Black's Stone Updated

Teegate

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All,

I have always been reluctant to discuss Black's stone but it is obvious that many people know about it now. Over the years many individuals felt there was another stone just like the stone Beck mentions in his "Adventure in Aserdaten" chapter and I have always doubted it. Usually, there is one large stone at the beginning of a survey and the rest are basic stones. That is not always true but more times than not it is. Over the years I have myself come up with various idea's on where there may be more stones associated with this one and each time I have eventually discounted them.








And over the years various idea's on who T. Black was has been mentioned to me and in most instances people were sure he was the surveyor. Beck obviously did not know who he was when he was writing about it so the information on this man and stone has been meager. Recently, while looking over some information I have had for years, I realized that I had the answer to many of the questions that have been plaguing me and others concerning this subject, and I will tell you pretty much all that I know in this post.

First, T Black was Thomas Black who was a land owner and not a surveyor. I say Thomas, but the information I have says "Thos" which is a common abbreviation for Thomas. I think I can correctly assume it is Thomas. The surveyor was George Sykes who's name I have viewed many times on old survey's. He did the survey in 1859 as is inscribed on Blacks's stone. The question is was the stone placed there by him, already there, or placed there at a later date and predated which does occur? I really don't have the answer for that but it is my guess that it was placed there by Mr. Sykes in 1859. However, as I now know hidden on the back side of the stone there is an inscription "JR 1774" which obviously was not visible to Beck unless he did not see or mention it. If you are a long time member of the site you may remember years ago an article that was written by Beck was posted saying that someone in the years after he had visited there had tried to remove the stone and caused it to tilt. Was the 1774 date visible before then ..... I really don't know.


The Thomas Black Cedar Swamp




After finding the information in my files I spent a few evenings calculating where I thought they would be. Survey's from those years were done with a compass and today we use true north. The difference between the two change over the years and it could be anywhere from 5 degrees to maybe as high as 12 or more. I tend to lean towards the lower end and so I spent quite a few evenings this week calculating where I felt they could be. Since there are numerous stones to look for over a large distance, any small inaccuracies in my calculations could make finding them futile. I had to do it correctly.

And so yesterday Jessica and I headed out and spent hours roaming the woods at my specific location looking for just two of them. As usual when I first start out frustration is high and we came up empty. Jessica also fell and banged her knee pretty hard and suffered quite a bit last night.

Today was a new day, and we met up with Bob to look for what I felt was a key stone. This one may just well be the stone that everyone felt was still out there. Could it be as "large as a crouching man" as Beck described Black's stone, or would it be a dud? Or would the day fizzle as it had for Jessica and I yesterday?

We were soon plowing though some serious woods that seemed to be trying to keep us from reaching our goal. However, perseverance prevailed and we were soon closing in on our destination. Was my 5 degree declination correct, or would we wonder what went wrong and be no where near where we really should be? Bob was in the front and that familiar tone in his voice I hear when he has found the rarest of rare plants was like music to my ears. We had indeed found it, and Jessica soon informed us I was 9 feet off on my calculations.


The "B" marking the property corner of Thomas Black






The familiar "B"




And the nice part about this is there is more to come. Wouldn't you know there is another one still to find :)


If you are new to the site and have no idea what this is about, purchase "Jersey Genesis" by Henry Charlton Beck and read the "Adventure in Aserdaten" chapter closely. It is Beck at his best.

Guy
 
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Guy,

You are incredible. I had been to Black's Stone (1859 Black) before and have always thought that there are at least a couple more stones out there. Unlike you, however, I had no doubts that Thomas Black was the landowner, not the surveyor. Consider also nearby Black's Bridge, not likely to be named for the surveyor. I always thought that this stone is the same one that Beck had found, stating that it resembled a crouching person. Nonetheless, I was puzzled that Beck said that his stone was inscribed "T.G. Black--1858." Could his memory have failed him? I still believe that there are additional stones. As you well know random searching, without a survey, of this landscape densly overgrown with shrubs makes it very difficult to find anything.

Lost Town Hunter
 

bobpbx

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Great report Guy! It was exciting to help you find it. I look foward to joining you on future searches.

PS: that cedar swamp was a classic!
 

Teegate

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I am happy to hear you all enjoyed our adventure today.

Lost Town Hunter.... I have always suspected that Beck just like me got all involved with what was going on around him, and later when getting home he sat at his typewriter trying to remember what was inscribed on the stone. Unlike me, he did not have email and Bob to quickly contact to compare notes and get the facts straight. I am betting he winged it on a few if not more occasions and just got it unintentionally wrong. I suspect much of our history is filled with inaccuracies because the memory of those involved were no better than mine which many can attest is quite poor.

Guy
 

Teegate

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Lost Town Hunter,

I am certain that is the stone Beck described, and I am pretty confident there are no others like it. Just my opinion.

The JS stands for Joseph Ridgeway.

If you have problems reading the below text which describes Black's stone it "basically" as far as I can tell says:



Beginning..Large smooth white stone marked JR 1774 on North side, B on East, T B (T. Black) 1859 on South side, and standing on slope or ??? 75 plus or minus ?? from the south edge of cedars....original corner to Jos. Ridgeways 115? acres 1774 ??? and the beginning corner to J. W. ??Brooks?? 672.24 acres on E.J. Rgts???

The important info is there and the rest is trivial.




Thomas Black's land not included in Ridgeway survey.



Guy
 

Hewey

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Great report Guy! Thats an awesome find! When do you think the last time a person has laid eyes upon that stone?

I hope Jessica is doing better.

Chris
 

Teegate

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All,

Jessica and I made another go of it trying to find more of Thomas Black's property stones. I had calculated the declination to be 5.45 degrees and made my GPS coordinates accordingly. We skipped past the two Jessica and I looked for last week and headed to a third location. At this location the old map said it was at the upland on the edge of the cedars so that is where I looked. With a lucky strike of my walking stick I found the stone placed there in 1859 that was completely covered over with moss and pine needles.








My GPS had me less than 7 feet from it, so at this point I was positive 5.45 degrees is the magic number. So we moved on to the next three and came up empty. This was a little frustrating but the next stone was inscribed with the letter B and I was certain we would find it. However, when arriving I found I was off by at least 100 feet. Somehow I had made some major errors on the stones after the one I first found today. So we headed back and decided to re-check the 2 locations we visited last week and sure enough I found one of them. I was again 7 feet off so the 5.45 degrees is correct. This one was bigger and again there since 1859 or earlier.






I hope to get back to you soon with news on the final B stone. I hope!

Guy
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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I'm confused.Are you saying you lucked out and found a stone that was over 100 ft off your coords and then backed up and found three right on your coords or are you saying you could not find the stone further out so backed up and tired the three closer ones and found them?I don't see a B stone so I'm assuming and I see at the end you did not find it.Is this the stone that was more then 100 ft off and if so how do you know if you didn't find it.As you can see I really am confused.
How bad are those woods?Wicked?
 

Teegate

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Al,

After the third stone I made an error so all of the stones I looked for after that were off. So today I went back with new locations and Bob and I could not find them. They actually are easy to get to so I can go back anytime to look for them. I am going to concentrate on the B stone because some of the rest are in area's that have been disturbed.

Guy
 

turtle

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Feb 4, 2009
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Interesting and wonderful finds! I can't imagine the thrill. Upon looking at the Google books article I scrolled down to Cam. Co. 2nd District..... Unrelated to this, but still relevant to the area.... check it out.

Terry