HomeThoughts and MusingsLines Askew: Irregular Township Shapes South of Ohio’s Western Reserve


Lines Askew: Irregular Township Shapes South of Ohio’s Western Reserve — 3 Comments

  1. Chris,

    Do you think that the non-rectangular shape was caused by a compass problem where the surveyor did not account correctly for the declination of the magnetic field?

    The surveying in Norfolk County in Ontario province is really trapezoidal, and I’ve often wondered about that also.

  2. To me, it looks as though Buckingham’s initial line simply extended the survey line of the Seven Ranges survey, and the rest of his work was based on that line. However, that Seven range line he used was not parallel to the Pennsylvania line that the other two surveyors were using in the central and western areas.
    So perhaps Mr. Buckingham wasn’t entirely to blame, as the geographer’s line established by Thomas Hutchins which established the base line for the Seven Ranges survey was actually the line that was initially off by several degrees (see http://www.amphilsoc.org/sites/default/files/490306.pdf). As you mention, the reason that this geographer’s line is off is due to the differences between true north and magnetic north.

  3. Actually, let me qualify my qualification. I wouldn’t necessarily blame Thomas Hutchins either. Even in 1785, the government was willing to settle for lower quality rather than pay to do it right: “Hutchins’s field notes indicate that he made no effort
    to determine variation, and his report mentions the difficulty of surveying
    by reference to the meridian when the pay was only two dollars per
    mile.” (from http://www.amphilsoc.org/sites/default/files/490306.pdf)