. 9) that the northern boundary of the province of Massachusetts be a similar curve line, pursuing the course of the Merrimack river, at three miles distance, on the north side thereof, beginning at the Atlantic Ocean, and ending at a point due north of Pautucket falls (now Lowell). and a straight line drawn from thence, due west till it meets with his Majesty's other Governments.
New Hampshire had claimed her southern boundary to be a line due west from a point on the sea 3 miles north of the mouth of the Merrimack River. Massachusetts had claimed all the territory within 3 miles north of any part of the Merrimack River. The King's decision gave to New Hampshire a strip of territory, more than 50 miles in length and varying in width, in excess of that which she claimed. This decree of the King was forwarded to Mr. Belcher, then governor of both the Provinces of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay, with instructions to apply to the respective assemblies to unite in making the necessary provisions for running and marking the line conformably to the said decree, and if either assembly refused, the other was to proceed ex parte. Massachusetts Bay declined to comply with this requisition. New Hampshire therefore proceeded alone to run and mark the line.
George Mitchell and Richard Hazzen were appointed by Governor Belcher to survey and mark the line. Pursuant to this authority, in February 1741, Mitchell ran and marked the line from a point on the seacoast about 3 miles north of the mouth of the Merrimack River to a point about 3 miles north of the Pawtucket Falls, and Hazzen, in March following, ran and marked a line from the point 3 miles north of Pawtucket Falls across the Connecticut River to the supposed boundary line of New York, on what he then assumed to be a due west course from the place of beginning. He was
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES
including the present State of Vermont. New York
claimed all the country west of the Connecticut, under BOUNDARIES OF THE
the charters of 1664 and 1674 to the Duke of York. A bitter controversy ensued. In 1749 the Governor of New Hampshire wrote to the Governor of New York as follows (Slade, 1823, p. 10):
PORTSMOUTH, November 17, 1749. instructed by Governor Belcher to allow for a westerly
I think it my duty to transmit to your Excellency the descripvariation of the needle of 10°. The report of the sur
tion of New Hampshire, as the King has determined it in the words of
my commission, ''. In consequence of His Majesty's determination veyors has not been preserved, but the journal of
of the boundaries between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, a Hazzen has been found. It was published in the New
surveyor and proper chainmen were appointed to run the western line England Historical and Genealogical Register, July from 3 miles north of Pautucket Falls; and the surveyor, upon oath, 1879, p. 323.
has declared that it strikes Hudson's River, about eighty poles north Subsequent investigation has proved that Hazzen's
of where Mohawk's River comes into Hudson's River.
B. WENTWORTH. line was not run on a due west course, the allowance
The following is the description of the south boundfor the westerly variation of the needle being too large,
ary of New Hampshire as given by King George II to throwing the line north of west. This mistake seems to
Benning Wentworth when Wentworth was appointed have been known prior to the Revolution. In 1774 cal
governor, July 3, 1971 (OʻCallaghan, 1851): culations were made by George Sproule, founded
province of New Hampshire, within our Dominions of New upon actual surveys and accurate astronomical ob
England in America, bounded on the south by a simular Curve line servations, from which he determined that Hazzen's
pursuing the Course of the Merrimac River at three miles distance, on line was so far north of west as to lose to New Hamp- the North side thereof, beginning at the Atlantick Ocean & ending at shire a tract of land computed at 59,872 acres. (New
a point due North of a place called Pautucket Falls, and by a Straight
Line drawn from thence due West Cross the said River 'tll it meets Hampshire H. Jour., 1826, p. 304; Williams, 1794, p. 379).
with our other Governments, In 1825 commissioners were appointed by the States
The south boundary of New Hampshire as surveyed of New Hampshire and Massachusetts to ascertain,
between 1855 and 1898 is marked by 50 large cutrun, and mark the line between the two States. New
granite monuments at irregular intervals. The initial Hampshire asserted her claim to a due-west line, con
point of this survey is the southwest corner of New formable to the decree of 1740, it being apparent from
Hampshire and southeast corner of Vermont, marked a survey made by the commissioners that the original by a copper bolt in the top of a block of granite set in line was north of west. The Massachusetts commis
a mass of concrete 6 feet square, "at or near ordinary sioners refused to run such a line, alleging that they low-water line" on the west bank of the Connecticut were empowered only to ascertain and mark the origi- River, the geographic position of which is lat 42°43' nal line.
37.21" N., long 72°27'32.08" W. A witness mark of On March 10, 1827, the Legislature of Massachusetts polished granite, suitably inscribed, stands on the passed a resolution providing for the erection of durable
Massachusetts-Vermont line, 582 feet N. 87°48' W. from monuments to preserve the boundary line between the
the corner. States of Massachusetts and New Hompshire, as the From the State corner the line was run on a general same had been run and ascertained by the commis
course about 29/2° south of east (true bearing), measured sioners (see Massachusetts Legislature Resolves, 1827),
distance of 57.84 miles to and monuments were erected accordingly.
the boundary pine monument, so-called, standing between the towns In 1885 the joint commission appointed by the States of Pelham, New Hampshire, and Dracut, Massachusetts, in the pasture of New Hampshire and Massachusetts reran and
land owned by Zachariah Coburn, at a point where one George
Mitchell, surveyor, marked a pitch pine tree, March 21, 1741, then marked the curved portion of the boundary following
supposed to be 3 miles due north of a place in the Merrimack River the course of the Merrimack River, changing it only to
formerly called Pawtucket Falls, now Lowell. a trifling extent. This commission was, however, unable This monument is also granite, and its geographic to agree upon the boundary west of Pawtucket Falls.
position is lat 42°41'50.25'' N., long 71°19'22.02' W. The matter dragged along until finally in 1894 this From this point the boundary consists of a series of commission, together with a commission representing straight lines, approximately paralleling Merrimack Vermont, agreed to maintain the Hazzen line, and this River and 3 miles distant therefrom. line was retraced and re-marked from Pawtucket Falls
The terminal mark is a granite monument, 42 by 14 to the northwest corner of Massachusetts.
by 12 inches in size marked. Under the King's decree of 1740 the Province of New
S Hampshire claimed jurisdiction as far west as the ter
N.H. ritory of Massachusetts and Connecticut extended, thus
BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
on its south face and north face, respectively. It stands on Salisbury Beach about 80 feet from high-water line and 250 feet from low-water line of the Atlantic Ocean.
Its geographic position is lat 42°52'19.28" N., long 70°49'02.94" W. From this point the boundary extends for "three miles to the limit of State jurisdiction" on a course 86°07'30" E.
This survey was approved by Massachusetts (act of May 12, 1899, chap. 369) and by New Hampshire (act of Mar. 22, 1901, chap. 115). The acts of the State legislatures give the complete notes of the surveys. Copies of the notes and many geographic positions on the lines are given in the town boundary atlases prepared by the harbor and land commission of Massachusetts.
The question concerning the western boundary of New Hampshire was submitted to the King, who in 1764 made the following decree (Slade, 1823, p. 19):
AT THE COURT OF ST. JAMES,
The 20th day of July, 1764. Whereas there was, this day read at the board, a report made by the Right Honorable the Lords of the Committee of council for plantation affairs, dated the 17th of this instant, upon considering a representation from the Lords Commissioners for trade and plantations, relative to the disputes that have, some years subsisted between the provinces of New Hampshire and New-York, concerning the boundary line between those provinces—His Majesty, taking the same into consideration, was pleased with the advice of his privy council, to approve of what is therein proposed, and doth accordingly, hereby order and declare the western banks of the river Connecticut, from where it enters the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, as far north as the forty-fifth degree of northern latitude, to be the boundary line between the said two provinces of New Hampshire and New York. Wherefore the respective Governors and Commanders in Chief of his Majesty's said Provinces of New Hampshire and New-York, for the time being, and all others whom it may concern, are to take notice of His Majesty's pleasure hereby signified and govern themselves accordingly.
Notwithstanding this decree of the King, controversy and violence continued for many years; but the line was finally accepted and now forms the boundary
between the States of New Hampshire and Vermont. (See p. 64, 65.)
The northern boundary of New Hampshire, fixed by the British treaty of 1842 (p. 17), is described as follows:
Commencing at the "Crown Monument," so called, (now monument 475 of the Internat. Boundary Comm.) at the intersection of the New Hampshire, Maine, and Province of Quebec boundaries, in latitude 45°18'20”, longitude 71°05'04", thence by an irregular line along the divide to the head of Halls Stream and down the middle of that stream to a line established by Valentine and Collins previous to 1774 as the 45th parallel of latitude.
The end of this line in the middle of Halls Stream is in lat 45°00'48.7'' N., long 71°30'05.7" W. The New Hampshire Vermont line then runs east for about 134 miles to the west bank of the Connecticut River, the approximate position of which is lat 45°00'50'' N., long 71°27'57' W. This small area east of Halls Stream, known locally as "The Gore" (see fig. 17), is often incorrectly shown as a part of New Hampshire.
A historical description of the boundaries of New Hampshire is given by Harriman (1879, p. 550-558).
The title to the New Hampshire area in the vicinity of the Connecticut Lakes and north of the 45th parallel was for many years in dispute between New Hampshire and Canada. In 1829 the settlers in that locality organized an independent republic, which was called the Indian Stream Territory. Local government was in effect until after the Indian Stream War, in 1835, when New Hampshire took control (Bacon, 1906, p. 369-370; Faris, 1926, p. 33–43; U.S. 25th Cong., 1839, 3d sess., H. Rept. 176).
FIGURE 17.—"The Gore," at the northeast corner of Vermont.
UNITED STATES AND THE SEVERAL STATES
called "New Connecticut, alias Vermont," but the title
generally used in official papers for several years BOUNDARIES OF THE
thereafter was "the New Hampshire grants." Sixteen towns in New Hampshire sought union with the new State, but this action was vigorously opposed by New Hampshire and was not approved by the Continental
Congress. Massachusetts agreed to the independence VERMONT
of Vermont in 1781, and New Hampshire adjusted its
differences with that State in 1782, but 8 years more The grants from King Henry of France in 1603 and
passed before New York consented to the admission King James of England in 1606 both included the terri
of Vermont to the Union. Vermont in the meantime had tory which forms the present State of Vermont. It was
fixed upon a western boundary practically the same as also included in the charter of New England of 1620.
at present, which was then described by reference to In the grants to the Duke of York in 1664 and 1674,
town boundaries as far north as the Poultney River, all territory between the Connecticut and Delaware
thence down the middle channel of that river to East Rivers was included. New York therefore claimed juris
Bay and northward to and through the middle of the diction of the territory now known as Vermont. (See
deepest channel of Lake Champlain (Slade, 1823, p. fig. 18). Massachusetts, however, had made claim at an
69–70, 193). early period to the tract west of the Connecticut River
Vermont was admitted as an independent State by that now forms a part of Massachusetts; she claimed
an act approved February 18, effective March 4, 1791. also the greater part of the Vermont territory.
(1 Stat. L. 191). By the terms of the charter of Massachusetts Bay, of
In 1767, astronomic observations were made on the 1629 (Thorpe, 1909, v. 3, p. 1847), that colony was
eastern shore of Lake Champlain, and a mark was set granted all the lands
at the supposed position of the 45th parallel. From this which lye, and be within the space of three English Myles to the Northward of the said River called Monomack alias Merrymack, or to
point Valentine and Collins in 1772 surveyed and the Northward of any and every Parte thereof.
marked a line as far east as the Connecticut River for Under this clause, Massachusetts Bay claimed that the eastern part of the northern boundary of the Provits jurisdiction extended to a line 3 miles north of the ince of New York (now the State of Vermont). Recent northernmost part of the Merrimack River, such jurisdic- surveys show that this boundary for its entire length tion would embrace a large part of New Hampshire is from a quarter of a mile to 1.1 miles north of the and Vermont. New Hampshire contested this claim 45th parallel, 62 but by the convention between the and after several years' controversy was more than United States and Great Britain of 1842 the line as sustained by a decision of the King in 1740. (See p. 61.) marked west of Halls Stream to the deepest part of New Hampshire in turn claimed the territory of Vermont Lake Champlain was agreed upon as part of the boundon the ground that, as Massachusetts and Connecticut ary of the United States. The northwest corner of Verhad been allowed to extend their boundaries within 20 mont, which is the northeast corner of New York, falls miles of the Hudson River, its territory should go in Lake Champlain, at lat 45°00'38.9" N., long 73° equally far, and contended that the King's decree of 20'38.9" W. 1740 left that fairly to be inferred; also that the old Joint resolutions by the Legislature of the State of charters of 1664 and 1674 were obsolete. By a decree Vermont, approved November 22, 1912, and February of the King, however, the territory west of the Connecti- 13, 1913, authorized the institution of a suit in the cut River, from the 45th parallel to the Massachusetts Supreme Court of the United States for the determinaline, was declared to belong to the Province of New tion of the position of the boundary line between that York. (See New Hampshire, p. 62.) As most of the settlers State and New Hampshire. Vermont in its bill of comof Vermont were from New Hampshire, this decision plaint filed at the October term, 1915, asked that the of the King caused great dissatisfaction, and the Revo- New Hampshire boundary line be declared to be in the lution found Vermont the scene of conflicting claims middle of the Connecticut River; New Hampshire in its and the theater of violent acts, some culminating in reply asked that the boundary be fixed at the highactual bloodshed.
water line on the west bank of the river, and that the On January 15, 1777, delegates representing 51 towns north boundary of Vermont end at Halls Stream, rather comprised in the territory known as the "New Hamp- than at the Connecticut River 134 miles farther east. shire grants," on the west side of the Green Moun
82 In an official report to the Governor of Vermont made in 1806, Samuel tains, declared the area an independent State,61 to be Waters declared that his observations showed that the boundary of Ver
mont near its eastern terminus was 6 It 14 in. south of the 45th parallel, a See U.S. Fourteenth Census, 1921, v. I, p. 27, note 50, "Vermont; a statement which was grossly in error, if he referred to the geographic Independent republic of Vermont admitted to the Union as a State in 1791." latitude.
BOUNDARY LINES OF THE STATES
In its decision of May 29, 1933 (289 U.S. 593), the Court ruled that the boundary line between the two States followed the low-water mark on the west bank of the Connecticut River.
The Court decreed that the boundary line should be marked on the ground and appointed S. S. Gannett of the U.S. Geological Survey to locate and mark the points which it specified along the west bank. This work was completed and submitted with geodetic positions, descriptions of points, and diagrams in 1936. See report of Vermont-New Hampshire Boundary Line Commission 1934-1936.
The south boundary of Vermont is part of the north boundary of Massachusetts, which was fixed by the King in council under date of August 5, 1740, and surveyed under the direction of Governor Belcher in 1741. It was resurveyed and re-marked by commissioners representing the two States between 1885 and 1898. This survey was commenced at the northwest corner of Massachusetts, at a monument consisting of a granite post 8 feet long and 14 inches square set nearly 5 feet in the ground. The faces toward the different States were marked "N.Y. 1898," "Mass. 1896," and "Vt. 1896." Its geographic position is lat 42°44' 44.7'' N., long 73°15'54.13" W. (1927 N.A.D.). From this point the boundary is a nearly straight line, bearing about 2° south of east (true bearing), and runs 41 miles to the southeast corner of Vermont, which is a mark on the west bank of the Connecticut River. A description of this mark is given on page 62.63
The line between Vermont and New York was surveyed and marked by commissioners from the two States in 1814 and is as follows: 64
thereof; then north 25 degrees west, 16 chains and 70 links; then north 9 degrees west, 18 chains and 60 links, to a white oak tree, at the southwest corner of the land occupied in 1814 by Thomas Wilsey; then north 11 degrees east, 77 chains, to the north side of a highway, where it is met by a fence dividing the possession of said Thomas Wilsey, Jr., and Emery Hunt; then north 46 degrees east, 6 chains; then south 66 degrees east, 26 chains and 25 links; then north 9 degrees east, 27 chains and 50 links, to a blue-slate stone, anciently set up for the southwest corner of Bennington; then north 7 degrees and 30 minutes east, 46 miles 43 chains and 50 links, to a bunch of hornbeam saplings on the south bank of Poultney River, the northernmost of which was marked by said last-mentioned commissioners, and from which a large butternut tree bears north 70 degrees west, 30 links, a large hard maple tree, south 2 chains and 86 links, and a white ash tree on the north side of said river, north 77 degrees east.
then down the said Poultney River, through the deepest channel thereof, to East Bay; then through the middle of the deepest channel of East Bay and the waters thereof to where the same communicate with Lake Champlain; then through the middle of deepest channel of Lake Champlain to the eastward of the islands called the Four Brothers, and the westward of the islands called the Grand Isle and Long Isle, or the Two Heroes, and to the westward of the Isle La Motte to the line in the 45th degree of north latitude; established by treaty for the boundary line between the United States and the British Dominions.
This line was changed in 1876 by a cession from Vermont to New York of a very small area west of the village of Fair Haven and opposite the mouth of the Castleton River which had been left on the west side of the Poultney River by a change in the course of that stream, described as follows:
All that portion of the town of Fairhaven, in the county of Rutland and State of Vermont, lying westerly from the middle of the deepest channel of Poultney River, as it now runs, and between the middle of the deepest channel of said river and the west line of the State of Vermont as at present established.
This cession was ratified by Congress April 7, 1880 (21 Stat. L. 72).
The Vermont-New York line was resurveyed and remarked in 1904 from the Massachusetts-Vermont-New York corner north to the Poultney River.65 There are now 101 substantial stone monuments on this line, which is 54.6 miles in length.
Beginning at a red or black tree, the northwest corner of Massachusetts, and running north 82°20' west as the magnetic needle pointed in 1814, 50 chains, to a monument erected for the southwest corner of the State of Vermont, which monument stands on the brow of a high hill, descending to the west, then northerly in a straight line to a point which is distant 10 chains, on a course south 35 degrees west, from the most westerly corner of a lot of land distinguished in the records of the town of Pownal, in the State of Vermont, as the fifth division of the right of Gamaliel Wallace, and which, in the year 1814, was owned and occupied by Abraham Vosburgh; then north 35 degrees east, to said corner and along the westerly bounds of said lot, 30 chains, to a place on the westerly bank of Hosick River where a hemlock tree heretofore stood, noticed in said records as the most northerly corner of said lot; then north 1 degree and 20 minutes west, 6 chains to a monument erected by the said commissioners, standing on the westerly side of Hosick River, on the north side of the highway leading out of Hosick into Pownal, and near the northwesterly corner of the bridge crossing said river; then north 27 degrees and 20 minutes east, 30 chains, through the bed of the said river, to a large roundish rock on the northeasterly bank
The territory of Massachusetts was included in the first charter of Virginia, granted in 1606, and in the charter of New England, granted in 1620.
83 The full notes of this survey are given in the State acts ratifying it (Massachusetts Acts of 1900, chap. 131, and Vermont Acts of 1900, chap. 137) and also in the folio atlases of the Harbor and Land Commission of Massachusetts; see report of the commissioners (Massachusetts H. Doc. 300, 1900).
o New York Rev. Stat., 1875, 6th ed., v. I, p. 122–123, Banks & Brothers; 1882, 7th ed., v. 1, p. 128.
w For a report of the survey, a plat of line, and descriptions and coordinates of each mark, see New York State Engineer and Surveyor Rept. for 1904, p. 301-345.
* The full legal name for Massachusetts is "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts."